Hey Apple: Women Buy Computers Too!

Reader Anjela writes in wondering if a certain employee of the Apple store has has a rare disorder that makes women invisible to him. That might explain why the employee spent the entire AirBook shopping excursion talking to her husband instead of Anjela—the actual customer.

Anjela writes:

1 Infinite Loop
Cupertino, CA 95014

Dear Apple:

Today (2/28/2008, at approximately 4:00pm) I walked into the Bellevue Square Apple Store (in Bellevue, WA) intent on buying a MacBook Air. I am delighted by the MacBook Air. I am the geek for whom the MacBook Air was invented. I am a lifelong PC user, and until now the leap to a new, unfamiliar operating system was a roadblock, but for a machine with a full-size keyboard and monitor that comes in at three pounds, I was not just willing to make the switch, I was genuinely excited. (The fact that I don’t want my next laptop to run Vista doesn’t hurt, either.) I’ve been waiting to get one since the day they were announced.

I had a horrific customer service experience in your Bellevue Square store that has me rethinking this idea. I will certainly never set foot in that store again, and I hope I never have to deal with any of your Apple Store employees in person, if this is how they’re trained to treat customers.

The Apple Store “genius” — and I’m offended that he was called that, given the stupendous idiocy he exhibited today — was named Bill. Bill was called over when my husband and I came into the store; I had told the concierge that I was interested in buying a MacBook Air.

Well, first of all, Bill DID NOT LOOK AT ME. He did not greet me. He greeted my husband, introduced himself, and shook his hand… and completely ignored me. He didn’t ask my name, what we were there to buy, or who the new computer was for. He did not make eye contact. He simply behaved as though I were not there, and steered my husband through the crowded store — ignoring me and leaving me behind.

When I caught up to them, he was commencing the hard-sell of “AppleCare”. After being told several times that I was not interested, he asked my husband if he was a Microsoft employee, and pointed out that he could get a 12% discount on it. My husband finally stopped Bill in his tracks and told Bill that the computer was for me. He asked Bill if the education discount, which I qualified for, or the Microsoft employee discount, which my husband qualified for, was a better deal. Bill told my husband that the education discount was better — but continued talking to my husband as if I were not there. Even after being told the computer was for me and that we’d be using my education discount on it, Bill did not greet me, make eye contact with me, or acknowledge my presence in any way.

After scrolling through a screen of peripherals and asking my husband — not me — about each one, and only giving up on selling us the items when my husband — not me — confirmed I was not interested, he muttered something I could not make out (I presume because he was, again, talking to my husband and not myself), and wandered off.

I did not wait for him to come back before leaving the Apple Store. As my husband was not interested in anything at the store, he left, too.

I am a grown woman. I am 29 years old. I was dressed in normal clothes — a plain blue t-shirt, jeans, a flannel overshirt, sneakers. I don’t know how or why this employee could not see me, but I was extremely offended by the way I was treated. I have a credit card. I use computers — in fact, I intended to use the MacBook Air for my volunteer position as a CSS/XHTML coder. I’m the person who walked into the store ready to buy myself a new computer, not my husband. Yet Bill could barely bring himself to look at me, and appeared more interested in selling my husband the peripherals that went along with the computer than in selling me, the actual buyer, the product I was willing to “make the switch” for.

I hope you’ll let the managers at the Bellevue Square store know that women use computers, too, and that if a couple comes into a store to buy one, perhaps it would be a good idea to ask which of them is making a purchase. And if the answer is “a girl”, please tell the employees to talk to her, and not her partner, brother, spouse, or some random guy standing ten feet away from her, as I believe Bill might have done.

I can honestly say I haven’t had a customer service experience this awful for several years (a fast-food restaurant manager who threw a pen at my friend when she asked for his regional manager’s name comes to mind). If I decide to get myself a MacBook Air despite all this — and right now, I’m not sure I will; if Bill’s attitude was typical of what I’ll face should I need technical support or any other sort of customer service from Apple, I don’t want any part of it — I certainly won’t be going to one of your stores to be ignored by an employee; I’ll be ordering it online.

Ew. What a jackass. You’re right to report this employee, and we also would have left without buying the computer, but the next time someone treats you like this—call them out on it right there. There’s no reason sexist jerks should get away with treating you like that. You don’t even need to be rude, just look the jerk in the eye and say, “I’m the one with the money, talk to me. Don’t talk to my husband.” Then, if they don’t get embarrassed and profusely apologize, feel free to calmly explain to them why they have lost your business. We don’t mean to suggest you did something wrong by simply walking out; we offer this advice because standing up for yourself will make you feel a lot better. Trust us. You don’t need to wait for someone else to let the jerks know what is up.

Apple owes you an apology for this employee’s behavior.

(Photo:Plankton 4:20)


Edit Your Comment

  1. ironchef says:

    Absolutely right. people should try to deal with the issue right then and there.

    Writing long letters to steve jobs isn’t going to deal with the problem directly. It’s the nevermind telling you to your face about your sexism but let’s let daddy deal with this, syndrome.

  2. Diet-Orange-Soda says:

    Could be sexist, could be insecure. Maybe he just had a tremendous fear of women. Either way, this does not sound like something I would write to corporate about.

  3. MDSasquatch says:

    This letter should have been written by her husband; I didn’t hear a word she was saying!

  4. ThinkerTDM says:

    I agree with the article. The man was a sexist bastard, no doubt about it. However, being the modern, independent woman that you are, you should have stepped up, sent your husband elsewhere, and forced the salesman to talk to you. Why were you letting him do the talking?

  5. JoeWoah says:

    My girlfriend had a similar experience. The guy just treated her like a retarded child looking upon a computer like it were fire to a caveman. Douche Bag Apple staff. They really need training on how to deal with people of any gender. If they can’t speak to a woman in public, don’t work a service sector job or move to Saudi Arabia.

  6. ilikemoney says:

    @ironchef: On the same note, however, it’s much easier for someone who obviously has issues with women to dismiss her as just another “bitchy dame”, or what have you. The ideal route would have been to ask for the store manager and embarrass the employee right then and there. That being said, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with writing to corporate. Think about if it was a matter of race rather than gender. There would be a media hoopla about it.

  7. hubris says:

    @ThinkerTDM: I was thinking that, too. She should have just sent her husband away and forced the dude to talk to her. And then punched him in the nuts.

  8. Alger says:

    Wow. 3 of the first four comments complain about the victim. Maybe you should all go work in the Apple store too.

  9. Diet-Orange-Soda says:

    @Alger: Of course. Because the consumer is always right. And if an employee has a genuine social problem, it’s his fault.

  10. durkzilla says:

    Most likely this is a case of the geek as Apple sales dude who is only out in public because the job requires it. No social skills and a bladder emptying urge whenever a woman comes within 15 feet of him are often misinterpreted as sexist behavior. In either case, the Apple employee is not well suited for the retail world, and should be returned to the back of the store or his mother’s basement.

  11. xxoo says:

    This is big news? I practically have to stab myself in the eye to get salespeople to address me and not solely my husband.

  12. bdslack says:

    Let me tell you something lady, the guy possibly was SO GOOD at his job he automatically knows the kind of customers to avoid. I am an Apple customer from the days of the Lisa (I remember when the stock fell the first time around) and let me tell you, I won’t even step foot into an Apple store due to the PC people that are flocking and confusing everyone with their god awful questions. Everyone seems entitled to the “MAC” club for dropping 1,600.00 at a crack, and feel entitled to the warm hug and respect that others have gained over the past 25 years when they stood loyal to the brand because it was not in the main stream.

    Good for you- that new Airbook is just pretentious enough to demand respect from the girls club – but GOD DAM IT you demand it from the loyal Apple geeks too!!

    And another thing, when you approach teenage boys at the computer store – some of them may be too shy to speak with you directly. Or they might be from the South, where we call people “Mam” and “Sir”. Where it is considered “rude” to talk up one’s 25 year old wife in public.

    Or you could have been just another spoiled rotten “Hip” MAC customer of the hour rolling in to haggle the purchase of her new computer. The last time I ventured into an Apple store I was astonished by the hoards of 14 year old girls having $600 TELEPHONES handed to them by their parents. And the classes of PC users asking the Apple employee to personally email Steve and ask him to put another mouse button on their laptops.

    We are all holding our breaths until the “fad” is over and everyone else leaves the Apple experience back to where it once was. No go out to the garage and put that white Apple logo sticker that came with your Nanno on your SUV.

  13. bdslack says:

    @Diet-Orange-Soda: F*&% you.

  14. bdslack says:

    True – because his knowledge of COMPUTERS has nothing to do with it. You are thinking of the Dell Kiosks.

  15. bohemian says:

    I you have some major sexist issue or inability to talk to women, don’t work with the public.

    She did the right thing by not buying anything and leaving. I probably wouldn’t have been as nice and had called him on what he was doing.

    Sounds like the apple store staff needs some additional training. They called some autistic guy some rather unprofessional things a few months ago.

  16. miramesa says:

    @Diet-Orange-Soda: Sexism IS “a tremendous fear of women.”

    Hate = fear

  17. Joe_Bloe says:

    @bdslack: Forgot your smug mac hippie anger management meds? You’re obviously really pissed off that the mainstream unwashed has started knocking on your exclusive club of mac worshippers. Attitudes like this are the reason why I’m sometimes ashamed to owon a mac. It’s a G-D computer.

  18. ObtuseGoose says:

    If the husband was really handsome and the salesclerk was gay, that could explain the snub. In any event, the salesclerk’s behavior was extremely rude and not acceptable.

  19. overbysara says:

    This is more of a societal thing and not an apple store thing, I think. As a woman, you just have to get yourself out there. Be assertive. Push the husband out of the way and start talking. I think salespeople have a tendency to go to the person that is asserting themselves in the situation.

  20. Traveshamockery says:

    @bdslack: What a moron. You are the epitome of the elitist Mac customer base that nobody likes.

  21. harryhoody says:

    Dear Anjela,

    Stop bitching. There are much more important things in the world.


    Steve Jobs

  22. redhelix says:

    “I am the geek for whom the MacBook Air was invented.”

    The MacBook Air was invented for hipster clods who don’t know anything about what’s under the hood of their machine.

    Not geeks.

  23. Traveshamockery says:

    One of the quickest lessons a salesperson should learn is that in most cases, the woman controls the purse strings. It’s not true in my family, but if my wife wasn’t okay with a purchase, or felt disrespected by a salesperson, they aren’t getting our money.

    Even if you’re a chauvinist pig, you should be able to set aside that in order to take a customer’s money, and at least simulate interest in the female.

    In general, it’s a bad sales tactic to ignore anyone in the buying customer’s group – wives, husbands, kids, grandmothers, the dog, whoever. If they’re there, they’re involved in the decision.

  24. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    We don’t mean to suggest you did something wrong by simply walking out; we offer this advice because standing up for yourself will make you feel a lot better.

    She stood up for herself by walking out.

    It is not her job to train their employees to pay attention to the person making the purchase.

  25. Apple owes you an apology for this employee’s behavior.

    Meghann… You’ve been here as an editor for as long as I can remember being a reader. While I’ll agree that Apple not only owes her an apology but a damn golden ticket to the Apple store along with her educational discount, you know just as well as I do how extremely UNLIKELY it will be for Apple to issue a written apology, let alone a verbal one via the phone. Hell, they can’t even honor their own AppleCare which – according to the article – they tried so hard to push upon her husband.

