The Tucson Apple Store was recently remodeled. The most interesting feature of the new setup is the lack of a cash register. Where the cash registers used to be is where they put the new Genius Bar.
This is also the most annoying feature. While I see the advantages of having roving employees that can check people out wherever they are, it doesn't work quite as planned.
Every time I've walked into the Apple Store since the remodel, knowing exactly what I want, it has taken a very long time to find somebody who was ready and wiling to ring up my purchases. Everybody was helping another customer (which is a good thing) but there was no line for me to stand in to let people know I was ready to be helped. If I didn't stare awkwardly at an employee who was helping somebody else, I'd be out of luck. The last time I went in there (to buy a copy of iLife for a customer), I quickly turned around and walked out. I went home and ordered it from Amazon instead (which was probably at least $10 cheaper, due to no tax and the lower price to start with).
Apple has always strived for a top-notch customer experience in their stores. The new setup is great for people who wander in not knowing what they want and need an employee to help them decide on a system and peripherals. When done, the employee can gather the items and ring them out without waiting for a cash register to open up. They need to add a cash register line back in, though, so that people who want to make quick purchases are able to do so.
I've been meaning to write about this for awhile, and was finally prompted to do so by this post over at The Apple Blog. I'm not the only one who's frustrated by this.
August 28, 2007