A Reason I Like Apple

 <img src="http://www.romkey.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/applestore_5thave3.jpg" alt="5th Ave Apple Store" title="applestore_5thave3.jpg" border="0" width="200" height="133" style="float:right; padding: 5px;"/> I don't go to physical Apple retail stores very often but this weekend in New York I needed a mini-displayport to HDMI cable, so we took a walk to the 5th Avenue glass cube Apple mothership and picked one up.

What a difference it is shopping at the Apple store versus other stores.

There are no cash registers and there are no lines at cash registers. There are Apple associates scattered throughout the stores. When you’re ready to buy something you go to them, they scan the item, swipe your credit card and email you a receipt (you can get a paper receipt if you want, but why bother?). I had the receipt in email less than a minute after the purchase.

I left the store with the cable, no bag, no printed receipt, no hassle. Though there are security personnel stationed at the entrance to the store (and there need to be, given armed robberies at Apple Stores), there’s no sign of the ubiquitous RFID alarm to finger you as a thief when you walk out without paying.

I don’t think I can adequately explain how good it feels to be treated like someone whose experience matters to Apple rather than a potential thief that the store grudgingly does business with.

More stores should try this.

  • Interestingly, I’ve had the opposite reaction: the lack of a register means that I’ve spent 5 minutes standing there, waiting for just one sales rep to be free, so that I can simply give them money for the thing I want. Instead, I have to lurk nearby, letting the “Genii” finish their respective sales pitches to other people, then hoping I can get their attention. I find this quite frustrating.

    (This is not to say I don’t appreciate the lack of unnecessary bag, imposing RFID gate, etc.)

    • I may not have run into that problem since I rarely go to an actual Apple Store. When I was there were a lot of customers but there were also a lot of salespeople and my only delay was figuring out what I was supposed to do since it was such a different setup from a normal store. Then I had a moment of “I’m really going to walk out of the store carrying my cable in my hand without a receipt and not get tackled and dragged off to prison?”.

      The emailed receipt is definitely classy. I hope that this model takes over quickly.

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