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The Lanham Factor The (ir)rational thoughts of a (not-so)mad man

Today I bought an iPad at the Apple store in Greensboro, NC.  No, it's not what you think.  I have a client discussing with me some ideas for iPad applications.  (I'll be buying a MacBook Pro soon, too.)

General Store "Feel"

I found it very interesting that they were relatively chaotic in the store.  No one greeted us upon entry.  It was relatively difficult to distinguish the employees from the patrons.   The employees wore blue t-shirts with the Apple apple logo on the front.  They did wear name badges around their necks on lanyards but these were non-descript and almost invisible.  In fact, I never was able to read a name on any employee's name badge.  No other distinguishing identifiers were worn by any to identifying them as employees.  A few wore Apple hats but with no consistency and with no differentiation from Mac-olytes (not my term) in the store.

We moved toward the back of the store stopping occassionally to get some assistance with no luck.  We then turned and moved toward the front of the store where, as it turns out, there was a greeter.  He was holding an iPad with, what appeared to be some scheduling / assignment software.  However, he was slow to get to us while "helping" another patron.  When he finally got to us, he took no notes, used no technology to find assitance, etc. 

Where's the Tech?

In additiona to the iPad, he wore a headphone in one ear which appeared to be a communication device for use in finding team members that are available.  However, it was never used.  Also, and this is the really interesting part, the iPad was never used...not once. 

An associated did come around and she was extremely helpful.  I knew exactly what I wanted (needed) and had no questions.  Jessica had a few really good questions that I had not considered.  I was grateful that she thought of them and asked.  Also, I had not thought of a case for it and the associated suggested I look.  I did buy a case but nothing else.  

iPhone Attachment Credit Card Reader - Really Cool Technology

Then I paid...with a credit card...that she swiped using her iPhone.  Apparently, there is an attachment that allows them to swipe credit cards and optionally email or print (or both I guess) receipts.  I think this is an extremely cool feature.  I was somewhat confused at the availability and simultaneously lack of use of technology.  But this...well this was just cool. 

Flames Bursting

I did, jokingly, mention that as a Microsoft .NET developer I was concerned I might burst into flames.  She had a great sense of humor and joked right along with it.  She was professional yet casual.  I heard recently of another person receiving some "attitude" from an Apple store employee but I did not experience that today.

All in all, a surprisingly disappointing experience but it worked out okay in the end.

Posted on Monday, September 6, 2010 9:49 PM | Back to top


Comments on this post: My Apple Store Experience

# Your Apple Store Experience
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Sorry to hear that you were surprised to be disappointed at the Apple store…although I'm a little conflicted about your account. You noted that the employees were "relatively difficult" to identify, but in the next sentence you note they were all wearing blue T-shirts with an Apple logo on the front AND has lanyards with name badges. Microsoft stores outfit their employees in exactly the same manner. As for the use of technology, as you noted, it's really all about the people. In this case, its sounds like the employee was efficient and friendly—hey, sounds like an unsurprisingly pleasant experience at an Apple store.
Left by Gary on Sep 08, 2010 12:15 AM

# re: My Apple Store Experience
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The Apple store employees are helpful as long as you praise Apple products or are prepared to spend money. But come in with a Gen. 2 iPod touch and ask the "genius" to roll the firmware back to 3.1.x from 4.0 and they become apoplectic. "Oh, that might break the device." Uh, no dipstick: Apple's "upgrade" broke my iPod, now I want you to fix it. Apple is not to be trusted. Period.
Left by Mike C. on Sep 08, 2010 10:28 AM

# re: My Apple Store Experience
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I was with Brian in the store. It was so crowded that the blue shirts blended into the crowd. There was no 'take a number', so people who came in after us were helped before us because we missed the "greeter" - he wasn't at the door. We did at least two laps around the store before we found the "greeter" now at the door - we were actually planning to leave as no one had even acknowledged we were there. The "greeter" looked through the store rather frantically and ran back and forth looking for available reps and the 'next' customer. The rep who ultimately helped us with our purchase was very nice and knowledgeable. The whole place was a bit chaotic and if I had been there for a personal purchase, I would have walked out. Overall, I was disappointed with the lack of customer service from such a supposed "user friendly" company. The sales rep who rang us up was the only good thing about the experience.
Left by Jess T. on Sep 08, 2010 1:04 PM

# re: My Apple Store Experience
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Brian Brian Brian ... client or no client walking into a Apple store is considered a traitorous act. :)
Left by John F on Sep 20, 2010 4:00 PM

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