I called with a Mac OS question; I won't bore you with the details. I had been scouring the internet for hours trying to find answers to this question, wasn't finding anything, so I finally resorted to calling in. I had never talked to Apple tech support before, but I naturally assumed that I would be speaking to a highly trained expert on Apple products who would know the ins and outs of all the software and be able to quickly direct my ignorant layman ass to the answers.
But it turns out--I'm still trying to wrap my head around this--their tech support is just a guy.
It's literally just...a guy. A regular guy like me, who doesn't know any more about Apple products than I do, digging through websites and public forums for tips from other regular guys!
He has no special training. There's no Apple Knowledge Cube for him to consult. It's just him and I on the phone, scouring the internet, finding the answers TOGETHER.
Isn't that wondrous?
This was our conversation, lightly paraphrased:
ME: Here's what I'm trying to do... [I explain my problem]
GUY: Ok, I have no idea what you're talking about but I'll be happy to help you with it. Let me just look up whatever you just said on Google...
ME: Wait...Google? Don't you like...know stuff?
GUY: Ok, I found something. I'm sending you a link to this article called [how to do something completely unrelated to my problem]
ME: Well, that doesn't really sound like it's related to my problem but you're an expert...right?
GUY: Now, follow all the steps listed in this article from some random dude's blog that I just found on the internet, essentially hacking Mac OS and reprogramming it from scratch.
ME: Wow, this is really complicated for a feature described as "automatic" on the big bright Apple homepage. Ok, I'll try it... Ok, that didn't work. And also, this doesn't seem to be related to the problem I described at all.
GUY: Really? Are you sure?
ME: Yeah, it says right in the title. It's...totally something else.
GUY: Really? Darn! (he really says "darn") Sorry I made you learn Pascal and reprogram the OS for nothing. Well, let me just browse a few more Tumblr posts from 2008 for information...
ME: Hey, is there maybe like a Mac OS expert I could talk to who would already know how to do this through actual knowledge and expertise? Like, in his actual brain?
GUY: (sounding hurt) Well...yes, I guess I could patch you through to a senior representative...
ME: Yes! Senior sounds good. Do that please, thanks.
[He puts me on hold to speak to the senior representative. After about 5 minutes, he comes back on]
GUY: Hey, while I was waiting for the senior rep, I found something new that might solve the problem...
ME: Oh really? Well that's great.
GUY: Yeah, so try this. Go ahead and [do the exact same process he just had me do.]
ME: Wait, I'm...are you serious? That's the exact thing we just did...
HIM: It is? Are you sure you [did the thing I totally just did]?
ME: Yeah, I...I can't tell if you're being serious right now. But that's the exact process I just went through, step by step, live on the phone with you.
HIM: Really? Darn! (he really says this) Ok, well let me put you back on hold.
[Finally, the Senior Representative answers. He sounds sharp and competent. I feel like my ordeal might finally be over.]
SENIOR: Hi, what seems to be the problem?
ME: [I explain what I'm trying to do]
SENIOR: Oh, that's not a problem, that's just how the OS works. There's no way you can do what you're trying to do, despite all the ads for the OS that totally, explicitly say you can do what you're trying to do.
SENIOR: I'm afraid so. Also, fuck you.