Sunday, January 28, 2007


Another dead iPod

My iPod died on Friday night. Again. I mean, seriously. How many times do I have to go through this? There's no doubt that iPods are to MP3 players what Kleenex are to facial tissue and Frisbees are to flying disks, but there's a limit to how much patience I have for technology that dies multiple times in the same year. I love the holy hell out of it, but it's more fickle than a hungry, overtired two year old.

After three hours of useless troubleshooting on Friday night, during which I once resurrected it like Lazarus only to have it die again when I tried to load the music back on it, and reinstalling iTunes not once, not twice, but three times on two different computers, I finally gave up.

We got it last summer from Best Buy, and bless Beloved's paranoid susceptibility to marketing, we bought a $40 product replacement warranty. When we returned it the first time, less than three weeks after we bought it, they simply took the dead iPod from me and gave me a new one still factory-sealed in the box. I was highly impressed.

Saturday, I headed out into the frigid morning expecting the same service. But much to my dismay, when I showed up at Best Buy with a handful of unresponsive iPod, they told me I'd have to either contact Apple, who offer a one-year warranty, or Best Buy's customer service telephone number. Either one would take a minimum of 10 days to get a working iPod back in my hands.

I was not impressed. I've been pushing myself to do a minimum of two, but preferably three, workouts at the gym each week, and my iPod has been carefully loaded with music to burn calories by. I had made it through my Saturday workout without it, but I have to tell you that listening to Angler and Hunter (rant for another day: why on earth does my women's-only gym play Angler and Hunter on its TVs on a Saturday morning?) definitely detracts from my energy level and my enthusiasm for the whole workout.

Petulant, I started flipping through the Best Buy product replacement plan (please take a small moment to admire the fact that I had not only kept but could find in a timely manner the receipt and warranty) and read the fine print: even though the warranty covers a period through July 2008, its obligation to replace an item ends after one replacement. In other words, even though I paid for two years of coverage, if I were to get a replacement iPod today and that iPod died again in six months, I would be SOL. Given the fact that I'm on my third iPod in the first six months, I don't like those odds.

So I called Apple, and they have sent out a box I will use to send my recalcitrant iPod back to its mothership, or at least a satellite repair depot. I asked the very nice lady at the call centre somewhere in Pennsylvania whether they would repair or simply replace it, she said they would make a cursory attempt to repair it, but would likely simply replace it. It should be back in my sweaty little hands in 10 to 14 days.

That leaves my Best Buy warranty intact for the next iPod failure. At least now I know to expect it. In the end, my annoyance with the iPod's untimely demise is at least reasonably offset by the fairly decent repair and replacement service from Apple. I don't have anything nice to say about Best Buy, though. A two-year product replacement plan should replace products for two years, wouldn't you think?