Earlier today I tried to buy an Airport Express base station by
visiting what appeared to be an Apple store in Stournari street:
the road in Athens with the largest physical concentration of computer shops.
To my astonishment, the single person working there told me the following:
- What appeared to be a store, was not actually a store, but a showroom. I could look at the products, but could not buy them.
- However, the specific product I was interested in, was not exhibited.
- I could order the item from the web site, but she could not specify the time it would take to arrive. The time could be anything from 4-6 days to two months.
- There was no way to find out in advance how long it would take for my
order to be fullfilled. No, she could not phone the warehouse.
The procedure to follow is to order the item, and then phone the warehouse to ask for a delivery time. If I was not happy with that, I could then cancel my order.
- Apple is not very keen in selling in Greece; it prefers to concentrate on other larger European countries.
- I could also try to locate the product from one of their authorized resellers.
- However, the reseller list she had at hand was not up to date, so I'd better phone the local support deparment to obtain the address of the nearest reseller. The number she gave me was a premium rate number charged at 0.25 EUR (0.30 USD) / 25".
- After convincing the showroom attendant to give me a copy of the reseller list I discovered that there was a reseller quite near. The attendant told me however, she could not recommend them, because she had heard a number of horror stories concerning them.
I later visited Apple's Greek web shop
There I discovered that in order to place an order I would have to physically visit a showroom to register and obtain a special access code. This is the most innovative approach to e-commerce I have yet encountered; I will remember it as an example to share with my students.
Finally, tried to locate an up-to-date version of the reseller list on the web site.
Apparently it is a well-guarded secret: the corresponding web page
only lists each reseller's name and city. To keep things interesting no address or contact information is provided.
As a contributor to FreeBSD
, the code base behind MacOS X, and a passionate computer enthousiast I held Apple in high esteem for its innovative use of technology and the excellent design of its products. This was my first actual encounter with Apple's salesforce, and probably the last.
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