Apple is cool, but their partners are not

Apple does everything they can to make dealing with them a great experience. But they are let down by the little things, and by some pretty big things.

The little things I’ve talked about before. The big things are more serious.

Their partners suck. Vodaphone, Vodafone (that’s how you spell it in Australia and Optus all suck. Of course that’s one of the reasons that they all want the iPhone – as its coolness will hopefully rub off on their brand. And how cool is Apple? uber-cool:

Apple’s site is so clear, so clean. It is a pleasure to use and absolutely dangerous as hell to shop.
apple shop
The one saving grace I have is that Apple completely fails to understand that people don’t necessarily want their stuff sent to the same country where they have their credit card. Painful.

But their partners sites are woeful:


Actually I cheated on the Vodafone site – the screenshot is old – here is a current Vodafone current site, along with Optus’s:

Vodafone AuOptus

Both iPhone ads click through to a “sign-up for information to be sent to you” page, aka as sign up to be spammed by a telecom giant pages – no thank you.

Just after the iPhone went live on the Apple store, both sites were showing their typical cluttered and incomprehensible appearance and soul destroyingly complex product range. Perhaps the iPhone is helping them to an epiphany in website and product design?

or perhaps not. I feel they are closer to AT&T than they think.

Even after a year of iPhone, AT&T still sucks, and there is no reason why the local resellers won’t continue to as well. Try this. Go to the AT&T website and navigate (don’t search) to find an iPhone. It’s worth it just to feel what bad looks like.


Oh – and good luck – I gave up after about 7 levels and used search.

Finally, and the real reason for this rant post, is TNT, Apple’s delivery partner here in Australia. TNT suck, suck suckity suck. Here’s their performance trying to deliver a package to me – I ordered the super dooper expensive overnight service because I really wanted the stuff quickly and reliably.

That was 11 days ago, on the 16th, and I still have not got the stuff. Apple got the package to TNT within hours, but here’s the TNT legacy of shame.

TNT\'s legacy of hopelessness

The first delivery came while I was in the house – they should have used the buzzer. I’m not kidding – they were the stealth deliverers, and the first thing I knew about it was a card on the floor. I called the number, they would not return and nor could they tell me where the van was so I could chase it down. It was probably around the corner somewhere else in Fremantle, but they had no way of contacting the van.

The second came not the next day but the day after. Nobody was home – they were the day before when they had promised to deliver.

The third – another 3 days later. Again – the stealth drop as I’m pretty sure my cousin was in the house.

Last night was asked “when should we deliver” and I said “tomorrow, after 10am (to be safe)”. That sounded good (I was talking to the service centre in Sydney)

So today the local delivery folk decided not to put the box in the truck, as they “couldn’t manage to deliver after 10am”. They can’t manage to deliver at all as far as I am concerned.

Today they asked me to pick it up at the depot – which is 25 minutes away and open during working hours only. Pathetic.

So I’ve asked for another delivery tomorrow. The portends are not good. How do I explain ever_so_gently to these @#$@#$ people that they should 1: use the rather obvious intercom system on the left of the door and 2: if that does not work use the cell phone in their pocket to call me rather than take the parcel back to base and try again 2 days later.

I’d hate to have used the el-cheapo service.

On the other hand I’ve managed to receive a 40 liter tank for my KTM in an enormous box, and a GPS unit from an eBay seller. Both arrived courtesy of the friendly post office, without any drama. Both were ordered after the Apple stuff. If nobody was home then the “depot”, which is the nearest post office, is about 400 meters away and open when I am around.

So Apple – perhaps try the Aussie postal service? TNT is not Fedex or UPS.

Luckily Apple sent me a customer survey today, so I was able to inarticulately rant about this episode. I’m quite proud of its’ sheer inarticulateness and rantiness, and so here it is, spaces removed for your reading pleasure:


That feels better.

I do want to make it clear that I put the blame on TNT’s systems and processes, not the people. Both people I have spoken to were very polite and helpful but confronted with a computer system that was unhelpful to them and a series of processes seemingly set in the 1980s. TNT – if you are reading this then accept this as a failure of your management and IT systems, not a failure of your staff.

Published by Lance Wiggs


4 replies on “Apple is cool, but their partners are not”

  1. You’re spot on about the Kafkaesque experience of dealing with courier companies. But it sin’t just the technology, the rot goes right the way through.

    During my time in Australia I had a ground floor home office next to the front door. I’ve sat at my desk and watched a courier drive up to the door, not knock at all, but place a card under the door. When I opened the door and confronted the courier, it turned out he didn’t have the package referred to on the card but had already lodged it at my local post office for me to collect. I asked him to drive back to the post office and bring me the package, but for some reason this wasn’t allowed.

    I phoned the courier company to complain and went through six rings of voice mail hell before getting hold of someone who would listen — even then I was made to feel like I was being unreasonable.


  2. whew – I just fielded a pretty aggressive phone call from the local depot guys. I guess he didn’t like bing told that he had to call..

    Nice enough bloke but as frustrated as I am it seems. At least I was able to suggest that the deliverer use the doorbell and so forth.


  3. and finally – it arrived. I received 2 phone call in the morning – one from the anxious guy and another calmer one 30 minutes before it arrived from a very nice woman. Apparently the chap that delivered was also a nice guy.

    What was in the parcel?
    A 1TB Time Capsule, a clock radio ipod speaker thing and a mouse.

    I got anxious because I knew karma was working against me for that Time Capsule – the longer it took the more likely the prospect of a catastrophic failure in a computer (3 – 2 mine, 1 my cousin’s) that was to be backed up.


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