Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The World According To Coop...

Margaret and I are rather faithful viewers of The Big Bang Theory, along with countless millions of other people if the Nielsen ratings are to be believed.  Among my favorite scenes from the show's run is one from its third season.  

The premise of the episode is that Sheldon has reached an impasse in his attempt to solve a particularly vexing equation or some such thing.  In an effort to clear his mind, he decides that he needs to spend his time doing something that - while keeping him busy - will require no thought whatsoever, which leads him to work as an unpaid bus boy at Penny's Cheesecake Factory

On Sunday morning, Margaret and I experienced firsthand just what the esteemed Dr. Cooper was speaking of vis-a-vis his "refusal to contribute to the devaluation of the word genius".  For the first time in my life, I entered an Apple store.  We popped into the store located at the Bridgewater Commons Mall so that I could buy an adapter permitting me to play my iPod Nano in my car.  Although we were there before 11:00 o'clock there were already a considerable number of people milling about, including the easy-to-identify employees (a/k/a "the Apple Geniuses") who were adorned in their matching red t-shirts.  

A suggestion if I may to the caretakers of the House that Jobs Built:  If you are going to insist on identifying your retail sales staff members as "Geniuses", then you must employ men and women who are not only friendly but who actually possess the ability to answer a customer's question.  I would further suggest that this is especially so when the customer in question has the technological savvy of Alley Oop and the question he asks of a Genius is not one that should require a genius-level IQ to answer. 

Margaret and I asked the young Genius who assisted us (giving that term the broadest possible definition) where the adapters are to permit the iPod Nano to be played in an automobile.  He responded by asking us, first, whether what we were looking for was a car charger and when we told him "No" and that what we wanted was simply an adapter, he told us that he was not aware whether Apple made such a product.  He then motored off towards a gaggle of fellow Geniuses to ask one of them whether such a product existed. 

In the three or four minutes that he was gone, Margaret found the item that had been the object of our inquiry.  When our designated Genius returned, he was relieved to tell us Apple does in fact make such a product but - in spite of Margaret attempting to show him the adapter that she, herself, had located on the shelf and we were ready to check out - he was unable to, himself, identify it on the shelf.  

At some point, he recognized that what my wife was doing waving her right arm back and forth was not in fact trying to land a jet on an aircraft carrier and was, rather, simply trying to get him to acknowledge that she was holding the product about which we had asked him.  After asking us if we needed any more help, to which we answered in the negative, he thanked us for shopping at the Apple Store and took us over to the area of the store where customers pay for their items. 

Is such an area called "the cash register"?  No.  Not in the Land of Apple.  It is called..."The Genius Bar".  You know what precious commodity is apparently not stocked at the Genius Bar - in addition to not having alcohol?  Money.  We paid cash for our purchase, which transaction required the Genius who was handling the transaction (the Bar Tender?) to step out from behind the Bar and motor across the store to the same gaggle of Geniuses with which our first Genius had interacted.  Several minutes after he started his trek,  he returned carrying our change.  After he added his voice to the ever-growing chorus of Geniuses thanking us for our business, we matriculated our way to the exit.    

And as we walked through the parking lot to the car I thought that perhaps - all these years - I had been far too hard on Wile E. Coyote.  If any person willing to wear a red t-shirt and earn minimum wage plus a nickel an hour can call himself a genius, then maybe, just maybe, he was entitled to call himself a "Super Genius"...

...then again, maybe he was just dumb.


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