Why Apple Stores Are Working

I’m writing about Final Cut Express 2 and ran into a problem importing footage from my camcorder. However, I couldn’t tell if the problem was caused by my equipment (a Canon ZR20 and PowerBook G4) or the software, and I don’t have another camera available to test. What to do?

I headed down to my nearby Apple Store to try to test my problem using another Mac and another camcorder. I briefly explained my problem to the Genius on duty, and he said I could connect my camera to the equipment on display. So I did. For about 45 minutes, I imported footage, did some test editing, and connected my PowerBook to two other camcorders. Several store employees came over to see if I needed any help, and I ended up giving one of them (who normally didn’t work in the video section) a run-through of Final Cut Express and some of the cool things it could do.

All of the machines worked (except one iMac, which was equipped with 256 MB of memory and therefore couldn’t run FCE), the staff was friendly and helpful, and I got my questions answered. How many stores can you make that claim about? I may not have gotten such good access if I were there on a busy Saturday morning, but since it was 7 p.m. on a Monday night, and I clearly looked like I knew what I was doing, I had free reign.

  1. Depending on how busy the store was, you might have run into something that I’ve found whenever I’ve asked a favor at an Apple store: the employees say okay and then start using you as a showpiece to prospective customers.
    “See that person over there? That’s a Mac user, doing something really cool live before your very eyes! If you get a Mac, you can do cool stuff just like that.”
    It’s a fair trade-off, imo.

  2. I’ve had that happen too, though I didn’t notice it last night. I also resisted the urge to say, “And hey, why don’t you have my iMovie book set up on this counter?” 🙂

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