August 30, 2009

Not unlike a car wreck for enjoyability

I just happened to look back at my very first blog post. It occurred August 14, 2004. That means that I completely missed my own five-year anniversary. Blogiversary, which is a word I detest. But detest is a word I like. So props to "blogiversary" for enabling me to use a good word.


But what I really wanted to write about is the Apple store. It stinks. Really. I mean, I love our MacBook and am very happy we switched. So happy, I planned on buying a Mac mini to replace our dead desktop as the homework and web and games computer for the boys.

So two weeks ago I tried to go to the Apple store, but they were in the middle of a three week closure for remodeling. The store used to have four tables, some glass partitions, some alcoves, and a theater area near the back. So I waited, and on Saturday the whole family braved the 104 degree afternoon and arrived to find absolute mobs of people crowded inside the newly remodeled Apple store.

Which now had SIX tables, some glass partitions, some alcoves, and instead of a theater in the back they had a single check-out line and three "Genius Bar" stations. With the mobs, it was impossible to find any employee to talk to. So we waited in the checkout line. We knew what we wanted, were ready to buy. After 25 minutes while the four people ahead of us were helped, we got to the front. "We want to buy a Mac mini." The skinny, long-haired kid holding the repurposed Newton gives us a funny look. "Have you already spoken to someone a
bout your computer needs?" "Uh... no." At this point I felt like we were in a timeshare presentation. He swept us out of line and... to the front door, where the only person in an orange shirt (all the others wore blue) was hiding out of the way, behind the door, where it would be impossible to see him unless you were exiting the store.

"We want to buy a Mac mini. The one with bigger memory." "Well, all five of my people are busy now. You could wait... about 45 minutes, maybe. Or you could go online and make an appointment for tomorrow."

At this point I decided that people at Apple are really good at designing interfaces for one single person. But they desperately suck rocks when it comes to more than one person. I was so befuddled, it never occurred to me to punch him in the nose. I declined to wait, and I politely took his business card while thinking "I will only use this to point out a name in my complaint letter." We piled in the car and went home. At least our trip to Target to get reading glasses and boxer shorts was successful.

I got home and went to apple.com. Within six minutes I'd bought a Mac mini, complete with educational discount (my wife is a teacher) and free shipping. Why, Apple Store, do you make it so hard to give you money? Why do you insist on making me feel foolish by presenting me with an unintelligible store while simultaneously pointing out that all of your employees are geniuses, and I can sit and worship at their Genius Bar if I can work out the perplexing puzzle of your store layout?

The Apple Store was, in summary, an exercise in truly awful customer experience. But I guess it wasn't awful enough before, so they had to shut down for three weeks to remodel. Mission accomplished.

6 comments:

McKoala said...

Ah, Apple. I have the same feelings about their stores. They're a place to worship, really, not for actual purchasing.

5 years! I bow to you.

JaneyV said...

Our house is fully Mac'd. We are the super-duper poster family for Mac-loving enjoyment but even my husband (who retches at the mention of Microsoft) will tell you to run as far away as you can from an iStore. Great places to play - awful if you actually want service.

HAPPY 5 YEAR BLOG ANNIVERSARY!

JMK said...

Five years! Congratulations. I can remember when you first told us about your blog back then. And look, it took me almost five years to do one of my own. I should have paid more attention to you in '04.

Happy Anniversary!

pacatrue said...

Yay five years!

I don't think I've ever bought an actual computer from a Mac store. University book store with discount here. I think I have gotten a few accessories before, however, and that went off decently well. Must have been before the remodel.

Jane D. said...

Five years?! Really. That means I have been blogging for more than five years. Weird. I have apparently miss my blogiversary as well.

blogless troll said...

Went to the Apple store last week to buy my wife an iPhone. I didn't have to wait, but I felt dirty afterward.