The Apple Store is Like a Partial Journey Through One of the Circles of Hell

Recently, I had the brilliant idea to update my Macbook Pro from Mountain Lion (which I had literally just gotten used to) to Mavericks, because a) It was free, b) It was free, c) It was supposed to be an improvement, and d) Did I mention that I love free shit?!?!

What followed was a catastrophic series of events that I am still not entirely certain I’ve escaped from… it’s like my computer is a repair junkie and I just got it back from the shop and I’m waiting to see if it’s going to relapse on me.

The coming signs of the apocalypse:

1. If you update your computer and suddenly get weird, black checkerboard markings behind windows, it’s not supposed to be there.

2. If your Safari ‘Recent History’ page on a new tab looks like it was taken over by the static from the ghosts on Poltergeist, you guessed it! It’s not supposed to be there.

3. If your Macbook starts lagging, freezing, or displaying the tendencies of the old Windows computer you decommissioned and sold to buy the laptop, it seems like you are probably on the road to a terrible, terrible place that I like to call:

 THE APPLE STORE

Have you ever walked into a room where you instantly felt that you didn’t belong? Got that icy, miserable, shooting feeling that someone who thought they were better than you was staring real hard at the back of your neck? Then you, my friend, know what the atmosphere in an Apple store feels like.

Now, don’t get me wrong—I have never encountered someone who works for the Apple store who is douchey to me. This is ENTIRELY reserved for people who come in there to buy superfluous accessories, overpriced machinery, or take classes on how to use said items. There are a couple of things about the Apple store, however, that lend themselves to creating this atmosphere and even intensifying it over time so that you’re either found unworthy to remain and are expelled from the premises posthaste, OR

You become that loathsome individual who glares at me at the Genius bar because I took the seat next to you, even though it was empty and you’re alone.

Jerk.

At any rate, be prepared for the hailstorm of sub-zero glares and people annoyed that they have to wait and let you go first, even though you arrived a full ten minutes ahead of your reservation time.

As I said, there are certain factors that go into Apple store set-ups that lead to confusion, irritation, and self-righteousness in their customers. In the particular store that I frequent (multiple times, recently), it is a single, large room that extends to the back where a Genius Bar rests. Along the sides are computers, some displays, and thousands, and thousands* of people.

 Image

 *May not actually contain thousands of people.

When you walk in the door, the first thing that happens is one of two things: You will either glide by, completely ignored, shuffling your way past the dozens of Apple denizens clogging the single entrance and escape, or, you will be accosted by both the Apple workers, and the angry, searing faces of customers. Likely, both.

In either case, the first person to greet you has an iPad in his/her hand. They will ask you what they can do to help you with.

“Ah,” you think, surprised at the genteel and pleasant greeting, “a person who can help me at the door, and not send me into the fray of swirling, tangled madness that lies a few feet away. Mayhap they can even allow me to complete my quest here, rather than tread into that mire?” … Or, maybe not, because you don’t speak with an Old English accent.

“I’m here for an appointment at the Genius Bar,” you might say, if you’re me, since you were there for that. The worker turns, his eyes large, his face unsmiling. He points a long finger into the dark, bubbling cauldron of insanity.

“Three tables hence, you will find a man or a woman who doth carry a green-plated iPad… this person will start you on your quest, but hark! Many others seek to do the same.”

“Uh… okay. Weird,” you say, even though you don’t think to judge the fact that you were just speaking that way a moment ago. Also, you may ignore that you’re being a giant, Old English-y hypocrite.

You push through the perilous pathway to find the person with the green iPad, only to realize that they are SURROUNDED on ALL SIDES by sour-faced people who are there for the same reason that you are, and there is no way to attract attention to yourself without doing something illegal or stupid. You could scream and jump up and down, but likely, they’d just mistake you for one of the many children in there already doing the same.

So you wait. You watch dozens of people cut the queue and jump in front of you, but you can’t do anything because you aren’t even sure where it starts, or who came after you. Finally, you reach the person with the iPad. He holds up a finger and signals you to wait, which is unbearable, because at any moment one of the vultures on the sidelines is waiting for a weak point to jump in and attract his attention. Finally, he looks up at you with a sad smile.

You explain why you’re there, over the din of the surrounding mosh pit, and then he checks your name off of the tablet after you spell it for him five times and finally just point it out yourself. Then, comes the third leg of the journey. He lifts his arm, and you can feel your heart dropping into your stomach. He points his finger, and sends you to the back. Alllllllll the bloody way to the back toward the Genius Bar, which is the very heart of the insanity in the store. You nod to yourself, suck up your trembling chin, and march.

The Genius Bar. There are four wizards toiling, but there are twenty peasants sucking up air around them. Screaming. Wailing, Gnashing their teeth over the broken and misfiring bits of electronic machine. But where do you go? You know that you must choose wisely or risk losing your tentative position in the order.

Don’t sit by the training tables, you’ll get passed over and someone will yell at you for taking a stool. Don’t hover over someone’s shoulder. Don’t stand at the wall, they won’t know you’re there. You have to act, quick! Like a hawk, the first seat you see, snatch it. Doesn’t matter that there are twelve people gunning for that same coveted seat. Don’t mind that you can feel their eyes cursing you—run for it!

You wait twenty minutes for your reservation, even though it’s fifteen minutes past when you were supposed to be seen. You quietly, sadly watch the wizards’ faces while they march past, hoping to be the lucky one that gets chosen next. Finally, they descend to you. Angels sing. Clouds part. The light pours through the heavens. You have the attention of someone who can help! Oh lucky day! Explain the problem, leave your computer, and count down the days until your return. Brave the madness one more time, only to get your computer home and realize it’s still messing up.

Shake your fists to the sky, curse, and scream, and know that you will have to do it all again. Your journey was for naught.

The conclusion of this sad tale: Don’t be a dick to me in the Apple Store.

Be considerate of others who have to share the same space as you. The store is tiny and you’re only making me hate you making it harder for people to do what they need to do.

…And also EVERYONE WITH AN iPAD IN THE APPLE STORE SHOULD BE ABLE TO CHECK PEOPLE IN, I MEAN IS IT THAT HARD? WTF?! YOU’RE MAKING PANDEMONIUM—YOU’RE PLAYING WITH PEOPLE’S LIVES, MAN!

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