Growing Pains and other Idiocy

Growing Pains and other Idiocy
If, based upon the title of this post and the image I used, you thought I was going to go on some rant about Kirk Cameron’s opinions on a host of issues, think again. (I have, however, made clear on numerous occasions that he and I could not disagree more, especially about the issue of marriage equality.) No, I’m speaking about growing pains and idiocy of the Apple kind.
Elana and I arrived for dinner with my parents a bit early so I hit the Apple Store at the Short Hills Mall while we waited for them. I used to think Apple salespeople were well trained but, after listening to one salesperson speak to a customer, I’m not so sure anymore. The man was looking for a laptop and the salesperson truly appeared to have no clue. My first hint came when he said, “Oh this 13″ MacBook Air is comparable to a NetBook”. Way to sell the guy on the MBA Mr. Apple Idiot. Seriously, that’s like saying, “This car is something you should consider. It is kind of like the Yugo…” (And, having owned numerous netbooks I can say with certainty that that is a stupid comparison.)
It got better when, a short time later, he said, “The air is really for someone who already has another laptop”. Seriously? The MBA is not for someone who has so much spare cash that they can purchase an entire additional laptop just for travel? Tell that to Elana who only has an air and could be happier. Or me for that matter. I only got an iMac recently because I wanted to have something that would also act as a remote server and an external display. As it was I almost went with the Cinema Display and got the iMac because, for a bit more, I got the display and an extra computer.
But the best had to be when, in response to the question “Is it dual or quad core” the salesperson said, “Oh, neither, it just has a single core processor.”
Uhm no.
Growing Pains and other Idiocy
Something tells me Apple needs to up their salesperson training just a bit.
Oh, and as for Kirk Cameron… Not a fan.

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.

5 Comments on "Growing Pains and other Idiocy"

  1. I have to admit that I’m not really a Mac person.  I’ve read enough around here to know that you’ve all loved yours though, and gave a MacBook a try a few years ago.  But, as a Windows person, it was nowhere near the “it just works” level for me.  It took me more than a month to figure out how to rename a file, just as an example.  So, I dropped the cash to get the Apple One-To-One training, figuring that way I could make up my list of questions each week, as I was trying to do things and having trouble figuring out how to do them. 

    The One-To-One lessons became the “How to stump an Apple Genius” game every week.  They couldn’t answer things like what the best program was to take a screen capture, or how to maneuver around in the Mac version of Word.  It was actually nuts, because I would sit there for my allotted hour, while one guy (they were all guys at that store) talked to another guy, who asked a third guy and so on.  If I was lucky, I might get one answer out of 5 or 6 questions.  I came to the conclusion that those lessons were really for people who had no experience at all with a computer before, and needed to be taught how to open a browser window, or get their email set up and then learn how to attach a file to an email and things like that. 

    I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure it all out, but never quite got to the point where it could be a primary computer, except when it was booted into Windows from a boot camp partition.  So, I sold it about a year later, having given up on the One-To-One lessons after about 4 consecutive weeks of them not being able to answer any questions from a computer geeky person who was trying to make the move from Windows.  You’d think they’d have at least one person on-site that would be able to assist someone to make that transition.  But, nope.

    Now, I’d actually love to get another Mac of one variety of another, and be able to use it not as a primary computer, but to play with the photo and video aspects of it, which kicked Windows butt easily.  But, unfortunately, they are just out of my price range for me to get another one just to use for that reason, and of course to take advantage of the fact that jailbreaks always come out for the Macs first…LOL!  Who knows, maybe I’ll “inherit” one from someone one day – goodness knows I’ve given away tons of stuff to other people – maybe that good karma will come back to me one day!

    But anyway, my point is that after that experience, I don’t have very high expectations for the abilities of the staff in the Apple stores to actually know much beyond the answers to super simple questions, and when they don’t know, they’ll usually guess.  Even if they do try to find you an answer, there usually isn’t someone actually present who knows the answer. 

  2. As my grandparents said, “Oy!!!”

    I really do have to wonder if Apple’s meteoric rise isn’t going to come back to bite them. With growth as rapid as theirs how can’t they have salespeople like the one I overheard and one-to-one Apple-non-geniuses such as those you experienced find their way into the pipeline!?!
    Honestly, this has been one of my concerns watching Apple grow so amazingly. Still, I never expected to hear something quite as stupid as what I hear today.
    Sent from my iPad

  3. I’m surprised that renaming a file was a problem since it’s almost the same way as it is in Windows!  And screen captures are simply Command-Shift 3 (whole screen) or Command-Shift-4 (Partial screen).  And there are other 3rd party utilities available just like on Windows (Google searches are wonderful things!).

    That said, I must agree that the quality of personnel isn’t as good as when the stores first opened.  I wonder if they’ve just tapped out the talent pool in some markets?

  4. Perhaps if someone in the store had known the answers when I asked them, I might still use a Mac.  For me, it was trying to re-invent the wheel.  I knew all the programs I use to accomplish my particular needs to complete my projects and whatnot, as well as my day to day needs.  Trying to recreate that knowledge on a whole new system just wound up being futile, so I gave up on the idea of making a permanent move to a Mac.  I’m just a Windows person.

    And, I did spend an inordinate amount of time attempting to teach myself from Google searches, friends who had Mac’s, and more discussion forums than I could count.  And, in doing so, found out that it just was never going to be able to be a replacement for Windows for me personally.

    The point to the post however, was that the staff in an Apple store should be more prepared to work with people who want to switch, and have a knowledge base that would allow them to work with people who are more tech-savvy on another system, rather than a skill set that only allows them to help people who have no idea about how to send an email or attach a file.  Had the staff been more knowledgeable at the time I actually paid them to teach me the things I needed and wanted to know, I might have actually learned to love using a Mac.  Instead, I went back to Windows quite happily, and learned that an Apple “genius” is anything but.  

  5. As I mentioned, the quality of staff isn’t what it used to be (or what it should be).  I agree.  But I also think that sometimes we are simply too invested in a particular platform to make a migration an easy, practical or even a desirable thing.  Sometimes it is because of a specific application (or applications), sometimes it is simply that “a particular way of doing things” is ingrained because of having done it that way for so long.  Sometimes it’s just that the thing you want to do is simply done better on a particular platform.  Whatever the reason, changing is just not for some people.

    For me, using multiple languages with lots of special characters is critical and Windows just plain sucks at it.  Apple did that particular feature better – plain and simple.  The point is everyone has something that is critical to them and Macs don’t meet everyone’s needs all the time – neither do Windows PCs.

    That said, I’ve have good luck with the platform and I have no problems bouncing between Windows Office (Word, etc.) 2010 and Mac Office 2011. I think they are very similar these days (but not a few years ago!).  The specific examples you gave were easy for me to respond to, but it sounds like you have a LOT more examples and maybe some of those can’t be easily responded to and don’t make the translation well.  In any case, I don’t think there is ever a “one size fits all” with these things and you need to work with what works best with you! 

    Good luck!

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