Best Buy vs. The Apple Store

Jason Fried at Signal v. Noise:

But in the last few years, the stores have really turned me off. I don’t like stepping into them. They don’t make me feel welcome — rather they make me feel like I need a good reason to be there. Of course I have a reason to be there, but I don’t like the fact that I have to declare it upon entry.

At the door you’re often met by a bouncer who asks you what you need and then directs you here or there. “Please wait by that table over there for a guy with glasses and a blue shirt.” And so you go, awkwardly waiting. Not sure if you can leave your station, lest you miss your opportunity to talk to who you were directed to talk to. Then what?

I find the stores packed with so much Apple staff that you often have to break up a conversation between two staff members in order to ask a question. Now I feel like I’m interrupting someone just to buy something.

This is the second time I’m hearing complains about the Apple Store experience in the past few weeks. Previously Casey Liss on ATP #197 made some other remarks about the whole shopping experience at Apple.

His point was about the lack of a separate checkout area, as in you can’t line up in an obvious, well, line to pay for something. This results in a random crowd waiting for someone to serve you.

Sure, the Apple Store app in certain circumstances can make that experience easier, but that’s not always an option.1And you feel like a thief the first few times using it and „just walking out” with a thing.

Sometimes the lack of friction will add more friction somewhere else. Apple removed the dedicated checkout areas and the wait in a line, but what you get in return is an uncomfortable feeling while waiting for a person to finish helping someone else.

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1. And you feel like a thief the first few times using it and „just walking out” with a thing.