Thursday, July 06, 2006

24 hour shopping … at the Apple Store!

Tesco at Knocknagoney opens 24 hours a day (except on Sundays). There are shoppers manoeuvring their trolleys around the shelf-packers in the wee small hours. And it’s not just shift workers that bring their custom in the middle of the night. Insomniacs, people coming off late flights and boats, as well as the lonely all make the trip to hand over their cash to the UK’s largest retailer.

And the online world pretty much offers the 24 hour shopping experience. Amazon’s checkout doesn’t yawn and look groggy if you try and buy the latest Douglas Coupland novel at 3am.

Groceries and online retailers around the clock are understandable. But an Apple Store?

The new Apple Store on New York’s Fifth Avenue now opens 24/365. They even offer a Midnight Mix with a DJ on some Friday nights from midnight to 2am.

The new Apple Store has a spectacular glass cube entrance on one of New York’s busiest shopping streets, leading down to the Apple store below. Apple's website have a spectacular gallery of pictures, along with some timelapse images of the queues outside.

BBC Digital Planet’s James Gordon explored the new store and met “some of the strange folk who come to buy a computer or get their iPods fixed at 4am in this architecturally stunning building.” Surprisingly, it's not full of geeks who only come out at night. Instead, newcomers who want the extra help available when the store isn't so busy arrive overnight to learn how best to use their Macs and overcome their problems. You can listen to the James’ experiences by downloading the show directly or by subscribing to the weekly podcast.

There was even an attempt to live inside Apple store for seven days ... but it failed after about 24 hours! One of the surprising difficulties is the lack of public AC power outlets to charge your electronic kit - though look near the bin in the bathroom if you're really stuck.
makes it difficult!

And like all new buildings, teething problems abound. At the end of May, five people were stuck inside the elevator, trapped beneath the glass cube. They were freed after 45 minutes - longer than my ninety seconds stuck in a lift incident a few years back.

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