There is an old joke that goes something like this:
A man in a helicopter has become lost in a heavy fog. He finds an office building and pulls up alongside a window. He leans out and asks the person inside "where am I?" (Yeah I know; office-building windows usually can't be opened. Work with me here.) The person inside says "you're in a helicopter 500 feet in the air". With this information the pilot is able to proceed directly to his invisible destination. When asked how that answer helped, he said "I got an answer that was completely true and utterly useless, so I knew I was outside the Microsoft customer-support building".
Microsoft is the traditional butt of that joke, but today I've had that experience with Apple, from whom I expected much better.
I got a new(er) refurbished Mac Mini this week (having given up waiting on Apple to update their product line; my 2009 Mini is showing its age). I plugged in the ethernet cable, booted it, and was greeted with a prompt to migrate data from my current Mac. Great! I've heard good things about that tool. So I went through the prompts to start, and just after the point of no return, it announced that this would take 16 hours. It had completely ignored the ethernet connection and was using wifi. (I should have been more suspicious that earlier in the start-up sequence it asked for a wifi password, but I figured they just always did that as a fallback. I don't remember setting up wifi on the other machine, but I guess I did.)
Everything I found on Google with my phone (you can't use either Mac while this is happening) said that aborting this is bad and you might have to reinstall the OS on the new machine. Since my new machine came with neither installation disks nor a CD/DVD drive, that was going to be tricky. The Apple store was by this point closed, so I tweeted to Apple support asking for guidance.
They responded pretty promptly (good) with a link to instructions about how to run the migration tool (bad). Here's what followed:
Me: Thanks, but that doesn't tell me how to recover from where I am. I plugged new mac into ethernet (old was already), booted, & followed prompt to start migrating. It ignored ethernet & used wifi. Looking at 16+ hours. Am I stuck or can I restart with ethernet not wifi?
Nine hours later:
Apple: The best way to be 100% sure it's using ethernet for migration is to disable Wi-Fi on both computers before starting the migration process.
I repeated that I had already started and asked if there was anything I could do now, as opposed to have done differently earlier. Their answer to that was that I could turn off the machines but I'd probably need to erase the new machine, so I should probably just let it run.
I'm disappointed that the migration tool (a) didn't use the ethernet connection and (b) didn't tell me it was going to use wifi (or give me the time estimate) and give me a chance to bail before it started. But I'm even more disappointed by responses from Apple that make me think nobody was actually reading my messages. Was I talking to a bot?
My past experiences with Apple support have been good. (Also rare, which is good for me but bad for data sampling.) I hope this experience is an anomaly.