The Apple Genius Bar, and other people I couldn’t live without as a freelance

In Homeworking on November 1, 2011 at 12:37 pm

For the third time in the past 12 months, the Apple Genius Bar (Covent Garden branch) has saved my ass.

One of the disadvantages of giving up working in an office for working at home is no more tech support. No grumpy men (and occasionally woman) to ring up just because you can’t get into your email, you’ve spilled something on your keyboard or you’ve accidentally deleted a really important file. (One company I’ve freelanced for hilariously and inaccurately calls it the ‘Zen Desk’.) No one who’ll come and put missing fonts on your computer for you while you go and make a cup of tea (even though you probably could have done it yourself if they’d only show you how). And no one to pick up the pieces when your hard drive melts, your CD drive fails or you smash your iPhone screen – all of which…

Sorry, it’s still to painful to go into exact details of all my visits. Really, the waiting area for the Genius Bar – full of hollow-eyed people clutching their sick devices and fearing the worst – has the anxiety levels of a blood test clinic. Suffice it to say that the very calm and collected Genius Barristas have not only had to break the worst possible news to me – the death of my hard drive last November – they’ve given me a new one, replaced the chipped  fascia of my keyboard, fixed my CD drive and, yesterday, given me a new iPhone. It turns out that lovely though the iPhone 4 is (and it really is) it has the serious design flaw of a screen that shatters the moment it is dropped, but which cannot be replaced or protected. I felt sick the moment I saw it, and again when I was told it would cost me £119, but in the end they let me off with just a stern talking to about being less clumsy in future.

Obviously it wasn’t all altruism on their part. They know they’ll get their costs back from my ongoing brand loyalty, especially as it means Project Saving-Up-For-An-iPad is back our of jeopardy. But it puts the Apple Genius Bar at the top of my list of People I Couldn’t Live Without as a Freelance. Here are a few more:

East Dulwich postal workers – much maligned but heave around our piles of subscription magazines, review books/audiobooks, press releases, tax bills, bank statements and, occasionally, actual letters. I’m sure they hate us.

Dairy Crest milkman – I’ve done shifts in too many offices where they run out of milk by 11.30am.

Oyster/TfL – which allows me to go to a meeting in town for £1.20 each way. Say what you like about cost of living in London, that’s good value compared to other UK cities

The Cheeseblock, SE22 – supplier of emergency chick pea samosas for only 80p each on days when I can’t face leftovers for lunch

Jacks, SE22 – supplier of high-grade chat and superb coffee on days when I can’t face my desk straight away

State education system – for provision of free childcare during term times

PSFK, Wired, Dezeen, Protein Feed, It’s Nice That and others who report on great inspiring ideas done by small-scale outfits and creative individuals

Twitter – the watercooler of the homeworker

Who or what can’t you live without?

LINKS (open in a new window)

Apple Genius Bar


It’s Nice That

Protein® Feed



  1. Should also have mentioned Moo for business cards (regular size for regular jobs; mini size for knitters and bloggers)

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