Catch up

Well this is going to be a relatively short blog (hopefully uploaded first time of writing)  following up on two recent postings. The first concerned a hopeless Xmas lunch we had at a local pub/restaurant where the management had invited us to a complementary second meal to showcase their real capabilities. Ooh would it prove to be A1 or just OK or NFG again? The second was all about my continuing hopeless relationship with technology  and yet another visit to the Genius bar at my local Apple store in Kingston. Would they be able, a la Chris Martin, to ‘fix me’ and my lovely but sick iMac desktop? Or would I find myself contemplating jumping off the top floor of the Bentalls store car park in desperation at losing all my personal and business data, unbacked-up for the last 5 years? Well I guess you can tell I didn’t jump but was it a happy ending?

Before answering I have to admit to suffering another small disaster with my new iPhone on its first outing beyond our apartment. I’ll spare you all the grim details but it was enough to make me cry almost. I think it’s just me; put something made by Apple in my hands and as I’m admiring the beauty and elegance of its design, I’ll elegantly go and press the wrong two buttons or drop it, but only onto something very hard and concretey.

I know my wife wouldn’t be happy married to someone perfectly at ease with technology. I could tell that from the little look of pity on her face when she watched me toddle off to Kingston with a 3′ square desktop under my arm, bound for the Apple shop. These machines are ergonomically designed to sit perfectly on top of a desk but they are a frigging nightmare to lug around – heavy, awkward and very very delicate. Of course the box it came in disappeared a long time ago.  So conscious of my ability to let expensive equipment slip through my fingers I decided in the end to transport it in the only bag that could carry its weight and bulk – a bright red BRICS carry all. It must have looked like a swag bag and I got numerous quizzical looks as I strode through central Kingston. Surely that fat bald guy must have just nicked that, I could sense them thinking. I gave them my best ‘whatever’ expression as I scurried by on my way to Appleland.

I was sweating up a bit as I picked my way through the crowded Apple shop – the shop is large and the Genius bar is right at the back. I parked the bag on the floor and my bum on one of those bar-stools that are designed for people with the backsides of a 12 year old. I must have looked like a doublescoop of ice cream on a cornet. Everyone around me was having their iPad or iPhone examined by the Apple guys. Eventually it came to my turn and young Todd asked me what the problem was. He got a surprise when I lumped the machine onto the counter, ‘Ah the iMac desktop, we don’t get a lot of these being brought in’. I explained the problem I’d been having and the steps I’d been taken through (for £35) by the support guy over the phone. Todd just smiled and as soon as he switched the machine on he said that it wasn’t anything to do with the software (thanks telephone support guy) but a problem with the RAM. Now once upon a time that would have meant nothing more to me than a farm animal but having had a similar problem on my laptop some time ago I knew it was the memory connected with running the machine not storing data and not terminal, hopefully.  He undid a little panel at the bottom of the machine and popped out the two integrated circuit boards (I can tell you’re impressed). He quickly assessed that one was indeed broken and the other he re-installed. He explained that it was a bit like the engines on a jet – that the machine would still ‘fly’ off one circuit board albeit a little more slowly. He re-booted the machine and hey presto there was my home-screen and behind it all my precious stuff intact. Big sigh of relief. I nearly kissed him – I might have done but was worried about being accused of abusing a minor.

As with my laptop Todd advised that I order a replacement set with double processing power direct from the supplier rather from Apple as the cost at around £45 including postage was half what Apple would charge.  I agreed readily and we ordered via the machine there and then. He may not have started shaving yet but I thought this kid was great. He’d spent nearly 40 minutes with me (as I had him I asked every question I could about various Apple products we owned and fancied) and didn’t charge a penny for his service. And he’d sorted out my machine. Now that’s service.

Three days later the new circuit boards arrived and I installed them without difficulty. The machine is now as good as new. I can’t fault the company except in one way; we now have 6 or 7 Apple products but we cannot get an Apple care policy to cover all the items as a group – they’re only available on single items, so buying cover is hugely expensive. Here’s an opportunity Mr Jobs’ replacement!

So that was good news… could we get as lucky with the complementary meal? Well as it was my wife C and grandson S’s birthday last week-end and we were all gathered again we asked the pub/restauarant if they could accommodate us on Saturday evening. No problem. It was another busy night down there but we were seated immediately and warmly received by our waiter, then the great girl who trying to get on top of the mayhem on Xmas Day and then the manager himself. I have to say we had a great meal with terrific service. We couldn’t fault it in any way and at the end of the meal the bill for the food was covered by the pub and we only had to pay for our wine and drinks. We did make clear our real appreciation and told them we considered the issue more than fully redeemed. So I don’t feel bad now in naming and applauding the Anglers pub in Teddington for getting it right in the end and showing great customer care.

Blimey twice in one week-end we got great service and there was the match of course too. I should have bought a bloody lottery ticket.



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