Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Experience I Had Purchasing My First MacBook

This is the first thing I learned how to do. And it isn't even cool anymore, is it?
If you take random letters and numbers, push them together, and post them under a photo of a laptop, you’ve basically just written a product description for Apple’s website. I mean, seriously. Where’s my decoder because no one is actually expected to understand that, right?

Keeping in mind this is where my level of comprehension is at when it comes to trendy technology, I bravely went into the Apple store.

This was a big deal for me since I am moderately afraid of interaction with techy people. They’re always tapping on their phone and you always assume they’re just too bored with you to even feign interest in what you have to say. (It’s like, yeah, I get it. You get news updates sent to your phone and you’re in the middle of a serious Words with Friends game, but I’m trying to compare and contrast Saved by the Bell and Saved by the Bell: The College Years. I need an audience for this.)

And just because these people are now in some type of retail, service position doesn’t change my fear of them or how self-conscious I get when I’m in their proximity.

I went in just knowing they would ask me what they could help me with (the dreaded interaction) and I could see myself stumbling over a nonsensical, embarrassing response like, “I need a laptop, I guess. Can I write on these? How’s the internet on your laptops?” And then I’d panic and look away and move my finger around on the mouse like I’m testing the integrity of the product. “Yep, looks like the mouse is pretty efficient. I like that.”

So I quickly referenced a text conversation that included specific product suggestions (thanks, DeSean!) but after pushing smugly past all the fools just messing around (because I was there to actually purchase something) I eventually found myself overwhelmed and also at one of those computer bars with all the fools just messing around. Then I realized this was the first time I approached some type of bar alone and wondered if a guy would offer to buy me an iPod.

But he didn’t. Instead, a frantic-looking Apple employee typed my name into some gadget and said someone would be with me soon. So I stayed motionless in front of the exact product I wanted and tried not to look like all the other confused consumers with furrowed brows and heightened impulses to check their Facebook on Apple’s computers.

Sooner than expected,  Mr. Mac Helper finds me and here’s where my story takes the inevitable awkward turn. As anticipated, his first question is what I would use the computer for. Sensing my weird hesitation to venture into an extended conversation with him, he probes by asking if I needed it for school. Completely forgetting that I wanted the student discount I say, “Oh no, I’m done with that.”

Yeah. Okay, so then we keep talking and I forget I just admitted I wasn’t a student until I remember, as these words leave my mouth, “Do I get a student discount?”

And immediately I see it. He knows I’m a liar, but he doesn’t say anything. Instead, he waits and responds, “Yeah…what school do you go to?”

In my inability to lie correctly, I get super formal, “The University of Central Florida,” I say because UCF would sound way too natural. Then, he asks for my student ID. At this point, we both know I’m lying and we both know that the other knows, but now I’m annoyed he’s trying to mess with me. So I whip out my ID (which yes, I keep for movie discounts and 30% off at J Crew) and lay it on the table. He examines it. For like, longer than he should.

There’s no dates printed on it, jerk.

Then he asks, “So, are you in grad school?”

I’m a terrible, horrible liar (as proven by the simple fact I answered the initial question honestly and forgot to lie) but I still refuse to come clean.

I smile in hopes that my unassuming, polite face will mask my unethical behavior, “Yep! Getting ready to start. Going for an MFA in Creative Writing.” (Because someone would be getting ready to start school in the middle of October. I also try to fully believe this lie, almost like an actor. I mean, maybe I will go back to school. And I do have a studious nature about me--that should warrant a student discount.)

He smiles, “Oh, cool.”

He gives me the student discount but not without purposely making me feel weird about life, which I could tell he was completely enjoying. So we both smile brightly at each other as I leave (and decline a printed receipt and additional assistance in my haste to get the hell out of there) and I walk out of the mall a proud owner of a MacBook Pro.

Which, I still have no idea how to use. And will eventually (like, soon) need to go back to the Apple store so that all my data can be transferred appropriately.

I just hope that guy’s not working, otherwise I’ll need to come up with some elaborate tale about how grad school’s been. Or actually enroll in grad school.


  1. We don't lose anything in giving you a student discount, we don't make comission, and I usually will give the discount to anyone that can prove in some form they attend school (can they log into a school website, do they have an acceptance email, or an id card?) and i have been known to give it to parents as their snarky teenager is standing beside them because, (mom's only getting herself an ipad) well your mom is cool, I'm gonna cut your mom a break. Go back to the store, ask for a personal set-up, or check out the website under "workshops". They're free.

    on another note, I've been with the company for a good while, and in my experience; no one is more socially awkward than apple employees.

  2. My friend actually purchased something there not too long ago and they didn't even ask for proof for the student discount. I'm pretty sure the guy was trying to tease me, which is fine, but I am also extremely paranoid. And I think the reason I'm intimidated by them is because they're computer literate and I'm not, so in their presence I feel completely stupid! Haha, whatever social awkwardness they're giving out is masked by my belief that they're the smartest person alive.