I was trained to do this. From day one of dedicated 8-hour training sessions, we're trained to find customers the right "solution" rather than get the most money. This requires using the APPLE technique (acronym, google it). The second P stands for "Present a solution for the customer to take home today." It was common knowledge at the time (4 years ago) that consumers were brainwashed to thinking faster/more is always better. But when we can save them hundreds of dollars, this isn't the case. There were many many times I talked someone out of a $2,000 MacBook Pro for a $1200 entry-level iMac with double the specs because after probing (the first "P") I learned they didn't need to be mobile. This was really, really common.
And note, this isn't about trying to convince people to spend less. Sometimes after probing, we learned they needed _more_. It is about the RIGHT solution.
To add to this: specialists don't earn commission. We weren't ranked based on financial sales numbers (there are other metrics, however). There is no incentive for specialists to sell more expensive or less expensive things. It is about the right thing.
So, this guy was just doing what he was trained to do. It is Apple store standard.
Thanks for posting this and letting me know I was wrong. I still am puzzled. Apple is not shy about squeezing the bucks out of consumers. But this shows a level of customer-orientation that I didn't expect to see.
One thing Apple has excelled at over its history is building a base of lifetime customers.
Exactly. And not only that, as TFAA did you may well get free advertisement to friends, family and the internet at large about how nice and human the experience was likely bringing in multiple lifetime customers.
I think Samsung is doing phenomenally well because of marketing and getting the telecoms to push their phones hard (financial incentive?)
Example: Their Smart TV can be controlled with your hand in the air! I've been dreaming of this since I was 5 back in the 80's and when I saw the commercial they put out the only thing I could think was 'meh'. Even when Apple does something incremental like the iPhone 5 their marketing still leaves you with a sense of awe.
This describes my thoughts on all Samsung phones... littered with half-working, buggy features that would not be put into production at any other company who's primary goal isn't to check off a slew of features.
[not trying to detract from your wider point]
When people feel they have been treated fairly they will come back over and over. Not being taken advantage of as a consumer is such a unique experience that it will stick out in their mind!
maybe they now that too well.
But for people that research before reaching for the wallet, it's all the same.
Called me to say if you close and re-open your internet based savings account you will get the higher "intro" interest rate for 4 months. I explained that I had always wondered about this loop hole... Before I even got around to visiting a branch close/re-open, I read on my statement that the bonus interest rate has been applied.
They may actually suggest broader terms and higher bids which will cost you more.
Across the entire customer population it probably sells more stuff in aggregate than if the confrontational approach is used...
It's not like it's some nefarious plot to create lock in either. It's simply a long term business strategy that I don't think the industry as a whole ever truly understood or appreciated until things really got tight. Apple's not the only one playing the satisfied customer game either, nor is it some novel concept, which is why it's always baffled me that folks who are interested in the long game don't bother to do the same thing on a consistent basis. Looking out for and providing customers with the best/most cost effective solutions you can offer to solve their problems creates a virtuous cycle. Sure, you may never see them again, but treat a person well and chances are very good, especially in a market like hardware and software, that you will and/or you'll see their friends.
Apple wants them to stay customers. There are a lot more bucks in the long term.
Really anything else is an extremely short-sighted business model.
Another interesting point, which echoes what others have said about life-long customers and word of mouth advertising, Apple collects customer surveys. Only extremely high scores count positively for the specialist. Those people are considered to have had such a good experience that they would actually promote their experience to others that they know.
However, I think we need more data on recommendations before we can argue that the intent is entirely altruistic. As others have said, the low-end model is also the same model as the "Vanilla" build, i.e. the model that Apple has plenty of in stock...and a purchase in-store (with the possibility of upselling on other accessories) is more valuable than a purchase from the web. If it's the case that Apple sells a disproportionate amount of its Vanilla stock in-store, then is it coincidence that the Vanilla stock happens to be the perfect fit for so many customers? How many slightly-upgraded (but not in-stock) models are customers convinced to buy...because there has to be at least a few customers for whom the MBP is not ideal, but a slightly upgraded MBA is needed.
