Friday, February 01, 2008

How do you spell pretentious? I spell it A-P-P-L-E S-T-O-R-E



So I bought a MacBook today and the purchase required that I go into my local Apple store, something I typically avoid like the plague, or that one friend everyone has who listens to Cher.

Let me be very clear: I like Apple computers. I hate Apple--and Cher too for that matter. Apple's systematic assault against mankind has been fairly subtle; it often goes completely unnoticed until you actually go into an Apple store and surround yourself with the world they have created. The Apple store went from being a one-stop shop for Apple products and software to what it is today: a glorified man-purse store that also sells computers. It's like Starbucks without the coffee; just a room full of pompous college students and shiny metal objects. The Apple store has become a breeding ground for pretentious trends and annoying ideas. Don't believe me? Go buy something there and wait for the cashier to ask you if you wouldn't mind forfeiting your right to a printed (normal) receipt and instead accept a digital (e-mailed) receipt in order to help "save the environment." Never in my life have I been more proud to drive a Charger with a hemi.

I loathe this recent iJunk trend that has caught on in which any and every useless, sub-par, as-seen-on-tv piece of junk has the letter "i" before its name as if the letter "i" makes it any less a piece of junk. I realize that not everything with an i before it is an actual Apple product and is usually just a cheep knockoff. Yes, i realize Apple doesn't make the iDeoderant, iFern, iPlunger or any of the other i- products one might find at 7-Eleven. However, Apple single-handedly popularized the iJunk craze and therefore should be held responsible.




As soon as you walk in an Apple store, the first thing you might notice is the varying classes of Apple employees. Toward the front of the store, you have the "greeters," identified only by their light blue shirts and total lack of knowledge regarding any of the merchandise found in their store. Keen observers might also recognize a slight look of shame, hastily masked by a thin mustache and patchy facial hair. The responsibilities of a greeter are simple. They are:

1. say hello
2. tell the customer their name (usually Stephan in my experience) and,
3. lisp about as often as the English language will allow.

Once Stephan verifies that you are there to make a purchase and not to ask for a bathroom key, he will direct you to the second class of Apple employee: the service person. Identified by their dark blue shirts and standard issue Kabbalah bracelets, the Apple Store service person is an unsettling character indeed. Most of these guys seem to be named Troy, and they almost all have long, unwashed ponytails. First-time Apple store shoppers might make the mistake of approaching a service person on foot. This is a major Apple store no-no. In order to speak with a service person, one must first locate a display computer and generate an email to said service person, reserving an appointment to actually speak to them face to face.

Gone are the days, apparently, of walking up to a salesman and requesting they help you. No, that's too simple, too analog. These days, you send him an email from across the room and wait for him to approach you, that way the evil corporation he works for can obtain your email address and bombard you with spam for the rest of your life. Ya see? Everybody wins.



Take my word for it, this is the Apple store's protocol and they will not allow their customers or employees to deviate from procedure. It's in the books. I'll be honest, I felt a little silly entering my email address into a computer in order to get the attention of the guy who was sitting 10 yards away from me. I've actually attempted to bypass the entering-of-contact-information stage and simply approach an Apple service person with a question on foot. The service person (who was literally sitting in a chair doing nothing with absolutely no one in line) informed me that per Apple policy, he could not answer any of my questions until after I entered my information into a computer and waited to be called.

After the customer has caved in and given Apple their contact information, they are free to wait in line to eventually ask the service person anything they want. When the customer inevitably stumps the service person, it is their job to direct said customer to the third and final class of Apple store employee; the Guru.




The dress code for the guru is a bit more lax. After all, they've earned it. Their computer knowledge is slightly greater than that of a first-year foreign-exchange student, and their social skills are slightly worse. They all seem to wear fleece sweaters but somehow, the look is not uniform. Each guru has their own little touch that they've added to their overall apperance, which on the street would cause you to avoid them at all costs. However, in the Apple store setting, it gives you the assurance that they possess the nerdiness and more importantly the knowledge to help you with your query. Each guru is different in their own way, however a few characteristics are always present:

1. they all sport their own, custom designed, heavily sticker-ridden name badge that is perhaps a relic of a prior job at TGI Fridays.
2. they all choose to express their own individuality by wearing the same acid wash t-shirt featuring a dramatic portrait of a wolf howling at the moon.
3. inevitably, somewhere on their bodies, a series of intricate yet incomplete dragon tattoos can be found.



