Admittedly, I have way too many photos. I love traveling, and find I enjoy my explorations best through the lens of a camera, or lately an iPhone. Consequently, I have in the neighborhood of 55,000 photos on my computer. That is inflated even more by the fact that, as cameras improve, the size of each photo takes up more and more space. I needed a new computer that wouldn’t crash when I wanted it to search out one of my thousands of photos.
I wanted a newer, faster computer…but they cost so much! Then I saw this “great deal” when I was drooling over them on the Apple Store site– NO INTEREST for 18 months and free Apple Gift cards, to boot! But, from sad experience, I know better. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. I should have kept that in mind prior to falling for the Barclay Card come-on when buying my newest MacBook Pro. I know, the first ill-thought-out move was buying the current 15″ MBP, which is not really current, but is from 2014. That is ages in Mac years. Seems the parts didn’t come through for the 15″ MBP by the time the 13″ was released, so it was held back. But, I really, really needed the additional power and speed…now. And, I really, really needed it before I sold my current MacBook Pro.
The offer on the Apple store site was very seductive. If you sign up for the Barclay Card Visa, not only would you get your shiny new (read “expensive”) MacBook Pro interest-free for 18 months, but you would get a bunch of Apple Gift Cards, as well. The people at Apple suggested waiting to get the exterior DVD Super Drive I thought I would need, as I would have all those Apple Gift Cards to use for it. Knowing for sure that they would come too late for my Apple Watch order, I consoled myself with the fact that I would get the Super Drive to install any ancient programs that required legacy CDs or DVDs.
Within the required time frame I almost guiltlessly ordered the ultimate MBP, as I needed the speed and capacity for my gluttonous overload of photos. Sure, I have transferred several thousand photos to exterior drives, but that is where they stay, as I’m a confirmed wireless person. Even my backups are to a wireless network drive, as well as online. Since the MBP I ordered wasn’t standard, it had to be specially configured. That took extra time, but that was all right… I figured it would give my Apple Gift Cards time to arrive so I could rush down to the Apple store and cart away my “free” Super Drive.
Fast forward a month, and still no Apple cards. Called Barclay and they gave me some nonsense about having to wait until after their first statement (that was not disclosed). The first statement came and went, and still no cards. Called Barclay again, and they promised to “escalate” the matter. Still more fast-forwarding and STILL no Apple cards. Called Barclay yet again, and they said that every time you call them, your “clock” for receiving Apple cards restarts! So, I was back at day one, yet again, and only empty promises in sight. The outsourced and clueless phone “help” acknowledged that a lot of people were upset because they hadn’t received their promised cards in a timely fashion. However, I could be “sure” that I would “probably” receive mine in 4-6 MORE WEEKS.
At the frazzled end of my rope on this great “deal” Barclay was giving me, I snapped and demanded the cards, or I threatened to immediately cancel my Barclay card and transfer the balance to Amex (where it should have been placed to start with). The “escalation” department promised me they would arrange to have my cards mailed right out. Mailed? Apple Cards have to be snail-mailed? Yup, when they come from Barclay they do.
So, in the mean time I had sold my former computer and nearly paid off the entire Barclay balance, and still had no Apple cards. Everything Apple I needed I had to pay for, rather than getting it “free” from the cards. But, I was curious to see how quickly a very motivated “escalation” department could get something to me. I asked for a realistic (this time) time frame. They said it would probably be at least 10 days from the time they initiated the request, allowing for mailing time, to the time I received them. Well, it was a bit longer, but after all this time has passed, who’s counting?
I was, and am. So I get the cards. Yes, cards–plural. It seems that they have a super-cheap version of the annoying low-tech scratch-off card, and it only comes in $25 cards–no matter how high a dollar amount you are entitled to. As positively thrilled as I was to finally receive all 4 of them (I actually expected more, as I spent SO MUCH), scraping off all the QR codes was a chore.
When all the codes and all the PIN numbers were finally exposed from all the cards, I grabbed my iPhone and couldn’t wait to scan them into Passbook. While I had received “real” Apple Gift Cards recently (ones actually purchased at an Apple store) which were a breeze to scrape off and scan, these were next to impossible. Each card took no less than 4-5 minutes to scrape then trying in vain to scan the dodgy QR code. I kept giving up on one and going to another, but they were all a chore to scan. After WAY too much time spent on these “free” gift cards, they finally were accepted by Passbook.
So, I enthusiastically opened my Apple Store iPhone app and tried to buy a new band for my Apple Watch, meaning to pay in part with the gift cards. I had forgotten that you can’t use Apple Gift Cards on the Apple Store app! There is only a gift card payment option on the main online Apple Store website. After spending a disappointingly disproportionate amount of time waiting, scraping, and scanning, I STILL had to manually enter all the numbers from each of the MANY $25 gift cards at checkout. And then, more waiting, as it seems that you could order a Watch with my chosen band, but couldn’t order the band separately…yet. By the time it finally came, and I had paid the difference in price after the cards with cash, my newest cards arrived. By that time, I had already paid for most of the things I thought I would use the gift cards for.
Just reading Barclay’s rules and retaliations, I was convinced that I needed to pay off the entire balance on the card as soon as possible, and be done with them. This is NOT a perk for Apple buyers; it is an annoyance at best. Do NOT count your Apple Cards before you buy the anticipated Apple product, as you will wait, and wait, and …. And by no means, call to find out when you will receive your promised cards. For if you do, you reset the already very slow clock to receive them. No interest for 18 months did sound too good to be true. It was. Oh, and Apple just now brought out the really, really new MacBook Pro 15″. Sometimes, you just can’t win.