Sour Apples -- my experience at the local Apple Store, and my new iBook

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by Ice, Jul 7, 2004.

  1. Ice macrumors newbie

    Jul 4, 2004
    Hey everyone.

    I just wanted to post regarding my experience at my local Apple Store. I'm not going to say which one, or who was helping me, but I will say that I was very disappointed with the way I was treated -- this Apple Store lost a sale due to poor customer care.

    Just so everyone knows where I'm coming from:

    I've wanted a laptop for a long time -- I spent alot of time lurking on various Mac boards (primarily this one), reading everything I could about Macs, and potential problems, so I could make a well-informed purchasing decision. Ultimately, I decided to buy my first ever Apple computer, a 14" iBook. (I've used PC's my whole life).

    So today I finally made the drive up to the closest Apple store. It's not exactly right next door but I figured for a newbie to Macs like me, this was "thee place" to go to buy my iBook. There, I asked a bunch of questions, primarily about the 14" $1500 iBook. I was also pretty sure I was going to buy AppleCare. The sales guy tried to steer my towards a $1599 PowerBook, and I thought about it, but couldn't really tell the difference in using an application like Photoshop on the demo computers. So I was still pretty set on the iBook. I mentioned to the sales guy that if I were to buy it on, I could get a $150 mail-in rebate. He said "Really?" and went to to check it out. Sure enough, after directing him to the exact same iBook I wanted, he saw that there was a $150 rebate. He asked me if I was going to school at the moment, and I said no. I asked about whether or not he'd match's price by giving me the 10% student discount. He sort of hinted that I could get the discount regardless, if he talked to his manager, saying something like "Well, if you were going to school in the near future, maybe..." He was also pushing the fact that I could save $200 on an iPod if I was a student, too. But the iPod didn't interest me (I already have a Philips 20gb portable MP3 player for my PC), I just wanted the laptop. I went to lunch to mull it over, promising to come back. I decided that if the store would give me the $150 off (or the 10% student discount), that I would buy the $1500 iBook on the spot, and probably with AppleCare, to boot. So I went back to the store, and waited for the guy who had helped me before. I asked him a couple more general questions about the iBook, and he said if this was something I wanted to do "TODAY" that he might be able to talk his manager into giving me the afforementioned discount. I said yes, I would buy the iBook, and even AppleCare if necessary, in order to get the discount.
    He went to talk to the manager, I guess, and came back with bad news: I couldn't get a discount, there was no way to enter it into the system without a school and an acceptance letter. No one offered me any other way to save a bit of cash, such as shaving the price of AppleCare down. So I left, kind of bummed out -- that I was coming home empty-handed and that Apple was so unwilling to compromise. (Heck, I've read that people have went into the Apple Store and had no questions asked about being a student, and just got the discount. I also heard about people abusing the developer program and getting a hefty discount. I was up front and was trying to give Apple the business over Amazon, but only if they would match Amazon's price.)
    Not only did they lead me on to suspect that I might get a discount, they turned me down when it finally came time to purchase the iBook, and didn't try to make it up to me (no complimentary upgrade, no discount on AppleCare, nothing.)

    Besides all this, the guy in the Apple Store seemed helpful enough, if not a little unfamiliar with what came with an iBook. I mentioned wanting to surf the web with wireless and he recommened the PowerBook because they all had Airport Extreme built-in. I said "Doesn't the $1500 iBook come with it, too?", and he didn't think so... So he had to go to the store and check, only to find out that I was right. I just think it's wrong that an employee of Apple would not know something major about their product that I did, considering I was a lifelong PC user.

    Anyway, on the way home, I stopped at Microcenter, just because it was on the way, and I was so disheartened with Apple I was considering buying a PC notebook. But I still had my heart set on an Apple. I checked out the Mac section and was surprised to find an older model (but still new in box) 14" iBook on sale for $1099, with a $100 mail-in rebate, and another $100 for signing up with their credit card. This iBook was identical in every way except for being 1ghz instead of 1.2ghz, having half the L2 cache (256k), and no built in Airport Extreme. Oh, I don't think I got GarageBand either -- not a huge deal. Even so, after rebates, the iBook would cost only about $900. Tack on an Airport Extreme Card, and AppleCare -- ($330) and my total cost is still well below buying JUST the iBook itself at the Apple Store -- about $270 cheaper, to be exact.

