Eric Kerby: Photography, Web Design, Programming

Honors Orientation and still waiting for my Mac Pro

August 28th, 2006 at 11:12 pm

Well, I can finally say that my Mac Pro is on its way to me and will arrive in 2 to 3 days!!  It's about time considering I ordered it on August 8th.  In the meantime, I have been at RIT since this past Wednesday acting as an orientation mentor to the new freshman in the Honors program.  You'll have to wait until later for the photos I took during our camp retreat…I want to wait for my Mac Pro to test a new photo workflow.  Be sure to read on to hear about the runaround Apple made me go through to get this computer.

So, all during Steve Jobs's keynote Monday, August 8th, I checked live weblog feeds to hear the latest announcements.  That afternoon after I got home from work, I watched the streaming video Apple posted online by around 4:00pm.  The announcements had me drooling.  I was hoping for a new MacBook Pro with Core 2 Duo processors (unlikely since laptops with that new "Merom" processor are just being announced now…almost three weeks later).  Instead, Jobs announced the new Mac Pro with Xeon processors (codenamed "Woodcrest" and based on the Core 2 Duo architecture).

I found myself addicted to reading every specification and early appraisal of the system as I continuously rearranged the configure-to-order options on Apple's store to find the perfect fit for me.  Shortly, I began questioning whether I really needed to upgrade my laptop, or if an extremely powerful, new desktop would better serve my needs.  I kept pondering this question and evaluating every potential issue that would arise from keeping my 1GHz PowerBook G4 in active use for at least another year (it's already over 2 and a half years old).  Needless to say, I decided to order the Mac Pro.

Now begins the story of getting the stuff to me.  Since I was due for an upgrade from my third generation iPod and my printer that just wasn't cutting it for photo quality, I opted in for the student iPod+Mac rebate and the printer+Mac rebate.  Get this, my order went in at around 11:30pm that Monday and the iPod and printer arrived as I pulled into the driveway at home around 4:00pm Wednesday.  That's only about 41 hours for processing and delivery with free shipping!  Way to go Apple and FedEx!

Unfortunately, the story of the Mac Pro has not gone nearly that well.  I was originally slated for the Mac Pro to be in FedEx's hands within 3 to 5 days from the purchase date since I did not order the AirPort card or higher end ATI graphics card  that instantly guaranteed a 3 to 5 week shipping time.  Sometime overnight on the day Apple estimated for the ship date (Aug 14th) they pushed it back to August 22nd (the day we were going to leave for Rochester).  I half expected this, so the apologetic email from Apple wasn't too bad of a let down.

The next day I called Apple to change the shipping address from my home address to my RIT address.  I figured this would save packing space in the car and would give me less to worry about before leaving for Rochester.  Unfortunately, the Apple representative informed me that the computer was already in the 'prepare to ship phase,' and they could not change the address.  I explained the issue that the house would be empty for a week during which the computer would likely be delivered.  None of my pleading had any effect.

Eventually I the rep said that the best they could do was this:  I should wait to hear that the computer shipped, then call Apple again, Apple will call FedEx, FedEx will return the computer to Apple, Apple will reship the computer shortly to the RIT address.  That hardly pleased me as an efficient solution, but I saw no better option.  A couple days later (Aug 17th), to my surprise, Apple said the Mac Pro had shipped.  I became hopeful that the computer just might make it to me before I left for RIT.

By Friday afternoon, the FedEx tracking data finally worked, but the box was still sitting in its original sorting facility in California.  Not willing to take a chance I called Apple to start the suggested process.  While on the phone, the rep put me on hold and called FedEx while I waited.  She came back and said the computer should be back in Apple's hands by the following Tuesday (Aug 22nd), and they would ship it quickly to RIT after that.  This made me feel a bit better and I began concentrating on wrapping up a few things and packing before we had to depart in a few days.

I became anxious when the FedEx tracking data had not updated in a few days, but I thought this normal since I had supposedly stopped the shipment.  The end of my first day at RIT, however, brought some troubling news.  The FedEx tracking said the computer had gone through a Hagerstown, Maryland facility.  The next day, my fears were confirmed and FedEx showed the package had been delivered…that is, a $2700 computer in a sexy Apple box was sitting on our front porch with no one at home to welcome it.

Luckily, our neighbor was able to bring the box indoors since she was taking care of our cats.  At this point, though, I was infuriated with both Apple and FedEx for so royally screwing up this shipment.  This prompted my third call to Apple Sales Support.  I wanted two things: an answer to why FedEx did not return the box to Apple, and compensation for the shipping someone would have to pay to get this to me (remember, this was supposed to be free shipping from the online Apple Store).  After a long converation with an Apple rep, I received neither of these.  She was completely unable to figure out why this happened and could do nothing to help me get this 65 pound box from Virginia to Rochester, NY.

By that time I had had enough.  I informed the rep that I was disappointed that she could be of no help to me and requested she send a message so that this case would be examined to improve future customer experiences.  With that, I resigned myself to waiting until my parents returned home to ship the Mac Pro Monday, August 28th (that would be today).

I'm tired of all this ranting.  It's time for a good night's rest amid bundles of anticipation for the box that is on its way!!

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