DENVER, COLORADO. Apple Stores are sleek, bright, contemporary and usually filled with a United Nations crowd of consumers. Each wants to (a) own the latest piece of Mac technology or (b) at least touch the goods that are planfully scattered throughout the store.
Walking in, you could be greeted by a hip-looking girl wearing jeans and sporting nicely painted eyes or a spikey-haired twenty-something with piercings. Either would ask why you’re visiting the store that day.
“I’ve got a bunch of questions and I’d like to look at an iPhone,” I told the guy with the hair.
“No worries,” he said, “Follow me and we’ll find someone to help you.”
We wound our way to the rear of the store (Genius Bar located there), passing mostly young customers who were busy playing with technology, where Spikey Hair introduced me to Kahfim whose sense of style began with fashionable black, rectangular glasses that matched his hair and set off his clear, olive skin. He wore a light turquoise t-shirt with the words, “Santa’s got elves. You’ve got me.” on the front.
“How’s it going?” he asked.
“Good, I have a bunch of questions,” I answered.
“Hit me up, bro.” And for the next hour, Kahfim answered them, showing passion for his job and patience with me.
“Do you ever get tired of answering questions?” I asked.
“Never. I get tired of the technology sometimes, but I really like helping people. How could you get tired of that?” he answered, making me think there really wasn’t any other answer for him.
And, so, I bought some equipment, signed up for service, paid the tab using a wireless credit card device strapped to Kahfim’s belt, and walked out with a fully functional iPhone perfectly connected to my existing email account to which my Apple Store receipt had been mailed.
On the taxi ride to my hotel, I couldn’t help but think about the Apple Store Experience. Planned. Branded. Customer-focused. People-centered. Fun. Fast, but not hurried. Passionate employees.
Apple has the Store right. And (depending on your loyalties) the right designs on technology.
I want to go back next week to see what’s new. Or, maybe just for the feeling.
I think I’ve been bitten.
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA…An December 27 Update: My second Apple Store experience was as cool as the first but in a different way. It seems that the iPhone is a remarkably brilliant device. It’s also true that it only works on one cellular network and in many places that would be “not so well.”
But the sales folks were helpful and understanding when I returned it. No questions asked except if there was something wrong with the phone. The answer to that was a “no” followed by “just the network.” I don’t think this came as a great surprise to Dan of Apple. He’d heard that one before, I’d bet.
Life without an iPhone. Deal with it.