  26. The Boy Wonder says:

    This is real similar to the email I’ve wanted to write twice. I have gone in to various apple stores with the intention of buying almost $2000 worth of products (a macbook, and then a year later an iPhone). Both times due to the horrendous service of the employees, I’ve walked out shaking my head and without my desired purchase. I have never run in to a company where I feared I couldnt enter their store because the employees gave me such a physical reaction. If sensible people are violently turned off by a company’s employees, that company may be doing something wrong.

    @bdslack: You’re right, what right does she have to expect reasonable service during the trip where she plans to spend upwards of $1700. Take that $1700 to ANY other store, and watch employees fall all over themselves to help. Apple may have had a great model set up, but their rapid expansion has ruined any goodwill with people who still have free will. I will NEVER step foot in an apple store again.

  27. @bdslack: I hate to be blunt. Usually I’m a nice guy who will over look such comments but dude, you are truly an asshole for that. If someone wants to make a purchase, it is their option to do so.

  28. bananaballs says:

    @bdslack: holy shit, dude. you are entirely too pissed off. apple makes computers. i can’t believe you said “mac club” without the slightlest hint of irony. i hope you don’t work in retail, or any business where human interaction is necessary. seriously, you need to chill. she wanted a macbook air, and the guy was rude. in retail, it’s not the salesperson’s right to judge, he’s there to sell–to everyone. it’s really not that deep.

  29. Jon Mason says:

    “My husband finally stopped Bill in his tracks and told Bill that the computer was for me.”

    Yeah the guy was an ass, but I agree with Ben that you should have stood up for yourself at the time. Did you let your husband answer all the questions or did you try and assert yourself? Did your husband ask “Honey, it’s your money, what do you think?” To try and bring you into the conversation.

  30. Alger says:

    @Diet-Orange-Soda: You know, the customer *isn’t* always right. But in this case, she was.

    And, whether the employee has a genuine social problem, or is just a jerk, he shouldn’t be in a customer-facing position. (And look at the results of actually putting him in such a position: the store lost a sale, and so infuriated a customer that she will never buy from them.)

  31. sljgold says:

    @bdslack: I can only hope you’re a troll, because otherwise the phrase “weeping for humanity” comes to mind. What the hell does the iPhone rage or newbie users have to do with the terrible way the consumer was treated? She was ignored, repeatedly, when she was the one with IT experience, the one buying the damned thing, and thus the one who needed to be asked her preferences with the machine. Not her husband – her. If you want to complain about the your need to keep your pretentious club for old school members only, go ahead. Just do it in a different post, rather than hijacking this one.

    The worker possibly being from the South has nothing to do with it either; for one – and seven years in Atlanta and five more in backwoods Alabama give me reason to understand the South – people aren’t that sexist in public if they want to continue to be seen in public. If they are, then angry letters to management and above ought to be sent out so that they can be removed from positions where their attitudes will continue to offend those around them and lose their companies valuable sales. Talking to a man’s wife isn’t considered rude (what is this, 1820?), nor can it be when she’s the one making the purchase and he directed the sales guy to her.

    I don’t see why everyone is making excuses for his behavior either; just because he might be scared of women is no reason to treat her in such a fashion. Again, if you can’t handle the job – don’t work it.

  32. The employee definitely made some seemingly sexist assumptions; first assuming the machine was for the hubby, and then even after learning it was for wife, continuing the sales pitch to the hubby. But wife seems way too meek, she certainly should have spoken up when it was happening…
    also @MDSasquatch: giggle, that was funny :)

  33. 92BuickLeSabre says:

    Ummm…Why didn’t the husband step up here?

    This does happens so many places, surprise surprise. We always enjoy when my wife slides a credit card with her name on it in the sleeve, and the waiter instinctively returns it to me.

    Particularly when they read it closely enough to call me by her last name. Her particular last name is so unlikely to be my last name, that it always intrigues me that they are so “focused” on the idea it is my card, they can’t see the much more likely “this must be her card.”

    If this had been me and my wife, she likely would have similarly just shut down and watched to see how it played out or left the store sooner. (If he doesn’t want to notice her as a human being, she’s not going to make him notice her as “that confrontational customer.”)

    But if I hadn’t at some point said, “Look, she’s the one with the money, you need to be talking to her,” I’d be sleeping on the floor.

  34. Bay State Darren says:

    Next she’ll want the right to vote or some crazy like that.

  35. yesteryear says:

    @bdslack: whoa. calm down. this is clearly a case of the apple employee being confused. i think she’s overreacting too, but your post is way out of line. sheesh. i’m looking forward to reading all of the angry comments here, but is this really newsworthy? to me it seems a bit inflammatory and sensationalist. so one awkward apple salesman makes a mistake and suddenly apple is a sexist company? give me a break!

    here’s the problem:

    “My husband finally stopped Bill in his tracks and told Bill that the computer was for me.”

    before it even got to that point her husband should have immediately said: “i’m not making any decisions here, i’m just along for the ride”, and then taken a back seat to the whole experience. at this point the sales person would have realized his mistake and shifted gears.

    i’m a female and i’ve never had anything but excellent service at the apple store. this sounds like a big misunderstanding that’s now been blown way out of proportion.

  36. BlackestRose says:

    “Rare” disorder? Nah. I’ve had the same experience in many different stores, from Best Buy to Home Depot. And not just from male clerks, occasionally women clerks can be diagnosed with the same affliction as well! My daughter, age 11 now, found it in Electronics Boutique. In egregious cases usually prescribe a dose of verbal slap side the head, followed by the pill of “can I speak to your manager right now.”

  37. fonzette says:

    Ain’t it the truth? I’m sick of guys defending other guys with the “you should be nicer to him; he’s just afraid of girls” line of bullshit. WHY is he afraid of ‘girls’? Because he sees us as non-people?

  38. Garbanzo says:

    When I was a student, a male, car-owning friend of mine drove me to buy my first t.v. We walked out of Circuit City when they ignored me and talked to him. I bought a t.v. at Good Guys.

    The teenage boy who loaded it into my friend’s car started to explain to him how to unpack it. My friend stepped aside as I physically moved in front of the flunky to make eye contact with him and said something like, “Explain it to me. The t.v. is mine. He won’t even be there when I unpack it.”

    The flunky physically turned his back on me so that he was again looking straight at my friend and continued talking to him as if I weren’t even there.

    Fifteen years later and I’m still shaking my head.

  39. Trick says:

    So wait a second, you are still going to buy a Mac?


    Companies love it when they get it both ways. Apple hires basement dwelling losers who wouldn’t know a social skill if it bit them in the arse and will now see no reason to fix their problems. After all you are still going to spend your money on a Mac!

    I suggest you go to Best Buy next and try to purchase a DVD. No doubt the CS agents will treat you like crap and in the end, get you to buy the DVD at a higher price.

    Oh nevermind about Best Buy.

    This is Apple we are talking about.

    Sometimes you just have to deal with basement dwelling dweebs and overpriced hardware so you can show off to your co-workers or fellow Starbucks patrons that you are Apple Cool.

    And just think, you may run into “bslack” at local Starbucks where he is blabbering on about the virtues of being Apple Cool and just maybe he’ll glance your way and nod approvingly!

    And you know that will just make your day!

  40. ninabi says:

    As a woman, I have had similar experiences purchasing cars, TVs and sofas.

    Ignore me and I will take my money and my business elsewhere.

    But, before I leave I let them know why their sales numbers will be shorter this month.

  41. ElizabethD says:

    So, Bill is basically toast now. Yay.

    And the customer was wearing jeans and a flannel shirt? Perfect! (No disrespect. My idol George Lucas wears the same outfit.)

    Please don’t give up on Macs because of one asshole.

  42. Ariel.Sanders says:

    I think they are taught not to talk too much to females or Blacks. I was in a store yesterday and the overall “feel” is very uppity. No minorities, (white-males) get all the attention. Let’s be honest, they do the most buying. It’s the price you pay for making intelligent choices, but not among the supposed “intelligent” crowd.

  43. My girlfriend had the same problem a year ago in the Burlington, Massachusetts Apple Store location. I let the guy know pretty quickly I had not interest in a Mac and he needed to talk to her. You could see the confusion and fear in his eyes. But honestly, I’ve seen this at a lot of computer stores. It’s not just an Apple problem.

  44. Twilly says:

    I almost took a job in college at Office Depot in the ‘technology’ department. I remember being told by the manager a number of times that the entire staff in that department was men. He warned me that they ‘weren’t going to like me’ because I was ‘the only girl.’

    So glad I didn’t take that job.

    I will say I have been in many restaurants where the server only spoke to me and handed me the check, not my male companion.

  45. timsgm1418 says:

    I agree, why should Apple care if she is STILL going to buy one? @Trick:

  46. mrpenbrook says:


    I’m not entirely certain, but I think you may be the worst human being ever.

    A Mac computer is a commercially available product. Everyone has the right to purchase and own one. It’s the condescending and tribal attitude of people like you that kept the Mac out of the mainstream for so long. You are actually hoping that Apple will experience a financial downturn when the Mac falls out of favor.

    Why are there people like you? What did we do to deserve this fate?

  47. Michael Belisle says:

    @92BuickLeSabre: Yeah seriously. Why wasn’t there a simple “I don’t, it’s for you, what do you think?” from the husband? “It’s for her,” does not imply “stop talking to me, please talk to her”. It sounds like he made the decision, letting Bill know that she wasn’t interested.

    I wasn’t there, but I will proceed to blame the victim and say that the story sures reads like the husband should be sleeping on the floor.

  48. ExtraCelestial says:

    Really? I’m rather sure that being ignored because you have a vagina is pretty damn important.

    Genuine social problem? That’s what you’re going to stick with? Well if this employee has a genuine social problem *rolls eyes* then perhaps he shouldn’t be working with the public that includes these boob- possessing persons that he is so deathly afraid of.

    This thread is making me stabby. Get out of your mom’s basement.

  49. why does she need a macbook air? Its a great notebook computer, but it won’t wash the dishes or make dinner.

  50. moore850 says:

    Generally I have the opposite program — if my wife is there, I’m not gonna be getting any attention. However, since i love and care about her, if someone even started to disrespect her in front of me, I will stop them, hopefully before it turns ugly. It is shocking that in this story her husband apparently just walked off with the sales guy and abandoned his wife. I would’ve let the sales guy walk off and talked to my wife about if she wanted to go somewhere else to buy the computer, since this guy was obviously not equipped with the appropriate people skills to make a sale.

  51. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    1) Most companies actually want to know why they lose sales.
    2) You are confusing Steve Jobs with Casa Flamenco.
    3) You do realize this is The Consumerist blog, right?

  52. ExtraCelestial says:

    “(white-males) get all the attention. Let’s be honest, they do the most buying. It’s the price you pay for making intelligent choices”

    Good god what year is this?

    *must stop reading comments*

  53. kimsama says:

    Hmm, I would have told the guy flat-out that I was looking for the computer, not my husband. I don’t rely on my husband to let people know I’m the primary purchaser/decider in our family, I do it myself. I hate the paternalism of waiting for your husband to set someone straight. Lady, you set him straight next time, don’t sit back and wait for a man to do it (shakes head).

