Apple Retail

Recently, Business Insider published an opinion piece by writer Avery Hartmans about what visiting an Apple Store for a repair is like. The article, though an editorial, is not the kind of thing that should be covered on a news site. It's one person's experience, written from one person's perspective.

Here's what I mean.

Hartmans starts the story off describing how she went to an Apple Store for a repair without an appointment, hoping to be seen that day (there were no more online appointments available and she was in a hurry). She explains how Apple's Town Square approach was too confusing for her.

When I stepped inside, I was immediately struck by how many employees were working on a Sunday afternoon. The store was packed with people, about half of whom were employees. Somehow, they all seemed busy...

There was no clear place to stand or person to approach, and I wandered before finding an available employee. He passed me along to someone else, who handed me off to a third person.

The fourth employee I talked to was my technician, who took my phone and promised to repair the screen in about two hours.

From my perspective, she was helped by four Apple employees who each gave her instructions on where to go and what to do. That's bad?

Without an appointment, Hartmans was seen right away and was told her screen could be repaired in just a few hours. Though it took longer than expected, she (again, without an appointment) was able to have her iPhone screen repaired in four-and-a-half hours. That's bad, too?

Then, even though she admits to having dropped her iPhone twice, Hartmans' iPhone went black and "bricked" —something she blames solely on Apple.

Since my phone worked perfectly before I went in for a repair ... I can only assume that a mistake was made in the repair process.

(That's a presumptuous assumption.)

She went to a different Apple Store, again without an appointment, to get her iPhone fixed. She waited "several minutes" (which is pretty good by retail standards) to talk to a greeter who gave her clear instructions on how to find an Apple staff person to help her see a Genius, which she considers to be confusing, as well.

"Take the staircase on the right and go to the second floor," he said. "Find the person holding the red iPad."

I walked around the entire upstairs and peered at each employee's iPad until I found one with a red cover.

Sounds like she was able to find who she was looking for right away. She was also able to get an appointment for just 30 minutes later.

When she came back for her official appointment, she checked in with the appointment receptionist, who told her to sit at a nearby table. She was then helped by another Apple employee who got some information about her issue (presumably to let the technician know what they should bring to the appointment). She was then helped by the official technician 20 minutes after the start time of her last-minute appointment. I've waited longer to pick up take-out that I order two hours ahead of time.

So, after being helped by a number of people that were trying to make the process quick and smooth, she was given a new iPhone at no cost (other than the original $150 that she paid for the cracked screen repair).

From my perspective, this is a perfect experience when dealing with an emergency repair. She was helped by multiple employees, all doing what they could to ensure that she was accommodated in a timely fashion, even though the store was busy and she hadn't made an appointment.

Hartmans, however, considered it to be "from hell" because she (of her own admission) would prefer to stand in line.

I know Apple envisions having a store where customers can flow in and out — or congregate, like in a "town square" — but sometimes it's just easier to stand in a line. At least from a customer's standpoint, you know where you need to be.

She prefers the stand-in-line method over Apple's way of freeing people up to wander around. By not making you stand in line everytime you want to speak to an employee, you're able to check out new accessories, sit on a stool for a bit, and play with iPhones, iPad, Macs, or whatever else catches your eye.

Would you rather stand in line?

I'm not trying to say that every Apple Store experience is wonderful, especially when we're referring to some of Apple's most popular locations. They are very busy and it can sometimes be difficult to navigate.

I don't think Hartmans' opinion is wrong. It's an opinion, after all. What she doesn't seem to understand, however, is that what she calls hellish, I call ingenious. Some people will agree with Hartmans' assessment that, "there's much to be desired with Apple's repair process." I also believe that some people will agree with me that everything she complains about is what I love about the experiences I have when visiting an Apple Store for a repair.

The real problem is that Hartmans' piece is written on a business news website and speaks about subjective matters in an objective way. It's just one perspective amongst many based on one single experience.