Sweat the small stuff, Steve Jobs

January 7, 2010
By

(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times)

Here¬†we are with my first column of the new year and already I’ve found something to moan about thanks to the lovely people at Apple.

(Pauses for dramatic effect and to don cast-iron undies, crash helmet and cloak of invisibility to hide from/deflect the expected slings and arrows from Apple’s legion of fans…)

I bought an iTunes card on Tuesday but, after scratching the panel to reveal my activation code, all that was revealed was an illegible array of gobbledegook: more than half the code had disappeared with the scratch panel.

Bugger.

After a quick search online I was on the iTunes site but there was no obvious “click here if your brand spanking new iTunes card is buggered” kind of link.

Another quick search and I found my way to the website of that champion of the Kiwi shopper: Consumer. There was a wee piece written on the site on December 21, detailing the very problem I was having. It appears a Consumer staffer bought three of the cards in mid-December, suffered from the disappearing activation code problem and (eventually) got the codes sent to them via Apple’s website (http://is.gd/5NgXR).

It also appears there’s a known faulty batch out there on the market right now.

Okay, so these things happen but it’s how that fault is dealt with after it comes to light that is often the most important thing. In this case, it’s not been dealt with.

If there’s a faulty batch of cards I should have been able to find that information on the iTunes website, or via the retailer who sold me the card. But no, I had to find that information through Consumer.

And the information on how to get the activation code sent out should have been easy to find, as well. It could have been a printed handout from the retailer, or a link directly from the front page of the iTunes site. I’m not suggesting a full-screen flashing button with “click here if your iTunes card is buggered” emblazoned on it, but a clear link on the front of the site would have been nice.

Yes, I found the information eventually on the site but it shouldn’t be such a rigmarole. The link to the page on the site that had the information came via Consumer, not Apple.

And yes, the code did arrive via email within a few hours but that’s not the point: can you imagine the number of disappointed kids who got iTunes cards for Christmas?

What kid wants a Christmas present that doesn’t work?

Us grown-ups aren’t too happy about it, either.

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