    Not that the clerk wasn’t a jerk for ignoring her, but come on, he can’t read your mind, and your husband just said that the computer was for you, not that you were going to be the one deciding on the purchase (men sometimes buy things for their wives, so the clerk could have interpreted it that way — even I as a woman may have interpreted it that way!). Make sure people know what you need (attention and information). They’ll have a hard time ignoring you if you speak up.

  54. kerrington.steele says:

    honestly, as a 20-something averagely-good-looking girl, when I go into a tech store like Apple, Best Buy, etc. (I know, I know, don’t bitch at me), all I have to do is say to the first sales guy on the floor, “Hiiii, I’m looking for X, could you show me where it is/answer some questions about it?” I smile and sometimes put on my Southern accent if I really need someone to pay attention to me.

    this seems to work almost all the time, and I get pretty good service at these big-box places (several attentive minutes of a salesperson’s time, help picking up heavy items or loading a car, some out-of-the-ordinary advice or instruction). often you can play men’s sexism — or at least, men’s thinking that women are helpless sex objects — to get better service than normal at these places.

  55. PinkBox says:

    I wonder if Bill used to be a car salesman. I’ve had tons of them ignore me in favor of talking to my guy.

    I did as Meg here suggests though – I’d basically take over the conversation to the point where they COULDN’T ignore me, and if they did, I’d grab my guy and walk off after making sure the salesman knew exactly why we were leaving.

  56. lightaugust says:

    There’s a Mac Club? Suh-weet!

  57. redhelix says:

    @Randal Milholland: I’m actually toeing the line with siding with the salesperson. This is going to come off as terribly sexist, but it’s the honest truth: I worked for the Geek Squad for a few years, and during that time, in the vast majority of situations where I tried to explain something computer-related to a woman, she would ask me to relay that information through her husband. Women would literally dial up their husband on their cell phone and hand it to me so I could talk to them.

    I’m not a misogynist; I have the utmost respect for my girlfriend’s intelligence and hold her character in the highest regard. But most of the time, women voluntarily make themselves a non-entity in electronics retail (and techinical services in general) when they have a guy to stand in as a proxy. Hell, my girlfriend just called me this morning and asked me to talk to a mechanic about repairs on her car. That’s just how it is.

  58. girly says:

    I don’t know about this one. If your husband kept talking with him I would have just assumed your husband was buying it for you and that’s why you weren’t saying anything.

    If you told him to deal with you and he still ignored you, that would be offensive.

    I guess I think telling them something is for you is a bit different from telling him to deal with you.

    Although the guy does have a problem in that he didn’t greet you or ask you both which one he should help at the start.

  59. girly says:

    @redhelix: what about dealing with things on an individual basis, though? (as in wait till they ask for a proxy–because they might not)

  60. MountainCop says:

    This occasionally happens when my wife and I go shopping. Last time was when she was shopping for a new car. The salesman kept talking to me. After giving me the answer to her second question (with my wife and I exchanging looks), I finally said in no uncertain terms ‘Why are you giving me the answers to her questions? Do it again and your manager and I will be having a very nice one-sided chat, and it won’t be pretty! And then I will call corporate.’

    He apologized profusely to me – I said ‘Don’t apologize to me, apologize to her!’ Which he did.

    Not only did he apologize to her, we received an extra $1,000 off the car.

  61. soulman901 says:

    What in the hell is she buying a Mac Book Air for? That’s like paying extra for something that you can get for a better price, doesn’t strip you of functionality and doesn’t make you look like a complete wank. Good for Bill. Maybe more Apple Employee’s can turn people off from these terrible priced pieces of s*it.

  62. Michael Belisle says:

    @GeneralLeigh: A common strategy. But I don’t think that the approach Anjela had in mind.

  63. hubris says:

    @masonreloaded: Ah, irony. Meg posted this article.

  64. girly says:

    @NameGoesHere: what about some solidarity from your guy or hubby? knowing to not respond if you are being ignored

  65. girly says:

    @MountainCop: !! Now that is what I’d expect from a decent husband!

  66. hubris says:

    @redhelix: But the problem comes with ASSUMING that that’s the case.

  67. North of 49 says:

    I had the same thing happen to me at a Staples store when I was looking for a peripheral for my desktop about 8 years ago. I went in with a Mac lover, and the soon to be Mr. No49. The tech talked to the guys and only the guys even after they made attempts to direct him to talk to me about what I wanted. It was my computer, my money and I was the only one who knew the specs on it. He asked a question with his body faced towards the guys, I’d answer it, and he’d barely nod his head in acknowledgement and would go on asking questions about my computer’s specs. I finally told him off that it was my computer and why would a Mac lover or the then boyfriend know anything about it when neither of them had permission to open my desktop’s case, let alone buy the peripherals.

    He ignored me. He kept on talking to the guys and I got fed up. I walked away and while the guys were still geeking out, I looked at the peripherals, then went to get the manager.

    That’s when I let off with both barrels. My computer. My money. And they just lost the beginning of several hundreds of dollars of sales because there was other things I was after as well. The manager was taken aback, but I am pretty sure he had a serious chat with the salesman/techie because I made sure he know that it isn’t always a man who is the customer and he had lost a sale.

    New laptop purchased last week was a similar experienced. I walked into the store, was the only customer first thing in the morning, and asked “who wants the sale?” The guy ignored me, but the girl got up and had the sale within 5 minutes. I already did all the research on what I wanted so since she moved her butt, she got it.

  68. PinkBox says:

    @redhelix: I’ve asked my boyfriend to call mechanics before, but ONLY because they tend to shill women moreso than men. (even though both my boyfriend and I do not know a lot about cars.)

    As far as computers are concerned though, I certainly know my way around one, and I’ve definitely met some guys who would most likely need to call their wives for information when buying a computer. ;)

  69. redhelix says:

    @omerhi: When you’re dealing with a few dozen customers a day, you develop it into a habit. I’m not going to fault this salesperson for dealing incorrectly with a customer who was the exception, not the rule. That’s my point.

  70. PinkBox says:

    @girly: I didn’t give my boyfriend enough time to say something to the salesman. He’s the type that would have said something if I didn’t, though. That’s part of why I keep him around. ;)

  71. aka Cat says:

    @mrpenbrook: No, he’s not the worst. Just the most pathetic.

    Salesmen ignore me at their peril. I so enjoy treating sexist asses like the poorly behaved 5yos they emulate.

  72. jesuismoi says:


    yes… the comments have become really mean, rude, and uniformed as a whole of late.

    “Let’s see how quickly we can say this customer was wrong.”

  73. Graciela says:

    What an asshole! On a different note, I’m noticing that a lot of people who get their customer complaints posted here write really long letters. Or they at least fail to summarize their complaint and what they want in the beginning before they expand on the complaint/experience. I can imagine someone whoever goes through piles of these letters at the companies are thinking, “Get to the point already!” I think there could be a lesson here on how to write a good, concise complaint letter?

  74. girly says:

    @North of 49: Couldn’t the guy with you just be silent until you respond? Turn away? If the guys with you walked a bit away while you were talking, perhaps?

  75. hubris says:

    @redhelix: No, actually, you don’t. I’ve worked for four plus years in computer support and have seen the trend of which you speak. And I STILL let the tone of the conversation be dictated by who is doing the talking, unless I’m directed otherwise. That’s customer service 101.

  76. PinkBox says:

    @redhelix: So you would do as the story suggested, and completely ignore the woman? Even after her husband pointed out that computer was for her?

    In a sales position, it pays to be polite to any adult present. No reason to act as if the other does not exist unless they’re making it obvious they want no part of the discussion.

  77. girly says:

    @Graciela: another thing I don’t like in the letters is the hyperbole.

  78. PinkBox says:

    Seems like a lot of posts disappeared. Probably my computer’s fault. :P

  79. curmudgeon5 says:

    I’m a woman and I’ve never had trouble getting attention in an Apple store, so I wouldn’t assume this is some widespread issue; more likely, this one guy had some sort of issue, whether it was sexism, fear of women, or whatever. It seems like this is pretty easy to deal with, by just directly correcting him: “Actually, I’m the one buying it, so please talk to me, not my husband.” It’s not that hard. Just be direct.

    And I have to say, the fact that the husband was so willing to answer questions on his wife’s behalf is weird — HE should have corrected the guy’s misperception too.

    Yes, the guy was rude, for whatever reason. But this isn’t that hard to address on the spot and fix.

  80. silentluciditi says:

    I was juat trying to explain this phenomenon to my boyfriend on Friday night, when we got to have the same experience at a video game store. Worse yet, I was the one who walked up the counter and the clerk, game in hand, had the credit card to pay for it, but when I asked my boyfriend if he had a rewards account with this particular store, the clerk immediately stopped talking to me and instead focused solely on my boyfriend, to the point of handing HIM the creidt slip to sign when it was I amd my card that he had!

    I hate the way women are treated like we don’t exist and/or are complete and utter idiots when we try to make a purchase or get answers in the in anything tech related (or auto- my car died, I knew what had happened, but when a guy came over to offer help he spoke to the two guys with me, who had less knowledge of the situation than I did!). People, grow up, accept that women know about things, too, and stop treating us like second class citizens!

  81. StevePJobs says:

    Dear Anjela,
    I apologize on behalf of my idiotic employee. He has been fired, and is now working the local McDonalds drive-through. Have a free iPod, and a 20% discount on the MacBook Air (just don’t Digg this article).

    Steven P. Jobs

  82. marchhare22 says:

    @GeneralLeigh: “often you can play men’s sexism — or at least, men’s thinking that women are helpless sex objects — to get better service than normal at these places.”

    Aren’t you doing the SAME thing as the clerk then? Why not stop playing on peoples assumed roles/thoughts. Not all men thing women are helpless sex objects.

  83. redhelix says:

    @NameGoesHere: “So you would do as the story suggested, and completely ignore the woman? Even after her husband pointed out that computer was for her?”
    Unless she parlayed herself into the conversation, yes. In hindsight, about 95% of computer sales and service transactions I conducted with couples when I worked in electronics retail were via the men, and in most of those scenarios the wife prefaced our conversation with “he’s the one you should be talking to.” Even in situations where, say, the guy would say the product is for her, my efforts to engage the woman in the sales transaction would usually be fruitless.

    I’m not saying I would normally just ignore the woman; I’m saying would address both of them as equals and typically only receive feedback or questions from the guy, and thus consequently conduct the majority of the sales transaction with him.

  84. silentluciditi says:

    @JoeWoah: The problem is with people like that, getting rid of the husband might not make the situation better. Yeah, her hubby would be gone and the sales guy would be forced to deal with her, but because of the attitude he’s already presented he’s likely to treat her as an inferior person who doesn’t know the first thing about computers, and also try to force and upsell every single unnecessary feature to her.

