Kiss my butt, Apple… please?

This iBrotha article was originally published at by Rodney O. Lain. In honor of Rodney’s death, a good friend and contributor, we are reposting here with the permission of MacAddict. We would like to thank them for their generosity in allowing us to remember Rodney by keeping this archive of his work.




Kiss my butt, Apple… please?

fri may.12.2000




The customer may be an idiot, but he’s never wrong.


(SOMEWHERE IN MINNESOTA) — “Apple is pussy footin’ around with this marketshare thing,” mused Mac Daddy, unabashed Apple shill and cheerleader for all things Macintosh. “But I know what they need to do if they wanna stomp Wintel: they need to kiss my ass.”


“You heard me. They need to kiss my ass.”

Oh, yeah. I can see you talking to Steve Jobs, giving him that suggestion as a cure-all. Talk about Reality Distortion Field. He’d distort your reality, alright. So you’re saying that if Apple smooched your gluteus maximus, marketshare would skyrocket as a result?

[clucking his tongue sympathetically] “For somebody who gots so much education, you sure ain’t got no common sense. Fool. I ain’t talking about kissing my ass for real. I’m talking about kissing my ass, as in customer service.”

Ohhhhh! You think that if Apple shored up its customer service side of things, the doors would open to the land of expanded marketshare?

[Pretending to talk to himself] “Hot damn, I think he got it.”

I think you’re on to something here. At the moment, many old-school Mac users are upset over the fact that Apple killed its free tech support a couple of years ago. It was nice to be able to call 1-800-SOS-APPL 24/7 and get help with whatever ailed your Mac. Now, you have to wear the lettering off your credit card to get a decent answer out of a tech support rep — not that there’s anything wrong with good, old capitalism.

“That ain’t what got me to thinking about it. I found out that people can get three years of support from Dell and Gateway and all of those other people, included in the price of their new PeeCee. Why can’t Apple do that. $3 billion in the bank can go a long way towards makin’ customer service ‘Job One,’ as Ford used to say.”

[Pretending to talk to himself] This guy is actually making logical sense today. He must not be drunk yet. [To the bartender] Sir, my friend here must not have had anything to drink.

[Bartender] “Oh, no, sir, he’s had three glasses of his ‘usual.’”

Well, bring me a couple of glasses. I need some good ideas myself. [To Mac Daddy] So, tell me more about your lofty plan to have Apple kissing the butts of the Mac-users everywhere.

“Hey, you need to stop talking down to me, since we both know that you get the ideas for all of your good columns from me; you write the bad ones on your own. Anyway, here’s my plan: Apple needs to apply some of that Think Different stuff to their own house. Do you ever hear of Nordstrom’s?”

Not really.

“That’s one store that people love to shop in. At least that’s what they say. Me, I don’t shop in stores that has a guy in a tux playing that classical mess on a piano for the cheese eaters. If they want me there, they need to throw a couple of dancing hoochie mamas on top of that piano. Then I’m there! But anyway, I met this girl who works there, and she said that each employee is given something like a $1000 expense card every month that they use to help customers solve their problems. Customer not happy with that coat they bought? She has a $1000 line a’ cash to help this customer out. Apple needs to do that.”

You expect Apple to give each customer service rep or tech support rep $1000 each to help customers?

[To himself] “We spend millions overseas to teach the heathen, but we have so many stupid people in our midst!”

You didn’t answer my question. Do you expect Apple to do that?

“No, fool. I expect Apple to take that idea and apply it to their company. Nordstrom’s is known for customer service. There has got to be something Apple can do to make their customer service stand out as much as the iMac stands out in a crowd of PeeCees. I think that if Apple is known for their customer service, customers will grab up even more of those iMacs.”

You really are on to something. [To himself] I really need to start drinking more beer, if this great idea of yours resulted from that. [To Mac Daddy] The business model is changing to one that is more service oriented than ever. Customers want to be pampered, or at least treated with some modicum of respect. If all of the on-line tales of tech-support nightmares mean anything, customer service leaves much to be desired. This is another fortuitous moment for Aple. Right now Apple has great products to woo the customers in, but customer service is what will keep those very same customers. After all, the Mac is not a no-maintenance machine, contrary to what Apple’s Reality-Distortion-Field-like advertising would lead you to believe.

But what do you expect Apple to do?

“They need to do something. Like improve the on-line support at”

Like being more lenient in dealing with defective products and being more responsive to customer complaints.

“You catching on.”

But don’t you think that it’s a bit premature to argue that Apple isn’t doing these things? Such things could be happening as we speak. After all, it has only been just a couple of years since the press was belting out a dirge for Apple, Inc.


Funeral song.

“Damn, even your l’il words are bad.”

Point is, Apple has managed to turn the ship around, averting that iceberg; now they’re working on fixing the ship and making it even more seaworthy. I agree Apple needs to focus on customer service; but I recommend giving them time to get it together. Like just today, I read that Apple has hired this well-known company to work on a customer service plan. So, the proverbial ship is catching up speed.

“But do you think they will give Mac Daddy credit for coming up with this idea?”


“Well, I better call up my lawyer.”

[Amused] And why is that?

“Because they stole Mac Daddy’s idea and didn’t give Mac Daddy credit.”

Now, don’t get mad. You didn’t say anything that hasn’t been thought by others. We all know that customer service has been a downside to dealing with Apple.

“Bull! I want my money for my idea. Apple’s trying to shaft me. They are trying to screw me. Hell, they settin’ out to f…”

Remember your language. I don’t want to get in trouble for your using profanity in my column.

“I wasn’t gonna say the F-word. I was gonna say that Apple is settin’ out to Microsoft me.”

Microsoft, hunh? Hey, I told you not to curse. I’m out of here. Bartender! Check, please…


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