My Apple Store Story

When I was in San Francisco last week, I made a specific point of going to the Apple Store. I thought it would be cool to see one of the flagship stores and see if something jumped into my hands that I had to buy. I walked into the store and immediately saw the trademark translucent staircase. I pulled out my camera and took a picture.

As I was putting my camera away, a store employee walked up and told me that no pictures could be taken in the store. He was very polite about it. I became pretty upset and I left the store.

I am sure there is a reason for no picture-taking. They probably want to be able to control the images that people see of their stores. The trouble is it stops customers and fans from talking about Apple and their stores. I wanted to share the experience of visiting the store with all of you. I don’t think this is the story Apple wanted me to tell.

10 thoughts on “My Apple Store Story

  1. Most stores would do the same. Put the camera away and get a clue. It’s good that the employee was very polite about it.

  2. Apple isn’t exactly known for being the most open and friendly company in the world. Still, glad you snuck this picture out😉

  3. because you could be casing the joint for future theft. where are the cameras, if any? where can i grab merchandise? we live in slightly more paranoid times, and any store that wants to maintain any security will keep you from taking pictures. try it in best buy or some other store. they may not be so nice about it.

    why the hell were you upset? incredibly naive and sensitive

  4. Thinking outside the box here — yes, all stores do it, but maybe that represents an opportunity for Apple to “think different”. I mean, that’s their brand, right? If they encouraged picture-taking, they could build up their brand through some good viral marketing . . . hell, they have about 30 digital cameras in every Apple store, all hooked up to powerbooks, and they push iLife as the ultimate digital lifestyle tool. Imagine people all snapping shots in every Apple store, using iPhoto to upload them to free (for 30 days) .Mac accounts and telling their friends to check out the pics with free Apple-branded cool-looking eCards. And a word to commenter Chris — why the hell are you thinking so inside the box?

  5. I think Drew is really on to something here. I also think most stores don’t want cameras in the store from a PR point of view. For example the news media being able to stand in an Apple store while doing a report about Apple that puts them in a bad light. However, with the line between a “profesional” journalst, and someone who looks to be just snapping pictures is getting blured. Rather than leave the decision up to the employee, they have done what ALL large companies do – write a policy to cover it, that would prevent ANY mistaken interpertaion or discrimation.

    Apple should be different – it’s not like there isn’t already a holly way about platforms, might as well help the people who are on your side😉

    Be mad at the kid? No. Try to convince him he’s wrong? No. Try the manager? Nope, none of them have any real power. Blog it – you bet, I’m sure Apple’s PR team has seen this…

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  7. Say I have a really cool store layout. One I’ve spent untold $$ on, and is now featured in Architectural Digest. Why would I want some random schmo photoing it?

    You’re not official, so then are you casing the place for a future theft? Are you taking shots to steal the design idea for your own store? Or you just gonna show your friends some random and unflattering pics that detract from the ‘experience’ I spent all that $$ creating?

    No, better to ban tourist snaps so that ‘real’ customers can have a shutter-bug free experience and I can manage the exposure that the store gets.

    Now make me the notoriously micro-managing Steve Jobs, and you’re lucky I allow you to form your own memory of the event!


  8. The interior design reinforces Apple’s brand. It is Apple. Those stairs are Apple. Wayan, Steve Jobs isn’t losing sleep worrying about you shooting a pic of his staircase and “copying it in your store”. Come on. The beauty of their brand — any good brand — is that things have become so associated with it that if Best Buy or Circuit City were to rip off the Apple staircase, it would backfire. People would walk into their stores and say “looks like the Apple store”. Its like when Gateway came out with their new modern line of flat-screen PCs, so clearly influenced by the design aesthetic of the iMac — people were like “eh, wonder where you guys got that idea . . . posers!”

  9. 98% guarantee that the root of this situation is some PR department rule at Apple HQ that states to the front line employees:

    “Don’t talk to the media or let them take pictures, that’s the job of the PR team.”

    It’s unfortunate too that a special trip to Apple Computer mecca has turned into a negative experience for an Apple evangelist – a super-fan!

    You don’t really believe that they think he’s ‘casing the place’ to loot it later? C’mon, that’s a dumb criminal. Besides, you can see the cameras and cash registers from outside at 2 am when no one is around. (A better criminal would take the shots using the cameras IN the store and e-mail those pictures to themselves FROM the store using the store’s internet connection).

    You can’t really believe that they think from a snap or two he’ll be able to copy the design, build his own computers, start his own business and serve a threat to Apple’s proprietary store design?

    Finally, I’ll bet if your mom was taking the picture of you and your new iBook no one would have said anything.

    I’ll bet Apple would be disappointed to know that a rule they put into place for a positive reason (to ensure the media speaks to spokespersons) has turned into a negative situation for loving customers.

    I’m sure you weren’t the first to be yelled at, and I’m sure you won’t be the last.

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