In a perfect world, Apple Store Genius Bars would be populated by actual geniuses with ready access (or at least minimal delay) to whatever part was needed for repairs.

In reality my almost 3-year-old G5 iMac’s need for a new logic board installation (thank goodness the ‘puter came bundled with Applecare protection) will now be a week in the waiting as of tomorrow, and the best  knowledge the “genius” I spoke to at the Glendale Galleria branch could drop on me yesterday was that it’ll be a “couple more days at least” until the part arrives.

Why did I call to check knowing the news wouldn’t be good? That would be because the “genius” who received my desktop for repair last Monday evening told me the part would take no more than three days to arrive and it should be ready for pick-up by “the end of the week.” Guess not.

And here’s the kicker, I’m being dinged a $50 data transfer fee so that they don’t actually wipe away — among many other things — the 90,000 images in my iPhoto library.

“Did you back up your files?” the genius asked me.

“No, I couldn’t back up my files because the computer’s failing logic board won’t leave the computer operating long enough to allow me to complete such an intensive task.

“Oh. Well, that’ll be $50 if you want us to do that.”

“But why would I be charged for something that couldn’t be done because of the failing component of the computer?”

“Because data transfer is not covered under Applecare protection.”

“Right, but the back-up is a direct result of the failed part that’s covered.”

“But it’s precautionary, not required.”

“I understand that, but why would my files be at risk if it’s a hardware issue and not a software issue.”

“That’s up to the tech to decide.”

“But it’s already been decided.”

“But the tech may decide to wipe the drive.”

“But why? I did a full drive/software check over the phone with the support guy and the drive’s entirely OK.”

“It’s up to you.”

“Can’t the tech just take out my drive and put in another during the logic board install?”

“You want us to give you a new hard drive?” the “genius” asked sarcastically enough that I had to take a deep breath and stop myself from losing my cool and instead repeat myself using smaller words and a slower speech speed re-explaining my idea of a temporary alternative that would prevent my data from being touched — especially when it was already proven that it needn’t be.

Silly me. The look on his face was textbook: Does Not Compute. So insead the “genius” simply reiterated that it was my choice whether or not I wanted to utilize the precautionary option for a $50 fee. I considered one last query as to how the tech might be able to back-up my disk when I couldn’t, but I had a funny feeling the answer might be that the back-up — if at all — wouldn’t take place until after the logic board was replaced. Not wanting to laugh myself to death I just authorized the option, and got the hell away from all that intelligence.