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Apple Stores Demonstrate That Retail Still Lives 416

Posted by Zonk
from the brick-and-mortar-like-bees-and-honey dept.
WheezyJoe writes "Maybe OS X Leopard has its problems, but the New York Times seems to think Apple has designed the ideal techie retail store. A policy that encourages lingering, with dozens of fully functioning computers, iPods and iPhones for visitors to try, even for hours on end (one patron wrote a manuscript entirely at the store) has 'given some stores, especially those in urban neighborhoods, the feel of a community center ... Meanwhile, the Sony flagship store on West 56th Street, a few blocks from Apple's Fifth Avenue store, has the hush of a mausoleum. And being inside the long and narrow blue-toned Nokia store on 57th Street feels a bit like being inside an aquarium. The high-end Samsung Experience showroom, its nuevo tech music on full blast one recent morning, was nearly empty.'"
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Apple Stores Demonstrate That Retail Still Lives

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  • Apples and pears? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by empaler (130732) on Friday December 28, 2007 @07:45PM (#21844316) Journal

    Maybe OS X Leopard has its problems, but the New York Times seems to think Apple has designed the ideal techie retail store.
    ...
    Seriously, that is a lame run-on. If you can't think of a good one to put in the summary, don't.
    • by owlnation (858981)
      Yeah, that's a really unnecessary comment in the summary. There's no reason to mention Leopard. Mod article "troll". Couldn't you have edited that out Zonk?
    • by Zeinfeld (263942)
      Seriously, that is a lame run-on. If you can't think of a good one to put in the summary, don't.

      I bought an Apple Airport Extreme at the Apple Store on Monday. Its not hard to see how they make retail pay: they build a product that fits into a shopping mall alongside the rest of the stuff on sale. Most computer companies don't even try. They build products with features chosen by marketers and designed by engineers.

      The only problem with the Apple store is the cultish atmosphere.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by palegray.net (1195047)

        The only problem with the Apple store is the cultish atmosphere.
        You're posting that comment to Slashdot?

      • by pyite (140350) on Friday December 28, 2007 @09:28PM (#21845046)
        The only problem with the Apple store is the cultish atmosphere.

        This might previously have been a problem for Apple, but now it's anything but. Any sort of "cult" feel (I'd venture to say more like "club" feel) works to their advantage. People on the outside want to know what's so special. It doesn't hurt that the trickle down effect from a large portion of vocal Internet community (i.e. bloggers) is in full swing. Even though Macs are obviously in the general minority, there is a feel that they're more than that.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by neapolitan (1100101)
          I have always wondered about this. I am sure that I am *not* in the minority, but I am planning on getting a Macbook pro when my current laptop (Thinkpad) dies or becomes horribly obsolete. It seems to me that the switch from Vista debacles or attraction to Macs will take 3-5 years as the PC upgrade cycle lengthens, and the fact that Macs seem very prominent "on the net" may translate to more presence as new users / young people buy their first computer, or as others upgrade.

          Simply put, your "feeling" may
        • by Divebus (860563) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @03:52AM (#21846732)

          The only problem with the Apple store is the cultish atmosphere.
          This might previously have been a problem for Apple, but now it's anything but. Any sort of "cult" feel (I'd venture to say more like "club" feel) works to their advantage. People on the outside want to know what's so special.

          I'll buy "Club" feel way before "Cultish". They seem bright and inviting to me. As an accused cultist (stop calling me that!), I can say that from the inside of the Apple Store, the feeling is "why would people keep torturing themselves with that other kind of computer?" Lately, it's OK to look inside and find there's not much of a cult.

      • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Friday December 28, 2007 @10:51PM (#21845500)

        I bought an Apple Airport Extreme at the Apple Store on Monday.

        Just out of curiosity, what makes the Airport Extreme worth the extra $80 compared to a non-Apple 802.11n router?

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Just out of curiosity, what makes the Airport Extreme worth the extra $80 compared to a non-Apple 802.11n router?

          Well, according to ArsTecnica's 802.11n router review [arstechnica.com]:
          # Sleek design
          # Easy setup, great user interface
          # USB port for shared printer or hard drive
          # 5.0GHz 802.11n-only mode offers superior performance
          # Gigabit Ethernet support
          # Price-to-performance ratio

          Guessing from your sig and he fact that you're asking on /., the 5Ghz support is probably the big one for you. It's pretty much a get-out-of-inte

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Peter Cooper (660482)
          The USB features (shared printers and USB disks) makes it more than worthwhile to spend the extra money to me. You can plug a USB hub into it and have disks hanging off it, all network accessible. Bit like a cheap NAS. Other than that, the way you set it up and configure it from a desktop app is quite nice.
  • well, maybe (Score:5, Funny)

    by User 956 (568564) on Friday December 28, 2007 @07:47PM (#21844336) Homepage
    the New York Times seems to think Apple has designed the ideal techie retail store.

