Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Not So Magical Apple Store Experience

I love Apple products and have spent a small fortune buying said Apple products at various Apple stores.   In one of my posts I described how my son and I are Apple fans for life because of a simple act of an Apple Sales Associate and how he gave us a new iPod Touch after my son dropped his and cracked the glass the day after Christmas.  We didn't buy it at the Apple Store but he did this simple act of kindness anyway.  Wow that's customer service.

How quickly the magic fades....

I recently received an iPod Touch as a gift (this is long after my son received his replacement back in December).  I have an iPhone 4 and an iPad, my wife has an iPhone 4 and an iPad and my son has an iPod Touch current generation and the first gen so suffice it to say that we really didn't need another Apple iPod Touch.  Unfortunately I didn't have a receipt.  Because of my wonderful experience with the Apple store previously I thought maybe they would take the return and give my a credit or something so I could buy more of their products.

Boy was I wrong.

I walked into the Palo Alto store and spoke to the greeter and told her what I wanted to do.  I showed her the unopened iPod Touch.  It was pristine and brand new looking.  It looked exactly as it does when you buy it with the thin white sheathing that protects the clear pastic of the iPod Touch box.  I never opened it.

She looked at me as if I just ripped the store off or something.  

They don't have these things on the floor so I'm not sure why she thought I stole it.   I guess I could have stolen it some place else but I don't think I'd be coming into the store with my family to return stolen merchandise.  Anyway, she proceeded to go to the Genius bar to look up the serial number or something on the computer.  She came back and said I'm sorry you didn't buy it here so we can't take it back and that was it.

Now I know most retailers these days don't take merchandise that wasn't bought at their store but I kind of thought Apple was different.  I mean if I wanted to get the typical retail experience I would go to Best Buy or Walmart.   For me the Apple store was sort of magical.  All of my previous experiences with the Apple store had been great so why would this be different.

Apple, if you're listening, maybe instead of looking up whether I purchased the iPod Touch at the store, the sales associate could look up how much Apple crap I've bought over the years and then make an informed decision as to whether to give me a credit for a $220 device or not.  I mean I've purchased a small fortune of Apple products from Macs to stupid dongles and I think the least Apple can do is to assume I'm not their to rip them off.

Alas, the Apple Store is just a tad bit less magical to me today.

P.S. A friend of mine did the same thing and was given cold hard cash at the Palo Alto store so if nothing else be consistent.