  85. Zaphâ„¢ says:

    I ran into this when my and I wen to purchase a MacBook. The guy looked like an aging hippy and had the breath to match, but would only look at me. Now I am the one that handles most of the technology and electronis purchases, but I clearly identified my wife as the one purchasing the computer several times but he only looked at me the whole time. Now I was more offended then my wife was because, although she had noticed the lack of acknowledgment, she let it go because I work on computers for a living and know what questions to ask to identify whether the computer met her needs. We still bought the computer because my wife needed one and was refusing to get a windows based pc because the last lappy she had kept crapping out on her and she had it with anything that had to do with Microsoft, but I still wish that the sales rep was talking to my wife as she was the intended purchaser and not me.

  86. silentluciditi says:

    That should have been at ThinkerTDM… computer here has link isues.

  87. kittenfoo says:

    Wow, that’s tacky. The two times that I (female, accompanied only by my daughter) visited the Apple store in Green Hills Mall in Nashville, I got good, respectful service from the (male) personnel. Let’s hope that jerky chauvinist is just an abberation.

  88. humphrmi says:

    @bdslack: You should lay off the bourbon when posting on Consumerist.

  89. Amy Alkon says:

    So, the guy’s a dick, an idiot, or has some problem with women. Do you sit there festering with anger, wasting your time, or do you say, “Bill! I’m the one buying the computer!”? Or do you just find another salesperson who treats you better?

  90. had she even whispered procare or .Mac, I bet every employee in the store would have surrounded her

    ps-the geniuses aren’t supposed to be selling customers anything.

  91. chiieddy says:

    @redhelix: Someone should explain this to car dealers. I don’t even go without my husband because I can’t get them to talk to me. The kicker was the female dealer who went and got her male manager to close the deal with me. I walked out.

  92. marchhare22 says:

    I think a lot of times people are looking past the point where this guy might be insecure to talk to women. I have a friend who is JUST like that. Try to talk to him as a woman and he will shy away as much as possible. To the point where he has single word responses, wont make eye contact, and try to get away as quick as possible. It’s sad but there are a number of guys who are .. well.. afraid of women.

    Agreed that he shouldn’t be in sales in the first place regardless of if he was a chauvinist or shy.

  93. erica.blog says:

    Bad Apple employee.

    @Diet-Orange-Soda: If you’ve got a “problem” that disables you from talking to 50% of the world’s population YOU SHOULD NOT BE IN SALES. What will the poor, abused employee do when a woman walks in alone and needs assistance? Maybe he should be transferred to Apple Saudi Arabia.

  94. katylostherart says:

    @redhelix: i like that you mention a woman calling her husband while getting help. i specifically bring men with me to shop for certain things because i find it keeps the sales people honest. i have had some pretty crappy experiences being lied to about various products and having a guy around corrects that in some cases. my favorites of course are mechanics places. just because i’m a girl doesn’t mean i don’t know what’s going on with my car. i know exactly what the problem is generally, i just don’t have the tools or space to repair it myself which is why i have them do it. sales pitches to men are different than the ones geared towards women. same as age has a factor in how you get treated. just look at the ripping off the old guy post from a couple days ago.

    i’m a frequent apple customer, male sales clerks come up to me all the time and ask if i need help, as do female, and i usually decline because i’ve already researched what i want. this clerk sounds socially retarded and possibly through no fault of his own. his manager should’ve known not to put him on the floor. he was rude. if he has no documented personality disorder then he should be dealt with because he pulled out the asshole card despite being corrected.

    clerks of both genders expect certain knowledge based on race, age and gender. expect it and plan for it. ALL people have certain biases based on race, age and gender. yes white males of a certain age group get better treatment than most people. as do people that are dressed better or more physically attractive. it’s a combination of biology and society. no, this guy should not be on the floor obviously, but the reaction i think was overdoing it. she should’ve asked for a manager not gone straight to emailing steve jobs. what a ridiculous skip in the chain of command.

  95. workingonyourinvoice says:

    When I worked at Apple, I always ignored the husband and hit on the wife while selling her the computer.

  96. Coelacanth says:

    The guy’s behaviour is inexcusable, however, I think this issue has been escalated inappropriately. The best way to have handled this situation is for her to have been mroe assertive with the salesperson who ignored her. Then, she should have gotten the name of the manager of that store and dealt with him.

    However, to jump several levels of management and run straight to the CEO is asinine over this issue. I’m pretty sure that Steve Jobs doesn’t approve of the level of service she received, but he’s not able to personally oversee the faults of individual salespeople.

    Furthermore, I think it’s also wrong just to assume sexism as the only explanation for his behaviour. He could be socially awkward, or having a bad day. He could even be attracted to the original poster, and thus find it less anxiety-provoking to deal with the husband than directly with her.

    I’d hate for every retail salesperson who happens to ignore a woman to automatically assume it’s sexist on based on one limited experience. If I heard him say a sexist comment or something, then I’d be more convinced.

  97. e-gadgetjunkie says:

    I had a similar problem while working in Office Depot as the only person in the computer department.
    Guy is wandering the aisles, looking at computers, I ask if I can help, he says no. My (male) manager comes over, asks if he can help, guy says yes. At this point, the manager calls me over and says, “This is Emily, she can answer any questions you have” The guys gives me a weird look like, “You’re the best they can get” Or worse, says, “I’d rather have you help me” to the manager.
    Worse yet, this same situation often happened with women too. Why is it that girls can’t be geeks?

  98. jeff303 says:

    Fundamental attribution error ho! Anyone claiming with any certainty that he was being sexist is full of it.

  99. BahamutZaero says:

    Anyone who acts like this is some form of a childish, immature freak. They deserve to be treated like such. I believe an exchange such as the following will be granted to the next salesclerk who fails to act their age around my girlfriend and I…

    “I’m sorry, I don’t think you seem to understand the situation here. We’re adults. I know you’re still learning how to be a grown up, and have some form of an inferiority complex that causes you to not recognize my girlfriend is the customer, but if you cannot treat her like an adult, I will first speak with your manager, then I will go to your competitor – tell them and their manager of the experience I had with you – by your name, mind you – and do twice the amount of business with them.”

    Act your age, people, or we the consumer – the people who have the power – will make a difference.

  100. chiieddy says:

    @Randal Milholland: Never had this problem in either the Hingham, Peabody or Cambridgeside locations. Luckily, in MA we have lots of choice.

  101. curmudgeon5 says:

    @COELACANTH: I agree completely. This was escalated inappropriately. It was reasonable for her to complain, but it should have been directed to the employee himself or — if she couldn’t bring herself to deal with him directly — the store manager.

  102. chiieddy says:

    @Randal Milholland: P.S. Love your comic ;)

  103. redhelix says:

    @e-gadgetjunkie: The thing is, guys in the technical community see technically-inclined women as their equals. It’s the joe sixpack misogynist who sees “some girl trying to sell electronics.”

  104. picardia says:

    @jeff303: Yes, every single woman who has reported this apparently very widespread problem MUST be mistaken. There’s NO WAY we could be sure that there’s any sexist bias at work in big-box stores even if EVERY woman has trouble getting male sales clerks to talk to her and not any accompanying male. Let’s STICK TO FACTS and not listen to these silly silly women and their anecdotes.

  105. curmudgeon5 says:

    @picardia: Well, every woman DOESN’T have this problem (I’m a woman and I haven’t). Jeff303 is right to point out that there are other possible explanations besides sexism. I don’t get people who are so quick to embrace the victim role.

  106. rochec says:

    Well lady, you are buying a Macbook Air so you are a fool anyways.

    You should be thankful you got poor customer service and hopefully it keeps you from buying it. Get yourself a Macbook Pro instead!

  107. yesteryear says:

    again, i just don’t agree with this being posted on consumerist. it’s totally the wrong way to go about things. don’t complain to the sales guy himself, or even to his manager – make the assumption that all apple store employees are sexist and send an email to the CEO!

    i’ll bet the hot 20 year old secretary steve jobs has reading his email is really fed up!

  108. LadyKathryn says:

    @redhelix: You may not fault the guy for playing the averages, but I sure will. The man is doing sales, for goodness sake! How good sales people operate is by finding the unique way to treat every individual customer. Order takers and register jockeys can treat customers en masse, but sales people focus on the individual and fulfilling their needs and desires.

    If the genius can’t explain to her, regardless of her level of technical comfort or expertise, what options fit her needs and why, then he sucks. If he chooses not to do so because her plumbing is internal, he’s a sexist cad, no matter what prompts that choice (fear, hate, assuming she’s just going to turn the show over to the boy anyway so he’s cutting out the middle man.)

    As for me, well, I’m an outspoken wench. Depending on my mood and judgement of what’s causing the rudness, I could do anything from jolly the guy along until he relaxes and treats me like a person to having a heart-to-heart with the manager. I don’t know that I would send my SO away, mainly because he’s not a puppy to be called and sent. He’s the shyer of our little pairing though, so I can see him hanging back while I explain the facts of modern existance. You know, like we can vote and own property and stuff now.

  109. redhelix says:

    @rochec: Or just save a thousand dollars and buy an equivalent-performance non-mac, heh

  110. katylostherart says:

    @curmudgeon5: agreed. everyone will encounter some bias based on some physical attribute that’s out of their control. humans being human. blaming everything immediately on sexism is unnecessarily inflammatory. she didn’t even attempt to correct the problem at the source, how would she know what was going on with the guy?

  111. MYMHM says:

    Ummm, just another reason to buy an X300?

    Sorry, that’s Gizmodo flame bait. Just couldn’t help it…

  112. faust1200 says:


  113. Inhocmark says:

    @bdslack: I love it…people want to give a product you’re so slavishly devoted to since the dawn of time a chance and you’re chastising them for asking stupid questions.

    You’re like the tool that tells everybody about the awesome new band you’ve found only to get pissed off when everybody else finally discovers them and they ‘sell out’.

    I bet your prefer the smell of your own farts to regular oxygen too hmmm?

    Back to the topic at hand…sadly this isn’t just an apple thing…it’s an issue with Personal Computer sellers as a whole. My wife and I went in to a shop with a good reputation to buy a PC where I tended to ask most of the question (being more knowledgeable about PCs and being the primary user). The guy was great, the product was great and things were going fine until my wife asked a simple question about something or other and he treated her like a she was about 3 inches tall….At that point, had we bought there, I’d be sleeping on the couch…

  114. dereksea says:

    I too just had a horrible customer service experience at this exact same store. The woman who “helped” me was extremely rude to another customer who asked for help while she was waiting for me to whip out my credit card. He said he was in a hurry and wondered if she could ring his macbook pro up. She said, “Oh, you’re in a H-U-R-R-Y? That’s why I had your computer brought out from the back so quickly, because I saw that you were in a hurry.” By the time she passed him off to the next employee, she made the fact aware again, that he was in a hurry. By the time my transaction had been completed I had several more rude/awkward situations and was eager to get out of that place. As someone who works retail myself, no matter how bad of a day you’ve had or what may be going on in your life, you can never let your customer know. I filled out the survey on the bottom of my receipt and a manager from the store called me and talked to me about my experience. Bellevue apple store is just not the place to find friendly help I guess.

  115. Decaye says:

    Anjela, take a look at the Sony SZ series. It’s made of sex and win, though I suppose Sony treats their customers like shit too, so I guess it’s your call.

  116. brent_w says:

    It could be the case that this man has some anxiety issues which prevent him from being able to speak with women he finds attractive. Its not that uncommon.

  117. brent_w says:

    @miramesa: Ignorance. Pure pathetic Ignorance. Shame on you.

