An Email To Steve Jobs From My Mother

For my 40th birthday, my family got together and gave me an Apple gift card so I could go purchase a 3g iPad.

I didn’t have the greatest experience when I went to the Apple store to use this gift card because they wouldn’t let me use the gift card THEY issued to buy THEIR iPad. Don’t get me wrong… I love Apple and all of their products, but what unfolded during this experience was unbelievable for me.

When I left the store I called my family to tell them what happened… which is where we now pick up with the email my mother has sent to Steve Jobs.

Before you read this below… The reason I was told that iPads could no longer be paid for by cash or gift card was to be able to track the number of iPad’s sold per person, which is a limit of 2 per person.

Here’s what gets me.

This is the same company that gives me the ability, with an iPhone, to take a picture in the middle of Africa and geo tag where the photo was taken…. But they can’t seem to track purchases made with their own gift card? right….

Dear Mr. Jobs:
My son, who is a stockholder… although on a minor scale… told me to be brief and to the point… this I will try to do…
On April 24, 2010, my youngest son and I went to the Apple Store in Green Hills, Nashville. Tn.. to purchase a gift card for son and older brother who was turning 40 yrs old… The entire family had “pooled” our resources. Because the next IPad was due on Apr 30, we chose to buy the gift certificate. This I did … for $700.00… the store was busy with activity, but we were assured that any time after April 30, the IPad could be bought WITH the giftcard.. FROM THE APPLE STORE.
Fast forward to last week… my son went to the same Apple Store where the gift card had been purchased and got an IPAD… well, he almost got it… When he gave his APPLE gift card for payment, your employees would not accept the APPLE Gift card… It seems that “policy has changed,,, we can no longer accept anything but a credit card or a debit card…” I called the store and although the manager was very nice… “policy has changed… etc.”… to which I asked, “Does ‘MR. APPLE’ know about this?”
I was assured that you did know about it… in fact,,, you made the new policy…
I was flabbergasted… “Cash” ( from the Apple store) is no longer good at the Apple Store for an IPAD.. There must be rhyme and reason to your new policy, but perhaps you should honor the gift cards that were purchased before you made new policy.
I am the only member of our family that does not have an IPhone.or an Apple computer… they all have Apple computers… usually 2 or 3 per family… They love your products… and I probably would also… what I am saying is your products are fabulous… your new policy needs some “tweeking”.
Thanks for listening…
Nancy Jane Smith


The views expressed here are those of a personal nature and do not reflect the corporate view of my employer or anyone else who employee my services.
  • @adventuroo

    Wow! That would annoy the CRAP out of me! It's absurd that they can't track this.

    • SpenceSmith

      I know! how crazy! but it seems they reversed their decision:) thanks for the comment!

  • davesohnchen

    I manage an independent christian bookstore and we can track what people buy with their gift cards. This doesn't make any sense. Sounds like Apple's "inability" to budge on their new policy is a great way to piss off the tribe that Apple's got following them.

    • SpenceSmith

      you are exactly right and i think they heard their tribe speaking by reversing their policy now! thanks for the comment!

  • Lindsey_Nobles

    Love this note from your mom.

    Here's what I want to know…20 days later…do you have your ipad yet?

    • SpenceSmith

      um no… still waiting on the check in the mail:)

  • waswrittenin

    Wow – what an absurd thing fro Apple to say. That's ridiculous. I help a local non-profit and we have the ability to track who buys what with whatever form of payment they choose. We are run by volunteers. Surely if WE can figure it out, they can. Right?

    • SpenceSmith

      exactly… i'm just glad they respond to the out cry from so many and reversed the decision:) thanks for the comment!

  • Felicity

    I saw a piece on yesterday about a California woman who had saved cash for her iPad and was refused at the Apple store because she did not have a credit card! She only had cash! Cash that she had saved for her FIRST computer! Not cool. I hope this works. My family pooled money for an iPad for my college graduation present. Luckily, they made the transaction online.

    • SpenceSmith

      i think it did work… they reversed the decision. they mad a lot of people mad. thanks for the comment!

  • Randy

    The policy changed this week. Nice Job Jane!

    • SpenceSmith

      my mom rocks:) i'm so glad they reversed it!