And if you want to be totally cynical, you could argue that Apple is ensuring that the customer returns in the nearer future by selling them a less future-proof model. Yes, customers have loyalty based on the reliability of the brand...but if the compassionate-sales-job is so effective, then that alone may be good enough of a memory for the customer to overlook that he/she is replacing a new laptop a year earlier than expected.
The more we can find these win/win situations, the better our economy will be. The closer we can match consumer costs to the the economic costs of their consumption, the more accurately the existing "Free" market will match the ideal market.
Approach and welcome the customer.
Probe to understand their problem.
Present your solution to their problem. (And make sure something happens now.)
Listen for lingering issues.
End with a polite good-bye and ask them to come back.
"Apple recognizes what few other retailers do: customer satisfaction starts even before a product is purchased, and it is customer satisfaction that makes companies great."
I had expected this was just an idiosyncrasy of that particular salesperson, but you make a good case that Apple intends for this behavior to be common. Thanks!
If someone is dead set on getting a model, you aren't rude to them. Ever. But you do your best to make them happy.
EDIT: thanks for the down votes, but its an honest question. What if the customer comes in, and the solution that is best for them is not something sold by Apple? In particular, Apple only sell high end products. I have jad salespeople tell me to go to a low end competitor in the past, and some will just try to sell you the high end stuff.
People rave about Apple downselling and Amazon allowing low score reviews on their products because in the long run its good business.
The problem is this doesn't always work and isn't applicable in all situations.
The customer that you sell a laptop to may or may not return. But the salesman selling oracle would get fired for pushing a competitors product under the guise of building loyalty.
The problem is that practices like this are specific to certain places and situations.
Lastly, if you are a local small dealer you simply can't afford to easily lose a sale with the hope that the loyalty is paid back for years to come. You generally have to make hay while the sun shines.
I'm not sure about your example of the local dealer. The "local" part implies to me that personal relationships and long memories will play a relatively large role in someone's business. It could be extremely beneficial to at least be seen as looking out for others to your detriment, and it would probably be easier to do for real than to fake convincingly for a long period unless your customers are ignorant.
However in the case of trying to get a customer to buy something more powerful than they need, the product will work just fine from the perspective from the customer; it's just that it still would've worked fine for them and they would've retained more money if they went with something less powerful.
There may be some economic dynamics I'm missing out on (aversion to buying Apple products in the future for being too pricey, maybe), but it seems like it'd generally be in a company's best interest to try and get their customers to purchase their most expensive projects. That is why the article linked seems so unusual yet refreshing.
nah, never mind.
If you walk into an Apple Store, wouldn't you expect to get the best Apple solution for your problem? Same in a Microsoft store, just with a Microsoft solution.
If you know you want to buy a MacBook Pro, they'll be glad to take your money. But if you demonstrate that you're not sure about which model is more appropriate for you, or you seemed uncertain about the differences between a MBP and a MBA, that's when the "[P]robing" and the "[P]resent a Solution" make sense.
It's a lot better to have a happy customer today (even if for a lower ticket price), than an undecided and confused customer for the rest of the week/month. (Or, worse, with buyer's remorse for years).
That's the opposite approach of most other retail shops. The sales person usually pushes for the most expensive item first, usually motivated by the direct commissions model. Good for him/her and for the store, but not always in the best interest of the customer.
The employees also had decent knowledge of how AT&T's service plans worked and were as to answer all of my questions. The service at the AT&T store at the same mall was a slap in the face.
The reason Apple's RAM is so expensive is because it undergoes very thorough RAM tests to verify it is 100%, and is also covered by AppleCare. So if your RAM goes bad, they'll replace it. Of course there is a large upsell $$$ here, but you're paying for stability. Some people just feel better going 100% Apple, despite the charge.
Of course, I never had an issue with RAM from OWC, so I always recommended it. I even helped a few customers purchase it in-store using the display units.
Another cool story: You may or may not know, but new Mac computers used to (may still do) come with a $100 rebate towards a printer. The entry-level printer is exactly $100, so it is essentially free. There really is no catch here except you have to wait 4 to 6 weeks for the check to arrive. We (Apple store employees) knew that most people forget to file for their rebate, and manufacturers bank on this. So we were all officially trained to help file the rebate form in the store as part of the checkout process, to make sure the customer got it.