    Also, the guy at this store was much, much more helpful and seemed more knowledgeable than the guy in the Apple store. He apparently had a PowerBook at home and answered all my questions about the iBook and Macs in general. He was really up front about everything, even suggesting that I go for AppleCare as opposed to the store's own extended warranty. I expressed some concern about dead pixels, and he said if I had that problem (which he doubted I would), the store would return it without too much fuss. I was happy but still somewhat puzzled as to why a reseller would be able to "one-up" Apple itself on quality assurance. Either way, I ended up checking out with my new iBook, my Airport Extreme Card, and AppleCare. -- for $270 less than I was going to spend at the Apple Store for the iBook alone! At the checkout, the manager walked over and thanked me for the sale.

    I left knowing that I got alot more for my money and also knowing that it went to a retailer who really cared about getting the business.

    To avoid flames, this post is in no way a knock on Apple (I *did* end up buying an iBook, after all)... Just recapping my experience at the local Apple Store

    Now I'm off to charge up my iBook for the first time. Can't wait to use it

  2. abhishekit macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2003
    akron , ohio
    So you did not get the educational discount at Apple because you are not a student. And the fact that you got a great deal in Micro Center doesn't make you any more eligible for the edu discount.
    And was it legacy village :D ? coz they have a Micro Center nearby.

    Anyways, cheers for your new machine
  3. jeremy.king macrumors 603


    Jul 23, 2002
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    Apple stores are not car dealerships, they won't negotiate. Whatever MacMall/Amazon/MicroCenter/CompUSA/etc do to knock down the price is their own doing.

    You aren't a student or a teacher, so you don't get the discount. Sounds like a lame argument to bash an Apple Store.

    As for the people who "abuse" the discounts, I doubt they buy from a physical store, as they usually require proof of enrollment or employment (for teachers/profs). Instead, these people buy online, and at anytime could be asked for such proof after the purchase - failure to provide it will only lead Apple to bill them for the difference.
  4. saabmp3 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 22, 2002
    Tacoma, WA
    Well saying you got it at MicroCenters basically gives a very good location as to which apple store you went to. I'm guessing the cambridge apple store. So as somebody else pointed out, you didn't get the student discount because your not a student. Seems normal to me.

    Apple is not to be confused as a car dealer (especially the apple stores). They don't have an invoice which they can then tack a price ontop of that too. The fact that you didn't get a discount does not surprise me at all.

    Microcenters gave you a rebate because some other company sponsored it and they wanted to move old products. It actually eventually costs them more to keep it around on the shelves than it is worth.

    The only people who can realistically give you discounts are the sales people that you talk to at apple directly. Even then, as a first time customer (for any store or company this applies) you don't have the loyalty aspect to you that a large company or repeat buyer will have. Lastly, you are not buying a product in bulk. I bet you could have finagled a deal with the 200 off powerbook ipod but these two products together don't count the same as a large purchase (aka 20 machines or more).

    Look at your situation realistically, you had a sales associate try to give you a good deal but his boss said no go. No big deal, they tried for you. You then went to another store, bought an older machine for what looks like an amazing price. You should be happy about this.

  5. Danrose1977 macrumors regular


    Airport has only recently been included in the iBook line as standard. I'm really disapointed when people moan about shop staff.... so he didn't know something! So what? You never know what is going on in other peoples lives, perhaps he just got back off holiday (which would be nice) perhaps his dog just died (which would suck). If you know more than the salesperson your best bet is to just feel quietly superior...
  6. Ice thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 4, 2004
    I wasn't gonna say which one it was, but for everyone who guessed, you were wrong. Here's a hint: I live in Pennsylvania.

    Anyway, like I said, I just wish they went that extra mile to get the business. I wasn't necessarily banking on getting the student discount, but maybe something that would persuade me to eliminate the middle-man and buy from Apple directly. I dunno, a RAM upgrade, discount on AppleCare, anything. As an aside, I checked the sales section of after purchasing this bad boy, and this same iBook I bought today is $1299, and I got it for $900 after rebates ($1099 before ANY rebates.) I guess what I wanted to say was, shop around before buying your Mac, maybe you'll luck out like I did, getting a better price AND better assistance.
  7. cubist macrumors 68020

    Jul 4, 2002
    Muncie, Indiana
    Also, Micro Center was selling Macs before the Apple Stores existed, and some of them may have some good people who really care. The folks at the Fairfax Micro Center have always been nice to me, altho I haven't bought any computers there (just accessories and software).

    Service at retailers in general is pretty poor these days. It's very hard to hire anyone who cares about doing a good job.

