The Apple Store Experience

Posted by on 05 Dec 2008 | Tagged as: thoughts on church

This past weekend, Emily and I spent two days in Indianapolis enjoying the city and the malls. We did the vast majority of our purchases at Target, but spent some time at four area malls.
We went to the Keystone Fashion Mall, which has many high-end stores you can’t find in Fort Wayne, including Crate and Barrel, Restoration Hardware and The Apple Store. (And for the record, we like to look but very rarely actually purchase anything from a high-end store).
This was my first time to actually enter a brick-and-mortar Apple Store. I have walked by it before, but always thought Apple computers were for non-normal people. But I have since actually tried one, and know the full benefit of a well-built computer and operating system. This time, The Apple Store would not be overlooked!
As I approached the entrance, I saw my old pal Russ from my freshman year of college at Taylor University. We spent a few minutes chatting and catching up, and it was nice to finally see the guy again.

But here is what I want to communicate about the actual experience. No one ever prodded us to purchase something. I never felt any pressure to buy anything (my work computer and home computer are both mac, so I don’t need anything Apple, except maybe an iPhone). The Apple Store was just a really neat, safe place to be. I would go back and chill there any day.
As we were looking around and I was admiring the construction of the new Macbook and Macbook Pro models, a salesman came up and talked to us for about two minutes. But the conversation went something like this:
‘Is there anything I can help you guys with today?’
‘No, we’re just looking today.’
‘Well, cool. Look around all you want. My name is George. By the way, what are you guy’s names?
‘Nathan and Emily.’
‘Emily! Sweet, that’s my fiance’s name. You gotta watch out for Emily’s! (pause) Naa, I’m just joking.’
(we laugh)
He continues, ‘My Emily always gets mad at me when I say that, but she’s not here right now, so that’s okay.’
‘Yeah.’
‘Well, hey, you guys have a great day and let me know if there is anything we can help you with today.’
‘Thanks.’

That was unlike any salesman I’ve ever encountered ever before. That was craziness. George made me feel that I belonged there. Made me feel comfortable.

Then I got to thinking, what if the church was friendly like this, instead of all cliquey? Wouldn’t the church look completely different?

What do you think? Could the church learn anything from Apple? If so, what?
(And is my dad’s recent blog post related to this at all?)

2 Responses to “The Apple Store Experience”

  1. on 05 Dec 2008 at 11:06 am 1.Pastor Diehl said …

    I think the Apple Store salesman made you feel like you were a friend, not a customer. He made it appear that he was not in it to make commission or make a sale. He made you feel like he cared more about you than himself. It may have been as fake as a $3 bill, but he made you feel like it was genuine.

    The connection with the church is that we often don’t make strangers feel like they’re important when we ignore them. We make them feel that its all about us and not all about them. Why should they want to come back? Why not shop at the Apple Store down the street, or worse yet, at the Dell Shoppe!

    I think we all ought to adopt the attitude of the Apple Store Guy.

  2. on 04 Feb 2009 at 3:18 pm 2.iZZy said …

    Stumbled across this today from your facebook posting. BTW i’m going to the DR in May! But my comment is that i feel i understand what your saying about your experience at the store and that it was a possitive intereaction, but i also would say beware. I mean the last thing people of our generation want from religion is to be sold something. So just keep that in mind as you try to take your experience and use it to make the church a more welcome place.

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