Also, even if the customer didn't want the printer, we'd usually try to sell it (for free, remember), and tell them to sell it on Craigslist, because they could get an easy $20 to $30. shrug Again, this was encouraged.
Isn't that second thing the case with OWC RAM too? That it's covered by some guarantee and that if it goes bad, they'll replace it?
I think the OP's point is that buying RAM through Apple (at a hefty premium) is a significant convenience for some people: if there's an issue - any issue - with the computer, take it back to Apple and they'll sort it out. Buying third-party RAM isn't quite as convenient.
Of course, in my experience Apple will happily look at your computer even with third-party RAM, but they obviously won't fix any issues caused by it.
- Probe / Pick
"An effective facilitator does not just end at asking effective questions. Proper timing and accurate delivery are also important. For a good and effective facilitation, the APPLE technique might work best. APPLE is the acronym for asking the question, pausing to allow the participants to comprehend the question and think of an answer, picking a member to provide an answer, listening to the answer provided, and expounding or elaborating more on the answers given. More importantly, listen to the answers of the questions you asked."
I recommend to my sis-in-law that she get a Air for her 13 year old son because I knew that the SSD makes a BIG difference.
The Apple shop sold her a MBP because quote "it's faster".
Yes, the cpu has a higher MHz but please.
Or maybe you were wrong?
With few exceptions, the sales staff at South African iStores are utterly awful; the smarmiest, smuggest and most deceitful bunch I've had the displeasure to buy from who will most certainly not try to find you the solution that suits you best but will try to upsell you on the option that boosts their commission the most.
It would do wonders for Apple's damaged reputation in South Africa to establish an official presence and set up real Apple Retail stores.
This seems obvious, but many businesses don't seem to understand this.
I hope tesla wins over the car dealerships...
Use the "check availability" sidebar link here to see what I mean: http://store.apple.com/us/configure/MD712LL/A?
I remember picking up my fully-loaded 13" from the store a couple of generations ago, so this is likely a new decision (or temporary while they figure out supply and demand). I strongly recommend the 8GB RAM upgrade, RAM gets eaten up really easily and is definitely worth the extra $100.
Ideally, he would have told you that the extra RAM might be useful, and also let you know that any upgrades would require delivery to the store or to you directly.
While I absolutely and totally agree with you that the 8GB of ram for $100 is a good deal - OS X (at least in 10.7.5) is astonishingly good at making use of shared libraries.
I have 30 applications running right now on my 4 GB 2010 MacBook Air, Including VMware running Windows 7, and Aperture (two hogs) - and the laptop runs really well - even though I do have about 14 GB of pageouts. I think the SSD/Flash Drives finally makes virtual memory useable again.
I'm looking SO forward to upgrading to the 13" Macbook Air (12+ Hour Battery, Insanely fast SSD compared to the 2010 (already pretty fast SSD) - and obviously I'll get the 8GB (I run a lot of VMware instances - and, after about three or four client OS's running - Aperture starts to have trouble cacheing) - but for 90%+ of the population, 4 GB is probably more than enough.
I have had some weird experiences when pushing it hard, though. At one point when I got up to ~15-20GB swapped out, I encountered a kernel panic. I wasn't doing anything fundamentally weird, just loading a large amount of data into "RAM".
I should try it again and see what happens. I wonder how hard Apple stresses this functionality in QA?
Were you using a JVM when you ran into the system glitches?
I can't swear that there were no Java processes running on the machine at the time, though. And I often have a Windows or Linux VM running in the background.
I disabled the pagefile completely, and things are as snappy as ever - I can't think of an application I use that would use up so much ram that I need to page to disk.
With my own MBPr (10.8.4), I have 8GB and never get into similar cases. And having a SSD instead of the HDD, I don't fear nearly as much the day I'll hit the swap.
The OS itself takes over 1.2GB of RAM, add to that ~1GB for the IDE (IntelliJ), ~1 GB for Chrome tabs, that's already > 3GB. Add the terminals, email client, various other processes and daemons... 4 GB is not much.
But - Yes, I think everyone on HN can agree - we'll all get 8GB when we have to make the decision.
I can double click on a .vsd file and have it launch in Visio as a close-to-native app. Also, (and this may sound stupid, but it's handy) the little "Double-Arrow Start Icon" on my Menu Bar is handy for launching Windows Apps.