    Hate most certainly does not equal fear.

    The young men with these anxiety problems would do anything to be able to act normally around women, they do not hate them, they do not disrespect them.

    They are deeply scared to death of them. It does not matter how much they want to talk to a woman, they just freeze … they can’t help it, its an anxiety disorder … not hate.

  118. lemur says:

    My wife and I have dealt with similar situations. Sometimes the salesperson’s choice of who is the stakeholder in the purchase seems to correlate with what an imputation of sexism would predict. Sometimes not. Sometimes, it seems that they are just flipping a coin mentally. I wonder why they don’t just ask us who is more invested in the purchase. It is not rare that one of us has done the research and is more invested in the details of the purchase and the other is just tagging along with a “right of veto”.

  119. RStewie says:

    This is not an unusual incident. Any woman has faced this issue when purchasing a car or anything related to a car, a computer or any electronics equipment, and any type of sex toy (even if it’s ribbed for HER pleasure).

    But srsly, when WILL society accept the idea that women truly ARE equal?

  120. Cupajo says:


    You’re a douche-bag.

  121. Imaginary_Friend says:

    @InfiniTrent: Truer words were never spoken. This goes for cars, computers, electronics, and anything else that’s for sale here in the US of A.

    Even BestBuy, the epitome of customer disservice, recognized this fact and has been training their employees to be more “women friendly”.


    Apple better recognize!

  122. deserthiker says:

    Quit your bitching!

    If a female Apple Store employee came and talked up your husband because HE were buying a computer you’d probably be complaining about how she flirted and cajoled him into a purchase and didn’t pay much attention to you. It could have been the GUY in the store was more comfortable talking to the GUY in your party. There are a lot of people who get weirded out when dealing with the opposite sex partner in a couple situation. They don’t want to appear too forward. It’s not a big friggin’ deal. And it’s not sexist. Maybe he was intimidated by your overwhelming beauty. Or maybe he’s not a Nirvana fan and your Kurt Cobain attire threw him off. Get over yourself.

    What your husband should have done is excuse himself to go and look around that store. They say the Apple Store is a great place to meet single women.

  123. gingerCE says:

    Okay, I admit, as a single woman, I will not go car shopping unless with another person, usually male. Yet, I have had three female friends who’ve asked me to go car shopping with them so I guess 2 females shopping together for a car probably happens a lot too–but I have known no woman to go car shopping by herself.

    That being said, I have gone into Apple stores by myself, bought computers/software by myself and have never had a problem with any male employee. I will admit though there were usually a 2 males to 1 female ratio of employees in the store, but I don’t think that’s unusual, in most clothing/department stores I shop in there are usually 3 females to 1 male employee ratio.

  124. gingerCE says:

    In fact, I recall a time when I went in to buy a laptop in college and took my dad with me. The employee talked with me, dealt with me, helped me choose my ibook, a printer, accessories, etc . . . and then the employee asked me how I was paying. That’s when I told him to ask my dad. =)

    I had a female friend take her daughter in to purchase a iMac, she said it was a great experience because both were pc users and the salesguy was incredibly helpful.

    It sounds like this woman had a isolated experience with one bad employee.

  125. EllenRose says:

    Could be the “largest moving object” factor. I’m a large gal, and when I eat out with the girlfriends, end up with the check more often than chance would indicate. What were the relative sizes of Anjela, her husband, and the clerk?

    That being said, it almost never goes this far. I don’t accept being ignored. And if they continue to do it, it goes straight to the store manager – not the CEO. If you make a fuss, make it in the appropriate place.

  126. GearheadGeek says:

    @humphrmi: Hey, watch it! I really like (good) Bourbon, drinking Bourbon doesn’t necessarily make you enough of a prick to write what he was spewing. ;)

  127. IrisMR says:

    I’m ALWAYS having that problem when I go around buying computer stuff. Either they treat me like a dumbass and try to sell me shit and babble nonsense I KNOW is not true, either they are just plain rude in a “You’re a girl, you’re wasting my geek time!”

  128. deweydecimated says:

    I’m a woman, and I go into Apple stores to ask questions and yes, purchase products. I am the Mac user in the house; my husband uses Windows for work and Linux for personal projects. It wouldn’t occur to me to bring him along to an Apple store when he isn’t interested in the products. I don’t drag him along to buy my clothes or cosmetics, either.

    I haven’t had any problems with Apple salespeople talking or not talking to me. But now I’m almost tempted to drag my husband in, just to see what happens. I would venture that employees feel a bit nervous about talking to customers of the opposite gender in the presence of their partners – let’s admit it, Apple stores look like social spaces more than they resemble stores, and one magazine even recently advised women that they make for good pickup spots. Bill was clearly dumb for not talking to the female customer when the couple indicated that she was the one he should be talking to – but I can understand hesitation to begin the conversation without that indication. Once it’s given, though, it’s just plain rude to ignore it.

  129. GearheadGeek says:

    I’ll probably catch flack from this from sales types on here, but basically if you can do something better than retail sales you will. If you like sales and want to make money, commercial sales is much more profitable (but more competitive.) I don’t understand why sales attracts so many dregs, but that’s why everyone remembers when they come across a GOOD salesman who’s polite, professional and honest.

    Car salesmen have a long reputation for ignoring women, often to their detriment. A colleague of mine is a short woman with long blonde hair, a cherubic smile, a penchant for crazy-high heels (because of her height) and (to be coarsely blunt about it) she’s stacked. She’s also intelligent, professional, independent and VERY tough-minded, and a car enthusiast.

    Some years ago she was in the market for a Mustang GT with a manual transmission. As it happens, she and her husband actually like each other a lot and spend most of their leisure time together, so they were together when she went car shopping. They actually left the first dealership they went to because after SHE corrected the salesman who kept talking to her husband, HE corrected the salesman once and she decided she’d buy her car elsewhere. She ordered it that day, so it cost the first dumbass a sale.

  130. GearheadGeek says:

    @gingerCE: Not to ascribe my personal faults to you, but friends take me car shopping with them because I’m a bigger jerk than they are and know more about the process. In your case, you friends must be asking you because you know more about the process. ;)

  131. JohnnyE says:

    If, rather than being in charge of the situation from the get-go in order to get what you wanted, you feel even the most remote need to instead write a two-page(!) whinny letter to a company CEO, complaining that you didn’t get the emotional stroking you desired deep down in your heart when purchasing a material commodity from a store, you’ve pretty much just confirmed your inequality and justified the good reasons someone might avoid you like the plague.

    If you need attention that badly, yet can’t command it in person with your behavior, body language, and vocal presence, maybe you ought to just make an appointment to get your nails done. I’m sure your manicurist will spend the whole time gabbing with you, unlike that mean old Apple Genius.

    You’re not ignored because you’re a woman — you’re ignored because you are *you*.

  132. unklegwar says:

    The husband is a twit for perpetuating it. This has happened to me when I went with my (ex) girlfriend to buy a car. I nipped it in the bud and told the salesman that SHE was the customer and to speak to her.

  133. girly says:

    I don’t think this lady did the ‘wrong thing’ in writing a letter to Apple instead of setting that guy straight directly.

    Sometimes we tolerate or things and address them later, or don’t think about what really happened until after.

    The major problem was that the salesman did not greet her and did not ask who he should deal with.

    Whether she corrected that salesman there or not, it was good that she called attention to this problem with the higher-ups. It’s something every salesperson can learn from.

  134. girly says:

    @deserthiker: You can make this about insulting her and theorize on why it happened, but despite what you think about what *might* have happened the definite thing here is that she was part of a party that approached the salesman, was not greeted, and the salesman did not ask who he should deal with.

  135. rockergal says:

    hmm this really makes me appreciate my DH, Yesterday we went shopping for furniture for our office. The sales-person asked how “we” were doing to my Husband, and he immediately said “Look buddy she’s the one with the money, I am just here to carry the stuff to the car”

  136. maztec says:

    He’s not sexist. He just doesn’t know how to deal with women. They scare him. That’s the trouble of hiring nerds sometimes. Now a geek, a geek would have paid more attention to you than your husband.

    This is a problem with the culture. I’ve seen plenty of people from Microsoft [where your husband works] who have exactly the same problem.

    Good luck. Try the University Village outlet. They drool over girls. I take my wife and can’t get service, but they bend over backwards to do everything for her – including free merchandise. Probably something to do with being right next to the University.

  137. PinkBox says:

    @maztec: I know plenty of nerds/geeks, kind of goes with my field of work.

    Some of them are the MOST sexist people I know! I don’t buy this “he was too shy to talk to the woman” crap. :P

  138. Onouris says:

    Yes of course, the guy gets the wrong idea, thinks its for your husband, and it’s instant sexism. Of course it is. If a woman did the same thing, how many of you would think the same? If she did it and ignored the man, how many would think the same?

    Get a spine and SAY that excuse me, the computer is for me.

  139. UpsetPanda says:

    The great thing about the ‘genius’ bar at Apple is that if I go in and need to get something fixed, I sign up ahead of time, and they know I’ve got the questions when they call my name. They don’t talk to my fiance, they talk to me. Whenever there’s something more complicated, computer wise, I take the lead because I know more….whenever we walk into an electronics store, I’m usually ahead going to the right section. If they start talking to him, he’ll defer them to me. It’s about teamwork – having a person recognize who calls the shots.

    I’ve walked into video game stores (I’m talking to YOU, Gamestop) and have gotten the cold shoulder from sales people. I suppose they don’t WANT my money, but when it comes to video games, I know more.

    Though, not surprisingly, the biggest geek realm of them all, comic book stores, have always been extremely welcoming toward me. I don’t think it has to do with the fact that I’m a girl, I think it has to do with the fact that I walk in and either I know where I’m going (everything’s in alphabetical order, it’s not hard) or I ask for a specific title.

  140. Kounji says:

    Retail is a weird beast. He’s a douche for not introducing himself to both of you though. Anyone knows that if you don’t win both parties of a couple you’ll never get the sale. If you fail to sell one of them often times you’ll lose it. I learned this the hard way plenty of times when I was a salesman. Even if this salesman had bias from previous couples over his career you never ignore both parties.
    I’m wondering if the concierge told him that there was a woman who wished to purchase a macbook. *sighs* Anyway people often will run off of the same racial and gender bias that perforate society. You happened to fall victim to it, but it always happens. Trust me I know I’m black and no matter how nice I dress and how I carry myself people hardly approach me for help.

  141. katylostherart says:

    ok i kind of laughed at the comment about the large gal receiving the check more often than not. i can’t actually recall any restaurant experience where the server didn’t just place the check in the nearest open spot on the table regardless of the gender or size of the patrons. that’s kind of odd.

  142. sakimotokitty says:

    should have spoken up right then & there. I don’t feel sorry for her one bit. her allowing him to ingore her for as long as she did only reinforced his notion that she was invisible.

  143. MYarms says:

    Women use computers?

  144. scotty321 says:

    I **HIGHLY DOUBT** that this story happened as this woman explained it to happen. It’s just not a true story.

  145. UpsetPanda says:

    @scotty321: And why not?

