At 12:01 am Friday morning, I stayed up past my middle aged bedtime to pre-order my Apple Watch and set up an appointment to look at them in the store. With this Apple Watch appointment process, Apple is taking its marketing manipulation powers to the next level.
Your experience starts with a greeting from two Barney Fife’s, I mean security guards, at the door. I couldn’t tell if they were there for crowd control, or protecting the valuable contents of the store.
There are the normal Apple store gatekeepers as you walk in the door. I let them know I was one of the privileged few that were there to view an Apple Watch. I also let them know I had already ordered a watch. At that point, one of them noticed my Pebble, and proclaimed, “we’ve got an early adopter here!”
I was instructed to wait in a certain area of the store. There was a long table with drool-proof glass covering a display of a number of different models of the watch. The display case was very similar to the one used to display the Shroud of Turin.
I enjoyed listening to the discussions around the table as we all waited. There was awe for the Apple Watch Edition. Then there was the elderly woman that asked “where’s the one for about a 100 dollars?” We all laughed at the old lady.
I was next. A genius came up to me and asked if I was SEEN. I said, yes, I’m Sean. We were off to a great start. He was nice, nervous as hell, and seemed about as technically inclined as my Bichon Frise. As we walked over to the demo table, he said “Well, let’s go over here and see how this goes.” Confidence.
He gave me the impression that I had spent more time in an Apple store browsing than he had worked in one. He might have even been hired about seven minutes before I walked in the door. I envisioned starry eyed Apple Watch customers coming in the front and a genius job fair hiring people off the street in the back. If the T-shirt fits, you’re hired.
I told him I had already ordered one. That f’n blew his mind. First of all, part of the sell is letting you know how to order one. That was out the window. Second, you’re supposed to try them on and determine what is the best watch for you. I ordered without that crucial step. His mind was clearly blown.
Next we attempt to open the magical drawer. Every employee has a handheld gadget that is supposed to use NFC to magically unlock the secret drawer.
There was one genius that had “the touch” to get the drawer open. My genius waved, moved, slid, and finessed his gadget to no avail. He couldn’t open the drawer. I wanted to just grab it from him and say, “give me that damn thing!” I figured if I did so, Barney Fife the security guard would pull his one bullet out of his shirt pocket, load his weapon, and shoot himself in the foot. Nobody wanted that, so I refrained. I do believe when the drawer opened I heard angels sing.
Of course, in the drawer that we opened they didn’t have the exact model I ordered. We could have attempted to open another drawer, but I feared I would miss my daughters high school graduation next year, if we tried to open another drawer, so I said it was fine.
I looked at the space gray aluminum one with the rubber band. Oh wait, sorry the polyflourolasticablenatistic band. It is the most intimate rubber object ever created. Well I can think of more intimate rubber objects, but I digress. He pulled out an aluminum one with a white band. It was the smaller model. Dude, what are you trying to say? I’m not liking where you’re going with that selection. I bowed up a little, stood up tall, and we moved on.
I put on the watch. Tapped, scrolled, shook, pushed the button, and nothing. Genius notices my perplexed looked and says “oh they don’t work.”
Me: “Excuse me? They don’t work.”
Genius: “Yes the try-on models don’t work. You have to use the one bolted to the table. It works.”
Ok, he didn’t say “bolted to the table”, but I felt like that’s what he said. There is a working model “attached” to the table. I started playing with that one.
Before we go on, there was an incident. A lady was trying to get by me in the crowded store. I’m a southern gentlemen, so I stepped out of the way and moved so she could get by. I had the watch in hand when I did. I guess I exceeded the distance you could move away from the table with the watch. That’s when I realized Barney the security guard had a taser. I had never been tazed before.
Seriously, as soon as I stepped away from the table my genius became very nervous. “Ummm. ummm. You can’t take it away from the table. Could you please put it back on the table?” He was quite stressed. No tasers where involved, but it was a tense moment. The situation was escalating quickly. I complied. Defcon level dropped immediately.
Of all of the smart watches I’ve looked at, this is clearly the nicest. I fondled the non-functional watch for a few minutes. Compared it to my Pebble. I liked the size and it didn’t look as huge and obtrusive as most smart watches.
While wearing it, I played with the demo unit on the table. Let’s say, it’s interesting. I learned I hate saying digital crown. I don’t know what else you would call it, but digital crown just sounds stupid. I started calling it the spinny knob. The hipster with the “so 2014” style scruffy beard was helping us, because, well my genius was hired seven minutes ago remember? It was fun to spar with him every time he said “just use the digital crown”, I would reply with “You mean the spinny knob?” He would just give me that disapproving hipster stare. Oh don’t tell me you don’t know that condescending hipster stare. You do.
At this point, the twelve year old in me was screaming to come out. I wanted to ask “so where’s the screen you can draw penises on and send them to everyone?” I refrained. I did ask how do you draw hearts….I know I’m a wuss. I wanted to start drawing little iPenises and send them to all of the other model watches in the building. Oh well.
When I asked how to draw hearts, we descended into a series of spinny knob usage, swiping, and button pressing. At one point I think I became motion sick from the tiny little bubble icons fluidly moving around the screen. BACKUP! WE NEED BACKUP! That’s when another hipster arrived. He had an earring and a more stylish 2015 ZZ Top beard. That level of hipster only means one thing. He was clearly from corporate.
So the corporate genius showed me how to push the button to first bring up your friends. To which I stated, “I don’t have any friends. That’s why I like computers.” I learned something interesting about Apple at that point. Corporate clearly doesn’t have a training program for sarcasm.
We moved on. We scrolled through all of the friends on the watch. I was impressed the owner of this watch has one friend from every racial make up on the planet, and they are evenly distributed between men and women. We selected one friend, and he showed me how to get the the drawing screen. I said, “Oh so this is where you draw pe….Hearts. Cool!”
I played with a few more functions, moved the icons around the screen, and looked at the notifications. Other than telling the time, notifications will probably be the only thing I ever use. I’m spending $500 to replace my Pebble with a snazzier version of the same functions. Well played Apple. Well played.
Then I realized I didn’t need to see any more. Since I had already ordered one, that part of the sales script was out the window. It became awkward. Neither of us knew how to end it. Just walk away? Shake hands? Hug it out? I didn’t know. It was like we needed closure. I also felt I needed some iPurell. I felt dirty, was standing there in this awkward moment, and I just said, “well, thanks. I’m excited. I love my mac.”