Jan 10

A tale of two Apples

That Apple feeling ... let's just say it varies by country

Oh, the Apple retail experience. Gorgeous architecture. Cool technology. The fresh scent of Clorox wafting from the clothes line above…

The following story may disturb you. Ubiquitous as Apple Stores have become, some people in this world are forced to get their Apple retail fix in slightly less elegant establishments. Like the one pictured above, located in Portugal’s Algarve — covertly photographed by a well-paid Observatory spy. This “authorized Apple dealer” is located in a converted garage beneath a family residence. (A family with fine taste in intimate apparel.)

Despite a decent-sized Apple-loving element across its more than 92,000 square kilometers, Portugal has no retail Apple Stores. Zippo. They do have an online Apple Store. But if you want to get your hands on the goods or need support, you have no choice but to pick from a network of dealers — some of them ma-and-pa shops, each with its own special “character.” And most of which even Microsoft wouldn’t want to copy.

I know. It’s inhuman to subject Apple customers to such cruel conditions. But hey, it’s a big planet. We can’t expect Apple to put an official store everywhere — though they appear to be trying. On average, one new Apple Store opens every three weeks, with the current total just shy of 300. Not bad for an operation some thought would flop as quickly as Gateway’s.

Unfortunately, it looks like our friends in Portugal must continue to live without a real Apple Store for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, they might rejoice in the fact that their stores have a few things even Apple’s Fifth Avenue Store can’t match: like free parking for one and a solar-powered clothes dryer.

A special thanks to my spy in Portugal for this story — who I will now reward with a public unmasking. She’s my sister. I used to avoid talking about her because she was a lifelong PC person. Now she’s not only crossed over to the Mac side, she’s dreaming up spy missions like this to bolster her credentials. Thanks, Zita.

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  • Ken , tell Zita that she can shop Apple in any Fnac or in here : http://www.tbstore.pt/
    and here also : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mFk49AB-r8&feature=player_embedded#

    Not realy that far from where she was ;)
    Any problem she can give me a call :)

  • Zita Segall Net0

    It is true that you can buy a Mac at Fnac stores, in the same way that you can buy one at a Best Buy in the US. But it’s not an Apple Store. The TBStore site shows that it has 2 outlets in Lisbon, again, not Apple Stores. (Someone should tell them that calling themselves a “Reseller” means that they are selling second hand – it’s a bad translation from the Portuguese “revendedor”, which means a retailer). The Promais video shows a great attempt at trying to duplicate the Apple Store concept and I certainly applaud them. But it’s not an Apple Store. Both are certainly better than the one in the Algarve!

  • Point taken Zita :)
    I wish we had a Apple store here but i guess with so few to buy an Apple they will open others 1st.
    Since i have my 27″ Imac ordered since December i guess i will phone them and let them know :P

  • That’s right, Ken. You can’t have it all. That’s either the sun, or the Fifth Avenue glamour.

    This NYC store reminds me of Jacques Tati’s “Playtime”. If you haven’t seen the film, rush to Amazon to order it http://www.amazon.com/Playtime-Criterion-Collection-Jacques-Tati/dp/B000G8NXZ0/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1264012407&sr=1-4