A Matter of Personal Responsibility

A few days ago I received a phone call from a young man who said that his Mac laptop was damaged and could I possibly fix it. I said, yes, probably, but needed to know a bit more about the problem before committing.

It turns out that he had carelessly dropped the laptop from a height, severely damaging the case. He said it ran, sort of, but clearly had some problems. He wanted me to replace the parts bearing obvious damage so that he could take it back to Apple and, claiming ignorance, have it fixed under warranty.

Now I’m no saint, but I know a bright ethical line when I see one. This was no more a warranty issue than if the young man had worked over his laptop with a ballpeen hammer. I was genuinely offended that he had tried to recruit me into what was, in effect, a scam. I paused a beat and then said something like:  “I am not going to be a part of that deception. You were careless with your laptop and broke it, and it’s your responsibility to fix it.” The young man seemed shocked that a business would turn down the chance to make a buck. I was shocked that he was shocked. Is that what our society has come to?

I have no great love for Apple. I think their products are overpriced and overrated, and I think Steve Jobs is a dictatorial prick who would take out his grandmother if she somehow threatened share price. And don’t even get me started about the uber-irritating, cooler-than-thou Apple mythos. But none of that matters a bit because fair is fair. Period.

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