I wrote in yesterday’s smatterings that I was going to return to the local Apple store called Small Dog Electronics to buy a new iPod Classic and spend some time with Leopard, possibly adding a new Mac to my shopping cart. But that’s not going to happen because Small Dog Electronics does not want my business.
I bought replacement Apple iPod earbuds at Small Dog a week ago and I just hate them. They don’t stay in my ears (yes, I switched out the liners) and, much worse, after only a few hours of normal use I experienced ringing in my left ear. And no, I wasn’t cranking up the volume to an irresponsible level.
So I took them back to Small Dog today, with the packaging and receipt. Unbelievably, they would not exchange them, provide in-store credit or any reimbursement at all. I was told I had to notify Apple and claim that they were defective.
I asked to speak with the manager. “Due to health regulations,” she said, “we can’t take back ear plugs.”
“Heath regulations? You mean you intend to stick defective ear-buds that were returned into someone else’s ears?” I asked.
“It’s one of those corporate rules,” she said. “Ear buds and software cannot be returned.”
“And what are the health regulations preventing software from being returned? Look,” I said, “I blogged about Small Dog and I planned on buying a new iPod and perhaps a new Mac here, and you’re going to end our relationship over 40 bucks? If I walk out of that door, I won’t be coming back.”
“I’m sorry you’re going to be that way,” she said. Those were her exact words.
“Be that way?” That was all I needed to hear. We assume that a passionate user base and a great UI equate to Apple being above the corporate fray, standing behind a product and putting relationships over policy. But when it comes down to it, based on my experience today, there is little if anything that differentiates an Apple Store from a Circuit City or a Best Buy. In fact, when I bought the Apple buds a week earlier at Small Dog I told the Apple Assistant that I was replacing Sony buds I purchased at Circuit City. “You should take return them!” she said. “Circuit City is great about that.”
Small Dog, very Small Dog.