I got my Panther this morning but 2 of the 3 CDs are just bad. Trying to open the PDF readme crashes Preview on three different Macs and the install crashes too. But the thing is released today and I can buy it at the local Apple store after 8pm tonight. So I figured I could just drop by this afternoon and get my copy replaced with one that works. Nope. I called the local Apple store and explained the problem. The first girl I talked to thought that’d be no problem but had to check. Then another girl got on the phone and the conversation went like this:

“Sir, I understand you have a problem with your Panther CDs. Panther is not released until 8pm tonight so I suggest you come to the store tomorrow or Sunday.” “I can’t stop in this afternoon and exchange it?” “Sir, I don’t have Panther in stock until 8pm”. “But you just have them in the back…” “Sir, I do not have Panther until 8pm tonight” “You mean a truck will drive up at 8pm and drop off a shipment?” “Sir, I do not have Panther until 8pm tonight.” “You don’t have to be snotty with me, I paid for the thing and I live far away from the store and I just want to exchange it.” “Sir, I’m not being snotty. I do not have Panther until 8pm tonight and I do not recommend that you come into the store tonight because it will be a mad house. I’ll be happy to help you tomorrow or Sunday.”

(How does she know they won’t sell out of the copies in the store tonight?)

In contrast, today when I called Silicon Mechanics, I was told that they just shipped 200 of the machines I wanted and they may take 2-3 days to get me a machine. But then he worked out a deal where he could delay one machine for a large customer and give me a machine today. A hardware vendor can pull strings and get me a computer today, but a software vendor can’t pull any strings and give me an exchange for a product I’ve already paid for. Customer Service is a rare thing.

I called the other local Apple store and they were much more polite, but they explained I had to exchange it through Apple Online since I bought it online. Crazy. So I called the online store and after 40 minutes of being on hold and being transferred around several times, I was told that I have to go through tech support and they can simply issue new media to be sent to me. Wonderful!

Another 10 minutes on hold…. talked to a guy who couldn’t help and transferred me to Tier 2 support. After 20 minutes on hold, I gave up. Total time: 1 hour, 54 minutes. Result: zero.

I’ll try again tomorrow.

Note: If you’re a Windows user and have no experience with other OSs, please don’t post a comment. XP is not very stable. You can argue it is, but you’re wrong. Even my friends at Microsoft won’t say XP is that great. Drop the religion about your favorite OS and be objective. It’s a lot more fun that way.