Gurus are an odd bunch. Until summoned, they wait restlessly in the back storage area, engaged--no doubt--in heated Dungeons and Dragons tournaments that often continue long after the Apple store has closed its double doors. The life of the Guru is at its best whilst inside the confines of the Apple store. Work is the only place where a guru is the guy with all the answers. Everywhere else, he's just the guy that has to wear a t-shirt in the pool.

But what really annoys me is that because Apple products are so trendy and popular, no one seems to notice that the organizational hierarchy inside the Apple store perfectly mirrors that of Jabba's palace on Tatooine. Before you make it to Jabba the Hut, you must first get past the mindless droid who's running interference at the front gate. Next comes Bib Fortuna, a man(?) of questionable skill who can't get you any real answers, but he's still the guy that decides whether or not you actually get to see Jabba. Finally there's the great Hut himself, who mostly just lays there in a pool of his own filth, mumbles unintelligible gibberish, and mocks anyone who dare question his verdict. Plus, on your way out you always wish you had your own Rancor. See what I mean, just like at the Apple store.




But hey, I still really like my Macbook.

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34 Comments:

Blogger Terry Lange said...

Things must be different there in CA (don't worry I am from CA) but when we went to the Apple store here in Minneapolis, we walked in and looked around and a sales person approached us and answered our questions. We were buying for my mother in law (father in law gave us the money for the purchase) Very helpful knowledgable folks. No email involved...

Friday, February 01, 2008 1:51:00 PM  
Blogger Catherine Banks said...

That is totally not my experience here in Texas either. Try another Apple store.

Friday, February 01, 2008 3:24:00 PM  
Blogger Tom Pilarski said...

I'm with you bro'! I had to get them to look at my iPod, seems simple right? Wrong! First to do this at lunch where everybody else has the same idea and the wait to see a real live tech. was like 2 hours. I finally had to go in on a Saturday, leave my name, go walk around the mall......3 or 4 times and then go back to find I still had 30 minutes to go. At least Claim Jumpers gives you a pager for the wait. So after the wait....the tech says your iPod is broke and he hands me a new one. Wow, really! Next time maybe I'll buy a ticket to Texas or Minneapolis.

Friday, February 01, 2008 7:46:00 PM  
Blogger ajlin said...

Re: "Things must be different there in CA" & "That is totally not my experience here in Texas either."

-Here in Louisville, Pecadillo's post perfectly describes the experience of shopping in an Apple store.

Saturday, February 02, 2008 8:38:00 AM  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

I just hate the cultish pandering. They make you engage a store rep. I don't want your help, I just want to look around, by myself. If, and only if, I want to ask a question, I will come and ask a sale's rep.

One other thing. Just be careful what you load up on your computer. If you personalize it in a manner Steve Jobs doesn't approve, he'll send out an update that will brick your machine. Then you have to crawl back to the Apple store to do pentance.

Fred

Saturday, February 02, 2008 8:52:00 AM  
Blogger ThirstyDavid said...

It's always the Apple users themselves who convince me that I will never own an Apple.

Saturday, February 02, 2008 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger Agatha "chotch-key" Lennon said...

man I wish I could spell pretensious.
~~AL
p.s. me and my dad think we know your fiance! she rox! congrats to you!

Monday, February 04, 2008 1:40:00 PM  
Blogger The Advocate said...

My experience is similar to yours, just with an extra level of Apple employee. Between the greeter and the service person, there seems to be a couple of guys who simply wander around looking for people to answer questions for or to make a sale on.

In your experience, does the guru also look like Jabba the Hutt?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger rick said...

"Once you go Mac, you never go back."

I am a HUGE Apple fanboy. I will freely admit to that. The rest of you "other" people are just jealous ;-).

That said, I have never used one of Apple's brick and mortar stores for sales or service. It's clear that surfing online for 15-20 min will be more informative than what you would get from an Apple salesperson.

