MacBook Air - Death by a Penny

It was an unlikely alignment of the malevolent stars. I carry a shoulder bag, which always accompanies me when I leave the house. It contains all the necessary stuff (yes, that too) for post-modern, out-on-the-town life, especially my car keys, attached to the outside of the bag on an easily-removable clip. That way, I can never leave my bag anywhere.

Well, the velcro which holds an outside flap on the bag quit working, so I asked my wife, who is handy with such things, to take a look. I brought the bag over to where she was sitting with her 8 month-old M2 MacBook Air and set it on her lap. She set aside and closed her computer. After she looked at the problem and said it really could not be DIY-fixed, I took my bag back and she opened her computer. She said “Look at the screen”! It had a 2 inch wide white band top to bottom along the left hand side and various shimmering wavy color lines covering the rest of the screen. There were new scratches along the bottom left bezel of the screen. It seems a penny fell out of my bag, landed near the laptop hinge and when closed compressed some critical elements of the screen, killing it. We had not bought Apple Care, which covers some damage at nominal cost.

I took it promptly to the Apple store. Replacement cost: $548! Other, non-Apple services wanted nearly as much; even to buy a screen and do it myself, would have cost $450. I brought it home from the store for discussion. Eventually, we decided to simply buy a new MacBook Air, a 15+ inch one instead, because of my wife’s vision challenges. It cost $300 more than a new M2 13 inch $999 model.

The pain of this event was lessened only because a knowledgeable friend had advised me around 2010, of a possible pending bank holiday and suggested I keep some cash at home, just in case. I did so, and it has been sitting around (safely) until recently, when I started spending it down because of accelerated inflation. I used the last of this cash to buy the computer, so, in a sense, it didn’t come out of investments or current accounts. It was almost ‘found money’. Great luck, huh? Computer killed by worthless coin. Insult is added to injury because one of the things I do NOT carry in my bag is coin, as I have no use for it. I have no idea where it came from in the first place.

The otherwise-helpful “genius” at the Apple Store told me that, since the computer, itself, was in perfect condition, it could be used with an external monitor. This would not have suited my wife at all. So, I will wipe the solid state memory and try to sell it for a couple hundred bocks.


Look on the bright side, CW! You have helped some workers in China by increasing demand for their product.

This leads to an interesting comparison. Back in the Bad Old Days, entrepreneurs like Andrew Carnegie were responsible for bringing technology and industry to the US, creating income & ultimately wealth for working Americans. The leaders of Apple chose the opposite course, outsourcing technology & jobs to other countries while increasing the paper wealth of passive American investors.

Because of Apple’s spectacular ability to charge an incredibly high mark-up on their products, Apple could actually have afforded to pay higher US wages at the expense of lower investor profits. However, in reality, if Apple’s leaders had chosen to try to “Build It in the USA”, the company would probably have collapsed under the weight of political pay-offs, bureaucratic delays, and incessant lawsuits from the army of under-employed lawyers in the US.

Sometimes, We the People just can’t win.