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.