As far as the "helpful" salespeople... you don't need to send an e-mail to buy anything. Only if you need service from their "Genius" Bar.

But I still enjoy having the Apple Stores because you get to play with everything before you go home and order it online LOL.

I have a work-issued Dell laptop with more processing power and RAM than either of my Mac desktops and the Dell is a piece of crap. Period.

And now, in the interest of "fairness" (even though Apples are still far superior), I shall rant:

- I hate the Mighty Mouse!!! Get a scroll WHEEL Apple! (I use a Microsoft wireless mouse).

- A $500 32GB iPod Touch and still no 16GB Nano? REALLY?!?!?!

- WHEN ARE THE NEW MACBOOK PROS COMING?!?!?!

- iMovie 8 HD... wow. I think its features are below even my 3 yr old's standards. I'll stick with iMovie 5 HD, thanks.

- iTunes: OFFER A SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE!

- Nothing comparable to Microsoft Paint? Really?

- Why must I export a photo, just to reduce the resolution?

- Why only glossy displays for iMacs and MacBooks?

I have a few more, but I will refrain.

WinDOZE is still worse.

Now if they will just release the new MacBook Pros already, so I can move on with my pathetic, obese, howling-at-the-moon lifestyle.

Thank you.

Thursday, February 07, 2008 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger BugBlaster said...

"Once you go Mac, you never go back."

I went Mac and I went back.

I was enjoying the G3 "powerbook" my stinking brother sold me for a while. (he was one of the gurus)

But the first time the machine morphed into a single task processor while I was receiving a 3MB email on dial-up, leaving me unable to assuage my various iAddictions, I was set on the road to apostasy.

I eventually sold the leavened pestilence back to my brother for $500.

I will not own a Mac again. Unless my wife tells me differently. In which case I will. You'll understand soon.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger BugBlaster said...

I miss OS/2.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger Jason Alligood said...

Very funny! I am typing this on a MacBook.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger Theteak said...

The wife and I had a good laugh at that. I have a PC that looks just like Jabba (with a blue light globe in his mouth).

Tuesday, February 19, 2008 4:07:00 AM  
Blogger Letitia (The Damsel) said...

a cheep knockoff

Wow, they're cheap and they cheep! Gotta get me one of those...

BTW, I sent you my kudos on my blog. I'm not worthy!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Dugan said...

I'm sorry your Apple store experience was so negative. I'd encourage you to head on over to apple.com/retail/feedback and leave some comments there.

Friday, February 22, 2008 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger SolaMeanie said...

This is a hoot. I am copying a link for the IT guys at our office.

You should have posted this over at TeamPyro.

Friday, March 21, 2008 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger Daniel said...

Oh sure - you start posting semi-demi-phlegmi-regularly, and I miss the almost come back. I feel like such a poor fan.

Friday, March 28, 2008 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger J. Wendell said...

I have asked Lou Martuneac as politely as I can (several times) to stop emailing my wife with his derogatory, intimidating, high-minded, and threatening, letters. This drove me to my wits end. He has backed off for a while until just recently. It has come to my attention that he has started the harassment again.

Is he going about the blogosphere looking for every American girl to pick on? Does he email your wife when you have told him to stop? Do you know anything about this annoying anonymous blogger other than his oft repeated boast, “I have written a book?”

John

Monday, April 14, 2008 3:27:00 AM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

To All:

This morning I sent an apology via e-mail to Rose and John. The apology was NOT for having included Rose in a bulk e-mail. My apology was in regard to how I reacted to John’s two paragraph comment that I find disingenuous on several levels.

Never-the-less, my reaction was not right, the Holy Spirit convicted me of it, and I responded to Him. I immediately deleted my reply, posted both a public apology and the e-mail to Rose and John I mentioned above.

Furthermore, in the e-mail apology I also asked for their forgiveness.

Even though both Rose and John have been active in the blogs today, neither of them have acknowledged nor accepted my apology. Neither one has indicated or written to forgive me as I requested.

And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any: that your Father also which is in Heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in Heaven forgive your trespasses,” (Mark 11:25-26).

