by Pa Rock
I swore off of Wal-Mart and shopping malls years ago, so why did I find myself pushing a path through Arrowhead Mall today? What could be dumber that stepping into a major mall on Christmas Eve?
Here's the story:
I noticed a few weeks ago that my iPod wasn't holding a charge more than a couple of hours. Last week I took it to Best Buy because they sell iPods. I figured if nothing else, the Geek Squad could at least pop the damned thing open and change the battery. That would have been way too simple. A young store clerk told me that I would have to take it to the Apple Store, of which there is apparently only one in western Phoenix, fifteen miles from my home in the other direction. The sales clerk kid questioned me about how I used my iPod. I told him that I take it to the gym a few days a week, but basically it plays all day on the docking station at work. That, he said, was the problem. It recharges on the docking station, and too much charging will wear out the battery.
Why hadn't I read about that little quirk in the instruction manual?
Today we got off of work at noon, and I headed to Lowe's in Surprise to pick up some landscaping supplies so that I could stay busy over the long weekend. Anticipating a trip to the gym sometime this weekend, I had my iPod in my jacket pocket. With the whole afternoon off, I decided to scoot on down the road from Lowe's and get that new battery. I knew roughly where the Apple Store was located and figured that I could find it. I assumed it would be a store, standing alone, on Bell Road.
The first guy that I asked told me that it was in the Arrowhead "Shopping Center" on Bell between 83rd and 75th. When I got to that area, I discovered a big shopping complex on the right hand side of the road. After looking carefully at blocks of stores, I finally went into Barnes and Noble where I knew that smart young people would congregate - all of whom would know where the Apple Store was. The first person that I asked told me that I was on the wrong side of Bell Road, so I piled back in the rag-top and fought my way across Bell to the other shopping mall.
When I still couldn't find the Apple Store, a good Samaritan directed me to enter the mall through Macy's and head for the food court. "It is downstairs from the food court and to the left," she assured me. What she didn't explain was that the food court was at the end of about a quarter mile of pushy holiday shoppers and teenage street walkers.
So I finally got to the Apple Store at a few minutes before two p.m., and, being Christmas Eve, it was packed. I thought about cutting my losses and leaving - but I stayed, and I am glad that I did.
The Apple Store was very impressive. First of all, there was plenty of staff and I found myself being triaged within moments of stepping into the store. A young man with some type of hand-held computer asked me why I was there. I explained the situation and said that I needed to replace the battery in my iPod. "We don't replace the batteries in iPods," he informed me politely. As I turned for the door, he added, "but I can help you." He took my vitals and entered them into his computer. He said that I had an appointment for 2:10 p.m. at the "genius counter." He showed me where to sit and wait, and within minutes I was talking to a technician
I told the young man (they're all young!) that my battery wasn't holding a charge. He looked me up on the store computer, told me that it was still under warranty, and handed me a new one! How simple was that?
As the technician was filling out his paperwork, I decided that I would take the opportunity to learn more about iPods and Apple. I asked if spending too much time on a docking station would cause the battery to lose its charge more quickly. He told me that would be the case only if the docking station was under water! Then I asked about iPhones. Would some other carrier beside AT&T begin working with iPhones? He told me that he didn't know. I grumbled a bit about AT&T, airing some of my complaints from forty years ago. The technician kid smiled and replied that he had heard it all before. I did learn that the Apple Store provides workshops on how to use the iPhone - in the event that I choose to buy one.
I was in and out of the Apple Store in less than fifteen minutes - with a new iPod in my pocket! Apple rocks! I see an iPhone and a Mac in my future.
Steve Jobs, answer your iPhone. It's Verizon calling!