  146. thalia says:

    This reminds me of my trip to TriState last month with my husband. I bought an iMac and to keep my cats from knocking it over, we decided to fasten it to the desk by putting a small metal bar covered in rubber tubing (to prevent scratching) over the base and screwing it into the desk, so it wouldn’t damage or scratch up the machine.

    Well, we head on over to TriState to buy some rubber tubing. The guy who rushed up to help my husband had a nametag that said, “Dick”. When he asked us what we wanted, I explained that I was looking for a foot of 1/4″ clear rubber tubing, and he completely ignored me and spoke only to my husband. Once he got around to taking us to the right aisle and was cutting tubing for us, he said, “I’m sure your wife will like this. If not, you can always hit her with it!”

    I said, “Excuse me?” and he looked at me and said, “Ah, I take it you’re the wife?” (when I’ve been tagging along all this time) so I nod, and he says, “Ha, I’m just kidding, I would never tell anyone to beat their wife.”

    “You just did,” I said, grabbed my husbands arm, and walked off. I couldn’t help but throw a, “Thanks for your help, DICK” over my shoulder as we walked out!

  147. jenl1625 says:

    @NameGoesHere: Actually, it pays to be polite to the person asking the questions. First time I came across something like this, my mom and I were shopping. I was 17, had an after-school job, and was buying a new jacket with my own money. We walked into the store, and I asked a couple of questions. The saleslady kept answering to my mother, rather than me. It was annoying, but I really liked the look of one jacket. I asked her to unlock the one jacket (they had them attached to the rack) so I could try it on, and she looked to my mother for confirmation.

    At which time, I politely but pretty firmly told her that she was looking to the wrong person, it was my money, I was making the decisions, and if she wanted the sale she needed to talk to me. My mom just looked at her. At which point she apologized and actually talked to me through the rest of the sale.

  148. jenl1625 says:

    @brent_w: Then he really needs to get over it or get a job that doesn’t rely on commissions.

    Personally, I kind of wonder whether he might also have had some kind of religious “don’t speak to women who belong to another man” issue – but if that’s it, he also needs to get over *that* or get a different job.

  149. 4ster says:

    Petrarch1603: Hurf durf

  150. North of 49 says:

    Just to elaborate a bit on my experience – I talked to Mr. No49 this morning about it – and yes, the guys were pointing at me and saying “ask her, its her computer! she knows the specs.” But still the tech faced them and barely acknowledged me.

    I’ve learned since then that if the techie or salesman plays that game to get in between him and Mr. No49 so that I’m in his line of sight and he has to look at me, or to state very loudly “I Guess You Don’t Want This Sale Since You Aren’t Even Talking To Your Customer!”

    Another incident, also at an Apple store where I was ignored even though I was doing an errand for our Mac loving friend. I was sent in to buy a peripheral of his that came in and a 3 minute wait – cause the person who came in behind me, also a woman, was waited on before I was – turned into a half hour wait until one of the other techs was free.

    Once again, I was livid. Once again, I read them the riot act, especially about how not only did I come in before the other customer, but that if he had served me in line instead of skipping me over, he could have one definate sale instead of just a possible one.

    and yes, the other woman was slim, trim and model type, whereas I’m the earth mother type.

  151. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @LadyKathryn: Gee, do I know you from somewhere?

    There were several portions of the original post that sounded like Anjela was trying to talk to the salesman, like the part about how he’d ask questions but only take answers from the husband, so I don’t think she was just standing there fuming silently. The salesman blew it for good when he refused to greet her or introduce himself, anyway.

    I usually let salesmen ignore me because I prefer kicking the tires and looking under the hood (literally or metaphorically) to listening to sales pitches. This has led to some amusing exchanges, like when my husband has listened to all the sales talk alone, and then I come up and tell him “no” and we leave. Or the time a computer salesman informed my husband that we absolutely did not have the connector he wanted, right before I called across the store, “Here it is!”

  152. Landru says:

    I applaud her walking out, but sometimes I’ll be damned if I’m going to let a stupid clerk stand in the way of me and my consumer satisfaction.

    She should have walked off and let the guy continue to talk her husband and found another clerk who would help her, and then picked up the husband on the way out.

  153. Landru says:

    Sometimes, you are faced with someone so beautiful that you cannot even look at them for fear of losing it. I’ll bet this is one of those times.

  154. juanguapo says:

    I’m with Anjela on this one. My g/f gets treated like this all the time when we go shopping or out for dinner and men ALWAYS look at me and talk to me instead of her. I can’t imagine why….she’s a skinny, tall Mexican girl and I’m your avg 6′ white guy, but somehow they’d rather look at me than her….believe me, even on my best day, I can’t hold a candle to her in the looks dept. ;-)

    Anyway, this reiks of sexism and I hope that Apple will get back to her soon. I don’t blame Apple because they’re only as good as the people they hire, and you can’t hire ALL good people ALL of the time. This guy will hopefully get a very humbling letter from Apple corporate soon….

  155. UpsetPanda says:

    @CumaeanSibyl: I do that too, only I hate being ignored. I kick the tires while tuning out the sales pitch, but when it comes to me asking the questions, I find that the sales people aren’t used to it. We were buying a printer one time and he listened to the sales pitch, I srveyed each printer while grinning at the sales guy’s promise of a “ink change indicator” light, and the “high-quality scanning bed” that had the foam pad peeling at the edges. When I had enough, I turned and saw that my fiance was nodding, and getting hooked. I shook my head and when the sales guy was done, I steered him away from the sales guy and we took a wander through the DVD section while we discussed the matter.

  156. wilmawonker says:

    @discounteggroll: yeah good point, geniuses are the mr. fix-its, not the sales folks, and the 2 I’ve known personally were phenomenal guys with some of the best customer service skills and understanding of the mac innards, out there. That’s why they get the job, they are supposed to calm you down and keep you happy, since you’re already a customer. Weird.

  157. Blackneto says:

    when i’m in the store with my wife to buy something that she wants i tell the drone to talk to her and listen for the BS if it starts coming from it’s mouth.

    It’s usually not a problem though to get them to talk to her as she is white and i’m mocha colored.
    in 15 years it’s always been the same. they will talk to her instead of me, you know they guy that makes 100k/year.

    of course that could be another consumerist rant.

    but i dont have a problem with it as i’m free to sort out the BS without prejudice.

  158. durkzilla says:


    “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger; anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering.”

  159. richtaur says:

    I love this blog. Your suggestions make me feel all warm and fuzzy.

  160. Raziya says:

    This used to happen to me when I worked at Gamestop…before my fiance and I were dating and when I worked for him there, people used to come in and ask questions all the time to Shadowfire (he comments here) and ingore me, even though I was the one who greeted them. I used to get aggressive and cut in and answer all the time…she should have too. It’s really obnoxious to be treated like you know nothing about electronics just because you’re a girl. :|

  161. @InfiniTrent: “One of the quickest lessons a salesperson should learn is that in most cases, the woman controls the purse strings. … Even if you’re a chauvinist pig, you should be able to set aside that in order to take a customer’s money”

    When we went in for our yearly insurance review with our agent, he spent the ENTIRE time talking to my husband, even when my husband kept repeatedly saying, “I don’t know, my wife does the insurance” and so forth. I’d ask questions, and he’d answer them to my husband. I was torn between offended and amused because he’s an older fellow and I don’t generally get all up in someone’s face when they’re 70 years old and not used to women in the workforce. (Even though the memo’s been circulating for 40 years now.)

    I called my grandpa and told HIM the story, because my grandpa used to be an agent with the same company, and my grandpa was HORRIFIED. He said, “in 1946 we were selling to the wives — the husbands may pay the bills, but the wives have ALWAYS made the decisions. A wife will talk around a recalcitrant husband, but a husband can never talk around his wife if she digs in her heels.”

    So I found that amusing. He was even out of date for 1950, let alone 2005.

    (The postscript is that I did speak to him about it, and he did apologize, and he now deals with me directly. It was a little roundabout getting there, but we got there.)

  162. disavow says:

    @GearheadGeek: Recognizing that women make a lot of purchasing decisions (more than half of car sales, last I heard) is pretty much how Saturn built their brand. Take an average car with average styling, hire nonsexist salespeople, and preset the prices instead of requiring traditionally male-biased haggling. And it paid off for them bigtime.

  163. VA_White says:

    My mom wanted to buy a new chair for the family room. She picked one out and when it came time to complete the purchase, the furniture salesman actually asked my mom, “Don’t you need to talk to your husband first?” It did not end well.

    The VW salesperson did that to me and my husband. I was picking out a new car and the sales guy would not talk to me. I’m the family CFO, the car was mine, I would be making the deal and the decisions. My husband finally told the guy, “If you don’t talk to my my wife about HER car, we are leaving.” We had no such problems at the Lexus place.

  164. Debraleigh says:

    This has to be one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever heard in regard to experiences in an Apple Store. I have been a customer in various Apple Stores in the Philadelphia area for several years now, and have never had anything but the most respectful and egalitarian treatment. In fact, I began as one of those customers who knew so little that I could easily have been dismissed as someone hardly worth attention. But thanks to the wonderful assistance of the professionals at the Genius Bar and the Creative Bar, I have developed much more confidence in my computer skills. I know how to create websites, upload and edit video, edit photography, and have developed a facility with computer vocabulary which I never though I’d have. On my last visit to an Apple Store — about a week ago — I was actually able to give advice to another customer about VMWare Fusion — and was treated with great deference by the sales person who was working with the gentleman. He thanked me for my input and suggested that the customer take my advice.If this story is true, I’d be surprised if “Bill” isn’t already looking for a new job; I cannot imagine any Apple Store on the planet tolerating that sort of behavior.

  165. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

    Its not just computer stores, OR customers…sexism is alive and well everywhere. I worked at a Canadian Tire store for 5 years, much of it in the hardware & paint departments. I and lost count of the number of men who would ask for a manager to answer their questions, and be amused by their response when the MALE store manager informed them that I knew more than he did about hardware, and to direct their questions to me. Or they’d walk right past when asked if I could assist them, as ifI didn’t exist.

  166. bdslack says:

    Why not go somewhere else and demand the respect that your $1,600 tax refund check deserves?

    The funny thing is that you don’t really understand the complex workings of the Apple Store. You see earlier in the day Bill either lost a bet or pissed off the concierge and for the entire day he was sent “The Moms”. Answering countless questions about iPod colors and how to access voicemail on an iPhone really gets to a guy. It is possible that he didn’t look at you to keep from giggling when you told him about your volunteer position as a CSS/XHTML coder (that has never worked or tested code in Safari).

    So you logged onto the consumerist and read about the guy that smashed his macbook and got a free one and decided to make up a story about how you were wronged in hopes that Super Rich Steve J. would just send you one to make up for it.

    I’m sure you were yelling at your poor spouse all the way home for talking out of turn with Bill, and when he called you a nut job you decided to tell the entire internet how you were wronged…. You are lucky all you got thrown at you is a pen. I would have stabbed you with it.

  167. sublicon says:

    “I am a grown woman. I am 29 years old.”

    So have the balls (figuratively speaking, of course) to call a dude on his shit on the spot.

  168. bdslack says:

    @nursethalia: Dude if some guy told me that about my wife, I’d piss my pants laughing. That’s too funny – you should have slapped Dick on the back for that one.

    Too funny.

