I’m Not a Thief

But I feel like one.

I stopped by the Apple Store this afternoon because I had decided to buy a smart cover for my new iPad. I looked around and spent a while trying to figure out whether I preferred the leather or the polyurethane cover, and eventually settled on the leather cover in navy blue. I looked around again, wondering who would sell it to me. It’s always hard to find an free Apple Store rep, especially on a Saturday when the store is really busy.

Then I decided to follow the advice posted on the shelf itself: use the Apple Store app on my iPhone to pay instead. “It’s the fastest way,” it claimed.

So I pulled out my iPhone, and I opened up the Apple Store app. It knew immediately where I was, at the Park Meadows mall, and gave me options to buy right from the app. I scanned the barcode on the $70 smart cover, and the app asked me if I wanted to buy it right there. I hit the buy button and all that it asked for was my Apple password and the four digit pin code on my American Express. I entered both, and that was it.

The Apple Store app gave me a receipt, electronically of course, and I got an email receipt as well. After that I wasn’t sure what to do. I guessed that I was done and could just leave the store, but it did feel weird. So I walked toward the entrance, smart cover my left hand and phone in my right. I had the receipt pulled up on my phone just in case.

I walked right by the Apple guy by the door, and right by the cop standing just outside. And that was that; I was the owner of an iPad smart cover. I paid for it of course, but it still felt like I was shoplifting.

So I guess that the Apple Store app works pretty well for buying small items that are on the shelf at the store. It feels strange, and you wonder how much stuff just walks away. Still, it saved me a lot of time versus having to find an Apple Store rep when they were busy selling to people less tech savvy than me. A net win, I guess.

— Steve

Posted on 17 March 2012