My Apple Experience – a non-diving post

Let me be right upfront here – I am a PC guy.  There, I said it, and I feel better already! 

Now with that out of the way, let me share my story ….. In 1984 I bought my first desktop micro-computer, an IBM PC XT, complete with not only an 8086 chip, but upgraded with an 8087 math co-processor.  Let me just say we were overwhelmed with the lightning fast speeds and the ability to crunch numbers faster than anyone would ever need to!   The operating system was PC-DOS, and Bill Gates, founder of Seattle Computer Products (predecessor to software behometh Microsoft), was only in business for a year at the time.   Our basic storage device was a 5 1/4″ floppy drive which could hold like 256k of data.  Life was good!

So, the euphoria soon passed, and I needed an even faster, bigger machine…yes, I needed it!  Computers are like crack…..there is no going back to the abacus once you have tasted the keyboard lifestyle.  Bigger, faster, more memory, new numbers actually being invented cause no one ever conceived counting as high as a gigabyte or a terabyte…there was no stopping this train.  I think over the course of the past 27 years I have bought, personally and through my businesses, over a hundred computers, and each one promised to be the “Final Solution” in terms of speed, storage, and capabilities….but the addiction continues….

2008 comes along and I decide to move away from those cassettes and get into high definition video and digital file storage for my underwater experiences.  I buy a JVC system and the Everio software, so now I am ready to roll..or so I think.   Two years of frustration in file management, video editing, movie making, and I am banging my head against the wall.  None-the-less, I keep shooting, knowing deep in my heart that there is an answer someplace.  My friends all know that one day, they will actually get to see themselves underwater when I finally produce that video from their trip!   

Remember now, I am a PC guy, and I know that if I keep soldiering on, it will, maybe, hopefully, eventually come…..keep saying that to myself..the answer is around the next bend…

Now I am not one that embraces change real well, and big changes are even harder for me.  I still don’t know where to stand in line at a Starbucks, or how to speak the lingo, or even what they sell there!  But I know I need to do something to get my video production going, so on a lark, I decide to investigate that other brand, and I covertly sneak over to the mall and approach the Apple store. 

I stand outside of the store, in the ‘neutral zone’ for a little while and try to figure out the dynamics there….lots of folks in blue shirts, most of them way too young to be able to help me, I am sure.  Lots of people playing with phones and computers at random desks and tables throughout the store, and something called a “Genius Bar” towards the rear.  Hmmm….ok, I figure I am ready, so I take a deep breath, look around to make sure no one sees me, and head on in. 

So I meander over to the laptop area, and sure enough, one of the blue shirts comes up to help.  Immediately friendly and helpful, she asks what I am trying to accomplish.  Well it seems that Apple does everything I want to do, just about straight out of the box, without me having to add a two page list of options and upgrades as I have had to do with my HP’s, Toshiba’s, Dell’s, and other PC’s.  Within minutes, she has narrowed my options down to one or two computers that will do everything it appears I want to do.  And I want it to do it fast, so she suggests an upgraded memory that they don’t have in the store, but rather than send me off to order it on line, she fires up the screen and walks me through the order right there.  Seems there is no commission structure at Apple, and the number one job for everyone there is to be, get this, helpful! What a friggin’ concept!  For a moment, I feel like I am at Indian Valley Scuba!

She helps me finish my order, and tells me that Apple will keep me posted on the shipment.  Sure, sure, I think, I’ll go home and wait.  I leave, smiling at the experience and treatment, and figure that maybe I might be OK with this whole Apple thing. 

Well guess what awaits me when I get back to the shop?  My confirmation of my order, and the shipping status of each item that I bought (laptop, keypad, 24″ HD monitor, and some One-to-One service agreement).  Heck there are ship dates already there and I know when to expect arrival. And none of the dates were more than a few days out…waaaay different than my most recent Dell order, where we waited weeks for the items to be built and shipped.  This Apple thing sure is different! 

Well I ordered it Thursday, and on Friday, the keyboard shows up.  And, my computer is shipping that same day, from Shanghai, China.  It arrives Tuesday, and the monitor two days later.  Amazingly different than the PC guys…. 

So I have everything now, and I need to head back over to the store to have them do a complimentary transfer of all my data from my HP laptop to the new one.  This is all part of the deal…no need for me to purchase transfer software as I have in the past, no need for me to bang my head trying to figure out why things don’t work right…..this Apple thing sure is different.  But remember, I’m a PC guy!

I check the clock and it is already 8:00 p.m. here in Harleysville, and the store is in King of Prussia, so I grab my stuff and race out the door.  Speeding down the highway, I watch the minutes click away, knowing the store is only open until nine, and of course, you know how store employees are as closing time approaches, starting to dim the lights, half-close the door, whatever it takes to defer any last minute customers.  Will I make it?  My stress level is high as I careen through the mall parking lot, hoping against hope that there will be a spot close to the mall entrance so I won’t have made this run in vain.

This is where the magic really started to occur tonight….there is a spot right in the first row, right where I want to be.  OK..fate is kind.  I park, grab my stuff, and run into the mall to head to the store.  Will they be open?  Will they accommodate me?  I race past the other stores and they are clearly in shut down mode, as it is already 10 minutes before nine.  Finally I get to the Apple store, and it is filled with customers.  Don’t they have clocks in this store?  Hmmmm… I catch my breath, and walk in, not sure where to go with my two computers in hand.  All the blue shirts are busy, so I walk up to the Genius Bar, and watch the hustle and bustle of activity around me.  Like the Starbucks thing, I am not sure where to stand, or what the protocol is, so I just take it all in for a few minute.  Finally a young guy comes out with some product for a fellow standing next to me, so I asked him what to do, and without hesitation, he says, “give me a minute and I’ll help you”.  Amazing.

The magic continues, as he finishes up the other customer, and now, in spite of the fact that is is 8:58, he walks over and asks what he can do for me.  I explain that I am a PC guy, and don’t know the drill here, and he tells me it is OK, he is here to help.  He takes a look at my new Apple and says “Whoa!  This is a smoking machine – I am jealous!”.  That helps assure me that at least I didn’t under buy!  So he walks me over to a work station, and spends the next twenty minutes telling me how the whole customer system works, what the steps are, he makes my first one-to-one appointment for me, takes my computers for the data transfer, and shows me some options with my emails and some other features.  I must admit….I’m a PC guy, but this treatment is melting down my barriers to the whole Apple thing.  The most amazing part?  It is nearly 9:30 now, there are still about four other customers in the store, all being taken care of like me, everyone is smiling, and not a single staffer has looked at their wristwatch to see what time it is.  No sense of urgency to close, they are there to do whatever it takes to make this customer experience a great one. I feel like I am in Disney as the magic happens, but hey, I’m a PC guy…remember? 

I walk out of the store, smiling, and not afraid if someone sees me exiting the Apple store.  Is the magic over yet?  As I leave the mall, I reach into my pocket and pull my keys out.  Suddenly a young lady appears at my side, and says “I think you dropped this” as she hands me a handful of cash that popped out of my pocket  – this is a magical evening!  But remember, I am still a PC guy….. (maybe).   

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2 Responses

  1. Dave . . . are you a PC guy?

  2. I AM a PC guy…..I think!

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