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Hi, I’m Kevin Coupe and this is a Monday FaceTime with the Content Guy.

When Mrs. Content Guy and I went out the other day to do some actual bricks-and-mortar holiday shopping - something that I’m sure will shock people who believe that I only shop online, and hate the physical shopping experience - one of the places we went to was the Apple Store in the local mall.

I think it is fair to say that it isn’t really fair to compare all bricks-and-mortar to the Apple Store, which offers one of the best shopping experiences available.

Except that this time, it wasn’t. At a time when Apple is emphasizing its positioning as a luxury brand as opposed to being a technology brand, I’d suggest that at least based on this experience, they’re not getting it done.

We walked inside to look at a few things, and stood around for about 10 minutes waiting for someone to help us. Nobody did. There were lots of folks in red Apple t-shirts standing around - more, in fact, than there were customers - but they seemed more interested in talking to each other than to customers. I finally went up to one of them, and was told that if I wanted help, I needed to check in with a person near the front door who was holding an iPad.

Really? Not only did that seem silly considering how many employees there were standing around, but there was no signage to tell me that. Plus, it seems like a policy designed to make it easy for the employees, not easy for customers.

Another thing. When I started asking questions, I was told that the people in red shirts were assigned to different areas, and were not allowed to talk to customers in other sections. While that may make sense in terms of expertise, a store like Apple, where they traditionally have depended on big transactions enabled by superior customer service, this seems counterproductive.

Look. The Apple Store is still one of the best retail stores out there, but even the Apple Store has to bring its A-game every hour of every day. I’m not sure if this experience is an anomaly, or if there s something else going on here. Like, maybe, hubris based on past performance.

If that’s the case, it does not say good things about Apple or its retail stores. That worries me … because if you stop paying attention to these kinds of things, one day you’re the Apple Store, and the next day you’re something less special, less differentiated.

Like the Microsoft Store.

That’s what’s on my mind this Monday morning. As always, I want to hear what is on your mind.

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