I was out at West Towne Mall Saturday getting new tires put on my 216,000-mile Toyota commutermobile (I bought a set three years ago, thinking they were the last tires I would buy for this car, but it just keeps on keeping on). So where was I going to kill a couple hours?
I headed for the new Apple store. It's an oasis of serenity in the hard-sell commercialism of the mall. Good lighting, clean design, cool products displayed without clutter on maple veneer tables, and a helpful, no-pressure sales staff that's not paid on commission. Of course, you're being sold -- but it's marketing that doesn't hit you over the head. If Steve Jobs wants to build these sleek temples where we can go to worship his products in a non-threatening environment, that's fine with me. Besides, I had some questions to ask about setting up my Apple wireless router with the new 24" iMac. And I wanted to check my email. Which I did on a MacBook Pro.
That done, I still had time to kill. I decided to go ahead and write the blog post I had been meaning to write about Kites on Ice. I went to my Flickr account, made the photo stored there public, and imported it into Blogger. Then I wrote this post about the winter kite festival on Lake Monona that I used to enjoy so much, and about how I wish it could be brought back, about how Madison needs a winter festival on the lakes to make our long winter more endurable, and how a kite festival would make a great focal point for the event. Before I knew it, I was done.
A couple times sales people came over and asked if they could help me, but there was never any pressure and when I explained that I was doing some blogging while getting my tires changed at Sears, they were nothing but encouraging. Nobody seemed to care that I was tying up a computer -- there were plenty more to go around. A blog post is nothing. In New York, one woman wrote a book in the Apple store.
Unable to afford a computer, Ms. Jade, 25, began cadging time on a laptop at the Apple store in the SoHo section of Manhattan. Ms. Jade spent hours at a stretch standing in a discreet corner of the store, typing. Within a few months, she had written nearly 300 pages.I'm sure I'll be back. There are always questions to ask, email to check -- and one day, when they get the damn thing right, an iPhone to buy.
Not only did store employees not mind, but at closing time they often made certain to shut Ms. Jade’s computer down last, to give her a little extra time. A few months later, the store invited her to give an in-store reading from her manuscript.