After talking with Apple phone tech support the other day about the static problems I've been having with my new 40GB Click Wheel iPod, I decided to head over to the San Francisco Apple Store this morning. After signing in (with a short description of my problem) via the iBook at the Genius Bar, I waited for about 10-15 minutes before someone called my name.
I (politely) told the Genius behind the bar a little more about what my problem was, and he told me he would go into the back and try out my iPod with some of the headphones they had there. I can't say for sure if they were all Apple headphones, or some third-party headphones as well, but he returned shortly and said, "I see what you mean."
After typing my serial number in the computer, and verifying from my receipt print-out the date of purchase, he replaced the iPod (just the unit, not the other contents of the box) with a new one that came in a box obviously meant just for replacement iPods. I'm currently charging the new iPod, and will perform a sound test on it soon.
If you live near an Apple retail store, and have a problem with a product that was purchased from an Apple store or from Apple online, you might want to check out the Genius Bar. Having a person who can actually see (or in my case, hear) the problem you're having can be much more effective than just talking to someone on the phone. And hey, Apple never says those people are Geniuses...