I had a date with a Genius today. Well more an appointment than a date because that is what you have to do if you want to speak to someone at an Apple Store.
Miss P’s i-Book had flat battery after she left it playing music and it has stubbornly refused to be recharged ever since. Despite several visits to the stores in Sheffield and the two in Manchester, she failed miserably to get it fixed and, with six days looming before the warranty ran out, I thought it best to intervene.
The Apple Stores are so Steve Jobs. It isn’t the minimalist wooden floors and furniture or the tech that surrounds you, it’s the staff. Dead casual. They wear jeans or chinos topped by black t-shirts and at least five days of stubble. They call you by your first name quite naturally (which is nice) and generally behave like geeks, rather than nerds.
I’ve never quite understood the difference between the two, but you do when you enter an Apple Store. Nerds are the kids you come across in PC World, clean-shaven and uniformed, beaming smiles and sales commission incentives, especially the lucrative after-sale insurance.
The geeks, on the other hand, shamble around attired as above. They talk softly, whispering technobabble with no expectation that you have a clue what they are talking about, but they get the job done without fuss. Which about sums up the Apple Stores.
There was me with the receipt and warranty bits of paper and till roll that PC World et al would have demanded or it would have been void, which the softly-spoken, stubbly bloke behind the bar waved away because he just knew who owned the Mac and what their corporate obligations were. (Okay, so it was a computerised record. The thing is, I didn’t have to do anything to prove the point.)
But my main point is how Apple commissionise and incentivise their best people. It’s dead easy. How would you feel about going to work if on your black t-shirt was the word ‘Genius’ in small white letters? No name PC World tag, no ‘Here to Help’, just ‘Genius’. And you don’t have to shave.
It’s Genius. Nearly as good as the sheer type.