My dirty little secret is I’m secretly an Apple Store addict. I go to all the openings I can; so far I’ve been to 7 of the 9 UK stores, missing only Meadowhall and Trafford Centre, because they fell on dates I couldn’t make.
I get questions, and hassle, from various people about why I go to these store openings. Why on Earth I spend time and money getting to the store, waiting in a queue and traveling home again.
Firstly, I’ve not been to an opening where I have felt awkward talking to the people around me. Actually, at the Regent Street opening, I got there and was chatting within seconds with people whom I had never met before. An hour later and the second round of hot drinks were in. 2 in the morning and a couple of us went in search of a loo whilst the others guarded our places. Worryingly it didn’t occur to me until we were half way down Oxford Street, that I had left the majority of my valuables and warm clothes with my bag and these guys that I had met just hours beforehand. Though this may be because of the high amount of trust I give people.
Secondly, there really is no other place where you can meet random people who use Macs and chat to them easily. The field is level, you are both odd for going to this store opening, obviously like the Mac world enough to do so and because of that you have conversation topics given to you for free. I don’t recall ever having a “weather” conversation, like when you feel the need to needlessly talk about crap that really doesn’t matter. Of course the one exception was the talk of how cold Regent Street is at 4am, but it seemed relevant at the time.
Also, you’re waiting in a queue with little else to do. If you don’t talk to anyone, it’s going to be a long few hours. Of course you could pull out your laptop, but I’d bet my money that someone will come up to you and ask you about it, what your running, whether you have any decent music. All I can conclude from this is that Mac people are just quite friendly.
The people I meet at the openings come from a pretty wide demographic; I have met computer science students, a nurse, a guy in marketing, an engineer, a software tester, Americans, a German, some Russians and a Singaporean. I am in contact with around six people I have met at openings, and from my point of view that’s damned useful as I’m hoping to develop Mac applications in the near future, and this gives me a list of people who I could ask to try stuff out and help improve it before it hits the net. Really though, it gives thoughts from different perspectives; it’s one thing for a developer to think their ideas are good, but an end user must also agree.
So to conclude, it’s a really simple answer, I like having the time to do nothing else but to meet other people and chat about what they think about this, that and the other. It may also help me professionally by making friends and contacts which I may work with in the future. First and foremost, I’m there to have a good time and perhaps meet some new friends.
As a final note, I started writing this last week at the new store in West Quay, effectively my local for when I’m home. However, after a busy week at uni, I finish writing it at the new Bentall Centre store. So this is a little strange, two store openings within a week. This time last week I was sitting outside a different store, in a different shopping mall. But yet it still really hasn’t hit me that this is quite a sad thing to be doing with your Saturdays. Ah well, roll on the next one; Scotland I hear…