The quote-in-a-nutshell? "Well, this isn’t the US."
Of course not. It's the Iberian Peninsula, where laissez-faire ought to have been invented in the first place and manages to permeate any company's culture - even the ones who have an active presence here.
However, savaging a customers' machine during repairs cannot be explained by any sort of cultural rift (unless you count the chasm between humans and baboons), and the "nice" little feint of selling AppleCare before explaining that it does not include pickup in Europe is, well, typically Mediterranean.
Even though my own novella had a mostly happy ending (if you discount the RAM issues, which weren't Apple's fault), it is painfully obvious to any European Mac user that we venture onto the Apple platform bereft of all the niceties US purchasers take for granted, like real Apple stores, effective AppleCare, or even the ability to actually buy some stuff (is it too much to want acknowledgment that Portugal exists in purchase forms?).
We definitely don't need third-world customer experiences added to that, and Matt's plight is therefore another example of how Apple needs to beef up their European operation, the nadir of which consists (in my opinion) of my colleagues making a detour by the Regent Street Apple Store when they visit our corporate mothership in the UK and buy their laptops there even knowing they had to incur the additional expense of buying a Portuguese keyboard.
As many Mac folk have pointed out during the past few weeks over here, Daniel's US experience is unthinkable here in Europe - not because of the issues he's having, but rather because it would likely be utterly impossible for any mere European mortal (especially outside the UK) to solve them at all.
Is it a tough market? Maybe. I'm not saying they might not have structural issues growing their organization across national borders, etc., etc.
But the real question is whether they're really trying - I will be gladly proven wrong in that regard.