Business Too Good at the Apple Store

on October 1, 2014


I have been visiting Washington area Apple Stores since the first one in the country opened at Tysons Corner, VA. So I was a little shocked today when I discovered a chaotic Apple Store at the Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. The problem appears to be mainly a smallish store that simply has more business than it can handle. It showed the Apple Store is not always keeping up with its customers.

Apple lineI went to an appointment at the store with my wife, Susan, to have her iPad 2 repaired — it had stopped powering up. We had an appointment at the store and were surprised by how mobbed it was, with a line out front for purchasers of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. It was the first time I could recall walking into an Apple Store without being asked for my business as soon as I walked in. I ended up standing in line at the Genius Bar only to find out there was room only for iMacs (somewhat oddly, the store has more business with Macs than anything else) and I’d have to find someone else in the store.

After several attempts with the scheduler at the door, I was told we would be seen at the Genius Bar. I’m glad to say although we were nearly 45 minutes behind our appointment, things finally got back to normal with the kind of response I am used to at Apple Stores. The genius promptly checked the iPad and found it would not respond to power. I couldn’t be told whether the problem was the battery or the power supply, but it doesn’t matter since you can’t replace either. So we paid $100 to replace the iPad, not a bad price since my wife is happy with the iPad she has and a new updated unit would have cost at least $529.

It was the first time I can recall being annoyed by poor customer service at an Apple Store. It’s probably the result of a store too small and too understaffed to deal with success. But many companies have made customers unhappy by failing to offer prompt service (not, I must say, a problem that Microsoft has suffered from) and doing too well can be a problem.