I did my best following my conscience and the leading of the Holy Spirit to make this right and bring closure. Unless I hear otherwise, it appears Rose and John are not willing to bring closure.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” (1 John 1:9).

As far as I am concerned this is a closed issue and under the blood, whether or not Rose and John will respond appropriately.


LM

Monday, April 14, 2008 6:26:00 PM  
Blogger SlightStrider said...

John,

You need to come up to Walnut Creek, CA, where the average pair of sneakers costs as much as the new iPhone and the employees don't care how many trees perish when they print out a 12-inch-long receipt for three items purchased.

You're right about the greeters though. In this case, the customer is always right not because they have the money, but because they have the superior knowledge of the product.

Monday, April 28, 2008 5:54:00 PM  
Blogger Pecadillo said...

Did I miss something there? What happened in the comment threads? Weird.

Monday, May 05, 2008 1:01:00 PM  
Blogger rick said...

I thought it was a gang turf war, a la Cop Rock.

Monday, May 05, 2008 1:08:00 PM  
Blogger barb said...

i thought a satellite had bounced off a moon rock and "blipped" "One Life to Live" on your blog!

Friday, May 09, 2008 9:45:00 PM  
Blogger Chad V. said...

I don't have any friends who listen to Cher....

Monday, June 09, 2008 9:19:00 PM  
Blogger Theteak said...

Lou "I have written a book" it's about Cher. Could you plese read through it and tell me if there is anything derogatory.
Regards,
Anonymous...

Sunday, June 22, 2008 6:23:00 PM  
Blogger theGracegirl said...

I'm confused.

Monday, July 21, 2008 1:14:00 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

No posts in half a year? I hope you're writing in some other venue, dude. Otherwise, your wasting some great talent.

Friday, August 08, 2008 4:10:00 PM  
Blogger barb said...

Bob Dude - You said, "No posts in half a year?" Don't you know what the biggest thing that has happened here in the year 2008! Check out (21 July 2008): http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2008_07_01_archive.html
The "dude" has gone and gotten himself married as of July 18th,2008. Check out the pics courtesy of Leila Bowers - they tell the whole story. Keep the newlyweds in your prayers, people.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008 6:35:00 AM  
Blogger The Advocate said...

Despite Pec getting hitched, I still feel alone and cold in this world without his humorous posts here to keep me company.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008 7:19:00 AM  
Blogger redhead83402 said...

dude ~ you should totally write ~ make it your career or something ~ seriously, very funny stuff ~ oh & try walking into a verizon wireless ~ same crap.
oh, & congrats to the mrs pecadillo ~ it's always good to be connected ~ :-D
~Red

Sunday, October 26, 2008 11:18:00 PM  
Blogger Gilbert said...

As we approach the one year mark of no Pec posts, I find myself asking an intense question:

Did a PC lie in a bush somewhere and kidnap him?

Sunday, January 11, 2009 11:12:00 PM  
Blogger Daniel said...

I was looking at my reflection in the window of the bank that stands opposite the bus stop, just as I stepped off the bus. The air was warm for February, but a light snow was falling, which was a welcome change, and the morning sun, though obscured by cloud cover, lit the area well enough that there were no shadows, and the glare off the bank window glass made a near perfect mirror, for it was dark within. As walked towards my reflection, I noted my own open parka, the goofiness of my touque, perched as it was atop my head, and as I was about to form some opinion regarding myself, I almost started when a person moved just inches from me on the other side of the window - hidden as he was by the glare, the dark, and my own intense concentration on my own image in the window.

I wondered what this fellow must of thought of my scrutiny, which to him must have seemed both intense and even awkward. In the moment that he moved I caught his eye, and he looked quickly away - perhaps frightened by the my other worldly behavior. There are a lot of unhinged people in the world, and most right thinking folks try not to draw their attention.

And so I turned, and waited for my connection, not giving it another thought, until I came here and saw such an empty space at the bottom of the meta, and decided to fill it.

Long live this blog.

Thursday, February 12, 2009 7:52:00 AM  
Blogger EGC said...

Pec? ... Pec? Dude, we know you got married, but... Pec?

Monday, February 23, 2009 8:24:00 AM  
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Thursday, January 21, 2010 4:24:00 AM  

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