Did Steve Jobs screw up with the “leave us alone” email exchange?

Steve Jobs and Chelsea Isaacs.Over the weekend, news broke that a college journalism student had a little pissing match with Steve Jobs via email. The student, Chelsea Isaacs, emailed Jobs after Apple’s Media Relations department failed to return a phone call Isaacs made, essentially requesting an interview for a course paper. Jobs was curt with Isaacs, responding, “Our goals do not include helping you get a good grade. Sorry,” and ending the conversation with, “Please leave us alone.”

So was Steve in the wrong? A lot of people are calling it some sort of PR tragedy, calling Jobs a dick (which he’s notorious for, anyway), and raising all sorts of hell. I know this won’t surprise you, but I’m with Steve.

First off, it’s called a “Media Relations” department for a reason. As a college student at Long Island University, Isaacs, you aren’t media. You’re just one of thousands of people calling Apple every single day with stupid questions that hold no bearing on the company’s ability to make money. Secondly, as a journalism student, you should know people won’t always call you back. In fact, people will rarely call you back, and though in this case it’s gotten a lot of press coverage, your name just made the “annoying bitches I shouldn’t talk to” list. Good luck getting those future phone calls returned. You can only write so many stories about how such-and-such company sucks because they wouldn’t call you back for your story. Your job is to get the story. You don’t get the story, you’re failing at your job. It’s pretty simple.

Isaacs, in all her wisdom, had this to say: “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.” Again, I disagree. A lot of companies make enough money to alienate a few people, and frankly, I wouldn’t want her as a customer. This is exactly the circumstance under which a CEO should be politely telling a person to fuck off – when that person is aggressively trying to waste company time.