Friday, May 16, 2008

Apple of My Eye: My Love/Hate Relationship with the Apple Store

RE: The Apple Store!

Have I told you how much I HATE going to the Apple Store? It's not even crowded and I still hate it. My appointment at the "Genius Bar" is at 10:20 am but they said they are running late. (They opened at 10:00, so really how far could behind could they be?). While waiting, I am tempted to get one of those streamlined new desktops however. (Don't worry!)

I brought in Ellie's computer because it keeps freezing and I also brought in Daniel's laptop because whenever I sign in under my name it automatically boots me out of the Internet. They better fix both these motherf**&ers - and do it with a smile. And you KNOW I am going to tell them that this is my 4th Apple purchase in as many years and I'm getting sick and tired of the "Frozen Pinwheel" and letters that start to look like little stick men every time I go on the Internet.

PS: After that I am getting my new bracelet re-sized and exchanging the remote that Ellie broke in a fit of  rage.

Good times, 


To me, going to the Apple Store (at least any of the ones located in Southern California) is not unlike to paying a visit to the poor-man's "Les Deux." No, you won't see Lindsay Lohan or one of the Olsen twins, but you will see every 19 year old who strives to be them. The music is loud, the outfits are trendy, there is always lots of exposed skin, tattoos and body-piercings. Also? There are people, EVERYWHERE.  If only the staff were carrying trays of Jagermeister shots or flutes of champagne instead of those tiny little credit card machines that allow them to ring up your purchases anywhere in the store. Oh, and I'm pretty sure they are pumping pure oxygen into the air to make you feel young, exhilarated and ready to spend!

I try to avoid this place as often as possible. First, because I always feel old, stupid and ugly when I walk in.  Seriously,  it is so brightly lit that no one over the age of 34 can possibly look attractive. Secondly, it is usually more crowded than a Green Day concert circa 2004 and crowds make me riddled with anxiety. I'm often tempted to take a Xanax before entering just in case it gets real hairy. But more than anything is that damn temptation factor. The marketeers of Apple are geniuses - make it simple, shiny, bright and new and they will come. 

Today I was in no mood to peruse through the new Apple 59 inch desktop or check out the 19th edition of the Ipod. I wanted someone to just tell me how to get on the Internet without getting the dreaded "Unexpected Error" message.  (Christ, I wish I could use the "Unexpected Error" excuse when I didn't want to do something. "Honey, I was going to do the dishes but my internal hard drive had an 'Unexpected Error' and I froze"). To make matters worse, my daughter's 2 1/2 year old laptop was starting to display signs of a breakdown. I know from Apple breakdowns as I've been through two - first with my Apple desktop which made it a whopping two years before the pinwheel span no more. And then again with my son's first desktop which finally kicked the bucket after months of dealing with the perpetual spinning wheel and letters that started to look like some fake computer language code from the first Star Trek movie. 

The Apple Store has something called a "Genius Bar", which is a bar where you meet with a proverbial "genius" to troubleshoot any tech problems your Mac may be having. Unfortunately, (much like hot nightclub "Les Deux")  not just any Joe Schmoe can saunter up to the "Genius Bar" for help. You need to be on "the list." In order to get on today's list I had to wake up at the crack of dawn, and "register" for an appointment online. Sure, you can do this at the store itself, but expect to be waiting downstairs at the Panda Express for approx. 3-4 hours before your name is called. Amazingly, I got a 10:20 appointment with a note that told me to show up at 10:15 to "sign in".  Excited, I put on my best casual Carrie Bradshawesque outfit (short-shorts, a linen tunic and high healed wedges, funky silver jewelry to match), because no one wants to look out of place at the poor man's Les Deux.

At 10:10 I arrived, laptops in hand to a smaller crowd than usual. I stood up against a bookshelf of Apple games and waited for my name (which was flashed up on the big board behind those hunky Apple "Geniuses") to  be called. Unfortunately for me, Dennis R. and Sandra Y were ahead of me on the list. Dennis and Sandra must have had some major issues as I didn't get called until  10:49. 

I arrived to find a  pimply-faced 20-year old who I'm pretty sure WASN'T a genius but rather a computer nerd with too much time on his hands. In my opinion, if you're going to advertise a "Genius Bar", I want to see Steve Jobs or Stephen Hawking (with his voice box of course) standing there (or sitting if you are Stephen Hawking), ready to serve. Regardless the pimply, tech kid did fix my "unexpected error" immediately and I was forever grateful. As for the other computer, the one on the verge of a nervous breakdown, he told me to reinstall the operating system, using the disk that came with the computer (uh, right!) and then I heard something along the lines of "blah, blah, hard-drive, blah, blah network, blah megabyte, blah cache." 

Thanks Techie McGyver, I'll get right on that.  I smell a Dell in my future!

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