I got a Mac yesterday at the Apple Store. Somehow, the Apple Store offers at once the most self-expressive employees and the most predictable experience in U.S. retail.
At the Apple Store, you get a "personal shopper"—typically, a 125-pound, super-competent gay guy. The first time you betray surprise at the store’s exceptional service, he will squeal, "Someone’s been shopping at Best Buy! JK!"
He will wear an aqua Apple t-shirt that says on the front, "I could talk about this stuff for hours." And he will laugh at your dopey jokes about how you don’t know anything about computers. He plays the geek, you play the swashbuckling creative type who doesn’t have time for technology.
Once you’re grooving on the novelty of being a rich genius, your personal shopper will go to work on helping you feel secure (for the first time in what seems like ages!) Along with your computer and its "Time Machine" backup system, he’ll sell you a slick-looking black credit card that guarantees that Nothing Bad Will Ever Happen to You and Even If It Does We’ll Send a Different Gay or Straight Guy to Your House to Make It All Okay In Like Five Minutes.
Microsoft bundles; Apple swaddles.
And if, despite all these efforts to make $2 K seem like nothing to pay, you’re still hyperventilating, the personal shopper appeals to your very humanity, subtly making the choice between a PC and a mac seem like nothing less dramatic than the choice between a cyborg and a human being.
Give me the human! you shriek, now feeling a combination of self-esteem, well-being and individualistic rebelliousness perhaps unprecedented in human emotional history. Give me that Mac!
The Apple Store: If it wasn’t a business, it would be a drug.