Apple is a church and the Apple Store is its temple
Apple is a religion and the Apple Store is its church. The Sydney Apple store, on George Street, is a particularly large version of this church.
You know how people in cults and Sci Fi movies always wear clean, mono-coloured clothing. Bing, that’s the Apple Store.
You know how churches are always big and bright and filled with sickeningly happy people. Bing, the Apple Store again.
Even the huge, white staircase that somehow appears transparent looks fit for a set of “Heaven”, the movie.
The first thing to do at an Apple Store if you’re serious about being served is to make an appointment. I had a 3pm appointment and they slotted me in at 12:20, without question. Clearly, the church of Apple understands its followers can be pressed for time.
Here’s the other thing, despite the fact the store is jam-packed, it doesn’t feel crowded and nobody is angry. Groups of people step on each other’s toes to get a closer look at the accessories section where the cheapest thing is $30 RRP. But nobody baulks at the price.
The man next to me points at the crowds and comments on how popular the products are becoming. It’s like he doesn’t even register how much time it’s taking out of his day just to wait here.
But the Apple people know exactly how long you’ve been waiting. Four or five of them wander around in shorts, swiping at their iPads for no apparent purpose and recommend you top up the parking meter as your appointment is still at least three people away.
Then you make it to the Genius Bar and the guy behind the desk shakes your hand and looks you in the eye and asks how your day is. He then sticks what looks like an ear probe into the back of my phone (it had stopped charging) and hands me a completely new one.
“This problem is not your fault,” he says handing me the shiny, scratch-free version of my old phone before ensuring all my contacts are loaded back in.
Apple gets full marks for service. But I leave with the feeling that if I didn’t rein myself in, I’d wake up with plugs attached to my skull, wandering the store in a blue T-shirt.
But guess what? The weirdness doesn’t end there. Safely back at home I decide to ring Apple to find out if replacing phones is a normal feature of their repair service. Chris on the Genius Bar phone hotline tells me it depends on the type of problem.
He says that phones that can’t be fixed are routinely recycled, as per the company’s environmental policy. Still strikes me as a whole lot of toxic waste for a company named after something that drops off a plant.
Later I ring the Apple media department on my now functioning iPhone only to be told that Apple doesn’t actually have any media spokespeople.
“It’s not how things are done at Apple,” says the phone drone, whose name I can’t use. Apparently the media get one opportunity every quarter to speak directly to the CEO and chief financial officer.
In other words they speak to you, you don’t speak to them.
Just like a church sermon.
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