Take Control of Your Stuff

Julian Sanchez laments Apple’s abominable customer service.

First, you’ve got what’s obviously a simple physical problem that can very probably be repaired in all of a minute flat with the right set of tools. But instead of letting their vaunted support guys give this a shot, they’re encouraging customers—many of whom presumably don’t know any better—to shell out a ludicrous amount of money to replace it and send the old one in. I appreciate that it’s not always obvious that a problem can be this easily remedied on site, but in the instance, it really seems like a case of exploiting consumer ignorance.

I both believe that Apple would be better off were it to embrace greater transparency and openness, this despite the broad commercial success of its appliancization model, and that the only lasting anecdote [ahem, yes I meant antidote] to this problem is a cultural shift on the part of technology consumers — a cultural shift driven by the likes of O’Reilly Media’s MAKE and Matthew B. Crawford. My guess is that Crawford sees his project as far larger than simply empowering consumers. But understanding and truly owning our technological tools is a good first step towards leading a more mindful economic life.