Of phones, screens and cables
I should dare to call myself a writer (if I don’t, who is going to :-). I can then follow it up by saying I haven’t really posted anything in a while due to “writer’s block.” There, I said it. That makes me a writer! After all, you have to be one to get a “writer’s block” init? 🙂
And since it appears the “block” persists, I will now “regale” you with my phone-scapade for lack of anything more original.
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Dropped my phone less than a month ago I think. Landed face down on a hard floor. The screen shattered in exactly the same pattern as the fake (I didn’t know at the time) screen protector on its face.
Used it like that for a couple of weeks.
Then searched on the Internet and came up with this long list of authorized retailers. Started calling them one by one. Most said they don’t fix broken phones, just retail new stuff. One of them suggested I needed to go to the iStore at Ikeja shopping mall to get it fixed. I finally got to one that claimed to be an certified Apple technician. I engaged him on WhatsApp. Engaged him on WhatsApp. “I will do it for N11,000 in about 35minutes.”
But his shop is at the Computer Village in Ikeja. Hmmn. I left it at that for the time being.
Maybe a week or so later, I wandered into the shop of an authorized Apple retailer at a big shopping mall at this end of the Island.
“We fix it but it will cost N30,000; If you drop it now, it should be ready in about 3 hours; It carries a 1-year warranty, but not if you break it o!”
(So what’s does the 1-year warranty cover? If it stops working or something like that I think he said. Smart Apple. Very smart. How many screens just stop working?)
Aside from the exorbitant price, I didn’t have that time on my hands. So I told him I would give it some additional thought and I might show up the next day. Besides, they didn’t have the USB charging cable anyway (I wanted to buy it either. I seem to remember he said it cost N6,500 apiece – daylight robbery!).
But then I thought, let’s do this thing properly. Don’t be penny wise pound foolish for once. But since I was going to probably get to the Ikeja shopping mall anyway, I would risk it and see if the fix might be cheaper from Apple themselves – also I would get to pick up the original cables.
Today, I got to the Apple store around 9:25AM. They were having a staff meeting. The security at the door told me they don’t open till 10AM. I should be able to enter at 10AM prompt. I wandered around then came back and stood in the hallway. I had my Bluetooth headset on. The staff at the “Ruff ‘n Tumble” children’s wears opposite the Apple store were setting things out for the day. One of their colleagues came in and started talking about how “Her friend in Lekki called her and told her there were lots of gun shots on the Saturday. That she just laid low.”
Soon, I heard one of them say something about the suspicious man standing out in the corridor.
I smiled, caught the eye of the one I thought had brought up the issue and indicated I was waiting for the Apple Store to open. I then took off my Bluetooth headset as well.
Apple opened probably around 10:05AM. Was the first customer through the door. Well, one of the security welcomed me by saying so. I asked if there was any special prices associated with that: “Either a special handshake or you get to add extra N10,000 to the cost of whatever you buy today.” Very funny 🙂
“Oh. We don’t do repairs. But if you had bought the phone here, we would have replaced it for you if it was under warranty.”
Well, all those conditions wouldn’t have helped me anyway. I have had the phone for about 14 months so it wouldn’t have been covered by the 1-year warranty even if I had bought it at that store.
Well, do you have the USB cable?
“No we don’t, check back next week.”
Time to go back and “localize” this fix. I had to call all three numbers I had for the certified Apple technician before getting through to him.
“Where is your shop again?” He told me and said he would send it by SMS as well.
I got the SMS, then somehow made up my mind that the Post Office (the closest landmark he suggested) was in a different place and promptly got lost trying to find the street. But I finally did.
He handles all things Apple (6S, iPads, etc) and sells original components and accessories too. I believe he changed the screen in under 30minutes. I ended up buying a couple of iPhone 5S cables and a third-party case (that’s what happens if you do a good job. You get more business and a free advert sometimes :-).
The first 3 photos are of the broken screen (had to take a photograph of a shiny screen) and the fourth picture is my spanking new screen.
An aside, you might notice that (at least for me) all the cables don’t seem to last (both original and fakes). One weekend I actually took a blade to a couple of fakes, joined the functional connector half of one to the functional USB/PC half of the second and got it to work! Not my fault entirely, couldn’t get an original from the “authorized” outlets and the fake stopped working on a Friday night.
I got the one below in Ibadan for N350 (sells for N500 in Lagos! Thieves! Lol) It stopped working after 1 day! But from experience I had noticed if you randomly bend it in some ways, you might “fix” it (so once I got it bent in a way that made it work, I just “taped” it permanently. Good as new! Of course I got an original cable today. I am going to give the original cable the same “treatment.” Wrap both ends in paper tape (I think if you establish some rigidity such that the cable can’t bend at the neck just before the connectors – the cables should last longer). The only downside I can think of is that the tape tends to pick up dirt rather quickly – from the environment and handling – so expect it become dirty pretty soon – your mileage may vary.
The attendant at the store I mentioned above actually told me: “You are not supposed to move the cables around. Just plug it in one socket and leave it there.”
Huh? Say what?!