Matt's Initiation - part 2 - it's personal
After the whole "stuck in the mud" ordeal, we all got a good night's sleep and started to get ready for a concert that evening. We laughed off the incident and approached the day with a good attitude. We were all proud of ourselves that we had kept our tempers in check. I have to admit that it is easy to stay calm when you are not the one digging in the mud for hours.
We had some time to waste in the morning and a good internet connection (which is rare). Matt spent some time working on recording projects. I showered all the kids and cooked lunch. After lunch, we settled into a routine of schoolwork and other projects.
When Matt picked up his computer, there was a dead stripe in the screen. He muttered a few explicatives and showed it to us all. I knew this was a big deal. First of all, this computer was BRAND NEW. He sold off his desktop and bought a laptop specifically for traveling. Secondly, it was expensive and he paid for it himself. Thirdly, we could not trace the damage to any incident - which means it could have been bad luck or it could have been our fault. Finally, this was HIS stuff. It's one thing to keep your cool when the van breaks down or even if a amp goes out in a show. That is OUR problem. This was personal.
Since we have 5 kids and have had many electronic devices, I knew that type of screen damage could have been caused by someone putting pressure on the screen. I retraced my mind to think of any of the kids had been alone near the computer. Could they have stepped on it? Could they have dropped a backpack on top of it. To the best of my memory, I thought the answer was no, but the question still haunted me. Matt kept silent. He never blamed the kids, but the frustration of the situation was boiling up inside of him. He kept his cool, but I could tell it took effort.
I did know that the computer was new and would come with one year of free Applecare warranty. I knew from experience that if you showed up in person at an Apple Store they could do their best to cover any repair under warranty. I have seen them trade out whole computers for new ones to satisfy a customer even when it was obvious there was nothing wrong with the original. I looked at Matt and said, "Michael has to take his phone to the Apple Store anyway. We'll make that a priority on the schedule. It is under warranty. They will replace the screen for free or they will give you a new computer."
The next day, that is exactly what we did. Apple agreed that there was no sign of abuse and agreed to replace the screen. The trouble was that they did not keep it in stock. They could order one. We we already on our way out of town. They advised that the best course of action was to order a pre-paid Fed-Ex box to be shipped to our house. We would ship the computer off and 3 days later, they would mail it back to our house. This would have been fine and dandy, except that would schedule was: drive 5 hours, play a concert, sleep, drive 5 hours, play a concert, sleep, repeat, repeat... until we made it to LA. Matt left both relieved and frustrated. It would be about 10 days before we were in a location long enough to have the repair complete by mail.
We agreed to try again in San Antonio. Same result. Matt looked at the Apple representative and smiled and said, "Hey dude, this is a brand new computer. This has been a lot of trouble. How about you throw in an iPhone case or something for the trouble." The representative disappeared to talk to management. When he returned, he was set up to do a full data transfer so that Matt could go home with a new computer! Matt invested in a hard-shell case and left smiling.