I am so cool… or… not…

Obviously I am not. In fact, I am apparently about as uncool as you can get. Why? Because, now that the Apple Store at Briarwood Mall has been open for 23 days (I think I counted right, it opened the same day as HP7 came out, right?), I have finally gone out there. What is my opinion? I am totally, utterly, completely, absolutely underwhelmed. And, to my great surprise, I was working hard to *not* clench my teeth as I walked out of there empty handed. I don’t exactly know why and I don’t understand why Planet A2 people (when I was searching around on Google for the opening date of the store) were blahgging about how they were just about “wetting themselves” about the store opening and getting their tshirt, etc. Why? (I mean why didn’t I like the store, not why the wetting and tshirt, etc.) So, why didn’t I like the store very well? I like Apple computers. Heck, I’ve been using them since 1980. I am just about chained to my current Intel Macbook, the machine that writes this blahg. But the Apple Store is, after all, just a store.

The place was abuzz at around 11 AM. That’s early for the mall on an off-season Monday. Briarwood is not that exciting a mall. They had the latest Apple computers in stock. And iPods. And maybe iPhones but I didn’t look because I’m waiting (a few years) for that device to mature, thankye veddy much. And accessories up the wazoo. No one was unfriendly or unhelpful or incompetent. And I have had good experiences with Apple stores before. In fact, once, a few years ago, when I tried to call Apple to order a wireless card (don’t ask) and COULDN’T GET THROUGH AT ALL, I called the Twelve Oaks Apple Store. I had to drive out there, not my favorite place to drive, but they were really nice and friendly and I came home with a wireless card. But it is a hassle to drive from here to Twelve Oaks or Somerset, so I thought it was really cool (grok grok) that we were getting a store here on The Planet Ann Arbor.

So. What’s the problem? I can’t quite put my finger on it. It all just felt a little too “cool,” if you will. The green-shirted clerks (were the shirts green?) that swarmed the sales floor were knowledgeable and polite and helpful but it all felt like they were reading a script. Yes, I said “reading,” all you theatre rats. It was a little too much like the telephone customer support folks I’ve been talking to all summer. You know. The people who, after you’ve been bounced around from one unintelligible connection/person to another for an hour or so, chirp, “is there anything *else* I can help you with today?” Grrrrr… It felt like the Apple Store salespeople were more enamored of their elevated position in life (Apple Store clerk? On The Planet Ann Arbor, no less?) than making the short-lived but meaningful connections with their customers that are required in order to sell high end computing equipment and related peripherals. Like, what do you really need computers to do in your life and where are you gonna schlep ’em and how can we give you the most bang for your buck? It was just too high energy and buzzy for me. What do they do when people like my mother come in there? Octogenarians who are *determined* to keep up with the world of personal computers but can’t quite get into the lingo. Heck, I can’t even get into the lingo and I’m chained to a Macbook all day every day. I like salespeople who are there when I need them and fade into the woodwork when I don’t need them or need to think. I don’t like it when they interrupt a conversation or transaction (with me) to answer the phone or talk to Daddy BigBucks, etc. Not that any of that happened today exactly. It just felt unorganized enough in the store in general that it *could* happen.

I dunno. Maybe it was me. After all, it was my first day back from yet another jaunt up to the beach and going to Briarwood Mall was about the last thing I wanted to do. Malls make me dizzy. Note to Apple: explore putting your stores in places like Maple Village or Westgate instead. Most people (???) who want your products don’t want to have to wade through a mall to get there. I feel that way about fabric stores too. Or maybe it was because I asked a clerk, “Do these computers go online?” and he proceeded to try to lecture me about how to use Safari until I waved him off saying, “I *have* one of these!” I suppose a better question would’ve been, “Are these computers connected to the Internet?” and actually, I own a slightly different model than the one I was banging away on. But Kee-reist!

I had a conclusion to all of this but I forget exactly what it was. I know I’ll go to the Briarwood Apple Store again. It’ll probably be a whole different experience the next time. Like I said, the clerks weren’t bad. It was just too buzzy and scripted. It could’ve been better. Onward.

12 Responses to “I am so cool… or… not…”

  1. Webmomster Says:

    Yeah, the Apple Store “experience” has become rather – um – slick? Like, when Nook & I marched into the Somerset Apple Store after getting the “check back in 15 minutes” at the California Pizza Kitchen, approached a “Tech” (guess that’s what they’re calling the clerks now) to go about the business of getting our paws on a MacBook for me…with NO bells and whistles. The “Tech” (I think they were wearing black the day we were there) didn’t get to show off his knowledge and got a little grumpy, I think. Didn’t like it much when I challenged him right off with “why is the black MB $125 more than the white MB with the same equipment?” – came back with “it’s only $50″…until I made him go check the Apple site. He had no explanation. Needless to say, I then got shuttled to the dude at the Genius Bar running the register to make two trips to the back room to get the *correct* MB and he then rang up the MB, the APP package, and a printer USB cord for Nook’s printer (which we’d forgotten the last time). And we were back at California Pizza Kitchen before that 15 minutes was up. New MacBook in hand, yet.

