Posted by: nickgerlich | March 12, 2008

Apple Corps

Harley-Davidson owners are an interesting lot. It’s split into two camps, the rough-and-tumble Hell’s Angels roughriders, and the Accountants. But both groups treat a visit to out-of-town Harley shops as being on par with a religious experience. Heck, they even horde t-shirts from all the shops they have visited, much like pinheads collect guitar pins from Hard Rock cafes around the world.

I must now confess that I have become an Apple Store fanatic, always checking online to see if there is one near where I am going to be. And if they had t-shirts available, I would buy one.

Apple StoreSo a few days ago I found myself in Houston’s Galleria paying homage to the Deacon of Coolness, Steve Jobs, and his white-on-white retail chain. Just like in Las Vegas, Chicago, Tampa, Indianapolis…the place reeks of techno-sex appeal. Gadget porn. Take my credit card and feed my addiction. Meth for the digiterati.

Oh yeah, and attitude. You have to have attitude to work there, the ability to give the look that says “You’re not worthy, but we’ll try to help you anyway.”

The funny thing is, no matter where I go, the Apple Store is always the busiest store in the mall. And they are actually selling things. None of those lame “I’m just looking” excuses. No siree, people are walking out with MacBook Pros, iMacs, and accessories.

So powerful is the draw to Apple Stores that websites have sprung up tracking them. Want to know where the newest stores are opening? Want a coveted internship? Check out the site and dig around a while.

To their credit, Apple understands the buzz machine quite well, and only confirms store openings 7-10 days prior to their debut. But Apple fans scan the want ads in their local newspapers, looking for Now Hiring ads that betray their impending opening.

Ironically, I didn’t spend a dime on either of my visits to Apple this trip. I had them check out my daughter’s MacBook that failed to start about half the time. Naturally, it worked just fine for them. They then chastised me for not downloading all the latest updates (“You moron!” the guy behind the Genius Bar said with his eyes). The machine worked great before leaving, but upon my return to my hotel, my luck ran out. I hooked up the wireless mouse and tried to fire it up, and it cratered again. It was only after a little ingenious troubleshooting of my own that I finally determined it was the wireless mouse causing the problem, not my lack of updating. Now exactly who is the genius here?

But I will be back, of couse. The Mac Air was a delight to behold. And the 24″ iMac blew me away with its picture quality. In the mean time, I will work on overcoming my newbie convert naivete so I can at least hold my own on the next visit.

I just hope they start selling t-shirts. This kind of affinity is worth wearing.

Dr “iLoveIt” Gerlich

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