An iPhone Case, and a Caregiver, Crack

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Monday, I went to the Apple Store to get a replacement for my iPhone case that had ripped. It’s a hard shell case with a rubber coating on top. I could care less that it ripped, but I needed my husband to stop talking about it. I walked into the store and was quasi-greeted by a millennial hipster. I say quasi greeted because he didn’t make eye contact. He spoke to me, but he looked at a tablet the whole time. He needed my email and my phone number before he could even let me advance into the store. He told me I would receive a text  when it was my turn. “How long will that be?” I foolishly asked.

“I don’t know.”

“Five minutes? Ten minutes? Can I do some shopping?”

“Sure. Go shopping.” The Apple store is in a mall.

“Like grocery shopping? Across town?”

“Oh, no.” Do they have milk and bread at Forever 21?

I went to Sephora to look at lipstick. Before I could find a new color, I received a text: Apple would be ready for me soon. I should let a representative know when I was back in the store.

“I’m here.” I told the millennial hipster.

“Do you have an appointment?”

“You tell me.”

He told me to go stand at a table in the front of the store. After a few minutes, another millennial hipster asked me what I needed. He didn’t make any eye contact either. He was typing on a tablet.

I showed him the case and told him I was there for a replacement. He needed to check the warranty. I wondered aloud why. He tapped on his tablet.

“Oooh, unfortunately, that’s what I was afraid of,” millennial hipster 2 said. “Your case is damaged and that’s not under warranty. The warranty covers the rubber but not this crack to the hard shell.”

“But the shell is cracked because the rubber ripped off.”

“The warranty only covers the rubber.”

“But the … you mean to tell me Apple stands by this lousy product? The case cracked because the rubber ripped.”

“Yes and you should have brought it in sooner before the case cracked.”


I turned red and I got loud. I had to get out. I was cracking and I knew I was about to full on Humpty Dumpty and if I did, none of the king’s horse and none of the king’s men could put me together again.

Once in my car, I said the things, in my head, to millennial hipster 2 that I wanted to say but didn’t dare in the store.

I should have come in sooner? As in I should have made time to go to the Apple store when my father was in the final stages of dementia and I was visiting the nursing home every day? Is that when I should have come in?

I should have come in sooner? As in I should have prioritized my iPhone case after my father died instead of spending some quality time with my children?

I should have come in sooner? As in I should have made time for a trip to the Apple Store in between phone calls to insurance companies and Social Security and the Veteran Affairs office?

I should have come in sooner? Like in between driving my kids to soccer, and debate and drama practice?

I should have come in sooner? Like when I was trying to make up for lost time at work after a caregiving crisis?

I should have come in sooner? As in when my husband got sick and spent 23 days in the hospital?

I should …have a quality product. I should… have bought Samsung.

I should hope you never know what it’s like to balance caregiving and life, millennial hipster 2. I should offer my wisdom and support when you inevitably become a caregiver some day. And you know what? I will. Because no one should do this alone.

Originally posted on Working Daughter

About the author ~

Liz O’Donnell is the founder of, a resource for women balancing caring for an aging parent and their career.  She is also the author of Mogul, Mom & Maid: The Balancing Act of the Modern Woman, a book that picks up where other books leave off – understanding the impact women’s personal lives have on their careers and the ways business can support working women. Her highly shared article in The Atlantic, “The Crisis Facing America's Working Daughters,” sparked a national conversation on the topic of caregiving.

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