  169. GearheadGeek says:

    @bdslack: Just completely off our meds today, I see…

  170. bdslack says:

    @GearheadGeek: So true on so many levels. It’s more fun that way.

    Actually what I want to see is a fist fight to the death on the “I’m a Mac and I’m a PC commercials”. I would really get worked up to see the skinny kid beat the living shit out of the fat PC guy. Sort of like Fight Club for computer geeks. So many beautiful things in this world go unnoticed because of people so tightly focused on complete BS like this lady.

    It spins my head.

  171. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @bdslack: Oh my God, you mean Bill was forced to do his job? That poor man. Of course that completely justifies his rudeness to a customer.

    Sorry, muffin, but you’re not going to get any sympathy with that line. If you can’t handle answering questions about iPod colors, maybe you shouldn’t work at a place that sells iPods.

  172. bdslack says:

    @CumaeanSibyl: Hey, the poor kid can’t bat 1000. Not even Tiger Woods can hit them straight every time…

    I’d love to hear about all the times this woman has messed up at her job. I’m sure her coworkers don’t write the CEO and ask for a formal apology, especially for not looking at someone correctly. I would have thrown the laptop at her not the pen.

  173. elisa says:

    Wait…their address is “1 Infinite Loop”?

  174. deserthiker says:


    Listen here girly. If the husband had any onions he wouldn’t have wandered off with Bill in the first place and spoke up clearly and forthrightly that it was his wife and master who is in the market for the computer. But I think we see who wears the pants in this household. And jeans, no less.

    If my wife of nearly twenty years and I had a similar shopping experience I’d have spoken up right away and if the sales person (not “Genius”) were not to my liking I’d have spoken to another one. I would not expect my wife to go home and whine online about how she was treated horribly by someone who thought he was helping me.

    Don’t expect this marriage to last.

  175. Buran says:

    @soulman901: Why the hell do you care? It isn’t your money or your choice.

  176. puka_pai says:

    Some things just never change. Fifteen years ago, I took my dad computer shopping for a new office machine. I asked the questions, and they’d answer him. Finally he flat-out told the guy, “What are you telling me for? She’s buidling the machine, I’m just here to write the check.” On the way home, he apologized to me for not believing me when I told him that’s what always happened to me. Thank goodness it’s been happening less over the last few years.

  177. deserthiker says:


    There’s a real reason guy’s talk to you and not to your girl: jealousy. They expect you to get jealous if they spend too much time talking to her and checking her out. And guess what? you would.

  178. MARTHA__JONES says:


    Not only was Bill a complete jerk, but he wasn’t doing his job. Any salesperson with a modicum of honesty would have told you the Macbook Air was not built to run as your primary machine and cannot support everything a normal laptop can.

    I hope you get the apology you deserve and that Bill gets appropriate training to bring him out of the 1950’s.

  179. algormortis says:

    This is really typical for the store in Bellevue.

    I’ve been asked to leave because i’ll “just look at myspace like you kids do” (dude i’m older than you, wanna see my passport?) when i was there to buy an ipod case. When i brought in my computer for service, i got treated to a five minute rant about foreigners and greasy people and how fat women disgust the gent behind the genius bar. Then he modified my customer record to state “intentional damage.”

    Needless to say, i have an ibook g4 that crapped out because they did a crappy job fixing it the first time, the employee was angry i came back, and oh yeah, no other store can fix it because the serial number’s flagged. “Maybe your husband you married to stay here would be more rational”, he sayd.

    Yeah. Bite me.

    Alderwood is better, Tukwila is too busy but much better, U-Village is kind of mercurial depending on who peed in their cornflakes that morning.

  180. RagingTowers says:

    That’s what you get for buying a mac…a gimped mac at that.

  181. William C Bonner says:

    I live a couple of blocks away from that store. I’ve had really bad experiences there. If I want anything Apple, I get in my car and drive 7 miles to the Apple store at University Village.

    I’ve heard enough reports that I’m not alone.


  182. espertus says:

    My advice would be:

    1. Next time this happens, you or your husband should say something to the employee, such as: “Why are you only talking to me?” or “Could you point us to an employee who is comfortable dealing with women?” That should get you an instant apology.

    2. Tell the manager. Based on my experiences, he or she will likely apologize and promise to speak with the employee.

    3. Do send a letter to Apple HQ, but don’t skip the first two steps.


  183. IssaGoodDay says:

    Incidentally… they’re called “Mac Specialists” not “Geniuses.” Not to defend them – the one you got was an ***hole – just to clarify that Geniuses are some of the calmest, friendliest, and most helpful people I have ever met. Most ‘specialists’ I’ve encountered have been great as well.

  184. macbone says:

    Umm. Maybe the guy just had a bad day? Maybe out of the thousands of Apple Store employees, there are a few that aren’t quite on the ball. I deal with a few hundred people a month in (so to speak) sales. Most absolutely enjoy the experience, some don’t.

    I like the “stand up for yourself” perspective. A “hey buddy, I’m the customer” would have done the trick. It seems kind of silly to walk away from an entire platform because one nerdy Apple Genius rubbed you the wrong way. Better to simply pick another sales person. I’m not sure if these guys are on a comish. . . I think if someone did that to me I’d walk over to a different genius and wink at the guy talking to my spouse while making the purchase.

    She is a sophisticated, educated lady with dough to drop on a Macbook Air. The kid in the Apple Genius outfit is likely a part time student with an old sunflower iMac at home who lusts for a new MB Air. Which is why he works in the Apple store. Bottom line, Set’im straight, and buy from the guy or gal standing next to him!

  185. girly says:

    @deserthiker: Who has the power in their marriage or whether it will last is of little consequence to the issue of the employee acknowledging all parties and not making an assumption about who his customer is.

    I agree that the husband and wife could have dealt with it better.

    I don’t care for how the issue was inflated, but the feedback can be taken with a grain of salt and still be put to good use by the company. In that way I think it was worth it for her to contact Apple.

  186. Joe S Chmo says:

    This story sounds like a Microsoft plant.

    However, most everyone here just hears one side of the story and immediately calls the employee names. Sad yet typical of the tar and feather, knee jerk, lynch mob mentality in the good ole US of A.

    Does Apple call their salesmen ‘geniuses’? I thought genius referred to their on site staff that helped with repairs and such, not sales.

  187. deserthiker says:


    It is the marriage I am questioning and not the salesman as much. The sales guy was sent over by the concierge. He did not know who was looking for a computer. When he first talked to them, the husband should have said AT THAT TIME that the laptop was for his wife and not walked away with the salesman, leaving his wife in the lurch. The wife is displacing her aggravation at her husband abandoning her on poor Bill. The guy was only doing his job. Her gripe about trying to sell Apple Care is also misplaced. On a new notebook like the Air it would be smart to get Apple Care.

    Now, it may have been one of those situations where her husband said, “Honey, Let’s go get YOU a new laptop. I think you need a new laptop similar to the time that you needed a PS3, a new 52 inch Sony Bravia LCD 1080i TV and tickets to the Seahawks and that new camping gear at REI”. Husbands often get their wives presents which are really gifts for themselves. Not that I would ever do that but I’ve seen it happen.

    If the wife should be mad at anyone it should be at her husband. Instead of a letter to Apple and the Consumerist, I’d recommend counseling.

  188. profrock says:

    My wife and I owned a small business for 27 years. It was a very successful and profitable business and still was when we sold it three years ago. During those 27 years we pleased the overwhelming majority of our customers, but of course there were those who had a problem with our products, service or both. Nothing irritated me more than a customer we did not please who would not say a word to us about the situation, but would then go bad-mouth us in the community. Given a chance, we would do most anything reasonable to make a situation right and sometimes even comply with unreasonable requests. Any smart businessperson would do the same. Now, lets take a look at Meghanns situation. Do you see the number of posts she has on this article? I think Meghann is sly like a fox. Bash Apple in an article and the snowball starts rolling. I have never been to this site before, but I would bet that its a rare article that Meg writes that gets this kind of response. What do you think her response would have been if she settled the problem in the store like she should have?

  189. macfoo says:

    I can’t say I’ve even been treated like this in an Apple Store (I’m usually the one to strike up the conversations anyway), but I HAVE been treated like this over the phone with less then intelligent customers who insist that a woman just CANT be doing a server admin job and insist that I play the nice secretary and hand over the phone to the real server jockey.

  190. girly says:

    @deserthiker: I did say before that I think the husband was part of it(the irrelevant to Apple part).

    I mostly agree with you. As I said, since he didn’t know who his customer was, asking would be useful. And that is a good tip in general, and so there was some value in the letter. (in addition to a lot of venting)

  191. Wyrenth says:

    Here’s an unfortunate truth: The grunts on the floor are -trained- to ignore women and instead focus on selling to the man. Something about how women are more indecisive, especially with tech purchases. Not all floor grunts are going to abide by that (some actually do realize women are able to use computers too), but if you go to any tech store–Circuit City, Best Buy, anything–you will find the man gets the focus. That’s just how they were trained to sell the products.

  192. deserthiker says:


    What is it with women and venting?

  193. Witera33it says:

    As a geek/nerd myself I can safely say that most of my male counterparts are terrible with women. In a conversation with FRIENDS that know that I am their equal, they will geek out with my husband first. Most don’t want to be emasculated by the possibility that I might best them with my geekiness. That does not excuse this behavior and he shouldn’t be in sales. He should just be fixing things. That said, being a sugar momma, I make sure that when I go shopping with my husband, that the salesperson needs to address me. Directly.

    I would like to clarify that Macs are now comparable in price with computers having the same specs. Since the introduction of Intel, prices have become reasonable. I have done multiple price comparisons, building computers that have all of the bells and whistles of a Macintosh and have come up with the same prices. Macs are expensive because thay have alot of high end stuff in it.

    Now for the Mac Book Air. This is a supplemental computer for those who travel extensively, or at least are away from their primary often. Anyone who is in the know with tech, knows that “The Cloud” is where it’s at. The Cloud is the internets linked by purely web based software. People who have an extensive internet presence, download or stream all of their entertainment, have no need for hard media or wires. What I’m saying is don’t buy a Mac Book Air as your primary. (As a side, does anyone here remember when the original iMac didn’t have a floppy drive, and everyone was bitching about that?)

    @bdslack: I am a woman that has owned Macs since 1985. I AM in fact a member of that “Mac Club” and as a long time member I have to say that it is people like you that make it hard for me to have sensible conversations with non-mac users. People like you that make sure that everyone thinks that Mac users are pretentious snobs.

  194. Pipes says:

    I’m a female, and this story came out at a great time. I need to purchase a new wireless router soon, and I’ll likely go somewhere that these types of encounters happen. Guaranteed I’ll be buying a Linksys…so perhaps I should wear my Cisco employee shirt underneath my coat and reveal it at a strategic time. (Linksys is a division of Cisco, for those that don’t know.) I almost hope that someone tries to kid-glove me so I can school them.

  195. girly says:

    @deserthiker: I’m not sure, I’ve have not done a gender-specific study of it.

    If you read the long letters to corporations on this site, it seems that neither gender is immune.

    I guess it could be that people have a long list of grievances, but they’d probably make their point clearer by making it brief.

  196. girly says:

    It is interesting to see so many people want to guess why the employee did what he did.