    These people have never been to a Fry's. If you've never been to one, picture this: they sell porn and energy drinks within 20 feet of each other.
    • by geekoid (135745)
      but no one there will have enough brains to remember where they are, and then try and search you when you leave.
      • Re:well, maybe (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 28, 2007 @08:12PM (#21844524)
        Having worked at Fry's I think most of the employees know where the porn is. Some of them probably even have stolen some of it. ;)

        If Fry's could keep the products in the right place as opposed to being everywhere else except for where it ought to be they would probably have a pretty good techie store. They could also do a better job keeping the popular items in stock. I used to joke that Fry's carries virtually everything someone might want, they just don't have what you came to the store to buy in stock! Ironic, but true. They do a great job keeping adapters that have virtually no value to most customers, but products that sell like hotcakes they can't seem to keep in stock. Fry's employees a fair degree of idiots, but every store has a few geeks on the payroll. I remember one customer that complimented that I knew more than the Apple Store did about macs ironically.

        The biggest problem I see that discourages one from wanting to buy stuff from the Apple Store is that their return policy sucks. That and their inventory of accessories is pretty limited. If you exclude the stores that don't carry Mac stuff the Apple Store ironically is one of the worst stores to look for Mac stuff. I know a lot of customers came into Fry's because the Apple Store pretends that no body would want to continue to use some of their older products. Want a battery for an older ipod? Not going to find it in an Apple Retail Store. Want anything for a lot of the older macs? You aren't going to find it at the Apple store. If the store is owned by Apple I kind of expect them to do a good job carrying stuff for their products. It is sad when they are sending their customers to go to MicroCenter or Fry's or MacMall for an APPLE product!

        Anyone who ever worked at Fry's needless to say is going to post anonymous, because of the ridicule one would get if they knew who you were...
        • by dwater (72834)

          Ironically, anyone who ever worked at Fry's needless to say is going to post anonymous, because of the ridicule one would get if they knew who you were...
          There, I fixed that for you.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 28, 2007 @10:14PM (#21845294)
          They do a great job keeping adapters that have virtually no value to most customers, but products that sell like hotcakes they can't seem to keep in stock.

          They have no trouble keeping items in stock that no-one buys, but items that are in high demand are often gone? Damn you, laws of physics!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by zakezuke (229119)

      they sell porn and energy drinks within 20 feet of each other
      Yes, but I shreek at the idea of standing in line with people consuming energy drinks and porn. This doesn't make me happy!
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by palegray.net (1195047)
        I think I'd be fairly amused, if a bit disturbed, to see someone in a retail electronics store standing in line while consuming energy drinks and utilizing porn. Talk about multitasking, that's awesome.

    • Frys Electronics (Score:5, Informative)

      by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Friday December 28, 2007 @08:18PM (#21844586) Homepage Journal
      In my experience Frys is bar none the best techie store I have ever been in. I have never been somewhere with as wide a selection. They carry apple products and a ton of other stuff too. I don't know how big the largest apple store is but you could probably drop it into the average frys.
    • by Franklin Brauner (1034220) on Friday December 28, 2007 @08:36PM (#21844736)
      These people have never been to a Fry's. If you've never been to one, picture this: they sell porn and energy drinks within 20 feet of each other.

      And the employees still can't tell you where either is.
      --
      Franklin
  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Friday December 28, 2007 @07:50PM (#21844364) Homepage Journal
    Just plain retail. Selling stuff which is not worth hacking.

    My local Big W store, on the other hand, has these self service checkouts. You scan the products yourself and put them on some kind of weight verification thing, then spend five or 10 minutes doing a credit card transaction. While my wife was trying to get that to work I took a look at another terminal where the POS application had apparently crashed, leaving an interesting windows desktop with a working touch screen mouse. The staff didn't appreciate my attempted repair though, in fact there were so many people keeping an eye on that broken terminal they could have run a whole line of manual checkouts.

    Anyway if a real apple store opens here in Melbourne I might take a look but I can't see myself buying anything there.
    • by hxnwix (652290)

      Selling stuff which is not worth hacking.

