I visited my local Apple store today to get some help fixing a problem with my MacBook Pro. Before heading off to the store, I booked a 20 minute appointment at the Apple Genius Bar - ensuring that I would be seen by a technician when I got there.
Not only were they able to help me fix the problem with my Mail application, but I was able to replace my MacBook Pro battery (which had been recalled), and replace my power adapter which had broken. That's $180 is warranty parts! Great for me, not so great for Apple.
I also learned that my iMac hard drive must be replaced due to its "Invalid Node Structure" and "Surface Scan Errors", I need to book another appointment at the Genius bar and bring my iMac with me - bummer.
All in all, it was a great experience and a great value to be able to talk to a support tech face to face. Much better experience than any over-the-phone support person could have provided.
On the other hand, both of my computers are just about 4 months old, it was certainly unexpected to have hardware problems so soon. Not something that I am used to. Hopefully these are one off failures, and not a sign of general quality control issues at Apple.