Email exchanges with Steve Jobs have sort of taken on a life of their own. There are blogs whose sole purpose is to document every terse response from the Apple CEO, and you can bet that anytime Jobs takes the time to respond to an inquiring fan, the response will spread through the blogosphere at breakneck speed.
That said, the following email exchange involving Jobs seems particularly unique given how trite the subject matter is. The short of it is that a journalism student named Chelsea Kate Isaacs from Long Island University emailed Jobs complaining that Apple’s PR department wasn’t helpful in the 22 year-old’s efforts to write a story about her school’s initiative to give all incoming Freshman iPads. After 6 voicemails to Apple PR went unanswered, Isaacs emailed Jobs this absurdly long email.
Dear Mr. Jobs,
As a college student, I can honestly say that Apple has treated me very well; my iPod is basically the lifeline that gets me through the day, and thanks to Apple’s Final Cut Pro, I aced last semester’s video editing project. I was planning to buy a new Apple computer to add to my list of Apple favorites.
Because I have had such good experiences as a college student using Apple products, I was incredibly surprised to find Apple’s Media Relations Department to be absolutely unresponsive to my questions, which (as I had repeatedly told them in voicemail after voicemail) are vital to my academic grade as a student journalist.
For my journalism course, I am writing an article about the implementation of an iPad program at my school, the CW Post Campus of Long Island University.
The completion of this article is crucial to my grade in the class, and it may potentially get published in our university’s newspaper. I had 3 quick questions regarding iPads, and wanted to obtain answers from the most credible source: Apple’s Media Relations Department.
I have called countless times throughout the week, leaving short, but detailed, messages which included my contact information and the date of my deadline. Today, I left my 6th message, which stressed the increasingly more urgent nature of the situation. It is now the end of the business day, and I have not received a call back. My deadline is tomorrow.
Mr. Jobs, I humbly ask why Apple is so wonderfully attentive to the needs of students, whether it be with the latest, greatest invention or the company’s helpful customer service line, and yet, ironically, the Media Relations Department fails to answer any of my questions which are, as I have repeatedly told them, essential to my academic performance.
For colleges nationwide, Apple is at the forefront of improving the way we function in the academic environment, increasing the efficiency of conducting academic research, as well as sharing and communicating with our college communities.
With such an emphasis on advancing our education system, why, then, has Apple’s Media Relations team ignored my needs as a student journalist who is just trying to get a good grade?
In addition to the hypocrisy of ignoring student needs when they represent a company that does so much for our schools, the Media Relations reps are apparently, also failing to responsibly handle the inquiries of professional journalists on deadlines. Unfortunately, for a journalist in the professional world, lacking the answers they need on deadline day won’t just cost them a grade; it could cost them their job.
Thank you very much for your time and consideration.
Chelsea Kate Isaacs
CW Post – Long Island University
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile
Jobs replies back:
Our goals do not include helping you get a good grade. Sorry.
Undeterred, Isaacs fires back:
Thank you for your reply. I never said that your goal should be to “help me get a good grade.” Rather, I politely asked why your media relations team does not respond to emails, which consequently, decreases my chances of getting a good grade. But, forget about my individual situation; what about common courtesy, in general —- if you get a message from a client or customer, as an employee, isn’t it your job to return the call? That’s what I always thought. But I guess that’s not one of your goals. Yes, you do have a creative approach, indeed.
Anyone else already annoyed by this girls sense of entitlement yet?
Jobs answers her call to action:
Nope. We have over 300 million users and we can’t respond to their requests unless they involve a problem of some kind. Sorry.
But she’s a fiery lass!
You’re absolutely right, and I do meet your criteria for being a customer who deserves a response:
1. I AM one of your 300 million users.
2. I DO have a problem; I need answers that only Apple Media Relations can answer.
Now, can they kindly respond to my request (my polite and friendly voice can be heard in the first 5 or 10 messages in their inbox). Please, I am on deadline.
I appreciate your help.
Wow. Smart cookie here. Having heard enough, Jobs puts the nail in the coffin.
Please leave us alone.
That response left Chelsea seething. In a follow-up interview with Gawker, Chelsea explains “Under no circumstances should a person who runs a company speak to a customer that way. I’m just enraged and I want people to know this was done.”
As for the iPad article, Chelsea notes, “The article can go on, but it just won’t be with the quote that I really needed. I probably won’t get an A, maybe I’ll get a B.”
And as if this couldn’t get any more ridiculous, Chelsea is supposedly a former hand model who left the “biz” after growing tired of wearing gloves to bed. We see she’s following the same path as many of the great journalists of our time.