Going shopping this time a year is a pain, especially with all the holiday shoppers and long lines. Here in Charlotte, NC, the home of AllDayTech.com, both Apple stores in town are in the center of busy malls. Oh joy!
But I really, really needed a Smart Cover for my new iPad 2 (which I’ll be writing about later). At least, I had convinced myself that I really, really needed a Smart Cover. But when I got to the Apple store I felt like I was going to a football game. All you see are people, people and blue-shirted Apple salespeople spread out everywhere. There is music playing and the air in the room is cool, almost sterile-feeling, like in the doctor’s office–but the real soundtrack is of people talking to each other. One conversation melds into another which melds into another.
It’s like going to a fancy restaurant, just with people hunched over electronic devices instead of plates of pricey food. People point and touch and ask questions. Salespeople talk. Customers nod. I stood there and watched for a minute. The Apple Store is always packed, and this ain’t Wal-Mart. Many of these people will spend large sums of money here.
It’s amazing how quiet the mall can feel at 10:29 a.m. –until you reach the silver and glass storefront sporting that giant Apple logo. Suddenly it’s like you’re in another world, a concert, a high-end crowded restaurant and a football game at the same time.
But I digress.
I walk into this bustling stadium-like atmosphere and I’m not in the mood to wait for a blue shirt to help me with a purchase. Then I remember the new Apple Store app that lets you can check yourself out (as well as pre-purchase a product).
So I whip out my new white iPhone 4S (loving it, by the way; Siri is great), grab a cream-colored Smart Cover off the shelf and wait for the app to do its thing. Voila! It recognizes I’m in an Apple retail store and up pops the familiar bar code scanner app thingy.
I swipe my phone scanner-style across the bar code on the Smart Cover packaging. It shows me the price, I hit “check out” and plug in my iTunes password. The app then shows me the receipt and asks if I wanted to have it emailed to me–why yes, I do. And just like that my purchase is complete and I’m walking out the door, away from the din of endless chatter in that chilly room, no blue shirted assistance required.
Buying this way was seamless, futuristic and (perhaps best of all) quick. I was back in the car 15 minutes after I parked–and 12 of those minutes were spent walking to the store and back. The new self checkout system works and it’s really cool, too.