Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Mini Movement

I ordered a Mac Mini from Apple's online store yesterday, the dual core Intel and Mac 1.8 gig model. I looked at all the Intel Mac options but it was the sheer size (or lack of it), and cheap price, of the Mini that won me over. For a guy who's losing his eyesight day by day, the main priority was to stick with the 21" monitor I use, which looks to me like a 12" would look to you. Sure I'd have liked one of those spanky new LCD-monitor included iMacs, but one the size I need would set me back a lot of money, compared to the Mini. And once you make the decision to stick with your existing monitor, suddenly all the other Intel Macs become a bit pointless.

On Apple's website, it said shipping in 24 hours. All day I tried to access my Order History only to have an error message pop up saying their ordering system was undergoing maintenance. Finally, today at lunchtime I see my order at last, and the shipping is - wait for it - 8 days until it ships, and I should have it around 4th October, 14 days from now. Now I don't mind a little exaggeration, but 14 days instead of 1 is pushing the limits a bit. So I rang Apple's freecall number to ask why. What I got, of course, was a guy who could barely speak English following a script written out in front of him, and my questions like "How come it takes 8 days to ship?" were answered "First you will receive an order confirmation via email, then a shipping email when Shanghai ships it…" It's not just that he didn't answer my questions that annoys me, but the fact that he probably couldn't even understand me at all.

Eventually I realised myself why the extra delay - because I 'customized' the Mac by ordering 1 gig of RAM instead of the standard 512 meg. If you order a heavily customised system, I can understand there will be a delay while someone assembles it, but adding one RAM chip isn't really in that league. Apart from the fact that it takes 2 minutes to do, it would be a pretty standard order, so why don't Apple have 512, 1 Gig and 2 Gig standard units already on the shelf?

I'm a little disappointed but then I usually am whenever I order directly from Apple. I've had Macs since 1984, a long series of them, and experience has always shown that they are best bought anywhere but from Apple directly. They have the best, most innovative products in the world, and lousy customer service. But then, is it Rotten Apples on their part, or Sour Grapes on mine?

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