  • solelydefined

    Go, Mom! Please let us know if she hears anything back. That's idiotic on Apple's part.

    • SpenceSmith

      lots of people spoke up and apple changed their policy back! my mom is the best:) thanks for the comment!

  • @LorrieHarden

    I love this letter from you mom!
    I too am wondering did you get your ipad? Also wondering if your mom got any kind of response? Do you still love your ipad, if you have it as of yet, after all of this?
    Apple can do MUCH better then this!!

    • SpenceSmith

      hey! i haven't gotten it yet. i'm waiting for the check they are sending me for the gift card. that was the solution… but now they changed the policy and the check is still on its way. Mom didn't get a response but all is well now:) thanks for the class and thanks for coming to the class!

  • mary

    Spence: WOW! That is completely short-sited on the part of Apple. A group of us could write about this to Apple and perhaps a newspaper or two. Maybe that will incite them to change their policy.

    • SpenceSmith

      well… it looks like the outcry was nation wide! they changed their policy back! thanks for the comment!

  • @kimbi352

    If a policy has been changed very recently they should be willing to cash in your gift card. Sounds like horrible customer service!

    • SpenceSmith

      yes. it was a poor experience but the out cry from so many caused their decision to be changed. thanks for the comment!

  • Kristen

    your mom rocks so much.

    • SpenceSmith

      yes… my mom does rock:) thanks for the comment!

  • Jacklyn Johnston

    That's insane. I've had a similar experience with Apple when something seemingly seems simple and yet Apple can't do it. Way to go Mom!

    • SpenceSmith

      completely insane! momma is awesome:) thanks for the comment!

  • Ric

    I believe I read Apple reversed the policy a day or two ago. I'm sure your mom's email had everything to do with the decision! :-)

    • SpenceSmith

      ha! we could only hope! i'm so glad they changed it.

  • kevin

    Bring the heat mama Smith! Seriously though, did you get the iPad yet? Actually, I don't want to know the answer to that question. Envy/Jealousy is an ugly thing.

    • SpenceSmith

      hahaha!!! not yet. i'm hoping to this week. thanks kevin!

  • Megan -Best of Fates

    Wow, I would be crazy annoyed if that had happened to me – good for your mom for sending the letter!

    • SpenceSmith

      i was crazy freaking annoyed!!! thanks for the comment:)

  • His Girl

    Though I agree on how Apple treated you poorly and seems wrong for such a fantastic company what spoke to me was your mom. I think she earns "hero" for the day. I love a mom who sticks up for her family no matter how young or old and is willing to make her voice heard. You very blessed.

    • SpenceSmith

      yes… momma is a hero:) thanks carol!

  • chuckazooloo

    first, your mom is awesome. i love it. second, did you ever get your ipad?

    • SpenceSmith

      yes… my momma rocks and no… not yet… this week though:) thanks chuck!

  • dustinuga

    Everyone needs a fiesty mom. Loved the letter.

    • SpenceSmith

      don't mess with momma:) thanks for the comment;)

  • Joni Sweet

    Unbeliveable the "Excuse" APPLE gave & yep, "can track Geo in Africa but not ipad with g.c." Hmm, I'd be asking them that very question with sarcasim too!!! Sounds like a huge LIE for an Excuse myself…

    Good job Nancy Smith, very well written & "brief" teehee!!! :-)

    • SpenceSmith

      thanks joni:)

  • Mitch Ebie

    That email was very appropriate and polite. I respect that woman!

    • SpenceSmith

      i've got a good momma for sure. thanks for the comment!

  • moweezle

    Your mom is awesome!!!

    • SpenceSmith

      yes she is! i hope you are well!

  • Peter_P

    I'm glad they have changed their policy now… now let's hope you get offered a free one like the woman who saved up for her first computer did!

    • SpenceSmith

      wouldn't that be awesome! thanks for the comment!

  • PatAlexander

    It always just blows my mind when a technology company can't track something. This is absurd. Poor planning, poor customer service and I really hate excuses. I am the customer and I expect to be treated well. Great post Spence.

    • SpenceSmith

      thanks pat!

  • trudymetzger

    Now *that* is my kind of Mom!!! I love her tone the whole way through!
    But WOW! that is CRAZY that they didn't honour the gift card! I guess I know what I won't ask my family to pool their money for! Hope you get it WITH THE GIFT CARD and SOON! Not to mention a DISCOUNT for the headache.

