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Friday, October 10, 2008

Demo back in the day...

As the guys here at TDL like to tease me about, I was geeky enough in 2000 to work a few Apple Demo days, happy to be a representative of my favorite brand, Apple Computer. I was so excited to be "working for Apple". It was not all stars and sunshine unfortunately.

The basic premise and set up was simple enough: encourage hesitant PC users wandering through Sears to check out an iMac. They mailed me a software pack, an iMovie tee shirt, and a few simple forms to fill out at the end of each Demo day.

I left for the mall my first day with such optimism. I was going to convert PC users to the Mac! After arriving at Sears and finding the frazzled electronics department manager to sign me in, I went to work. Once I installed the MS Word disc and a few other pieces of software on the main demo iMac, I hovered by the three demo iMacs they had, hoping for contact. After about a half hour, the only people I saw or talked to were the two teenagers working the Sears electronics department. They sort of sneered at me, "oh, you're here to sell those macs". Sigh. I thought I was. As lunchtime approached, I did have a few interested people- how does this thing work? It looks neat! It can run Word?! I heard it can't open any files from a PC...etc etc. I tried my best to correct all of the misinformed shoppers. I even did a quick demo of iMovie for a family with a teenage daughter that was looking to buy a computer. Unfortunately they decided the iMac was too expensive.

After 6 hours, no takers on my beautiful little iMacs. At the end of the day, I had the manager sign off that I was there, and asked him a few questions. "How many iMacs do you have in stock?"I asked. "3" the gruff reply. Um, what? I thought Apple was partnering with Sears to get a retail connection with the consumers- and apparently, if three of the people I talked with actually bought a computer, they'd be plumb out of them. Something smelled fishy about that. I tried to find out if they had just run out of stock, or if that was all they could get. He was fairly unresponsive, basically saying that was all the stock they needed.


I am so glad I was there at the beginning, a Customer Service Rep before Apple even had a bricks and mortar storefront. But it really shows us now just how far Apple has come. Imagine any teenager today walking into an Apple store and expressing shock that Macs can run Word (much less Windows!) In just 8 years, I went from Sears pariah to trendy for still having my old Demo Day tee.

1 comment:

farsighted said...

I worked for Apple as a rep for several years back then. I also did demo days, at Sears, CompUSA, Circuit City, Best Buy.

It was difficult work. The sales staff at most of these stores all used PC's and didn't like the mac at all.

It makes me happy to see that macs are so much more popular now. Even at Best Buy, most of the sales people like them and will eagerly sell them. This is all due to the popularity of the iPod.

Now is looks like Microsoft is actually concerned about Apple. They have those dumb ads now...

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