Given the crazy amount of foot traffic Apple stores get, someone decided that the designated cash registers had to go. Now any Apple Store employee on the store floor can check you out (plus there's an app for that). It's an amazing idea--in theory.
Here's the thing, though: All the Apple Store employees are overwhelmed helping the myriad folks browsing and asking questions. When I walk in with a mission to purchase a Lighting cable, I must push my way through the crowds to the corner of the store and grab the cable. Now the fun begins: I need to track down an Apple store employee who isn't engaged with a customer. In the past I've actually abandoned the whole thing and left the store without buying the cable. My ever-clever wife has come up with a solution for this problem though: She simply raises her hand. This is surprisingly effective in summoning an Apple Store employee over the general hubbub of the store.
The jerk store called and they're all out of McNulty
As I said at the beginning of this article, the Apple stores are making an insane amount of money for Apple. At this point, Apple could open a store inside an old orange crate and sell hundreds of iPhones a day--but isn't "the experience" part of what Apple sells us? The experience of going to an Apple Store is no longer a pleasant one; it's now more of a chore. I just want to grab that iPad and get the heck out of there so I can give Apple even more of my money in the comfort of my own home.
If Apple were to hire me as its next retail chief (which it really shouldn't), I'd do a couple of things differently:
Hire more staff for the most popular stores. I know Apple Stores are already well staffed, but they need more Geniuses and more floor staff to handle these crowds.
Impose a 30-minute limit on usage of the demo machines. If you don't know whether you're going to buy that MacBook Pro after 30 minutes, it might be time to consider an iPad mini.
Add an obvious place for people to pay for purchases. This would be in addition to having every floor staff person available to check people out (and letting people check themselves out for certain items).
With those three small--and granted, expensive--changes I would once again become a devoted Apple Store visitor. I won't fix the demo Macs though. I promise.
This story, "Why I dread going to the Apple Store" was originally published by Macworld.