I am sure sales staff at the Boise Towne Square Mall Apple Store wanted me to make a purchase, but they didn’t want to earn it. I spent a while before writing this in order to present my experience in a calm way. I also spent a while trying to decide how to begin this article, but know I am writing it not on a new iMac that I drove an hour out of my way to purchase tonight. Before I get into my experience at the Apple Store this evening, let me take you back to Tuesday May 3rd, 2011.
That Tuesday the new iMac Quad-Core machines hit the shelves. I spent a little time Tuesday night going over all the specs and decided that I wanted to purchase with my hard earned dollars. That night I put my mid 2009 model 24” iMac up on Craigslist. I received many offers and ended up with a buyer, however the buyer seemed flaky as I could narrow down a time to complete the sale. Finally today (May 5th, 2011) I completed the sale after many phone calls and text messages. Bottom line it was stressful selling the iMac and not the best of times to sell anything on Craigslist.
Fast forward to a 25 minute drive from my home to the BTSM Apple Store. I arrive excited to purchase the new iMac. It should also be noted my last few experiences in the BTSM Apple Store have been far from stellar. Both were purchases of an iPad, which saw the Apple Store employees being aggressive in not honoring my employee discount. It is a discount from a major US Company and it has been a quite the teeth pulling exercise for the BTSM store to honor the discount.
I digress. Here I am going through what I want with the Apple Sales Person on a floor model and “he says ok, hit add to cart”. I look at him as he was kidding and he was not. The reason given what the Apple Store only carries the base 1TB model. I was really, you don’t carry 2TB models. His answer is still no, not “no I am sorry and some explanation”, but just a plain no. I tell him that I had called earlier and asked if the store had 2TB models and the answer was yes. I repeated to the Apple Store employee, so you carry 1 and 2 TB models. The answer yes we do.
As I wanted a new machine tonight, I decided to sacrifice the 2 TB model and upgrade the memory. It should be noted that the Apple Store can upgrade the memory with no issues. As I head up to pay the sales person hands me a Track Pad that I had requested. As I am waiting for the iMac I begin commenting that Apple is smart not to include either the Magic Mouse or Trackpad in the box and having the choice was great.
The sales person then responds to me something to the affect that oh you will have to buy the Trackpad separately as the iMacs come pre-stocked with the Magic Mouse. I tell him that is not how the Apple Store states it on the Apple website. It should be noted that the BTSM Apple Store employee was unaware of the option to choose. He had to be educated by another employee and myself. It is at this point I dropped the need to purchase at the store that evening. I drove home purchased a new 21.5”, 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7, 4GB of RAM and a 2TB Serial ATA Drive. I received my employee discount with no problem and it is due to arrive sometime in a week.
I know many will say that this is normal. I call bunk. Boise has had an Apple Store since September of 2010 and I have had the luxury of having a Genius Bar to fix an iPhone and iPod Touch since that time. However, purchasing items the local Apple Store has been a huge disappointment in my opinion. The request I had was not much. I wanted a 2TB model and upgraded processor, with a Magic Track Pad and I am still not sure how I didn’t walk out of the Apple Store with a new iMac.
I won’t bother you with what I think Apple should do, since many of us know Apple doesn’t really do much of what the customer wants but rather what they want. It is stupid in my opinion that Apple is not as flexible with buyers. It is also astonishing to me that I have had such terrible service the last few times I have made or attempted to make purchases.
To me having a local store is not an improvement on the prior situation facing local Boise Apple Product buyers previously. At least with the reseller one could have more of an option in what was purchased, well of course that was after a few weeks wait for its stock to arrive. Bottom line the waste of time and gas makes buying at the local BTSM pointless, when I am not going to receive the level of customer service and product I want. In the end the BTSM store wanted my money, but had no way of earning it and it likely will not any time soon. Oh, and writing this on a Windows Machine makes me feel dirty.
First the EPP was offered on the Apple Store Website the day of the announcement and was available the night of the online launch. I could have purchased then and had no issues, but chose to take part of the launch. Second if you read the article you should note I called the BTSM Apple Store to verify that 2TB models were available for sale. I was assured there were. This was the issue I had. By no means was my request customer with the exception of the upgraded space. Also if you upgrade memory at the store you can't say a machine is not able to be upgraded.
First: There wasn't an employee (EPP) discount on iPads until very recently (within the last week). So if you were purchasing before that was enacted it just wasn't there. Second: So you wanted a custom configuration and were surprised when they didn't have it? REALLY? There isn't a single retailer in the entire world that stocks custom configurations. None. Be it a car manufacturer or a computer company, none do this. Custom means just that- custom. Unique. One-off. So why the rant again? :)
Sadly, this is no surprise. The fact is that new hires in the Apple retail ecosystem are not on your side as they once were. I developed a long standing relationship with an Apple retail employee in the late 1990's when CompUSA had their 'store-within-a-store' section. That employee was also a regular member of the user group where I lived. There was never any question regarding discounts based on our membership. He made sure we got them. I continued my retail relationship with that employee until I was unable to obtain the options I wanted at the retail store level. At that point, I began buying computers from their online store. However, I continued my smaller purchases that didn't require build-to-order specifications. I'm sad to see that the current employees are trained to avoid providing customers with their legitimate discounts. I had an occasion to trade in an iPod Nano for a current model. The form they handed me to fill out was more complex than getting a license at the DMV! And their floor staff had no experience with the paperwork, requiring management level staff to guide them through the process on my time! They need a great deal of customer awareness training that they don't seem to get these days. This seems to be just a job to them.