      Would you care to elaborate on that? That it just works aside, how is Apple's Intel based hardware any less worth hacking than the HPs and emachines sold at big box stores?

      Anyway if a real apple store opens here in Melbourne I might take a look but I can't see myself buying anything there.

      It sounds like your mind is made up, so you should be able to explain why. Is it that Apple's hardware costs more? Don't like Unix? Desire a warrantee that covers incidental damage? Dislike Apple's arrogant attitude? There are good reasons to chose other vendors... do you have any? If not, I'm glad to be of service!

      (I very much hope that Apple will improve and invalidate these reasons)

  • by great om (18682) <omNO@SPAMgoldner.org> on Friday December 28, 2007 @07:51PM (#21844370) Homepage
    I swear to god, it is a store that sells nothing. Its, instead, a showcase of the current samsung products available at any store that sells electronics in New York City. I went there once trying to buy a wireless adaptor for my sasmung DVD receiver, and I couldn't buy it there. Why would i waste my time going there?
    • by peragrin (659227) on Friday December 28, 2007 @09:23PM (#21845034)
      that is why the gateway, dell, stores are falling like mad.

      apple stores sell apples latest products and you can get customer service there. On top of that if you are having problems with your mac or just want to learn some new software they have people who will teach you for an hourly fee of course, and are fairly patient.

      When was the last time someone sat down with your mom and showed them how to use "random photo album software here" for an hour? when done that lady new more than i do, but then again i can figure out every thing I missed.
  • by smitty_one_each (243267) * on Friday December 28, 2007 @07:57PM (#21844410) Homepage Journal
    We shopped that store in September. I remember checking out some yoyodyne pen gadget which saved the writing electronically via magic paper.
    Other than being priced outside of the impulse shopping range, it had the usual Nokia coolness.
    The point of the article is well taken, though; cel phones don't do much to engender community.
  • by realmolo (574068) on Friday December 28, 2007 @07:59PM (#21844422)
    "...given some stores, especially those in urban neighborhoods, the feel of a community center ..."

    It's true. It's a great place to hang out. I know lots of guys that met their boyfriends at the Apple Store.

  • Who'da thunk it! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 4D6963 (933028) on Friday December 28, 2007 @08:00PM (#21844426)

    A policy that encourages lingering, with dozens of fully functioning computers, iPods and iPhones for visitors to try, even for hours on end (one patron wrote a manuscript entirely at the store) has 'given some stores, especially those in urban neighborhoods, the feel of a community center

    Wait, you mean that a store that lets people freely do whatever they wish to do with little restrictions is more successful than a store in which you can just buy and leave? Who'da thunked it!

    • any are not %100 fully functioning as they are running deep freeze and reset when you reboot them also I don't think you can install any piece of software that you want.
  • techie (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rpillala (583965) on Friday December 28, 2007 @08:07PM (#21844470)

    If I were going to buy a computer, the first thing I would do once I got it is open it up and see what I could improve down the road. This is probably why I've never been inside an Apple store. I think the NYT is using the word techie the same way they'd use the word "foodie." Foodies aren't cooks, don't necessarily know anything about cooking, but they do know what they like. And they'll tell you why.

    I think the appeal of Apple computers is different (but related) to the appeal of the computers themselves.

  • Prices aren't ideal (Score:5, Interesting)

    by oboreruhito (925965) on Friday December 28, 2007 @08:07PM (#21844472)
    When I can get the same Wacom tablet for $40 less at Office Depot, it isn't ideal for anyone but Steve Jobs and people who, if Apple charged for the service, would already spend $40 to use the Genius Bar to learn how to plug a USB device into a USB port. Notably, the actual article never says Apple Stores are ideal for techies --actually, it's pretty specific in how it caters to people who need their hands held every step of the way. Those markups are service charges, money shoppers spend for good, in-person customer service. People with any sense of doing things themselves will never go for that, and I'd toss most techies into that group. That said, like most everything else Apple, the stores execute many things so well that, even though they only make a miniscule-to-medium dent on the actual marketplace, others will imitate them mercilessly. I can't wait to see wireless checkouts everywhere, and the open-access model to their hardware makes so much sense. (That's particularly well described on TFA's second page, where a writer who couldn't afford a computer wrote a 300-page manuscript on Apple Store computers and was accommodated by the staff.) Still, shoot me if you catch me buying something there at their markups of non-Apple products. Theirs are the worst I've ever seen retail, and that's saying a lot.
    • by stewbacca (1033764) on Friday December 28, 2007 @08:10PM (#21844506)
      On one hand, every other /. post bitches and moans about Big Box Retail, then you go and post how a non big box store sells Wacom tablets for $40 more. The consumer needs to make up their collective mind. Pay less and deal with evil big box, or pay more for personalized service?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CatOne (655161)
      1) Most people aren't techies. If they all could or were inclined to build their own computer, they could do it for cheaper.

