Small Dog Electronics Apple Store doesn’t want my business

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.

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A long time developer, I was an early adopter of Linux in the mid-90's for a few years until I entered corporate environments and worked with Microsoft technologies like ASP, then .NET. In 2008 I released Sueetie, an Online Community Platform built in .NET. In late 2012 I returned to my Linux roots and locked in on Java development. Much of my work is available on GitHub.