My Customer Feedback Form After Purchasing a New Apple Product


Tell us about your experience at the Apple Store.

It was a very busy Saturday.  Think of the sound of trickling water.  The customers outnumbered the employees by 20:1.  The cleaning lady from Eastern Europe dusted the shelves silently but efficiently.  The middle-aged moms waited for their apps to download.  The conversations were chatty, clipped, and started and stopped abruptly with other customers.  We were multitasked.  I felt like a piece of software that was causing a glitch in the system.  I understood this to be a natural emotional consequence of joining a technological society.  The internal tension came from a perceived lack of freedom, from the feeling that I was not free to not join in.  I felt like the least interested member in the new religion, but was dutifully sitting in the back pew trying to be part of it all.  There were shiny boxes of new things hanging in carefully arranged rows, like an assembly line.  Everything rectangular had satisfyingly rounded edges.

You could look at a clerk named Jessica and realize how beautiful she was, and yet how bored, by the sameness of it all.  Her routine was draining the life out of her, like the way a deer slowly bleeds out on the highway after being hit by a truck.  She had gained weight from the sedentary workflow and was clearly too stressed and/or time-crunched to go to the gym or actually use the app that watches your carbs for you.  But underneath those particular technical choices, she was still beautiful.  And you kept thinking, oh my, if she could just be taken to one of those locations in the real world, like one of those natural beauty places you see all the time in the Apple screensaver shots:  then she could truly live.

Instead, we ended up talking about developmental apps that helped learning disabled children communicate, sometimes for the first time, with their parents.  This was made to be analogous to a miracle.  It wasn’t, because that would be a suspension of natural law, and this was mostly some very advanced voice-to-text and text-to-voice recognition software, most likely, but the emotional impact was the focus of our conversation, and we all pre-agreed that it was worthy of causing wonder, like the way the first disciples of Christ had tongues of fire descend on them when the Holy Spirit came: they could all communicate in multiple languages, and it was so amazing some people thought they were drunk.

After three and a half hours, my new iPod finally synched up all my data, my downloaded apps were installed, and my smtp server finally delivered my first e-mail on the shiny new device.  For a color I chose space grey, which was one of the fifty approved shades.  They no longer had black, which was what I wanted, so that I could say I finally owned a “black mirror” to reflect the name they gave technological devices on the British TV show that you can see on Netflix.  I wondered how long it would be before not owning such a device would become illegal in the culture I was part of.  I wondered how long before I would need to visit them again and renew my vows.

The man who helped me understand these perceptions was older, and yet he took them seriously in his own life as well.  You could tell his software status had been recently downgraded, and that he was simply grateful to be there.  By the time I left, I had forgotten all about my plan to use my chainsaw to finish cutting up the tree that fell in our yard after the storm from last fall.  The tree fort we were going to build still has not happened.  But the wood we had acquired in the process now suggests itself in the shape of a Hobbit hole of some sort, and those can’t fall down because they are already underground.  If I were asked to rate this experience on a scale of 1 to 10, I would say a 6 because that is the number of man, and he is an optimistic but deluded creature.  It was actually much much worse than that, but he tells himself, out of sheer necessity, that it couldn’t have been that bad.  Hope dies faster under digital conditions than any previous era, and yet it still remains.  I purchased a shiny new device that signals my membership in a global tribe, so surely there must be some contentment in that?  I bought the iPod touch.  Can it touch me as well?  Please… I sincerely want to be healed.  I want to believe.  I want what you imply!

Is there anything else you would like to share about your recent order with the Apple Store or Apple’s business services in general?

The hospital like setting.  The clean hygienic room.  The sound of trickling water.  Not the actual sound, but the zen-like calm you’re supposed to feel in the presence of that sound, especially if you’ve previously read a lot of Thich Nhat Hahn and have maximized your minimalism in both internal spaces and external visibles.  You know, after you’ve “decluttered” your personal space.  Spiritual isn’t the right word, but more like a really high-class advertisement for something that isn’t saying what it’s really about — that was the feeling that was produced.  The feeling of a Ray Eames chair.  The feeling of a Stanley Kubrick set.  The feeling of a matched pair of Rogers LS 3/5a studio monitors, provided they were 11 ohms and not 15 ohms.

I kept waiting for Martha Stewart’s line of subtly significant paint colors to invade the space, and digitally paint themselves on the walls to move me internally from antiseptic clean feeling to possibly human and warm feeling again.  But a complex warmth:  a feeling of nostalgia that is immediately displaced by an anticipation for the future.  Not really the future, of course, but of what’s about to happen next, because I can tell immediately that with production values this high the next bit is going to have to be really really good.  The kind of people who can curate my emotions for me, that’s what I like.  This of course, never did actually happen, but the feeling that it could have happened was almost tangible.

But as it was, and as I experienced it, the fluorescent lights slowly wilted all the life forms in the building, perceptibly, the electrons jangling in inverse proportion to the dancing and rejuvenation at the cellular level of the organisms in the room.  I wanted so much to speak with Chief Designer Jonathan Ive, quietly, personally, and seriously, about how to make it feel human again.  Instead it felt like perhaps I was the problem, like perhaps I didn’t belong there, maybe even because I wasn’t currently taking the approved medications.  Or even watching the ads for them.  I was so tired of the “ask your doctor today” approach that perhaps I was the one who had given up.   So mostly I just enjoyed the three and a half hours as a chance to watch people, to observe my fellow global citizens try to make sense of the bewildering world they had walked into, and choose from among the merely one point five million apps to organize and make coherent meaning out of their heretofore randomized lives.  There is an app for even that — the problem of which app to choose — I know, I just haven’t found the one that matches my psychographic particulars yet.  I’m still so new at all this.

Would you be willing to accept a phone call?

Yes.  I would.  I really would.  Please do.  Call now, would you?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on your recent Apple Store purchase for business.

We are committed to providing the best possible customer experience, and your input is important to us.

The Apple Store Team

(Photo Credit: Chabe01, Wikimedia Commons)

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About the Contributor

Read Mercer Schuchardt

Read Mercer Schuchardt
Read Mercer Schuchardt is the Chairman of the Editorial Board of Second Nature and is an Associate Professor of Communication at Wheaton College. He is the co-author of Understanding Jacques Ellul. He and his wife Rachel have ten children and live in Wheaton, IL. 


  1. A lovely and fair portrayal of Apple seduction, far removed from the Garden. . .I especially like ‘curate my emotions for me’. That is exactly what the consensus of marketing does to us; it is less about this brand or that brand than creating an environmental consumer propaganda that we must buy good taste rather than discovering or creating our own. I hope you’ve started the tree fort. There’s an app for that: incarnate work.

  2. Your style is unique in comparison to other folks I’ve read stuff from.
    Thanks for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess
    I will just book mark this site.

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