This is an open letter to Apple (the computer manufacturer, not the fruit and certainly not the child of the actress because that would be weird), This subject is in my thinkee place because of a recent trip I took with my son to a local Apple Store to get yet another set of ear buds (because the ones you can buy on eBay are even cheaper pieces of shit than the ones you get from Apple). The store receipt, which came via email to like, you know, save trees and shit, made a very small deal about how much I actually paid for twenty cents worth of plastic and wire and quite a bit bigger of a deal about their store, their people, their atmosphere, their merch and finally, how all of their stuff effected my experience with them.
Let’s start with the obvious;
A) I find it odd that the company who burst onto the scene with the anti-Orwellian “hammer throw” commercial taking aim at corporate zombification should decide to build stores all across the country with the same exact tables lined up exactly the same way in every store and then populate those stores with precisely uniformed gender neutral iZombies. What happened to the company that started casual friday and turned it into casual forever? I’ll tell you what happened. They all got Apple stock. They all have something to lose, something to protect, something to do focus groups on and thus, having found the precise formula for success, something to corporatize in cookie cutter fashion.
Hard core Apple user types have become so much more entrenched in the “our way is the only way” mindset than users of “Big Blue” IBM ever were. Employees; even more so. The employees populating the store near our end of town gave the immediate impression of being equal parts geek, Stepford wife and iZombie drones chanting “One of us. One of us. One of us…” This from the company that promised 30 years ago to free us from the bondage of “follow-think”; to shatter the shackles that held us tied to Big Brother. Turns out, Big Brother likee the tech stock.
B) While I was in this local store, the patrons shuffled along the worn soft white Norwegian pine planked floor, mouth breathing, eyes agog, moaning and touching every shiny thing. Not everything was turned on and so not everything had a warm, welcoming and positive response to being touched. When a shopper touched something that didn’t “wake up” or coo a warm glowing hello they were clearly crushed; their hopeful expectant eyes at first filled with loving expectation, cast downward becoming cartoony examples of the downtrodden depressives on Zoloft commercials. Then, remembering there was still store yet un-wandered and things so far left untouched, they were filled with renewed hope. They would then shuffle to the next display where they would repeat the sacred ritual of touch in an attempt to caress the face of God or at least send him an email from the apple store.
If I wanted all of the communicable diseases in my geographic zone, I now know where to go. The entire apple store system is built upon people touching the items for sale and playing with them to see how cool and easy-to-use they are. The store is brightly, (almost starkly) lit to show how new, young and edgy everything is. But what the touching and drooling and straight down undiffused lighting ends up showing is shiny, brightly lit items with a million smeary, germy finger smudges covering every surface. If there was anything that the red shirted, khaki panted iZombies truly needed to be doing, it was constantly walking around an individually assigned table, wiping down each display item with anti microbial Windex and shooing away the snotpod children of the balding yet inexplicably ponytailed hipster dads caught in the enthralling gaze of the latest things with a lower case “i” in front of their names.
c) Having finally found the correct ear buds (remember, that’s why I was there) I looked for a place to pay. Good luck, Magellan. If you can discover a place to pay here without asking somebody, you deserve a special sticker on your forehead that says, “I was here before. It’s the only way I knew.” Finally, a person, not an employee of the store, sensed my quest and confusion and said, “No cash registers. All of the employees have epayment boxes on them. Just go to one and they’ll get you taken care of.”
OK, that was nice, but those first words spoken to me in the store were not spoken by an Apple employee.
So I found an essentially genderless person with a headset and an electronic box on their hip and a red shirt with an apple logo on it whom I asked if I could pay for the earbuds.
He said, “Anybody with a Red Shirt can check you out.”
“OK” says I, “You’re wearing red; how about you?”
“No, I’m sorry. I’m doing this (standing in the middle of the floor, perhaps directing traffic.)”
“So,” sez me, ”if it really is “anybody in a red shirt can such and such”, then anybody in a red shirt should such and such. If it isn’t everybody in a red shirt but just most of the people in the red shirts, stop saying ‘Everybody in a red shirt.’ Maybe just say, “That guy” and point.
d) Let’s work out this freekin ear-bud thing once and for all. I was in the store to buy a new set of ear buds because the old set of ear buds with the microphone and controller device self destructed. For the record, the first set, I destroyed, the second set self destructed and the third set didn’t have a mic/controller. The ones with the mic / controller are not clearly differentiated in the box from the ones without the mic / controller and that is a purely dick move on the part of Apple corporate to catch an extra 15% of sales from people who buy the wrong thing and then have to come back and buy the right one. Buncha, loose, un-tucked shirt and croc wearing, take your dog named “Lab-owski” to work types who found out that they really liked having lots of money and getting raises for creating a 15% increase in sales without any new products or work instead of following the idealistic visions of a commercial from the 80’s. Bastard dickheads.
Ok, I realize that they’re basically disposable technology. They cost pennies to make and ship here from the prison labor farms in Xhian Zsou Province and we’re all going to go through a couple sets a year, so can we please just get a scannable ID card from Apple that we swipe as we enter the store and a vacuum system fooooms a tube to the front of the store with my new set and charges my debit account 2.99 US (which is probably a 600% profit) and let’s me go my way. That way I don’t have to deal with the zombies, the snotpods or the hipsters and I don’t feel like I’ve just been dry ass raped by Apple to the tune of 24 FREEKING DOLLARS for a set of ear buds.
e) Instead of calling that place in the back of the store the “Genius Bar” let’s call it what it is. Let’s call it that place I go to be made fun of by 19 year old acne farms and 31 year old virgins for not knowing how the “old” chipset in my iPhone is stupid and only used by pathetic moron dinosaurs with jiggly arm fat and hairy moles and that the “new” chipset is so far beyond me that I should just go out into the woods and sit by a tree until the raccoons part me out and sell me to the rest of the woodland creatures. Yeah, let’s call it that. And by the way, the next time one of those self important little shits sighs exasperatedly at me like I have stolen precious moments from his life that he’ll never retrieve I’m gonna pull the waist band of his tightie whities out of the back of his perpetually low, baggy assed pants, up over his head to the point where he can actually see the skid mark and then hang him by his khaki belt loops in the middle of the food court with a sign on him that reads, “Heap your scorn upon me. I’m a dickhead and I deserve it.”
I have more but I’m pretty sure that the form provided by Apple for their little survey won’t take what I’ve already written.