Awhile back I was bequeathed an iPhone. Well, it’s a bit more complicated than that, it was actually an iPhone that had suffered the White Screen of Death, but it was (lucky for me) under warranty, and as such could to be taken to an iStore where it would be replaced. It would seem like a straightforward process, so I called the iPeople, who told me they had 22 open iSlots for visitation on the 16th of April 2011, but if I didn’t want to come then, they had other dates available, the first being June 3rd, 2016. Of course I chose to bring it in before the technology was completely outdated so I made the appointment and took my old dead phone into the shiny big Mac complex on Regent street in London.
Well, if ever there was any question where that 1600 quid that you spent on your MacBook Pro went, you can see it in the Mac Palace on Regent street. The place is massive, something like 28,000 square feet – at Central London rent prices, that has to equal a huge monthly rent payment….but apparently, the place is taking in £60 million a year which is equivalent to £2,000 per square foot. It’s got a massive glass staircase that is really funny to watch people use, because of the illusion that it creates. (It also has a huge glass elevator, but more on that later.) The place is wall to wall with cool gadgets, computers, accessories and everything mac.
The second thing that strikes you when you walk in is the line of blue shirt Mac Bees. They are everywhere. Maybe 150 of them. All with headset 2-way radios, iPads or iPhones logged into the central computer, name tags hung around their necks that look suspiciously like some uber modern yet-to-be-iProduct. They are there to serve you, the Mac Bee army. Well, more specifically, to point you in the right direction. They know where everything is, no matter what it is. They are trained in The Way of Mac.
So I said “Hi, I have a 2:10 appointment to get this phone fixed, where do I go?” “Well,” said Blue-Shirted Apple Bee 2041.1, “you need to call to make an appointment, outline what the problem is, swearing your allegiance to All Things Mac, and you will be quizzed on Steve Jobs’ birthday and so on.” I had to interrupt him to say (again, as I did when I started the conversation) “I already have an appointment,” and his face completely changed. I guess he assumed now that I was “One Of Them”.
He sent me on a mission up the other-worldly solid (or is it?) glass staircase where skinny acrophobic teens would likely fall through the slats. Once upstairs, I was greeted by another fully kitted-out sergeant in the war against inferior PC’s. Curt yet polite he orders to know: “Name? Appointment time? iPhone situation? Yes, yes, we have you in our database – please wait over there.” Never mind that I was right on time for a 2:10pm appointment, I still had to wait. Remember people, this is about a dead phone, I’m not exactly after an oncologist appointment.
And so I went, to the little chained-in area in the middle of the floor (a discreet 4 meters from the actual help area) and waited. In the ten minutes I was there, I was asked again and again (by the faithful blue mac bees) if and when I had an appointment, at what time and what was the issue with the sacred phone. I could just imagine Steve Jobs sitting at the Central Computer Operations Desk at Apple Campus, 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino California watching with pride as his minions tackled their work with infinite seriousness. I watched as busy mac bees brought Highly stacked shiny white push carts loaded with products in super sleek minimal packaging up and down the glass elevator, like some overpriced dessert cart in a fine restaurant. Up and down they went, yet I never actually saw anything unloaded. They went down with exactly what they came up with. I counted 27 Mac Bees just standing around.
The time came for me to proceed to the iPod bar – this is seriously what they call it. But there was not a vodka red bull in sight. In fact, when I asked for one, I was given The Stern Mac Look straight out of the employee handbook (They SHOULD serve a Mac energy drink, in a can like a battery!) The Mac Bees at the iPod bar wear a different colour shirt, as if they are higher up the food chain than Floor Mac Bees. To their credit, they replaced my phone straight away. And had they prodded a bit, I may even have told them a story or two that I would have told my local bar dude.
So, sadly lacking my desired vodka red bull but with a shiny new phone, I had a look around the Mac Palace, admittedly with some trepidation. They have a SuperMac Children’s Zone™ kitted out with the biggest and brightest games, screens and Mac Pads to lure them early into The Way of the Mac. I asked a Mac Bee girl (light blue shirt, level 3, equivalent to a staff sergeant in today’s military) if there were, and where would I find an iPhone case that I could use with a lanyard. There was none, she looked hard, but they don’t exist. She stifled a giggle when I told her she should call Steve and tell him there was a fundamental flaw in the iPhone design. “Don’t make me laugh” she seriously said. Was Steve watching from Cupertino on CCTV? Were they recording my Mac Jokes? Did they know I was not a true Mac-hiavellian? I began to feel like all the Mac Bees KNEW somehow that I had used PC’s in the past, so I headed for the exit as casually as I could, in the most nonchalant manner I could, out into the comparative safety of Regent street.
One day, I may return to this temple of geek (with lots of cool products), but only after I can figure out how to remove this last line from everything I write (and if they actually start stocking the iPod bar.)
Produced with precision by a Mac product
Help keep us writing. My Mac is broken, and I am using a PC.
Thanks to our friends at Onion news for this refreshing look at new Mac services.
The New Mac Bar
or this lovely new Mac Product
The Mac Wheel