    • SpenceSmith

      ha!!! that would be awesome. thanks for the comment!

  • Elaina

    I love that your mom wrote this and referred to Steve Jobs as "Mr. Apple" to the store manager. I hope you've gotten your IPad by now!

    • SpenceSmith

      it's pretty funny… but no… i haven't gotten yet. thanks for the comment!

  • Sheila Walsh

    Great letter Nancy!! I would imagine it's feedback from honest, fair consumers that have reversed this short-sighted policy. You show great restraint towards a company that messed with your "boy" on such a big birthday! Not sure I could have written such a gracious letter:)

    Sheila Walsh

    • SpenceSmith

      you'd like my momma and she would like you! but i would love to see your version of a letter like this:)

  • alece

    unbefrickinlievable! this is so crazy, spence!

    and … is your mom open to adoption?

    • SpenceSmith

      yes she is! you're in:)

  • Elaina

    Oh weird. I *just* saw a story on the L.A. ABC affiliate about this same issue. The policy has been changed because of so many complaints. You can use cash as long as you have an Apple account. The reason given for the original change, in the report, was that it has something to do w/wanting to keep the IPads from being sold black market.

    • SpenceSmith

      its great they changed the policy… they mad a lot of people mad! thanks again!

  • torybee

    Wow….. so glad it seems they changed their policy. Hope you got your iPad! I'm so jealous. I'm hoping to get the next generation, so for now my Macbook Pro and iPhone will somehow suffice.

    • SpenceSmith

      ha! thanks for the comment… i'm sure you will have one soon!

      • torybee

        Ha! I sure hope I get one soon.. (I so want one!) But my husband is a bit anti-apple these days so we shall see!

  • Lisa

    Where are all the Apple store managers? They should remember they have a backbone and collectively could align and call Steve Jobs out on this decision. Sometimes, we get so caught up 'listening to orders' we forget to think for ourselves.

    Ric, I hope you're right about the reversal of the absurd policy.

    Mom, I hope Steve Jobs personally buys you an Ipad and then publicly tells everyone, 'yeah, I had a 'stupid' thought, forgive me. I hope he puts on you the payroll as a second conscience to run policy through, too!

    • SpenceSmith

      looks like the change is true. i love all of your suggestions! thanks for the comment!

  • Makeda

    Way to go Mom! Its a shame that a company so great should fail so badly in customer service

    • SpenceSmith

      my mom is awesome isn't she! thanks Makeda!

  • Ani

    Lousy customer service. I've worked on customer service and logistics and the customer is always king. There are always ways to comply with their request.

    Brief and to the point she was alright. Her Majesty the Queen demanded and gets it. Apparently they changed their policy so you will get the stuff you wanted soon. Not that I'm a technology person like you are so I really don't know what you are talking about but I have no doubt you will enjoy it. Have fun and good luck!

    • SpenceSmith

      you are hilarious! yes… Her Majesty the Queen spoke… and mr. apple listened:) thanks for the comment Ani!

  • jding

    Spence – absolutely nuts!!! Don't know that anyone could have said it any better than your Mom! Curious to hear your thoughts on the this most recent article from — "Jobs: Apple Offers 'Freedom from Porn'",2817,2363851,00.a… . Despite the runaround you went through – I've got to say that I'm pretty impressed with Apple's stance in this. I don't own anything Apple except an iPod but this article makes me want to do business with them all the more. Appreciate your blog brother!


  • Chrissy

    Your mom? Seriously awesome!

    I am a huge Apple fan and in general feel that they do no wrong. But in this case? I am so glad someone stood up to them and was heard.

    Hope you're enjoying your iPad!

  • Jeffrey Holton

    The lesson I learn from this is there is no way in heck I am ever going to get in a debate with your mom.

    If she can turn Steve Jobs, she might as well be on God's board of directors.

    …She's not, is she? …

  • Gwen Biarello

    I heard today that Steve Jobs is taking his third medical leave of absence!! So he can focus on his health. Is this the end of the Apple era? The stock exchange of Frankfurt responded with a share value which was 7% down! I am curious what the share value will be tomorrow at the NYE

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