Get a cash register. Or maybe two.

Yes, this is about the Apple Store again. I bit the bullet and went back there after I figured out that powerbook batteries really *did* cost $129.00. I don’t know how I could forget about that, I certainly bought plenty of replacement batteries for my old 12-incher. (I’m sure there’s some smart aleck out there who knows where you can get them cheaper but I’m not sure I want to know.)

I walked to the back of the store where they have the batteries, ignoring all of the pretty new toys along the way. I quickly located the appropriate battery. I walked to the counter at the back of the store, battery in one hand, debit card in the other. A green shirt guy was sitting behind the counter. He asked, “Khzkhzkhzkh?” I replied with something like, “Say what?” After a couple of rounds of that, I thrust the battery and debit card toward him and said, “I just want to buy this.” I still couldn’t hear him but he said something about this was the “Genius Bar” and I’d have to find a clerk to help me. Geniuses are apparently above handling simple sales transactions.

I looked around the store. There were a few green shirt guys busy helping other customers discover how to transform their lives with iLife. A couple of other customers with accessories and debit cards in their hands were standing around looking just as bewildered as I was. How are you supposed to buy something in this place? Finally, one of the green shirt guys finished with his customer and addressed us. “Let me just go get some bags,” he began. Another woman and I simultaneously exclaimed, “I don’t need a bag!” “Okay,” he said, “let’s just go up toward the front here.” The other customers and I exchanged confused looks and tentatively followed him to the front, where we tried to order ourselves into a line, i.e., “weren’t you here before me?” and “oh no, you go ahead.”

He processed our transactions with a handheld scanner. It was lucky I didn’t leave my driver’s license locked in my vee-hickle like I frequently do (hey, I like to travel light!) because he was “required” to ask me for an ID, even though I was paying with a debit card. He was also “required” to put a “thank you” sticker on the box and then I had to wait for him to go to “the back” somewhere to get my receipt!

Hey Apple? You guys seem to be so obsessed with “cool” that you are ignoring basic customer service. Here are some tips:

  • Station a cash register (or two) at the front of the store and hire a person (or two) whose main responsibility is to run it. It may be “cool” for all of the green shirt guys to have handheld scanners. In fact, I think they should *still* have them. But people who come in to pick up batteries and things (usually) know what they want. They don’t want to wait for a free green-shirt guy just to pay for a battery.
  • An added bonus is that a cash register station will have a place to stash things. Or print things. No more running to the back of the store to find a bag or a sticker or print a receipt.
  • Train the “genius” bar guys to ring up transactions and require them to help out with that when they’re not busy being geniuses.
  • Put a rack of batteries and stuff at the front of the store. I know that making people walk past all your fancy toys is a marketing strategy. But people like me are already sold on Apple products. Believe me, when I decide I want a new computer my MacBook kicks the bucket, I’ll be in there checking out whatever is the latest and greatest. Until then, if I need a battery or whatever, I want to get it and get out of there.
  • Karen’s right! Hire a few women fer Kee-reist! Please don’t hire twitty ones.

5 Responses to “Get a cash register. Or maybe two.”

  1. Webmomster Says:

    We bought Nook’s MB, printer, Airport, iPod, and APP from a Techlerk with a handheld scanner, and the credit (check) card was indeed entered in same handheld device. We left without an invoice, but with the promise that it had been emailed to my “” email address (and it arrived safely).

    However, we submitted all the rebate stuff AS DIRECTED – even doing most of it online thru the Apple Rebate site. Waaaaal. We got the rebate for the “perfect companion” promo (the printer) and the MS Office (a whopping $25), followed by finding out online Sunday that the “free iPod Nano with MacBook” doodly got rejected “because purchase not on same day on same invoice”. I doth protested loudly (but kindly) to the Customer Service person (Minnie) and she escalated it back to the dudes who were supposed to be capable of reading the note on the photocopied UPC that the original went to *the other* promotion with my tracking number of *such&such*… but they must also have been outsourced to Jamaica…

  2. kayak woman Says:

    So, did you get the Nano? I’d be totally on the warpath.

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