The Genius Bar

Yesterday I found myself trekking to the closest Apple storefront to resolve an issue with my laptop.  When trying to do a little work from home Monday evening, I encountered what would later be diagnosed as a failing hard drive.  After hastily backing up the entire computer, I had been advised to have it checked out at a service center or store as soon as possible.  I quickly made an appointment at the Genius Bar for Wednesday.  I ventured down to Austin hoping for (and receiving) a fairly straightforward solution, but while I was at the store, I also made a few observations.

If you’ve never been to an Apple store, there’s something about the experience that draws you in.  Even in the hustle and bustle of a seemingly revolving door of customers every hour, there are three things I observed that you can expect from a visit to the Genius Bar.

  1. It’s personal.  
    If you are at the Apple Store for a Genius Bar appointment, you are constantly greeted by name by any employee helping you.  When you check in, the employee makes a few notes about the reason for your appointment, and at the same time jots down a few notes about what you are wearing in their system.   From that point on, any technicians, sales people, and general employees helping you specifically call you by name.

  2. It’s relational.
    Employees are continuously helping you feel connected, even if you are being passed from one employee to another.  Rather than just telling you to find the check-in guy in the middle of the store, the greeter says, “Go four tables back and there will be a guy with a green iPad (as opposed to a black or pink one), and he’ll help you get checked in for your appointment.”  The greeter then uses an earpiece to let the guy with the green iPad know you are coming his way so he can greet you.

    While my computer was being assessed, I had the unique opportunity to be seated close to the door into the back office area of the store.  This perch also allowed me to be privy to conversations between employees I would not have otherwise heard.  As an employee came onto the sales floor, I heard him say “Hey, I’m going into the living room for a while.”  For Apple to consider their sales floor the living room only further emphasizes the importance they place on relationships.  It’s the place we are the most engaged in life together with others.

  3. It’s encouraging.
    You will not be made to feel like all is hopeless, no matter how complicated your problem is.  You are, after all, visiting the Genius Bar.  Even while they were discovering the severity of my hard drive problems, I was constantly kept informed of what was happening, but reassured, “It’s okay though – we’ll get you taken care of.”  When the return they were trying to complete on my computer was becoming a little more complicated than expected and the sales manager wasn’t quite sure what to do, rather than getting frustrated with things, he simply said, “Let me do some research on this.  I’ll be right back. We’ll get this worked out.”

I left the Apple store yesterday reminded of why I believe in their company, but also thinking about parallels to our call to live life together.

When we live and worship in community with one another, we should be personal.  We should engage others by name.  We should share and remember details about our lives with one another.

When we live and worship in community with one another, we should be relational.  We should connect with one another and help others connect to the greater community.  We should invite others into both our literal and figurative living room, being engaged in life together.

When we live and worship in community with one another, we should be encouraging.  Even when times are tough, when all seems lost, or despair seems the only logical response, we should lift one another up.  When things get complicated and messy, instead of checking out, we should dig deeper roots.

As followers of Christ, we are called to live life together.  May be strive to be more personal, relational, and encouraging with and to one another.


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