    (edit) And BTW, congrats on getting a good deal! Look at the bright side!
  8. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Dec 25, 2003
    Northern Virginia
    Your header said it all, Sour Apples.

    Not everyone you meet at a store will always have the answers. At least he checked on the particular question.

    Glad you found a good deal at Micro Center.

    In the end you did what any customer should have done to begin with. Get informed.

    On the other hand I would be ticked if you got a discount at the Apple Store. For anytime I asked for a better price, I was told no. I accept as their way of doing business. Either I pay the price, or I don't. Same way with their open box return policy. 10% restocking I think. Either I like it or not. If not I go find some where else to spend my money.
  9. MacFan26 macrumors 65816


    Jan 8, 2003
    San Francisco, California
    Seems like a lot of people have been complaining about the Apple Store staff lately, I wouldn't be that hard on them though, it's a retail store, what can you expect? Besides, if people really want a deal, they should use MacMall or something. Everyone keeps saying Apple isn't like a car dealership, and I'm glad, I wouldn't want it to be like a car dealership! :)

    Hope the new iBook is great! :D
  10. quagmire macrumors 603


    Apr 19, 2004
    The only apple store in Pennsylvania is Kings of Prussia. You made a bad choice, I would of gotton the powerbook. It has a better video card, and better quality. For how many more? $100. You should know the 12" and 14" screens are the same resolution. If you travel often you would of loved the 4.6 pounds and the smaller design. You get so much power in the 12" powerbook. You should know no student=no edu discount. If you went to a dell store which is in PA, you would of gotton a much ruder person. When I was there 7 times when I was a windows user they were so rude. They were saying are you going to buy it or not? They wouldn't even tell me what the clockspeed of the machine even though I knew.

    Overall, welcome to Mac. The ibook will serve you well.
  11. DavidLeblond macrumors 68020


    Jan 6, 2004
    Raleigh, NC
    I don't really think the poster was bashing the Apple store. If the salesman was "hinting" that maybe he could bend a few rules and get him the education discount, then he shouldn't have done that. I dislike salesmen that tell me I can get a discount and then "change their minds" when I'm ready to deal too. :rolleyes:
  12. 5300cs macrumors 68000


    Nov 24, 2002
    Sorry to hear about your bad experience :(

    Good find on the iBook though. And I like MicroCenter. I'm from Boston and I used to shop there a lot. There's some dumb people, but the Mac department has always been at least semi-helpful.

    Have fun with the iBook, it's a very cool machine
  13. Sabbath macrumors 6502a


    Sep 18, 2003
    I'm glad you came away with the computer you wanted (almost) and at a better price really. Apple are generally not flexible at all with their prices, for example over here (UK) you can get iPods significantly cheaper than the Apple education price in many other stores.

    It seems like a frustrating experience and not good in general for Apple's sales figures. Looking on the positive side you got to see a pretty Apple store (I hope that one was a nice one) and knew what you could get it for elsewhere otherwise you would have spent a lot more and not realised it. I not even sure if Apple retail stores really need to sell that many computers or if they are more of a marketing and support thing. Obviously Apple wants them to sell as many computers as possible, giving more revenue and also giving Apple more control over the supply but I doubt that is their only goal.
  14. jimsowden macrumors 68000


    Sep 6, 2003
    Look at it from a retail standpoint. Down the road, if you did buy at the Apple Store, you may have something go wrong on your computer. Judging from the fuss you made in this post, and the psychology of some people as a customer, you will have unfair expectations. Like if one pixel is dead, you will B*TCH and B*TCH about it to them and then when they refuse to appease you, which is what they should do, you will make a post about it. I'm not saying something like a bad HD isn't something to get fixed for free, but the Apple Store cuts its losses by getting rid of you as a customer.
  15. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Dec 25, 2003
    Northern Virginia
    There is another matter. Micro Center (unless they have changed) pays their employees very well for a "retail" job. From what I have heard from reports here and on other Mac sites Apple pales in comparison.
  16. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Dec 25, 2003
    Northern Virginia
    Having been a retail manager before, I can see the handwriting on the wall that the employee was most likely a relative new hire.
  17. Timelessblur macrumors 65816


    Jun 26, 2004
    read again he got apple care. he can go to the apple store for repairs and apple has to foot the bill.

    All in all I say that was a pretty crappy sells guy at apple. He sounded like he was one of those by the book sells guys trying to shove crap down your thoght. Also if they say that can match the price and fail well I would of walk out of there and then refused to ever buy a single thing from that store. As for the mico place good deal. you got it for a cheaper price and got the same proctection plan that you would of gotten from the apple store.
  18. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Dec 25, 2003
    Northern Virginia
    You might want to read the original post again. No where was it stated that they said that they would match the price.

