No Jumping To Conclusions (2/21/02)
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As we've mentioned on numerous occasions in the past, those of us obsessed with Apple's retail initiative quickly learned that online job postings often reveal upcoming store locations long before Apple formally announces them. It's just one of those things that Apple can't really hide; we imagine it's kind of tough to open a store before hiring any help, and people interviewing for jobs generally like to know where they'd actually be working. Few prospective sales assistants won't blanch at accepting a job which might involve a thousand-mile daily commute if the store turns out to be four states over. The gas money's a killer.

So unless Apple would be willing to preserve its secrecy by assembling a staff at the last possible second via the simple expedient of pulling random warm bodies off the street and sacrificing any and all standards as to employee qualifications, goals, or personal hygiene (a strategy commonly known as the "Best Buy Approach"), word about upcoming Apple stores is just going to have to leak out as Apple recruits eager Mac fans looking for a career in retail. That's why scanning Apple's job listings is such a reliable way to spot upcoming Apple stores months before they open. But you have to be careful not to jump to conclusions.

For instance, we noticed that MacNN just posted a link to "dozens of 'Computer Sales Opportunity' listings on Monster.com" that Apple has put up over the course of the past couple of days. These positions list openings for "interactive, high energy, highly motivated, goal-oriented individuals" with "1-3 years retail electronic sales experience" in scads of locations which currently lack any hint of an Apple retail store. This has led numerous overexuberant fans to assume that they've stumbled upon the motherlode of geographical data on Apple's second wave of retail store openings.

Sorry to be the ones holding the bucket, but here comes the cold water: those job openings are almost certainly not for upcoming Apple stores. Try to keep up, here-- Apple is specifically seeking individuals with "commission sales experience," which doesn't quite mesh with the Apple store sales model. The company has also never heavily recruited Apple store workers who are "knowledgeable in [the] Windows and Macintosh platform[s]," certainly not giving Windows top billing. Then there's the bit about requiring the "ability to teach and train others not familiar with the Apple brand." Apple stores don't offer customer training courses, so ask yourselves-- whom would these people be training?

Connect the dots, and it all points squarely to Apple's last remaining national retail partner. Remember how Apple has been working to put a real, honest-to-goodness Apple employee into 70 to 90 CompUSA stores across the country? Now that's an environment in which experience with Windows, commission sales, and training Mac-clueless coworkers would make someone the ideal candidate. Just to verify, we selected a sample of cities from Apple's Monster.com retail job listings-- Totowa, Parsippany, Mt. Laurel, Princeton, Springfield, Edison, and East Hanover, all in the great state of New Jersey. We then headed over to CompUSA's store listing page to do a little searching. Well, whaddaya know? By an incredible coincidence, there just happens to be CompUSA store in every single one of those New Jersey cities-- and few others.

So if you were jumping up and down in glee because you thought an Apple store was coming to your hometown and now you feel like they just cancelled Christmas, hey, cheer up-- at least your local CompUSA is probably going to provide a much-improved Mac shopping experience sometime soon. That's something, right?


 
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The above scene was taken from the 2/21/02 episode:

February 21, 2002: Yes, Apple just posted a slew of sales job openings-- but they aren't for new Apple retail stores. Meanwhile, if you're itching for an iPod but you're low on cash, we've got a cunning plan for you to get one for free, and it's business as usual for Microsoft, who is tracking the music and movie habits of its users and twisting its "Redmond Justice" settlement into a bigger club to wield against its customers...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3584: Our Brilliant Free iPod Plan (2/21/02)   We have to admit, we really thought that Apple would have been forced to drop its price on the iPod by now. After all, just about every review we've ever seen of the thing practically gushes over its various and sundry droolworthy features before finally concluding that it's just too expensive for most people to afford...

  • 3585: Plus C'est La Même Chose (2/21/02)   The world of high tech moves awfully quickly, while the U.S. legal system hugs the other end of the speed bell curve-- so when you chuck 'em together in a box and shake it, which one wins? To answer that variation on the old "irresistible force meets immovable object" quandary, look no further than Microsoft and the company's various antitrust entanglements...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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