After a facinating train discussion with a heart surgeon-turned-entrepreneur manufacturing heart valves, I arrived in chilly Beijing. The 23-degree weather of Nanchang may be winter to my Mexican friend, but I’m okay by putting my windbreaker over my t-shirt for the windy 6-degree Beijing weather. I took the subway to what I thought was ChaoYang District (朝阳区) assuming I was in the neighbourhood of the repair shop and could take a taxi for the last part of the ride; surely the taxi wouldn’t break the minimum RMB$10 fare. How foolish of me.
It turns out that ChaoYang District was almost as far as the airport, costing me RMB$63! Solution Keys is located inside the West Academy of Beijing Campus, a beautiful primary- and high-school for foreign children. Once I found the small office inside a bright yellow building, I was greeted by the technician and an office worker (I assume). The young man spoke enough English to communicate fine about the technical issues, and the young woman could speak at a higher-level thus filling in the other details. This place may be far out of the way, but these kind workers put my mind at ease.
The friendly technician, Mr. Qi (崔琪), immediately pulled my MacBook out to examine it. Unremarkably, he quickly found the same problem I’d identified — a broken keyboard. My goal was to replace the entire notebook with a brand new one under Apple’s 14-day replacement policy. They called the shop where I made the original purchase and were told they couldn’t make the exchange (no computers in inventory, I think). The technician then called Apple on my behalf to find a solution. Apparently, Beijing City has no inventory of new computers to make the replacement. Thus I’d say the 14-day policy from Apple is worthless — at least to me. Thanks.
Not only would I be forced to wait for Beijing stores to restock, after today the 14-day replacement policy expires for me and I’d be sure to face another battle. I reluctantly agreed to let Mr. Qi make the necessary repairs which at least are covered by the warranty. Told it might be 2 or 3 hours, I went for a walk to blow some steam.
Only about 30 minutes later I received a phone call to report my computer was fixed. When I returned, they gave me my computer and a cup of coffee(!). Using the wireless network in the store, I’ve had the chance to fool around on the internet a little bit while I make sure my computer is okay. Computers are complex electronics and failure can happen to any manufacturer for so many reasons, but if mine should fail again, I’d prefer it would fail while I’m still sipping coffee in the repair shop.
Maybe I’m not all that impressed with AppleCare [sic] right now, but after traveling across half of China, I’m quite happy to be in the somewhat remote Solution Keys office. They’ve even taught me a couple tricks for using OSX while I let the battery recharge.
Now it’s time I try and get a train ticket back to Nanchang before I miss even more school and have to add a hotel bill to my growing list of MacBook repair costs.
10 Lai Guang Ying Dong Lu,
Chao Yang District, Beijing, PRC 100103
(Inside the West Academy of Beijing Campus)
+86 (010) 5129 2849