The Apple Store: Bad Customer Service at Your Local Mall

by Gregory Ng Jul 10, 2003

imageI have always taken pride in being a member of the 3.5-5% minority group known as Mac users. I found out this weekend one of the reasons we stay in the minority. I came to this realization this afternoon while I was at the mall with my wife and daughter. There we were, strolling past Victoria’s Secret, Crate and Barrel, and Ann Taylor: all the usual stores you will find in any mall across the United States-when I saw a new Apple Store. The black facade, the white glow of the Apple logo—my heart began to race and my palms began to sweat. My first reaction was of excitement. I have frequented 2 other stores within driving distance, but this location is by far the closest to where I live. My walk suddenly became brisk in pace and I just couldn’t wait to see everything inside. This excitement quickly turned to outrage. Mind you this was not a verbal tirade. I was not about to make a scene in front of my daughter. Rather this was an internal rage that I have kept inside of my brain for 6 hours now and thus, I am spilling out my frustration onto my iMac. Here’s what happened.

Absolutely nothing.

Not one person. Not one so called “Mac Genius” who today were all wearing bright orange Apple Camp t-shirts, came up to me. Not one person greeted me with a hello. Not one person asked if I needed any assistance. Not one person explained to me what Apple Camp was even though as a prospective switcher nervous about the transition, I might find it useful. “This is a problem”, I thought. “Maybe they think I’m just browsing”, I thought. So I started to fiddle with things. I picked up the 30GB iPod. I ran my hand down the back of the Harman Kardon subwoofer. I picked up the ibook and flipped it over.

Still…no one.

“Maybe they are busy, I concluded as I glanced back to the bar area and saw 4 employees laughing and talking in a group. I left in disgust.

This is a big problem that Apple has on their hands. Suppose I was a timid PC user, riding the fence on switching and I came into this store looking for a friendly hand in making the switch? I would have turned right around and walked back out the door. The following is taken from Apple’s website:

“At the Apple Store you can experience the complete line of Macintosh computers and an amazing array of digital cameras, camcorders, the entire iPod family and more. The Apple Store is a place to ask questions and get answers. And it’s the best place to learn about the Mac.”

Ok, the store had the products nicely displayed but it was not the, “best place to learn about the Mac”. I am not asking for a dedicated greeter like my local Walmart. Nor am I asking for someone to hound me, a la Circuit City. Rather the Apple Store needs to focus on the non-Apple users before they cater to the existing Apple user base. We already know what we want, what is available, and what it costs. We are there to ogle and fondle. We are the 5%. Apple already has our support, our dedication, and our money. But if Apple wants to have any chance in increasing market share via the Apple Store, they are going to have to train their employees to be friendlier. Or at the very least to talk to their customers.

It’s customer service 101. What have your experiences been like at the Apple Store?


  • I so extremely excited when I heard the iPhone 3G announcing the phone was going on sale for $99!

    I rushed into the store in Pentagon City Mall, VA and was pretty much degraded for not wanting the new 4G phone. I asked if the 3G was available and was told that they are no longer selling it and I really wanted the 4G. No, I wanted the phone that was on sale for $99. I asked if he could call and see if we could locate one since my daughter’s graduation was in a few days. He told me to call the number myself. I told him that apparently, I needed to go online for help in the store…so I accessed the apple website IN THE STORE to get the information I needed and found out that the 3G pre order was starting on June 15th. He seemed annoyed when I found the information. I explained that I really wanted the 3G phone that was on sale. I will never step foot inside an Apple store again…it was the worst experience ever!

    On a good note….Since I wanted to give my daughter something in her card for graduation…I visited the AT&T;store and they had a gift card and iPhone sleeve which was exactly what I wanted for her big day. The AT&T;representative was very helpful and asked me to come back with any questions I may have about the iPhone. She also reminded me of the date to pre-order the iPhone. Excellent customer service..and I was planning on switching carriers…until I had that experience!

    My daughter needs a MAC for college- she is a visual artist-I am buying it through the online store…I told her to NEVER step into the gates of hell formally known as THE APPLE STORE.

    disappointedapplefan had this to say on Jun 14, 2010 Posts: 1
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