This weekend I’m in Peoria, IL for the Mike Hibit/Sarah Armstrong union. Right now I’m writing from Kade’s Coffee and Tea, which is a local joint right up the street from my hotel. This morning I logged on to the computer and googled the coffee shop options and decided to check this place out. One of the barista’s noticed I was carrying a book by C.S. Lewis, and inquired about the title. I’ve been reading Lewis lately, and am beginning Out of the Silent Planet. She had read it, and said she had loved it. From where I’m working, nearby is a family spending time together, and among their many topics they’ve talked about modes of baptism. I felt like I could’ve jumped right in that discussion.
It isn’t any secret that in the past week I went shopping for a computer, and I couldn’t be logging on to the web if I hadn’t made a purchase. For the past 10 months or so I’ve worked exclusively from a desktop computer, which had replaced a Gateway laptop that died after a good 5 year run. Because it would be helpful for me to be able to work on the go, my grandparents gave me a gift to be credited toward the purchase of a new laptop computer. Thus, I had to carefully research my options.
I bounced around on the web and talked with persons who owned laptop computers. I was open to purchasing either a PC or Mac. My desktop computer is a PC, and I’ve been a PC user my entire life. I’ve played around on Macintosh computers from time to time, as I’ve worked a couple of places which used Mac systems for media production, etc. Anyway, I used the internet to gather data and compare system specs, and read tons of customer reviews. This wasn’t a decision to be taken lightly.
With the PC I was pretty clear on what I would be getting. I’ve been using Vista for a while now, which hasn’t been difficult for me. I was familiar with Microsoft Office and how those applications performed on a Windows system. Most of what I do is writing and research, so those are my primary needs–the tools to do my job. I decided to set up a personal shopping appointment at the Apple Store on the Plaza to gather more information about the Mac.
I had a great experience. Here are some of the things I learned through my shopping experience at the Apple Store:
- The Apple Store has employees (persons) who fulfill very specific roles within the community. ”The Genius Bar” has a number of personable Apple geeks who can help you out with any technical problems you may have with your Mac. On one of my visits to the store (the day after I purchased the product), I came in and let an employee know that there seemed to be a problem with my power cord. He turned and said, “I’ll see if one of our geniuses is available.” Wouldn’t that be a boost of self esteem if that was in your job title? Aside from the Geniuses, the Apple Store has persons (currently in orange Concierge shirts) who greet customers as they come in, asking how they might help and directing them to the appropriate persons (this is called hospitality, followed by facilitating connections). Their sales persons, in blue shirts, are responsible for being knowledgeable about the product and demonstrating the capabilities. If you’re interested in buying something, they are the ones to talk to. I think there is a lesson for community development here, and how people with different gifts fill different roles.
- My sales person, Brenna Hayes, was friendly, personable, knowledgeable, and passionate about Apple products and services. Our interaction was great–it was a no pressure environment. She recognized that I was attempting to gather data about the Apple product (in my case a MacBook), and she patiently listened to my MANY questions about the programs and capabilities of the computer. Everything about our conversation was natural, free flowing, and comfortable. My curiosity had been piqued by my interactions with other Apple users and my exposure to Apple products, and I came to speak to someone who I knew was part of the Apple community who I believed could answer my questions. I think there is a lesson for evangelism here.
- For $100, Apple offers one-to-one training sessions for one year, in which you can redeem one session per week for 52 weeks. By setting this up you can learn to use Apple’s many products, including stuff from their iLife suite like iPhoto, Garage Band, and iMovie. After initiating yourself into the Apple computer world and sacrificing a bit of cash (it has a cost), Apple will train you in using their products so that you can have a better user experience, while also equipping you to speak more intelligently about their product to your friends. I think there is a lesson for discipleship here.