      2) Apple sells everything at MSRP. That's "suggested retail price" or "full retail." Like Nordstrom does for clothing. Their markups are not "the worst you've ever seen," they're just "retail price." Apple doesn't discount in its stores, and they do have sales, but it's pretty rare.

  • by Organic Brain Damage (863655) on Friday December 28, 2007 @08:11PM (#21844510)
    And it works for them. The store at the Mall of America in Bloomington is quite possibly the busiest square footage in the entire mall...and that includes Hooters. I think they do a remarkable job with the stores. Almost every other big company has horrible stores. Dell has stupid kiosks in malls. Can you imagine how bad a Microsoft store would be? Disclosure: I do not own any Apple products. I run on Dell hardware.
  • by isaac (2852) on Friday December 28, 2007 @08:11PM (#21844512)
    Apple stores win because of the "Genius Bar."

    Yes, the crowds suck. Yes, the stores just scream "rip-off margins." Yes, "genius bar" is a stupid name.

    Still, the ability to schlep a system in and have the problem worked in most cases while-u-wait is what gets people into those stores. (Try that with a Dell or an HP sometime. Whoops! Hope you like shipping things. And for a real laugh, try bringing a sony product into a 'Sony Style' store for a support or repair issue.)

    -Isaac

    • by Lumpy (12016) on Friday December 28, 2007 @08:40PM (#21844760) Homepage
      The difference is simple. Apple stores have semi competent people working the genius bar. Best buy has drooling idiots manning the Geek squad moron room.

      Get best buy to triple wages, and hire based on competence+skill and not certifications+willingness to be whores, and you will be able to do the same thing in the PC world.

      Problem is it's far easier to justify buying a new $499.99 PC instead of spending $350.00 on fixing the thing. while a $2100.00 MAC is worth having $350.00 of work done to it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by moosesocks (264553)
        Yes, but it's going quickly downhill. While I was very impressed with the Apple stores when they first opened, it seems like they're having trouble attracting good employees to work at the genius bar.

        Yes, still a step above Best Buy, but the gap is sadly closing (and it's not because Best Buy's improving). Maybe it's because of the crowds.....

        All in all, I've been less and less impressed with Apple over the past year or so as they've grown in popularity, and have clearly gotten lazy as a result. The le
  • loiterers (Score:5, Funny)

    by mightyQuin (1021045) on Friday December 28, 2007 @08:27PM (#21844666)
    from TFA:
    Isobella Jade was down on her luck, living on a friend's couch and struggling to make it as a fashion model when she had the idea of writing a book...
    Ms. Jade spent hours at a stretch standing in a discreet corner of the store, typing. Within a few months, she had written nearly 300 pages.

    Hmmm, I wonder how many guys struggling to make it as say, I dunno... a farmer, they let use their computers everyday for months?

  • Effective Business (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Slashboo (972567)
    I can certainly see how Apple's model is effective. I remember going down to visit relatives over the holidays and having my aunt insist that we visit the store just because it was such a fun place to go to. Apparently she also always visits when she's shopping around the area (it's located with a lot of other stores in a strip-mall type setup). If Apple stores have such an inviting atmosphere that people will go there even if they don't need anything (but may end up being talked into something anyway), I
  • the smell (Score:4, Funny)

    by SoupGuru (723634) on Friday December 28, 2007 @08:34PM (#21844720)
    Can you smell the smug wafting out of an Apple store like you can smell the nerd wafting out of the video game store?
  • I was talking to an employee at the Apple store near here, about the store.

    The people working there weren't being particularly helpful, not their fault, there's not much you can do about a bad hard drive but replace it and I had a couple people ahead of me... and I was coming down with a cold, and feeling generally miserable, and really wanted to get my hard drive replaced and get home... but I was also wishing that I was feeling well enough to hang out there longer.