    I am not sure that you ever worked as sells (sic) guy. But sales can be a lot harder than one might think. Also keep in mind we have only heard one side of the story. While it sounds fair and balanced, it is heard only from one point of view.

    I'll repeat again, it really sounds like a new salesperson that tried his best. Now he knows what can and can not be done. So the next customer will benefit from what turned out to be the best for the original poster.
  19. csubear macrumors 6502a


    Aug 22, 2003
    It could be the cleveland apple store, its like 2 hours from the PA boder, and there is a microcenter about 15 min away.

    Ya, the apple store will never budge on price. The only way you could have gotten a discount.

    a) produce a fake student id (not a good idea)
    b) your god
    c) you name is
    d) or Jobs his self was selling the computer, and even then he might just say get out of my store and go buy it on amazon. either way they still make a buck.
  20. jimsowden macrumors 68000


    Sep 6, 2003
    The only Apple Store in PA is in King of Prussia, outside of Philadelphia. About 15 hours from Ohio. Say hi to Drew Carrey for me.
  21. jemeinc macrumors 6502a

    Feb 14, 2004
    South Jersey
    I used to go to the King Of Prussia store all the time...Most of the staff are quite knowledgeable... In fact, when my father bought his eMac there the sales lady blew us away with her knowledge— she had all the answers to our questions instantly... We had to tell her to slow down & repeat it a few times she was rattling that stuff off so quick...

    It is an extremely busy store though, so they could have been training someone new... But still, I don't think what the salesman did was all that big of a deal... The customer asked for a discount he wasn't entitled to, & the salesman looked into it for him... Whoopi-do... Just asking doesn't entitle someone to something for nothing (ie: ram upgrade or discounted Applecare), all that does is cheapen Apples product if they start doing that...
  22. Timelessblur macrumors 65816


    Jun 26, 2004
    I have to agree he sounds like a new sales guy. He was way to buy the book not to be (in trying to get him to buy extra stuff). Personly I can not stand the newbie sells guys who are they buy the book simplely because they start telling me crap I already know and I not someone who going to be impressed by number since I know about how much little they really mean. It take experice to tell when the constermer already knows a fair amont about product already and not to bother trying to impress them about it since it only going to tick them off. Instead they impress me more if they try to find out some of the little gimics on it that very few people even know about and show those to me.
  23. straphound macrumors member

    Jul 23, 2002
    Things must have changed at Microcenter. I used to work at the Westerville, Ohio store (the red headed step child of the chain) as a service tech/CSR and made $8.25 on the hour. This was after almost two years. The sales people, IIRC, made 4 bucks on the hour plus 2% commission.

    The one thing that irked me to no end while working there was that the customer was always right. This really hit home while working as a CSR and taking returns and doing service work. People would outright lie to you about anything and the management, being the spineless weasels they were, would always accept it.

    On the other hand, this is good for the honest customer's who can take advantage of it in prices, returns, and customer service.

    In the case of the iBook, it was probably what they call an "M" deck item. It is a discontinued item that falls a certain percentage every month and will keep falling until it is sold. I had a friend who bought a dual 800 G4 there for $350 in spring of 2002. Not a bad deal. So whenever you are at a MC ask if they have any Apples on "M" deck.
  24. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    I doubt it's quite that far. I used to drive from Philly to western Ohio regularly and it took a maximum of 10 hours. Still, 2 hours from the state line is not close to the only Apple store in PA.

    Anyway, it's unfortunate that we can't have what we want but Apple really doesn't negotiate on its prices, for whatever reason. The best we can do is to buy the older version or refurbs from the online Apple store or get add-on goodies from other sales outlets. My last two machines were top-of-the-line machines but one or two releases old.

    I don't expect Apple's retail sales to be any better than anyone else's, so I guess it's good that they don't surprise me and give me a heart attack. ;)
  25. slipper macrumors 68000


    Nov 19, 2003
    according to your post, the employee never did give you a definate answer if he could get you the edu discount. despite that you decided to come back again. you dont go to school, you dont get a edu discount, as simple as that.

    im no manager at the apple store but im sure the employee should be subject to termination.

    since you had the opportunity to test drive the ibook your first visit, why didnt you just purchase it online??? especially since you knew for a fact they didnt have a $150 rebate.

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