iPhone, Apple Store thoughts

I spent some time in the Apple Store at the Pentagon City mall in Virginia yesterday, and I played with the iPhone for about 20 minutes before I became absolutely sick of it. So it didn't surprise me to read iPhone sucks buy Blackberry stock (via Scoble). I found the touch screen keyboard on the iPhone unusable. And I play piano and guitar -- I know how to control my fingers! Ironically, I think the touchscreen on my old Palm Zire was more accurate. I use my Blackberry way too often to even consider the productivity crippling interface of the iPhone. So, after having tried the iPhone, I'm amazed at the mostly rave reviews it's gotten.

But what really shocked me was that this particular Apple Store has no checkout registers.

I originally went into the store to buy a new protective sleeve for my iPod. It took me about five minutes to look through the different sleeves and choose one that looked about right. But then I wandered the small store for a few minutes before I assured myself that I was not daft, there really were no registers.

So, I flagged down the only employee in the store who was not attending to a customer, and he told me any employee in a green shirt could ring up my purchase -- except, apparently him, because he immediately turned his back on me and took off in the opposite direction.

After about five minutes of trying to get a Green Shirt's attention, I was ready to walk out. But finally, one Green Shirt (who evidently was too busy shooting this shit with his friend) directed another Green Shirt to ring me up. Here's what that consisted of:

  1. Green shirt scans my item with a Symbol handheld register
  2. Register crashes because it can't get a wireless signal
  3. Green shirt disappears to get another register
  4. Green shirt reappears, rescans my item
  5. Green shirt swipes my credit card
  6. Green shirt swipes my credit card
  7. Green shirt swipes my credit card
  8. Green shirt rescans my item (I swear I am not making this up)
  9. Green shirt disappears to get a bag for my item
  10. Green shirt reappears with a bag
  11. Green shirt walks to the completely opposite side of the store to pick up my receipt
  12. Green shirt returns and finally I am free to go