Last Thursday, I went with a friend of mine to two stores, located directly across from each other in the University Village Shopping Center.
The first store was the Apple Store, the second was the newly-opened Microsoft Store.
You see, my friend, a non-US resident, needed to buy a contract-less iPhone, and he could not do it in the AT&T Store in Downtown Seattle. As you might imagine, they would only sell him the device with a contract and a line of service.
This being the case, we took the 15 minute journey north to the U District to procure the device, and this was also my friend’s first visit ever to an Apple Store.
When we entered the store, we were greeted with the same color-less, 1984-esqe aesthetic that is synonymous with Apple. No one acknowledged our presence when we entered, and when we finally found an employee, he put my friend “in the queue”.
We wandered around the Apple Store waiting for his name to be called, and while browsing, both of us noted the expressionless people slowly roaming the store in a zombie-like state, almost as if their soul had been sucked completely out of them.
55 short minutes later, my friend was summoned to buy his phone by an employee who acted as though he was doing us both a favor.
Yes, I said Fifty Five minutes. To buy a single, boxed product which took about two minutes to ring up.
I see why Apple is consistently ranked #1 in service.
After consummating the transaction, we then walked across the street to the Microsoft Store.
When we walked through the front door, we were immediately greeted by a young, reasonably hot Asian chick with jeans so tight I could have used her labia as a pencil holder.
“Welcome,” she said, “let me know if there’s anything I can do to assist you!”
“Well, feel free to hold my cock in your mouth while I’m looking around”, I thought.
By the look on my friend’s face, I’m pretty sure he was thinking the same thing.
Unlike the Apple Store, I didn’t feel guilty about having impure thoughts. You see, at Microsoft, it’s okay to have testosterone; it’ s encouraged even. The great androgynous uni-gender that is an unspoken goal of iPeople need not be pursued by the PC crowd.
Aside from the greeter, the first thing that struck me as different when I entered the Microsoft Store was the colors. They had colors, and they were everywhere. Blue, Green, Red, Yellow … you couldn’t look anywhere without seeing a rainbow of colors.
I can’t tell you why, but this made me feel better.
The Apple Store has a very Soviet-bloc color scheme, but I didn’t make this observation. You know who did? My friend, who is visiting the USA from … Moscow. Yeah, that Moscow. The entire reason he needed a contract-less iPhone was because someone back in Russia had paid him to get one on his trip.
He told me that the Apple Store … and these are his words … “felt ominous, or maybe, creepy”. He said the people all looked very serious, and the hour-ish wait to get a simple product reminded him more of the old-school Soviet Union than what he would expect in the USA.
The Microsoft Store, on the other hand, made him feel “more comfortable”.
When I told him about Apple’s commercials which urge people to “think outside the box”, and I explained the old 80’s commercial where the woman throws the hammer through Big Brother, he laughed heartily.
We walked around the Microsoft Store and we perused a wide selection of devices, from tablets to laptops to all-in-ones to phones.
When we went to the back of the store, we discovered … get this … kids playing Xbox 360. That’s right … KIDS! Proof positive that female and male PC-users really do have two separate and distinct sets of genitalia. Not only that, but they use them!
Can you imagine?
According to Apple Users, sexual intercourse is analogous to rape, and thus should only take place between two people of the same gender so as not to create a power imbalance fostered by the patriarchal power structure.
As per the cultural expectations of the iPerson, children are only permitted to be kept as pets so long as those children are adopted from a country and race different than that of their owners, and they are only to be revealed in thrift stores where their clothing is purchased at a 90% markup over retail. They are never, EVER, to enter the sanctuary of the Apple Store.
The Microsoft Store had no such rule, though. They seemed to have no rules at all. While in the store, I saw fat people, skinny people, old people, young people, fashionable people, grungy people, and all people in between. Some of these people were actually emoting and making eye contact.
I’m completely serious.
We looked around the store for about an hour, I made a few notations into my Galaxy Tab (which drew no angry stares from staff or customers), and we headed back Downtown.
Even though we both preferred the Microsoft experience, the fact is that we only made one purchase that day, and it was an iPhone. In the end, this is probably all that matters. The Ghost of Steve Jobs doesn’t care about my perception, your perception, or the Mad Russian’s perception of the Apple Store. As long as Apple gets your money one way or the other, the entire debate is moot.
If you’ve yet to visit the Microsoft Store, however, it might be worth a visit. It’s an interesting departure from white and silver.