On my Windows Desktop System I use VMware Workstation because it reliably shuts down and restarts my linux guests, without me logging in to windows. (Though it took me a while to find out out how to do that). I.E. on a windows restart, VMware workstation gracefully shuts down the Client Operating System, and after reboot (and prior to me logging into the Windows Environment - I.E. Before I get to the office) - it restarts VMware Workstation service (not the app), and then restarts whatever Linux Guests I've selected
in the "Shared VMs" panel.
This is important, as my Windows 7 Desktop System is now being rebooted by Microsoft two-three times a month for security updates - which I'm fine with as long as my Linux guests are there when I want them.
Faster, integrates much better into OS X, seamless mode, 3D acceleration, better linux guest tools, easier updates, lots of reasons actually.
VirtualBox is pretty good by itself, but I found that VMWare Fusion more than makes up for its (very reasonable) price.
One of the biggest things we noticed was a big bump in IO, especially with shared folders. We also experienced random mysterious crashes and hangs with VirtualBox, seemingly related to sleep/wake.
Somewhat tangentially, iFixit's self-repair manifesto is great: http://www.ifixit.com/Manifesto
If only Apple realized that allowing people to repair and upgrade their devices is worthwhile. If they really cared about their customer's best interests, they'd publish detailed repair manuals and make their devices user-repairable and upgradeable.
And the "making our stuff beautiful/sleek adds difficult design constraints" doesn't cut it: they could at least make an effort. There are many, many ways they could make their devices more user-repairable without compromising on the aesthetics.
This has become true, especially recently, but was not always true.
The white plastic macbooks were really great for user repair, very easy to breakdown. It was clear that they actually spent some resources on increasing user-repairability with that model.
But obviously do not anymore. I am curious what changed in Apple decision-making too, have some guesses.
He may have been trying to be helpful, but like you said, I suspect it was because they didn't have stock and he wanted to make a sale for his KPIs.
Ram is one of those things you can almost never get enough of. I am a heavy chrome user (and general system user), and I cringe anytime it's less than 8GB because it requires much more tab management for me. Which may be better for me to do, but I keep a large amount of misc work in various chrome windows and tabs, and closing it isn't necessary for me.
Along with that, I'm often running a bunch of other apps. CPU is never usually a problem, but RAM definitely is.
That being said, you're probably fine with the base model, but I certainly would at least max the ram. :)
If you're willing to wait for a built-to-order, you can bump the processor, memory, and storage. I'm typing this on a brand new 13" with twice the default RAM and SSD; I didn't feel most of what I do is CPU-bound enough to bump that as well.
I was able to remedy this by using the terminal command "purge" occasionally, and also disabling the dynamic pager
(I'm afraid of disabling the dynamic pager, though, as I hit max physical RAM rather often.)
Upgrade unfriendly hardware
Faster obsolescence cycle.
Apple isn't doing this out of the kindness of their hearts. They're doing it because it will make you buy their products more often. It's a smart way to do business.
*I feel like Ultrabooks have helped Apple's image by making the Air seem about the right price for a nice laptop.
I suspect the MacBook Air is as successful as it is because most people want portability a lot more than they need raw power. I wouldn't build a render farm out of 11" MacBook Airs, but I bet they're a lot easier to pull out on a crowded flight than my 15" MacBook Pro.
This does raise an interesting question: how often do normal users grow past their hardware's limits?
I'm not a typical laptop user. My machine serves as a portable desktop replacement, and I spawn virtual machines to work on software for Linux and Windows. Even so, my 4-year-old machine is serving me pretty well. It wasn't the base model, but its specs are pretty pathetic by modern standards.
It doesn't take a mini supercomputer to maintain a photo collection and edit documents. Some people will be satisfied with a base model MacBook Air for a good while.
Though I admit, buying a machine with 4GB RAM today is a bit sketchy. Maybe the SSD cures it, but OS X does not take heavy swapping well at all.
It's also not about "storage". It's quite simple to get "storage" with external HDDs, as noted in the OP. What we're talking about here is paying for premium onboard flash storage, which is unnecessary, particularly on an MBA.