    These guys (and yes, it appears that most of the “Techs/Clerks” at the Apple Stores appear to be of the masculine gender – very few females) seem to be greatly disappointed to find they are talking with someone coming in who already knows EXACTLY what they want and already have experience with Apple (heck, like you, we got our first Macintosh SE with 2 floppy drives (and NO internal hard drive) back before some of these Tech/Clerks were even born….. :LOL:

  2. kayak woman Says:

    I think your second paragraph has hit the nail on the head. I have to wonder what the boy “geniuses” at the “genius bar” will have to say about the cracks in the plastic on the right side of my 7-month-old MacBook. I’m not sure they’re trained to handle good old-fashioned cheesy construction. Do ya think I ought to clean the smashed bug off before I take it in?

  3. jane Says:

    commenting from the beach — I have nothing to say about the apple store – haven’t been there yet. but the Cort (I believe – no binocs right now) is going down with a pilot boat – what’s up with that I wonder?

    rather heavy clouds right now, rain later today. but calm currently.

  4. kayak woman Says:

    Weird, all right. The Cort is the 1000-footer with the big square cabins (or whatever you call them) both fore and aft. All the other 1000-footers of that vintage (70s) only have a cabin aft. Hey, you can’t grow up with Jim and Grandroobly without knowing this kind of lake boat trivia. 😉

  5. jane Says:

    ok – not the Cort then. big cabin on the back end only – kind of sloping triangular shape. very recognizable. where’s Val when I need her?

    oh, and I finished HP7 finally! yay! I think I’ll kayak over to the osprey nest now while it’s still calm.

  6. jane Says:

    interesting – NOW the Cort is headed up. 12:00 and all is well!

    went over to see the osprey – all 3 present and accounted for, but still no adults. the clouds were fairly dark and had a cool egg crate looking underside, but it didn’t feel like rain so Betty and I decided I was good to go. when I got back it was clearing up and it is currently a beach day, and about 70. rain is predicted so who knows how the day will end.

  7. Pooh Says:


    Do you have a computer up at the cabin or are you borrowing one?

    “Youth wants to know!” –LOL

  8. Webmomster Says:

    The “big square cabins both fore and aft” are, I believe in Jim and Grandroobly terms, “superstructures”.

    “Talking Binoculars” will have to address the identity of the Mystery Freighter….

    The clouds with the “egg crate” underside, fall into that cloud family of “mammatus” (or something like that). I think it translates roughly to “the clouds have boobs”.

  9. jane Says:

    Pooh- I have my work laptop at the cabin. so I can be cool (like Anne) and surf the net on the beach. sometimes. I actually just logged on in the sand pit becasue it’s very windy.

    totally cool clouds this afternoon as it pretended that it was going to rain. very dramatic especially over Canada. water was that cool green color. and then I saw 2 bald eagles and an osprey. I think they were having a territorial discussion. no real action, just some posturing that I’ve never seen an eagle do before. and then they went their separate ways. the sun is currently shining, so I’m hoping for a beach day tomorrow.

  10. Pooh Says:

    While KW is debating whether she is COOL or not, the weatherman here is saying that today’s temperature will reach 103, but the weekend temps will be in the low 90’s. “Cooler, but not cool!”, quoth he.

  11. Valdemort Says:

    Don’t rag on the employees at the Apple Store — I’ll put every cent to my name on their having been scripted by Corporate mandate. They have to go through that spiel and a whole bunch of other crap in case they get Shopped or Evaluated. If they get caught not going through the spiel, they can get their store and managers in trouble, who in turn take it out on all of the underlings.

    Either that or they get a LOT of uneducated customers. Apple is hip right now, especially with the flop that is Windows Vista and the still-relatively-unknown Linux/Ubuntu.

    On another note, mammatus? Where? That’s general a product of severe turbulence, generally from a severe storm. Pretty stunning (and oddly creepy) when seen in real life!

  12. kayak woman Says:

    Oh, I fully understand that it’s corporate crap driving the stoopid sales procedures and scripts. I once worked for Tempo (“thank you for calling Tempo, how may I help you?”). I know plenty about that. 😉 It is the *company* I am arguing with. In my eyes, Apple has always been pretty “cool.” I just hope they don’t let some of the recent successes go to their heads. Pride does come before a fall, as the old saying goes. Good basic customer service is just as important as coolness.