The Apple brand has been racking my brain lately. With their ongoing battles with Microsoft and others, I’ve been wondering how such a glorified brand is able to maintain their image in light of actions I’d describe as “evil.” In Part Two of this post I outline why Apple is evil, but first I want tell you about my Apple Store experience last week and share the big news.
Apple has stopped selling it’s category-changing iPhone 3GS.
This past Friday, I took a trip to the Apple Store. I decided I was going to join the “cool crowd” and get an iPhone 3GS. I went to the store around 6:30PM and noticed a line outside the door. I’ve seen this before when Apple releases a new product but this was a different story. As I peeked inside I saw at most 50 people inside and caught a glimpse of the iPhones I was about to take home with me. That was until I was stopped at the door by an Apple Store employee.
My conversation with an Apple Specialist (AS) outside the Apple Store
Me: “You guys are pretty busy today. Huh?”
AS: “Yes. The weekends can get pretty busy.”
Me: “I’m interested in getting an iPhone 3GS, but have a question. Do I get the AT&T plan when I purchase it here?”
AS: “Great! Yes you can get the AT&T plan with it right here or go online and fill out your info beforehand, I’d recommend doing it online so it’s quicker when you come back.”
Me: “Okay, cool. I’ve been debating whether to get one, but I’m ready to take the plunge. Can I buy an iPhone now?”
AS: “No. We aren’t selling the iPhone anymore today.”
Me: (Hmm) “Okay. Are you out of stock or something, I think I want a white one.”
AS: (Interrupting me mid-sentence) “No. We have every iPhone in stock. We just aren’t selling the iPhone at this Store location anymore.”
Me: “What? You have the iPhone I want(I point inside the store to it), but I can’t buy it?”
AS: “No. Sorry, we are only selling computers now, this line is for people buying computers.”
Me: “So how can I get the iPhone?”
AS: “You can come by tomorrow. Just make sure you get here early enough so we can sell it to you.”
Me: “What? Are you sure I can’t buy it now?… I have legal tender.”
AS: “No. Sorry, just come back tomorrow and we’ll hook you up.”
Me: “Okay.” (Somewhat perturbed)
AS: “Have a good day.”
Me: (Walking away dejected, and talking to myself) “It’d be a lot nicer if you could sell me a freakin’ iPhone. What the heck just happened??”
This past Friday was particularly busy retail day in North Carolina because it was a tax-free weekend. In light of that, Apple made the decision to only sell their presumably higher margin computers, which from a bottom line business perspective makes sense, but from a customer service perspective stinks! If I had traveled much farther than 15 minutes and was turned away, I would have been pretty mad. If I driven an hour or more to the Apple Store to buy an iPhone and was turned away in this manner, I would be livid and likely considered boycotting the Apple brand.
Needless to say, the Palm Pre is looking much more attractive now. Despite my bad experience, I’ll be back to the Apple Store this week to see if Apple will actually sell me the iPhone this go around. I’ll let you know how it goes and ask you to weigh in on whether Apple is evil. Stay tuned, Part Two of “Is Apple Evil?” should be up later this week.
UPDATE: My second attempt to buy an iPhone was unsuccessful. After failing to port my number, the Apple Store told me my number wasn’t eligible for porting; said I should to try to buy an iPhone at an corporate AT&T store, but implied it might not work there either due to porting rules.
My third attempt was successful! AT&T ported my number in a snap and transferred my contacts from my Treo 755P to my new iPhone 3GS (something the Apple Store apparently can’t do). I’m in business and enjoying the WordPress for iPhone app for this post. Hoorah!!
What do you think? Should Apple have turned me away without an iPhone 3GS in hand?