  197. lizzybee says:

    Weird that this happened at an Apple store! When I’ve gone into SF Bay Area stores, I’ve always been treated reasonably and respectfully when I had a question. But I’ve had the cold shoulder from sexist salespeople in electronics stores on more than one occasion.

    The worst was when I went alone into a Good Guys a few years ago, ready to purchase an XM radio setup for my car. I knew the model and all of the accessories I would need, and I was ready to make a purchase right then. I was completely ignored by the three salesmen in the room in favor of male customers. I waited for several minutes and tried to attract their attention several times, but none paid the slightest attention to me. I finally gave up and went to the Best Buy across the street. In under five minutes, they’d rung me up with all the equipment and scheduled me for an installation the next morning.

    I’m really surprised this kind of thing is so common! Reading the stories in the comments has been both enlightening and frightening.

  198. deserthiker says:

    I have four sisters and the majority of my close friends are women and I think venting is more a female thing. If I have a problem I tend to go for a run and my wife gets on the phone and calls everyone who will listen.

    I guess we’re both letting of steam, we just do it in different manners.

    And I agree, brevity is not something used in most of these complaint letters. I don’t need a life story. Please get to the point.

  199. SpaceCowgirl01 says:


    This goes directly to the stores themselves. So, if you’re going to avoid speaking to a manager, etc., this is the more direct non-confrontational route to go.

  200. WraithSama says:

    The woman’s husband should have spoken up. If my wife were being ignored like that, I would have said something to the clerk. As blatant as the offense was in this case, my comment would have been cutting indeed.

  201. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @bdslack: There’s a difference between “not batting .1000” and “wandering out of the batter’s box to look at the pretty birdie.”

  202. Phas3Sh1ft says:

    “I’m to sexy for the Apple Store!!!”

  203. girly says:

    @deserthiker:Male or female trait, I don’t think venting is always bad. It can be done badly.

    I wonder if running means you don’t want to think about your problem. Because I personally noticed that when I run I don’t think. When I walk I think a lot. Maybe that’s just me.

    If both of our observations were true it women=vent=think of problem men=activity=don’t think of problem.
    Both approaches have their advantages.

    I’m sure there are a billion studies on this.

  204. girly says:

    @deserthiker: about brevity, I think most people are going for the ‘preponderance of evidence’ thing

    but it should be about quality of evidence

  205. Contrariwise says:

    Writing Steve Jobs isn’t going to solve this particular consumer’s problem. He’s notoriously isolated from the public. This tactic does work with some CEOs though–those who have come through the retailing ranks, especially. They forward the email to the store manager with a note to handle the customer’s dissatisfaction.
    I would have certainly asked for the manager early on, and simply told him or her that I wanted to spend a lot of money today, but that wasn’t going to happen because
    I wasn’t getting the proper attention from the staff. That’s all. Your time is too valuable to waste being snubbed. Give the commission to someone who kisses YOUR ass. The guy obviously is in the wrong job, and it would be a kindness in the long run to have this pointed out.

    BTW, I’m a 50-something female who does all the electronic shopping in my house. My husband wouldn’t know a hard drive from a poppyseed bagel. I am an Apple fan, but I also am too old to kowtow to crowds and kids. I make an advance appointment online before going either to Apple or Best Buy. Someone is waiting for me who already knows my name and what product or service I want. My experiences with Apple after 3 computers, 2 iPods, an iPhone, numerous accessories and software, and coming in for support and service several times, have been positive. I’d like to see more women, and some older people working there if I had my way. It’s pretty much bearded, glasses-wearing, skinny, 20-something, white males at the Apple Store here.

  206. dreadnought27 says:

    The level of misogynism in the comments posted here is really, really incredible. Had a minority been treated in a similar fashion, I couldn’t imagine any of the “typical woman over-reacting comments being made.”

    That being said, I have had a similar experience at an Apple Store recently. Not that I was being ignored in favor of a male co-shopper, but that the store employee treated me with derision, and pretty much told me to f-off when I said that the transation was the worst experience I ever had in an Apple Store. The solution, I thought at the time, was to speak with a store manager. Unfortunately, the manager was a punk-ass kid no older or wiser than the sales associate who treated me like dirt. However, I didn’t let it lie – but I addressed the experience in depth within the customer feedback forum that is linked to each emailed sales receipt.

    I gave zeros across the board, and explained the event in detail – avoiding hyperbole and outrageous accusations. I actually had to go back to the same Apple Store two days later, and the sales associate I dealt with this time was the type of person I had become accustomed to dealing with – friendly, engaging, not overselling but definitely interested in me as a customer, even though I was only buying a case for an iPod Nano. When I mentioned that I was rather gun-shy about shopping in this store after my experience two days earlier, she jumped to get a manager. A senior manager, and someone I had dealt with many times over the years. It turns out that the complaint I had made had be thoroughly discussed during the pre-open meeting, and all of the staff had been made aware of the problem.

    I spent about 20 minutes talking with Darren, who had clearly read my complaint – he actually quoted a part of my comments back to me (without looking it up). He apologized and explained that although there was no excuse for the treatment I received, the Store was having a very hard time hiring and retaining sales staff who were committed to the Apple Way – mostly they were only able hire college kids who wanted to stay for 6 months to get a free iPhone.

    At the end of the conversation, he offered to give me a twenty percent discount off of my purchase, as an apology and in recognition that I am a valued customer who was poorly treated.

  207. deserthiker says:

    No, for me running allows me to think on my problems on my own and deal with them based on logic rather than feelings.

    And yes, an ounce of gold is worth more than a ton of dross.

  208. naptownk says:

    I had a similar experience…I just ended up waiting for an hour, to get someone to tell me what I already knew. I needed to get my logic board replaced, and instead of working with me, I waited an hour…while the “genius” was chatting up the previous male customer, who mind you was already done…about dirt bikes. I sat less then five inches away from them waiting to be worked with. I was furious. Then I came to pick my macbook up…knowing that it doesn’t take more than a few minutes to replace a logic board, and it wasn’t even ready (it was a day or two later). I had to walk around the mall for an hour and a half waiting for this to be done. I was so mad. They need to hire more females in the store I was in. I know the genius guys are nerdy and probably can’t get dates because they’re intimidated by women…but please. It’s customer service, not “males customers come first” service.

  209. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Hate most certainly does not equal fear.

    @brent_w: miramesa was talking about sexism not anxiety.

    Also, just because HATE = FEAR does not mean FEAR = HATE. When miramesa said that sexist guys hate women because they fear them it did not imply that all guys who fear women hate them.

  210. North of 49 says:
  211. Arcaynn says:

    did anyone else kind of giggle when they found out Apple stores have Microsoft employee discounts?

  212. S-the-K says:

    Under Sharia law, not only are women not allowed to drive cars or go outside without her husband or male relative, but they are not allowed to purchase Macs.

    Washington uses Sharia law, right?

  213. richcreamerybutter says:

    This gives me a flashback to 1996, attempting to purchase a $3000 camera at B&H Photo (my employer had an account here). No one would help me, despite the fact I was jumping up and down in front of the model. Next scene: me leaving the store and hauling my ass to J&R, where they treated me with respect, and sold a camera to boot.

    I think this was also the same year I asked another employee elsewhere if they were out of Hi8 tape. The dude folded his arms and said, “I’ve never heard of that.”

    Therefore, it didn’t exist! Granted I looked 16 at the time, but still.

  214. dbolander says:

    You did not speak to a Mac Genius. You almost certainly spoke with a Mac Specialist. A Mac Genius just troubleshoots and repairs Apple products. Sorry to hear you had a bad experience but make sure you point your criticism toward the proper staff group. Mac Geniuses come under fire so often for their own set of foibles.

  215. missnorthseattle says:

    @algormortis: My experiences with the Seattle-area stores, right down the line. I’m pretty sure my second X chromosome makes me invisible in the Bellevue store; the last time I was there I went about leaving various “presents” in the browser windows, and went home to order my new toys online. Meanwhile, last time I was in the U District store with a male and a female friend (who’d asked me to go to the store to help with their purchase), the salesboy kept interrupting me to ask the male in our group if he needed help. My friend having a bigger pair than Anjela’s husband (and twenty years’ experience in retail dealing with moronic floor staff), he repeatedly put his hand up and stopped the salesboy, saying “SHE’S HERE EXPLAINING IT, WE DON’T NEED YOU YET.” Yes, in all caps. I have fun friends.

    (Oddly, the Mac Store — not the Apple store, the Mac Store — in the U District has really improved its attitude in the past few years. Competition clarifying their thinking, perhaps?)

    And to all those who don’t believe this happened, or who question the writer’s actions or perceptions (looking at you, bdslack): Screw you. This was happening 15 years ago when I started buying my own gear. It’s happening now. And it’s why I’ve laughed my ass off as the big-box retailers have taken it in the shorts thanks to online shopping. I usually try to support my local businesses and whatnot, but it gives me particular pleasure to treat computer retailers as sandboxes when I can play with the gear before going home and spending my money online, where I don’t get attitude from some floor dork with deficient training / hygiene / social skills.

  216. adj says:

    As a female, I’ve had this problem at stores– not Apple stores. My Apple stores love me :D

    Can’t base a company off of one person. If I have bad shopping experiences at a store I don’t blame the store, I blame the person who was helping me. Usually find another one, and if they can’t help me then I get kind of edgy then. Then head to the manager and ask why their Camera specialist doesn’t know what an ExpoDisc is.

    Like others said, they should have contacted the manager or something like that before being a whiney twit in this long winded e-mail.

  217. adj says:

    @dbolander: I noticed this too. Geniuses do not sell computers ;/

  218. fashionista says:

    Amen to that! I love my new Mac but I most certainly did not buy it at a Mac store (even though I qualify for the education discount). In the Mac retail store here, if you’re not caucasian and male, you gets no love. I’m surprised there haven’t been more complaints (or maybe I just don’t know about them). Anything I buy for my Mac gets purchased online — I won’t deal with the “dudes with ‘tudes” in the store.

  219. MissZ says:

    I had a similar experience in the Syracuse, NY CompUSA store, but in that store I was ignored by MULTIPLE men as I attempted to purchase an Apple G3, back in the day. When pushed off a number of times while they waited on men or couples, I finally went to the middle of the store, pulled out my checkbook ( I had just received my tax return and had a balance of nearly $5000) and yelled at the top of my lungs..”I have $4,000..doesn’t anyone want to sell me a computer?!?!”

    A male manager came over and angrily started into me for “disturbing shopping for other customers”. Well I lit right back into him, explaining my frustration in attempting to get anyone to wait on me and take my $4000! He calmed down at that point and apologized, and offered to wait on me himself, but I pointed out that since he was the one that had trained/managed his sales staff, I had no more confidence in the service he would give me after the sale than in the “service” I had received thus far, and I told him I would be spending my $4000 and any money for after market items elsewhere. And I did. I went to a local store that specialized in Apple products ( our mall based Apple store did not arrive until several years later) and actually received very good service.

    I have since visited the local Apple store and have purchased 2 ipods, but each time I had to wait while the salesperson “dazzled” me with his knowledge of the product. Unfortunately, I was interested in recording podcasts and they had NO training in that. They were great talkers but horrible listeners. Get with it, Apple….we women have major purchasing power!