Making Retail Suck Less (4/13/01)

Believe it or not, folks, Apple is listening! Remember that letter you sent them about your unsatisfactory shopping experience at the Apple store-within-a-store at your local CompUSA? The one in which you detailed a litany of transgressions, such as a lack of Apple-knowledgeable salespeople, an array of demo Macs in various states of disrepair, and a huge stocking ladder permanently blocking access to the latest Apple gear? The one you sent in early 1998? Well, great news-- someone at Apple apparently read it and is taking steps to remedy the situation. Sure, they're three years late, but they're moving fast!

It's almost good news, then, that in most (but not all) CompUSA locations, the quality of the Mac sales experience is basically just as awful as it was three years ago. According to MacNN, Apple is testing out a new program in which an honest-to-goodness Apple employee-- as in, Steve signs the paycheck, not whoever's running the store this month-- works a full forty hours each week at CompUSA to make sure that the Macs are handled and sold appropriately. In addition to performing sales duty and making sure that the demo Macs aren't on fire, the poor shmoe also gets to fight the uphill battle of trying to "train CompUSA employees in Apple technologies." Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new definition of the word "futile," but anyone who's really willing to take on such a formidable task has our utmost respect and admiration.

Reportedly this program is launching in "nine stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and nine stores in the SF Bay area," and if it makes a palpable improvement, Apple will extend it to CompUSA locations all across this great land of ours. We figure that means that Apple's going to have a whole lot of retail sales positions sprinkled all over the country before long, because we're hard-pressed to imagine how this test program could make the situation any worse. So those of you who dream of working for Apple and who happen to live near a CompUSA should perhaps consider polishing up the ol' résumé, because if you're game to fight a tough battle for The Cause, you may be just what Apple needs. Good luck.

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The above scene was taken from the 4/13/01 episode:

April 13, 2001: Sure, the Power Mac G4/733 is at the top of the heap right now, but in four months it might be the entry-level model. Meanwhile, Microsoft plans to promote its proprietary WMA audio format by crippling MP3 in Windows XP, and Apple plants full-time Apple employees in CompUSA locations in a bold attempt to improve the retail experience...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 2988: Top To Bottom In 4 Months (4/13/01)   Do you ever get that sinking feeling when you think about how much you paid for your aging computer equipment compared to how much it's worth today? For instance, when we bought our PowerTower Pro a few years back, we laid out $2600 for it-- $3100 including the used monitor...

  • 2989: Sound, Fury, And Bill Gates (4/13/01)   Did you find it a little odd that Uncle Steve made such a big deal about the whole "unrestricted encoding" issue at the iTunes intro back in January? We did. We sort of took it for granted that if we wanted to MP3ify our CD collection, we should be able to do it at the highest quality that suited us...

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