    What was clear to me, but not apparently immediately clear to the young man, that the big difference between the people working at the Apple store and the people working at the other geek stores in the area is that they wanted to be working at the Apple store. The fact that they were working for Apple was what made all the difference to them, and that made all the difference to their customers. They wouldn't have been motivated selling Dells.

    Now I'm not really a big fan of most of Apple's products... I really wish they'd unbundle so I didn't have to put up with a Mac so I could run OS X. But you can see the feedback going on, between the people who are into the whole Apple schtick, and the people who run the stores, and the style, and everything, and it all works together amazingly well. The reality distortion field lives in that feedback, too, and for an hour or so I was rather enjoying it.
    • The big difference between the Apple store and big box stores is the nice fat profit margin. Better profit margin = better pay = better employees. Theres not a huge mystery to it. Since Apple has pricing agreements with all of its retailers it ensures it can not be undercut. No competition means that they can keep prices high and keep their boutique stores open.
  • by sg3000 (87992) * <.sg_public. .at. .mac.com.> on Friday December 28, 2007 @08:38PM (#21844754)
    It's always helpful to look back to see what the naysayers were saying back in the day. Business Week's Cliff Edwards said back in 2001 [businessweek.com] in an opinion piece titled "Sorry, Steve: Here's Why Apple Stores Won't Work":

    Problem is, the numbers don't add up. Given the decision to set up shop in high-rent districts in Manhattan, Boston, Chicago, and Jobs's hometown of Palo Alto, Calif., the leases for Apple's stores could cost $1.2 million a year each, says David A. Goldstein, president of researcher Channel Marketing Corp. Since PC retailing gross margins are normally 10% or less, Apple would have to sell $12 million a year per store to pay for the space. Gateway does about $8 million annually at each of its Country Stores. Then there's the cost of construction, hiring experienced staff. "I give them two years before they're turning out the lights on a very painful and expensive mistake," says Goldstein.

    At the time, people didn't realize that the iPod was going to be so successful, but clearly the retail store was an important step for Apple. This opinion piece illustrates one of the problems of business experts who opine about a single step in a strategy, without having the vision to see how it fits into the whole. So Apple's gamble seems to have paid off. Here's to Apple sticking to a plan and seeing it through.

  • Not locked (Score:5, Informative)

    by JoeCommodore (567479) <larry@portcommodore.com> on Friday December 28, 2007 @08:42PM (#21844782) Homepage
    Unlike most stores which has to lock their computers, due to the OS being so susceptible, most places that have Macs are open to explore, they probably are on a limited account but it's not the guided tour with safety-rails demos that you see on Windows PCs at most places.

    Many I see are playing DVDs or maybe iTunes music. Once in a while Ive seen them with some FPS game. When I have seen Windows Desktops its either running 'just' the desktop, or one that has crashed to the desktop. Most of the times though I just see that fancy Aquarium screen saver.
  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Friday December 28, 2007 @08:42PM (#21844788)
    Back in the late 90's, the money fell out of the hardware market, at least for PC's. Yet somehow Apple is able to keep their margins high and the customers happy to pay for it. The logic goes that a company should stick to the knitting. Apple knew nothing about the music industry or making music players, it seemed like a bonehead move to do the iPod and iTunes. Look who proved the skeptics wrong. And now they're getting into retail, something that we laughed at Gateway for, the lack of retail floorspace being something that Dell was praised for, being a lean and nimble company. Now Dell is being criticized for their shitty service and Apple is praised for the innovation of opening retail stores.

    I've come up with a new slashdot meme.

    1. Apple decides to enter the [something improbable] market
    2. Apple kicks ass at it in defiance of all logic
    3. Turtleneck sweater
    4. Profit

    What really pisses me off is my current XP laptop is certainly going to be the last Windows unit I own so I'll be forced to make the jump on the next one to Ubuntu or OSX. I've grudgingly settled for Microsoft products because it's a shitty platform that also happens to support most of the software I use and shitty support is better than nothing. With OSX I'll still be able to run XP in a VM. Shit. Looks like I'm going to finally become one of those Mac weenies I used to make fun of.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Telvin_3d (855514)
      As someone who 'made the switch' a few months ago, I have to warn you about the worst part. I switched to a MacBook because I liked the hardware for the price and was originally planning on mostly running XP. Ended up liking OSX. And I can't tell ANYONE.

