So, as crossover readers of FFTMC know, I was on a gig in Cleveland last week: eight long days of rehearsals, recordings and concerts, with a good dose of snow mixed in for good measure. Amid the frenzy of sackbuts and cornetti, I managed to find a few hours to hit the Apple Store in Cleveland (actually, it's in Cleveland Heights, in the ritzy Legacy Village shopping centre). It was my first ever visit to an Apple store and I was suitably impressed. Every possible combination of Apple gear was on display, including several of the incredible 30-inch Cinema Displays. Until last week, I was pretty happy with my 20-incher; now I'm lusting after that monster, even though I know it's a pipe dream for at least three years. But the best part was that the guy at the genius bar fixed my Ethernet port.
I've had this iBook for over four years now and I had never previously been successful in connecting to the Internet via the Ethernet port. The first 2-and-a-half years I was on dial-up (!) so it didn't matter. In fact, I didn't even realize there was a problem until I finally gave in and got a DSL hookup last year. When I tried to plug into my modem, I got nada. Luckily, Airport and a wireless router solved the problem, but I always wondered about the Ethernet port and had always suspected that I had some obscure setting wrong. So I was gratified and relieved when the Apple Store genius showed me that two of the pins in the port were depressed and so not connecting. He took it in the back and worked some magic and voila, I have my Ethernet port back. Not that I use it, but was nice to finally know what the problem was. I left the store with a Nano for my wife and an iSight camera for my mother's future iBook.
My second trip of the week to the Cleveland Apple Store came toward the end of my stay. I wanted to get a new case for my own iPod and had some per diem money left over. So I go in and start trying out cases. Shortly thereafter, an employee approaches me and informs me in a haughty voice that their policy is that the packaging is not to be opened (I should say that none of the cases I was looking at were shrink wrapped or in sealed boxes; I was not destroying any packaging). So I politely asked if they had some demos I could try out, to which he replied with a sniff that they couldn't POSSIBLY have demos for ALL the iPod cases. I again politely stated that I didn't want to buy an iPod case without taking a look at it first and trying it out. His reply (his politeness was pretty forced by now) was that he quite understood, but that their policy (which, incidentally, was posted nowhere in the store) was that the packaging was not to be opened, because then no one would want to buy the merchandise. To which I replied that I certainly wouldn't be buying it if I couldn't open it, and walked out of the store in search of a Best Buy--where they were quite happy to let me try out as many cases as I liked.
Maybe I was just tired from being on the road and looking for something to bitch about, but my second impression was not a good one. The store had every product Apple makes on display, just screaming out to be touched and handled and explored. Why make an exception for iPod cases? They don't want the cheap third-party stuff to get wrecked? Very bizarre, to say the least.