Tonight I stopped by the Apple Store at Alderwood Mall specifically to pick up iLife 08. The young man at the checkout counter was having difficulties swiping my credit card for payment on the handheld devices you use for this purpose (I believe they are made by Symbol). He tried three of them before saying sarcastically: 'These run Windows Mobile which explains why I can't run your credit card.' It worked after he removed and then forcefully jammed the mag stripe reader into the bottom of the fourth device.
It's totally lame to have this attitude.
And this isn't the first time I've encountered this at your stores. When I bought my MacBook down in Portland back in December the pre-purchase conversation with two of your floor staff was filled (and I mean filled) with anti-Microsoft rhetoric. Even when I tried to get them to focus on features of your product it came around quickly to 'Microsoft stinks at this.' I was asking pertinent questions to my purchase, not trying to goad them -- I truly wanted to learn more about the experience I could expect with Windows running in Parallels Desktop. After about 20 minutes of lame interaction I informed them I was a Microsoft employee, and pointed out some of the inaccuracies of their statements about Microsoft products. A few people were listening in (it was right before Christmas so the store was really, really busy) and eyebrows went up. Both guys started back pedaling, and became quite apologetic. The conversation then took on a very professional air (thankfully). When I concluded our discussion by stating I'd like to purchase a MacBook the guy who rang up the purchases gave me the educational discount across the entire purchase, even though I don't qualify. I gave him a nice shoulder hug and said 'see, Mac and PC can get along' which resulted in quite a few laughs from his peers who had gathered around. One of them even asked when Windows Vista would be out for him to try, and he thought Windows Media Center was really cool. True story. My wife will back me up. I have the receipt. I'm pretty sure I still have the follow up emails I sent to these guys with information they had requested.
Your commercials are funny, and draw folks into the stores or online to check out your products -- they shouldn't be the net total of your sales training materials. You make good, solid products -- both on the hardware and software side. If the best thing you can say about them is nothing but bad things about Microsoft you are truly doing yourself a disservice. You would do well to train your staff at the Apple store to always take the high road and truly get educated on Microsoft products, as well as those of your other competitors. I would even be willing to come in once a month to an Apple store or two in the Seattle area for Q&A time with your staff to help them get it right.
I'm hoping you agree our mutual customers deserve better.