I want to have all my data available when I go on a trip, or out to a cafe. And I don't want to hassle with carrying external drives or finding power for them; that completely negates the "lightweight" and "has a long battery life" features of the Air. Which were the major reasons I switched to one.
Obviously you don't have any need for that kind of space - but trust me, there are people out there who do.
In particular, some people might like the mobility of the MBA, but have a lot of photos, music, or movies they want to take with them (i.e., different use cases). And many people have the means to shell out for large internal storage because they don't want to manage the external drives. Some people like Kias, some like Lexus.
Going into the store and finding out you can't get what you want right there on the spot means you will likely walk out empty handed.
If the sales person can convince you that you really want the vanilla model that is actually in the store, that's money.
And if you went to a store and they then walk you through the website...that would be very offputting to many people -- all of the disadvantages of both mediums.
I, too, suspect that the sales rep was simply pushing what was available in stock, and while this is completely typical of all brick-and-mortars, it is by no means selfless or in his interest, and I think it will turn out to be a very expensive decision to go with just 4GB.
You just described Gateway stores! And this is exactly why they failed. And it's all the funnier because people said Apple stores would fail because Gateway failed.
She hated it. I couldn't believe it. "The screen is too small", "I can't play warcraft 3 on it" (ok legit gripe, war3 doesn't work, and she still plays that game!) "I don't like the way the track pad works"
Admittedly, the track pad default settings leave a little to be desired. I made a few tweaks to her setup, and it worked a lot better.
I asked her the other day how she feels about her laptop now, with 6 months use under her belt. She loves it, as I knew she would.
Next laptop I buy for myself will be a 11" air. I'm no apple fan boy, but it is the highest quality laptop you can get. But if you've found a better one for the same price, please let me know
If it doesn't creak when you hold it at the corners, I could be sold. The airs aluminium case makes it "feel" sturdy, and silent.
I also really like the feel of the keyboard when typing. Most laptop keyboards I fat finger constantly. The air (and probably MBP) actually feel good to type on
edit: Had a look around for Samsung laptops similar spec. MBA still can't be matched price vs perf
It's a duralium casing, it feels very solid. You do have to manually switch the power profile (at least, I found the automatic power balance unreliable) with a keyboard shortcut; in low power it's quiet, in high performance the fan whines.
I very much like the keyboard, and use it a lot, but my taste in keyboards is known to be weird.
I'm very surprised to hear of apple being cheaper for the same spec, but I'll admit I didn't really buy by the numbers. It's powerful enough to run eclipse or play supreme commander forged alliance, which are my use cases.
Why is Apple the only company capable of creating a decent touchpad + driver (even under Windows)?
Then I took a look at how my clients use their Windows (Dell) laptops.
When they got the first laptop ever, their trackpad was a hilarious joke. Take a look at what we considered normal back around 2000-2005 - you were lucky if you got something larger than a postage stamp.
Fast forward to today (though only through one or at most three upgrades), and the average non-technical Windows user believes the trackpad is an accessory, an emergency device only to be used when your Logitech's batteries are dead. I've seen people outright refuse to use a trackpad, most likely out of a lack of experience.
If I was a PC maker, I'd know this, and wouldn't bother spending a dime on making things any better. Hell, I'd sell matching mice right next to 'em in the store.
Anyways, I'm happy with the switch so far but I think I'll always feel at "home" with Windows, given that I've been using it every day since I was 8 years old.
I mean a Macbook Pro has better battery life than a Thinkpad Txx with a 6 cell battery (worse than 9 cell) but if you put Windows on the Macbook Pro instead of OS X then the reverse is true (@ 6 cell).
Blizzard not bothering to create a new (non PowerPC) installer for Mac is poor service from them.
And on that note, here's a shoutout to Blizzard for doing things like releasing Intel binaries for ancient games like WC3.
Half the textures don't load. The game menu is basically a whole lot of black buttons without labels, and if you get a game running by muscle memory, pretty much most of the screen is black. I spent a good couple of days trying to find some sort of resolution, all I found was other users complaining about the same issue.
I think this statement is some local maximum of the reality distortion field.
Being able to only upgrade at the vendor's shop at a premium rate is "easy", yes. But "easy" is certainly not the first term that comes to mind.
