Free Stuff at the Apple Store Helps Writers

Five years ago, when I first stepped into a noisy Apple retail store, it felt like being 100 pounds overweight and entering a new health club wearing shapeless, paint stained sweatpants and an old tee-shirt, and seeing a room full of beautiful bodies in $300 outfits.

These days, I confidently go to the Apple store for all kinds of reasons, but most often it’s for Personal Training. I can set my training agenda from the simplest task to more complicated applications, like adding data to my keychain, or using GarageBand for the first time to edit the tape from a book interview I had on KDHX radio.

Apple keeps me coming by upping the ante and adding free in-store goodies, such as Open Training. I have to sign up for this, and I usually do so if my One-to-One session runs out of time, or I need to tweak something I just learned.

Opening Training is like study hall. I work individually, and if I get stuck or have a question, the trainer is there to help. I can re-signup as long as needed, if no one else has reserved the time, and so far, I’ve never been asked to vacate the space.

On any given day, the Apple store might have 40 to 100 customers milling about. The work tables can get crowded; there are already four store laptops in place, but customers usually bring their own laptop. Some also struggle in with desktop computers, printers, and smaller paraphernalia, such as pens, notebooks, purses, iPads, iPhones, etc.

So why am I, a writer who prefers writing and revising in the silence of my home, now comfortable doing detail computer work in the store?

For one thing, I know most of the trainers. I admire and respect their broad knowledge. I’m indebted to them for explaining what I did that erased everything on my iPhone, then helping me recover it. They teach me important things, like how to hover over a suspicious-looking email link to see if it’s really from the person it reports to be from. The trainers respect and treat me well, even when I screw up and do stupid stuff — like erasing my iPhone.

That trust factor allows me to concentrate inside Apple’s busy retail world and get answers to complex questions that I could not get an answer to if my only option was to call an 800 number that connected me to another world.

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