Posted Monday, 8 August 2011
A week ago my 17 y. o. son dropped his 3 month old iPhone 4 into a hot tub. Guess what, it stopped working. To be precise, the camera flash was producing a steady light, and this was it. Using your smart phones and iPods by any types of water containers (including toilets) is not smart. Water damage is not covered. Apple put this special Liquid Contact Indicator inside the iPhones, which tells to the service technicians if the phone has been sunk.
Needless to say, my son was upset. His income from working part time at the local library is modest, and the last thing he was planning to spend it on was paying several hundred bucks for a little mistake he made.
These days when a young kid needs to find out how to fix something, he/she goes to a reliable source like Youtube, Yahoo Answers. A guy on Youtube shared his story how keeping an iPhone in a container with rice for a couple of days fixed his iPhone. Rice is known for its water absorbing abilities.
Three days in a rice somewhat helped. The ability to make and receive calls came back. There was a little inconvenience though – the screen remained pitch black. My son has good memory though and remembered the areas on the screen where the phone buttons were before the accident. The the voice activated feature came handy. Saying “Call Dad” made the iPhone obediently dial my number.
After a week without this device my son said how this issue with the iPhone gave him a peace of mind – no need to text, check emails and facebook that often. Yeah, right! Tell me about peace of mind, kido!
On Saturday, I asked him what’s the status of this rice-recovery process. He replied that it’s pretty much hopeless. I felt really bad for him, and started thinking of how to help. Giving money for a new phone was out of the questions – I’m not that kind of a parent. Breaking the 2-year contract with AT
& T and getting into a new one is expensive. So I said, “Make an appointment at the Genius Bar at the closest Apple store, let’s go there, tell them the truth, and get an estimate of the repair cost.”
Two hours later we entered the store and my son bravely said, “I dropped my phone into the water, and then did this rice thingy…”
The technician smiled, “This rice thingy might help in the beginning, but the hardware is damaged and it’d show up some way later. But let’s see…”.
Then he took out the SIM card and carefully examined its holder. “The replacement will cost you $199. Think about it while I’ll check your account.”
The next comes the dialog between me and my son
“Do you want to pay $199?”
“I’d like to check all my other options first”
“But you don’t have many options, do you? Do you have money on your account?”
“I do, but before paying I’ll like to check my other options”
“What if I’ll pay half?”
“Thank you, but I’d like to see what else can be done”
The guy comes back and says to me, “You’re a good customer and, as an exception, we decided to replace this phone for free.”
A minute of silence… Two smiles… Three smiles…Thank you, thank you, thank you…
Ten minutes later we left the Apple store, the place that carries the great devices and can turn an issue into a fun experience. And this was not the first time they did it to me!
My son was so happy carrying a new iPhone 4 (I guess, it was a refurbished one, but covered by a regular warranty)! He said, “Honesty is the best policy!” It really is. I replied, “Steve Jobs for President!”