That said, I think the Apple Store employees know when someone is dead set on exactly what they need (which the OP obviously wasn't). I walked in and stated the exact machine I needed and they said, "just a minute" and got it for me without another word.
At the time it the specs seemed reasonably good, but a 1.86Ghz C2D with 2GB of RAM and 128GB SSD aren't exactly fantastic in modern context. However, I've found I need significantly less resources than I used to think I needed and in general I only bump up against it when I've got multiple XCode windows open, with the iOS Simulator running, with Sublime, Spotify, a fully stocked Chrome and so on.
I'm buying a new MBA some point in the next few weeks, and with the exception of the SSD (I don't really need the 500GB option) I'll most likely max everything else. I know I don't need the headroom now but I'm going to spend somewhere in the region of £1.4k on a machine for me now, and then I'll have a new laptop for my girlfriend in 2 years time, and she'll get 2 years use out of it. I don't think 4GB of RAM in 4 years time is going to cut it given that just web browsing alone these days uses so much.
The great thing about Apple products is that for the most part, they're very, very hardy machines. I have a MacBook (plain, old boring MacBook) that's nearing it's 7th year in service. With no upgrades. Spending £210 now adds another couple of comfortable years of use, and that's worth it to me.
I'd agree more with you if you said the sales person did a disservice by not recommending the RAM upgrade as thats not possible to do after the purchase. The author can still upgrade the SSD from OWC in the future.
I once witnesses a woman deciding between $2,000 and $2,500 machine, and one of the differences was something about graphics. So she asks "is graphics important for Netflix" and the sales guy goes like "oh yeah".
But yeah, it's also a problem of American consumers who have so much money they don't know what to do with them. :-/
True, the main problem might be photos, and presumably even 512GB would fill up quickly these days. But external HDs just seem like an ugly solution. Also I already have an external HD attached for backups most of the time, which means I should carry two external HDs (one for backups, one for photos - and backup for photos is especially important)?
Maybe cloud services are the only solution? Have to look into that 1 TB option on Flickr...
 http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/SSD/OWC/Aura_Pro_Air_2012 (I'm using MacBook Air 2012 as a reference point, but there are SSDs for the other versions too.)
A similar thing goes for the laptop/desktop example given above. I recently bought a laptop for my parents and the salesperson tried to talk them out of it as well, because they weren't going to travel with it. I think a laptop (with an external screen if it is used a lot) is so much more useful for most people than a desktop, simply because of it's portability inside their home, even without any travel. Now they can sit next to their partner instead of in the separate computer room upstairs. Or (if there was no computer room upstairs) they can put it in the closet when they're done and don't have a big computer taking up space in the living room all the time. And it's way easier to take it with me on public transport if there's something wrong with it. I really felt that the "are you planning on taking it with you while traveling" is the wrong question when it comes to deciding between desktop and laptop, especially for most people when the extra power that a desktop gives is totally insignificant for word processing and web browsing. A laptop (not a top of the line one) was definitely the best option for my parents, and I'm glad I was there so that the salesperson did not succeed in talking them out of that with the best of intentions.
I suspected that this was part of the training programme, precisely because it creates happier customers with a good story to share.
Some people derive quite a bit of pleasure from buying "the best". They simply aren't interested in hearing that what they are doing is wrong. Or ways to save money.
The key here is:
"Instead, this guy asked me why I needed the i7 processor and 512GB SSD. "
That's not really his business to stick his nose and interrogate you (like a parent would) to try to prove your thinking wrong (not saying that some people wouldn't like this or be appreciative of course). On the surface seems like a great loyalty builder. But maybe not.
Take the lady that wants a fur coat. You're going to tell her she's stupid and should want a good cloth coat?
Take a guy that wants a fancy watch or a fancy car. In their mind there is value that extend way beyond the real benefit of the device. A guy wakes up and wants the Porsche Turbo. He doesn't want to hear that at 160k he is wasting his money. Now if he asks your opinion that's another thing of course.
There is no question that with some buyers you will gain good will by following the path described in the story. But please don't assume that everyone wants this, appreciates this, or that it is some just so above it all business ethics that everyone should emulate.
By the way having an external drive has advantages and disadvantages. (Personally I would never travel with my photo collection but on the other hand having it on a drive means you have to also protect the drive which becomes easier to steal or lose.
