My MacBook Pro's keyboard just gave up the ghost recently. The QAZ keys as well as ESC, TAB, etc. would no longer function.
It was tolerable just using my bluetooth keyboard, so I just put up with it. Since Apple is the only source for parts, I had to take my MBP in to have it serviced, which is a little bit of an inconvenience. Having done my homework, the repair charge was $200, including the replacement keyboard. I had asked if I could buy the keyboard and replace it myself (after all, I'd removed the keyboard to install a 7200 RPM hard drive in this puppy, so I knew how to do it). Apple said "sorry, can't sell you parts". A little bit of a problem, but for $200, including the hardware, plus I wouldn't have to take apart 42 little screws using 2-3 different screwdrivers? That's actually not a bad deal...
So I had Thursday off, and I began to call around to the various Apple stores to ask a few questions... a) Do you have the replacement keyboard in stock? b) Do you have an Apple Genius slot open early in the day so I can get it repaired same day?
The Southcenter store is the closest, but their earliest slot was 5pm. University Village had a 2:30pm, so off I went to Seattle. The store was hopping-- as in "what recession?" hopping. People buying iPhones, checking out MacBooks, iMacs, iPods, and tons of people seeing Geniuses or getting tutoring.
I drop off my MacBook, and the guy in store informs me that I have two options: 7 day guaranteed repair turnaround, ship it out of state repair, or 2 business day turnaround in-store repair, but sometimes it needs to be shipped out of state, meaning 2-9 days.
I tell him it's just the keyboard, they have it in stock, and gee, is it possible to pick it up same day?
The Genius says "one sec" while he checks with the technician. A short while later, he reappears and says "yes, we can do it same day". I ask "I live in Renton, do you think it might be quick-- should I stay in town?" and his answer is, expectedly, "It's hard to say. It might be 40 minutes, it might be 4 hours".
So, thinking it won't be that quick, I head home (only to receive a call 40 minutes later that it's done).
On the return trip as I walk in the store (around 8:20pm, 40 minutes till closing) the din has died down, only about 20 people in the store now (instead of 50-60). The greeter says, "Can I help you find something?"
I respond with "Nope, just here to pick up my laptop."
I proceed to the back of the store, some 20 yards away, and another Apple employee walks up to me and says "I understand you're here to pick up your laptop?"
I notice he's got an earpiece, and I'm thinking "oh, way cool!!!".
After I give him my last name, he goes to retrieve my laptop and I'm out of there lickety-split.
I've been a big Mac fan for over a decade now (thanks to Richard and Gavin who turned me, with of all things, a PowerMac 7200) but this was perhaps my best repair experience to date. It isn't rocket science technology they're using to relay customer info to the back of the store, but it is slick!