I felt nauseous and wanted to kill someone. My first though: "Oh crap, I'm pregnant." Nope, just in a Mac store.
It bothers me when people say they miss the "good old days". Which ones? The slavery days? When women couldn't vote days? I miss the good old days. The days where you could make a purchase without feeling like you've just joined a club.
As a business owner I understand that strong branding creates loyalty and recognition, blah blah blah, but what I'd really love is to walk into a store without entering a lifestyle. I have a lifestyle. It's inconsistent, comprised mainly of procrastination and baked goods, it's mine.
Between 8-9pm last night I purchased a Mac Book Air (what a pretentious name, it's a computer, not a book and it most certainly does not give me life), but I am not a fan. I just needed a new computer.
I'd passed Mac stores many times in my life; usually to mentally spit on people lined up like hamsters waiting for a new product release pellet. Really? The device you purchased a year ago is just so way passed it's prime that you need a new one with which to watch Internet porn and stalk exes on Facebook? You really need the latest technology upgrade so much that you're willing to stand outside a store for hours like an a-hole?
I have a Blackberry, not an iPhone. Never have I spent time prothlesizing about the benefits of said Blackberry to family, friends, or acquaintances. It's a phone, not a magic bean. It will not raise your kids, cook meals, or explain why Chris Brown is still on TV. It makes phone calls, sends texts, takes photos, and does the email thing if you're into that. Oh and other things that I'm too busy living life to explore at this time.
From the inside, Mac stores resemble a cross between a mod lounge and condo leasing office. Notice I didn't say "place of business". Nary a transaction to be seen with the naked eye. At any given time there are clusters of students and cleverly disguised vagrants using the model computers to tweet and surf the Internet so people who want to get in and out have to stand around trying to figure out who works there.
After a few minutes, a man with a headset on (I assume he was simultaneously MC-ing a wedding) approached me. I was very clear: "I'd like to buy that (pointing) computer." He seemed surprised that I didn't want to spend a few minutes making out, praising Apple, or discussing how cool he was.
Because he wasn't trained in the difficult art of swiping a credit card, I was asked to wait again as a salesperson who probably has a cute official name -- Mac Daddy, Apple Friend, Johnny Mac-el-seed -- came over to check me out. Again, I experienced a look of utter shock when I opted out of a one year online training course that would help my computer and I get to know each other better and foster open lines of communication. Maybe there'd even be a certificate to print out at the end of it. When asked why I chose to keep my free time free and not pay $99 to to enroll in this "school" my answer of "because it sounds like a lot of work" was met with a glance of disdain.
At this time I would like to address all Mac store employees: please lose the attitude. You work in a Mac store. You did not create the Mac nor did you pioneer its technology. Steve Jobs is not your father, uncle, or friend. Don't let the fact that you're wearing a cotton blend t-shirt and jeans fool you, you are indeed at work and here to serve the customer (me). I'm not in awe of you. I'd just like to buy a computer.
Naturally I turned down all accessories and add ons -- I'd already seen a computer case on Etsy that would suit me quite well. A bonus look of disdain was achieved when I shared that piece of information with my Apple Friend.
On the drive home I hated myself just a little bit for crossing over to the dark side. If not for Michael Dell and his crap boxes, I would have spent the evening making quesadillas. Honestly, I probably would have purchased a Mac earlier. The Apple ad campaign featuring the side by side smartass with no job and a degree in philosophy from a State school Mac Dude clowning the hard-working father of three slightly overweight inarticulate PC Man pushed my purchase back 9-18 months.
I know people will ask me why I bought a Mac if I seem so obviously turned off by the company culture. What can I say. I heard good things.