Pyrotechnics in Sears (10/21/99)

Longtime fans of the show are painfully aware that AtAT's local Sears is an absolute disgrace when it comes to Macintosh sales displays. Not that Sears stores in general are the Aristotelian ideal for the effective floor display of any product, but there's a definite relative difference in badness when it comes to Macs at this particular store. Whereas, say, a floor-model Kenmore refrigerator might have a mildly-dented freezer door and be missing one of the easy-clean glass shelves, a display iMac is more likely to have six System Folders and a hard disk named "fdskl3kl3a54a453333" (on a good day it's something at least vaguely more creative, like "MY BUTT IS C00000LLLL!!!!!!!"), be stuck at a bomb dialog, have no mouse, be covered in graffiti (Sharpie on polycarbonate is truly a wonder to behold), and be on fire.

Well, okay, maybe it's not that bad. But actually, if the iMac were on fire, then at least it might attract some attention to itself for a change, since it's buried waaay at the end of the aisle, blocked from view to all but the hardiest customers willing to brave the depths of the rat-maze occasionally referred to by local wits as the "Sears computer department." As of today, there's still no iBook on display, though the translucent plastic iBook brochure dispenser is now empty as it sits next to the prominently-displayed Compaq laptop under the giant "Intel Inside" signs. Based on what we've seen, we're starting to think that maybe there had been an iBook on display at one time, but it was blown up by gelignite-toting vandals while the sales team stood idly by, complaining about how "work is hard."

But maybe someday, instead of regaling our viewers with these horror stories, we'll actually be able to complain to someone at Apple who can work to correct the situation. (We'd email Steve Jobs, but somehow we suspect that by now he's got a mail filter set to redirect any messages that include the words "Sears" or "CompUSA" and the phrase "sucks rocks.") According to Mac OS Rumors, Steve's been seen slumming with an unidentified entourage at his local CompUSA stores to check out the state of the Apple stores-within-stores. If the rumors are true, this is supposedly part of Apple's new grand focus on improving its dismal retail presence-- and the most exciting factor to us personally is this rumored plan to allow "volunteer Mac supporters to visit authorized retail stores and return a 'report' to Apple via the Internet on their performance." We say, bring it on-- provided, of course, someone's actually going to read the literally thousands of reports that such a plan would generate, and do something productive with the info. Actually, even if the reports just go into the bitbucket, at least it'd give us a place to vent without boring the pants off our four thousand daily viewers...

SceneLink (1861)
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The above scene was taken from the 10/21/99 episode:

October 21, 1999: Mac OS 9 is ready to roll, and the rest of Apple's product line joins in for a weekend chock full of Demo Days madness. Meanwhile, our local Sears may get a Steve Jobs smackdown if Apple implements a customer retail report form on its web site, and Bill Gates won't be getting an honorary degree from the University of Victoria, despite his deep, deep pockets...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 1860: Gear Up, Party Down (10/21/99)   Here we are, scant hours away from the debut of Mac OS 9. Well, the official debut, anyway-- there were those 450 copies accidentally sent out early by some poor schmoe at Apple who likely had his pink slip autographed and laminated by the Mighty Steve himself...

  • 1862: No Degree For Billy G. (10/21/99)   You'd think that the richest man in the world could pretty much buy anything he wants, right? In fact, when you're that rich, people even give you stuff you never asked for-- it's kind of backwards, but it's true...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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