I think it's because of the poisonous brown film, Moe

by CynthiaYockey on November 21, 2009

How kind of dear Moe Lane, whose blog fu I admire and study every day, to link me today and say he ought to do it more! I rejoice at the prospect! And, in the spirit of full disclosure, covet the traffic, which I shall reciprocate to the best of my ability! (New gentle readers: I seldom use sarcasm, so please be aware, these lines come straight from my heart and are 100 percent sincere.) I also share his resolve to link more to dear Little Miss Attila and The Anchoress.

However, I have some contrary insight to add to Moe’s post about second-hand smoke being used by Apple as an excuse not to honor AppleCare warranties. Bear in mind that I have been a raving fan of Macs since my first Fat Mac (the 512K), purchased in Nov. 1984. I use both the PC and Mac operating systems now, but I love Apple and Macintosh computers with a passion that I do not feel for anything PC.

So those are my bona fides.

I see the point of poking Apple about nanny corporatism and smoking.

However, I was born to a mother who smoked and I live now in a house that she filled with cigarette smoke from December 1964 until January 2006, that is, until she fell and broke her shoulder and I told her that, as a blind person with the use of only one arm and over 100 cigarette burns on the rug in front of her spot on the sofa in the den, she had just stopped smoking. Mother died April 23, 2006.

Right after Mother’s death, I got help and scrubbed down the ceilings, walls, floors and windows throughout the house to get rid of the nicotine film on everything — including light fixtures and light bulbs. We wore kitchen gloves because nicotine is a poison and is easily absorbable transcutaneously — that particular property made it a cause of death in an episode of “The Closer” with Kyra Sedgwick.

Since then I’ve scrubbed down the walls, floor, ceiling, light fixtures and light bulbs of the family bath in our home twice and it needs a third scrubbing now because the walls are dripping with brown nicotine goo again — almost four years after the cessation of smoking in the house due to Mother’s death.

So — while I think Apple Computer should honor the AppleCare warranties of cigarette smokers whose smoking has fouled various computer parts with that sticky brown nicotine film, since their techs can make the repairs while wearing exam gloves (the kind used in healthcare settings), because nicotine is a transcutaneous poison and is only a little less efficient at gumming up computers than SuperGlue vapors, I do think Apple has solid justifications for declining to do so. It’s not a nanny state issue when they are protecting their employees.

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Graumagus November 22, 2009 at 12:24 pm

I have to disagree here. If the warranty specifically said that cigarette smoke contamination would void your warranty I’d say Apple was in the right. From everything I read, it does not. It takes years to build up the level of nicotine nastiness you describe (and yes, I have had to clean a home saturated as you describe: more than once).

It seems to me (and to many, many of Apple’s potential customers) that they will go out of their way to find any reason to not honor their warranties. I’ve used Macs and PC’s for years, and as someone who has had to carefully weight a cost/benefit ratio for pretty much every purchase I’ve made as an adult, I’ll take a PC any time. I can rebuild/upgrade a PC at will, at home, with parts that are kept cheap without sacrificing quality through competition of multiple suppliers. If Microsoft annoys the hell out of you, you can put in the time and install Linux. I realize that’s just my personal preference, but I am a DIY kind of person.

That said, Apple fan or not, people have to admit that creating this kind of nanny image (when people are buying a product, they tend to get annoyed when the people they are giving money to tell them how to live) and creating the impression that their warranties aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on is a really, REALLY stupid PR move in this strained economy and will cost them a lot more money in lost customers than just honoring the warranties would have.

I'm a PC November 22, 2009 at 1:55 pm

That’s not nicotine; that’s Mac smug ;P
.-= I’m a PC´s last blog ..Federal Building Obamacare Protest, Los Angeles, 11/21/09 =-.

Ad rem November 22, 2009 at 6:02 pm


Before you go to the trouble of scrubbing down those bath walls for the fourth time, consider this. Neither my husband nor I have ever smoked , and yet the bathroom in our newly added-on wing of the house still has the dripping brown stains to which you refer. We’ve lived here for 37 yrs., however didn’t notice the problem until we started using the shower in the bathroom. Could this just be a problem of poor ventillation and naturally occuring dirt and dust on the walls? It doesn’t occur anywhere else in our home.

Why scrub walls when you can blog…we want MORE! 😉

Cynthia Yockey November 22, 2009 at 6:28 pm

Ad rem,

First — thanks!

Hmmmm, you have a point — about the ventilation. But I’ll still have to clean the dirt that has accumulated.


Ad rem November 22, 2009 at 7:00 pm

“But I’ll still have to clean the dirt that has accumulated.”

…….AFTER your blogging. 😉

Electric Monkey December 28, 2009 at 3:02 pm

I agree. Nothing can happen to people repairing a computer filled with nicotine if they are wearing protective masks and gloves.

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