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Picking Apple

January 22, 2010

Where am I? The store is as crowded as a bus in Calcutta. The people there to help are friendly and easy to spot. Even in post holiday madness they are ubiquitous, warm and cool-headed. You don’t think of them as salespeople but more like heroes because they are solving problems with you that you cannot solve alone. It is difficult to leave without buying something. The layout is so seductive, the people so clever and helpful, and everyone is having at least a degree of fun. It is such a pleasant state to visit, you want to leave with a souvenir.

Am I in a faraway place? A small cheese store in Italy, perhaps? No, friends, I am in the country of Apple, where play is the standard and hospitality reigns. I could go there every day. If it were closer I’d work there; I kid you not. These people are coining fun.

In a time when good news seems scarce, fun is even more fun.  I can lust after the gorgeous new desktop and swoon without hearing as a kind, intelligent salesperson outlines its features. I can visit another store and hear the same lecture from another darling person. Short of acquiring a pricey new chunk of hardware, I can still play the game. Once I’ve sprung for the tiniest, most cunning slip of a device, a world opens up and is there for the bite-size purchase.

A buck for a new song? A chance to learn Greek on a cute three-inch screen for the cost of a cup of coffee?  A Scottish cartoon for the price of an ice-cream? My toy looks like a piece of jewelry, and there’s no end to the amusement it brings.

Cut to another phone store I am merciful enough not to name. Let’s just say it has three syllables and starts with a V, as in Victor.  What do you know: there are people behind a counter answering questions for customers. You take a number, kind of like a deli. Someone greets you at the door and asks what you need. Heavens to Betsy: they are trying to mimic the Genius Bar!

This is when I realize that not everyone can replicate a concept unless they know what is really at work. The store I like visiting is not about people who are bored pretending to help people who need advice; it’s about people who love their work helping people who love their machines to figure them out. It’s about people who enjoy the place they’re in, the riddles they’re solving, the people they’re helping, and the mood they’re in. It’s about the sense of beauty and the twin moods of play and wonder that are downright infectious.  They’re infectious enough to make you forget the deficit and want to pitch in with the earthquake. And that takes some talent.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 23, 2010 2:20 pm

    Wow, have YOU swallowed the kool-aid or what?

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