 We don't even know how important the money savings were to the buyer in this case. Perhaps he had millions I would guess that the store salesman had no clue to his financial condition at all when deciding he shouldn't "waste" his money.
You don't think it's a salesperson's job to make sure that the Apple store is selling the right product to the customer? If you read the entire article, it turns out that this user was super happy with the solution that he ended up with, and saved about $750. I'd say the salesperson did a good job.
Going a step further (with my same argument) what if the man was visiting the store with his wife and his wife already thought he was spending to much money "on this stuff". Now the salesman sticks in his nose and confirms her thoughts. Think he will be happy then? Would you? Would most guys or flip sexes and example girls?
That said: You don't have to do what the salesperson suggests. Do your research and tell them politely, "Thank you for your advice, but I'm going to go with my first choice."
Come on, it's not an interrogation. You can refuse to engage in the conversation. You can stop it at any time, and you can get the laptop you wanted after the sales guy rendered his opinion.
I'm not sure you can really claim that from the actions of a single employee, which even in Apple's ideal world don't mirror their parent company's ideals.
I honestly expected this to be basically a charade dropped during training, but throughout my time there, all of the interaction with managers revolved around the feedback score given by customers and no attention was paid at all to $/hour in sales.*
*somewhat frustratingly for me, since I sold a lot of computers and received no benefits for it.
It makes financial sense to downgrade customers if you suspect they will use the product more / it suits their lifestyle better / makes them happy. This keeps them in the ecosystem and keeps them coming back.
Customer satisfaction may be at Apple's core, but producing the products that would make their customers the happiest is not.
(I also have a late-2008 MBP15 4/500 for home theater/hooked up to my projector, and it's obviously far far sadder than the MBA, mainly due to the drive. Once it starts swapping, it's game over, whereas on an SSD, swapping just sort of sucks.)
I pretty much wouldn't buy a Mac with less than 8GB again. Certainly true in a year, so buying one today with 4GB cuts lifespan a lot. I tend to buy fairly loaded machines for anything built-in, then upgrade to max all the aftermarket stuff a bit later once prices have dropped, and keep machines for ~3-5 years in some capacity.
I've got a 2011 15" with 256g SSD and 16gigs. I still get beach balls far more than I think I should. They never go away, just get less frequent. :/
I'm having a weird problem right now where iMessage doesn't work on an iCloud account for a system which had iMessage installed separately (on what, 10.7? I forget), then upgraded. Presumably the same fix will work.
His requirement were using MS Office (mostly for word and powerpoint), surfing the internet, and watching videos while traveling. Macbook Air was a perfect solution (even the stock one without upgrades).
Besides showing him how to use a mac and the initial setup of buying and installing msoffice, I haven't had to fix his computer in almost a year.
If I can get more of my non-tech friends and family to switch, I will, not because I'm a fanboy but to cut back on my free tech support for MS products that I stopped using 10 years ago for all my friends and family :)
Sometimes a 15" or bigger is warranted, but I've only seen it suitable for the rarely-mobile, not the always-mobile.
I walked in to buy the most expensive and pimped out Sony Vaio S at the time, and the salesman tried to convince me that I didn't need the higher specs and could be fine with a cheaper, lighter model that was coming out a few weeks later.
I bought the higher end machine though. I do use the faster CPU and large memory capacity - shaving 10 minutes of an Android build is worth a little money, and being able to run multiple VMs concurrently is also something I'm willing to pay for.
The salesman didn't fully understand why I needed the resources, and insisted on getting a lower end machine.
Thankfully, I bought the Air the year where you could still upgrade the drive. I bought a 500GB drive to replace the 128 and have been very happy since.
I must say, I was quite surprised and thrilled at the same time. Sure, I could get an inexpensive one.. But for that kind of thoughtful service, I actually just felt like buying it! I didn't though, still a college student..
Of course, there is another external drive which is kept syncronised with the laptop and the iPhoto drive using automatic backup software, and then a third, much larger, external drive that is a backup - never deleting anything - rather than a sync.
I wonder how many photos the original author takes a month? How long is that 100Gb going to last?
Fully agree with the processor/RAM comments!