      The second you say you like your Mac, people ask you if you are one of 'those people'. If you tell someone you are really happy with your new Toshiba laptop they think about it. If you say the same things about a Mac it must be because you are a fanatic
    • What really pisses me off is my current XP laptop is certainly going to be the last Windows unit I own so I'll be forced to make the jump on the next one to Ubuntu or OSX. I've grudgingly settled for Microsoft products because it's a shitty platform that also happens to support most of the software I use and shitty support is better than nothing. With OSX I'll still be able to run XP in a VM. Shit. Looks like I'm going to finally become one of those Mac weenies I used to make fun of.

      I bought my first P

  • Why they work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wickerprints (1094741) on Friday December 28, 2007 @09:50PM (#21845150)
    1. Organized, predictable, uniform. This means things are easy to find in the store, services are reliable, and the shopping experience is consistent from store to store.
    2. Open, bright. Stores are well-lit, spacious, have an inviting entrance, and allow visitors to browse.
    3. Products sell themselves. Rather than relying on salespeople to pressure customers to purchase goods, the stores consistently showcase the products and let the customer try it in order to make the purchasing decision on their own terms. Salespeople are there to answer questions, not push visitors into buying.
    4. Availability of customer service. The customer-oriented services (Genius Bar, Studio, kids' area, demos) demonstrate that Apple is interested in making the shopping experience comfortable.

    Now, bear in mind, Apple is in it to make money. That's just the reality. But the company's philosophy is that money is made by creating the best possible product and the best possible consumer experience. They don't do these things out of the goodness of their hearts; rather, these things are the consequence of the particular business model they have chosen. That their motives are sometimes misunderstood is unfortunate, not because of how it reflects upon Apple, but rather, how it is symptomatic of the fact that we as a society of consumers have become so jaded by the way the rest of corporate America approaches profitability in a free-market system that we DO get confused when a company DOESN'T believe that the easiest way to make money is to rape us for every last penny they can lie, cheat, and steal from us.

    So, to be certain, the Apple Retail Stores are a classic example of retail design through careful analysis and re-evaluation of consumer behavior. They don't do these things because they make you feel good; they do them because, as a way of increasing profitability, it just plain WORKS. For instance, in-store cameras do not merely monitor visitors for security purposes--these are used to analyze traffic flow patterns, how long people spend in the various sections of the store, and so forth. This data is then used in research towards redesigning the stores or figuring out how marketing efforts should be distributed.

    Finally, regarding those who have missed the point.... Every time I've been to Fry's I feel like I want to scream. Customer service is HORRIBLE; the crowds are rude; dealing with exchanges/returns is downright insane; and most of all, the whole place reeks of cheapness. I feel like I can't trust whatever I buy there, and even if I were to, I don't feel like I've saved much if anything at all. I'd rather buy online. And the whole "techie" thing--let's be honest, Apple isn't interested in marketing to the uber-nerd DIY hacker, whose "can I take it apart and customize the crap out of it" mentality runs counter to Apple's "we want to make everything work together seamlessly, including the shopping experience" philosophy. You may take great pride in those hacker skills, and that's great, but the article isn't about you. It's about the consumer who would've gotten a cheap-ass Dell not because they wanted to spend as little as possible and put Ubuntu on it, but because they just don't know any better. After all, this is the age of consumer electronics.
  • "Genius" bar (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nick_davison (217681) on Friday December 28, 2007 @10:37PM (#21845432)
    A real conversation I had:

    I'd like to buy a wireless keyboard and mouse.

    I'm sorry, we don't have any.

    Don't have any? It's an Apple branded product. Are you out of stock.

    Kind of. The new ones are coming out soon so we sent all of our old ones back.

    You sent away all of your old model stock long before you got a shipment of your new models, leaving you unable to sell anything?

    Uh, yeah.

    How long have you been out of stock?

    A week or two.

    How long do you expect to remain out of stock.

    We were supposed to have them by now. But probably another week or two.

    And so you have nothing to sell people who really want to give you money for a wireless keyboard and mouse, any wireless keyboard and mouse, until then?

    No. Sorry.

    I can see why they call you geniuses.
  • by Kizeh (71312) on Saturday December 29, 2007 @11:46AM (#21848862)
    My gripe with the local Apple store is twofold. First, a lot of the products a broken; almost none of the digital cameras on display ever work, and quite often many of the headphones and speakers and such are out of order as well. A lot of these display items also lack clearly marked prices, which I always consider to be very bad form.
    Second, it's nice to have a support section (Genius Bar), but if I have to make an appointment and wait for two hours to talk to someone to ask a simple pre-sales question which the sales staff couldn't answer, I'm definitely not going to be impressed.

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