Hey, Is This An Apple Store, Or A Computer School?

Mark tells Consumerist that he noticed a disturbing trend while shopping at his local Apple Store this weekend. While using the display models and contemplating a purchase, he and his son were displaced twice to make room for a customer training session. Does the Apple Store still exist to sell computers, Mark wonders, or is it now primarily an educational institution?

He rants:

So me and my son are in the Apple Store in [redacted], MA looking at 21 inch monitors; these things cost 900 dollars. While we are trying them out an store employee comes up and tells us to get off the machine because she has a ‘training session’. We’re like ‘Ok… can we use the one next to you?” she says “no” but doesn’t give a reason.

So we wander away and get a stool to sit on to try out a different system, not the one we wanted. ANOTHER store employee comes by and is trying to wrangle the stool out of my hand, saying he has a training session and needs the stool!

My question to the Consumerist is: is Apple in the business of selling computer equipment at the Apple Stores or running training sessions? If the latter, I hope they’re changing hundreds of dollars per person – they just lost a 900 sale today. And why can’t they buy a few more stools?

A year-long membership in Apple’s training sessions costs $99 per year, so Apple is earning a profit on these training sessions. People are encouraged to buy a membership with a new computer.

But should training sessions be given priority over browsing customers? Is the mission of an Apple Store to sell computers, to indoctrinate users further into the Cult of Mac with hands-on training, or some combination of the two? Or does Mark’s local store just have its priorities skewed?