Coffee heat rising

Live-Blogging from the Apple Store…

Here’s a little oddity. For the first time in recorded history, I heard an Apple dude remark (to someone else, not me) that he dislikes the dsytopic, gawdawful site Apple moved to in Scottsdale Fashion Square.

It’s slightly less dsytopic than the one in Kierland Commons. But…welll…nooo…maybe not so much.

Scottsdale Fashion Square, like other upscale shopping malls here in lovely Phoenix, has been “renovated” into a postmodern nightmare mini-world: sharp-edged, ugly, noisy,… Oh, yeah: noisy as Hell! Indeed, if I were to design a new Hell for Satan Himself, it would look just like these hideous malls. And Satan’s throne would be smack in the center of the Apple Store.

These places are designed to reverberate. Every wall, every floor, every ceiling is made of echoic matter: faux marble (who knows, maybe it’s real marble), definitely faux granite flooring, four walls of two-story-high glass. As a result, the noise level is fuckin’ deafening. You can’t hear yourself think, much less hear the poor Apple guy, who has to shout to hear himself.

To add to the din, the Apple store has a guy emitting “lessons”, through a loudspeaker, on how to operate this or that or the other complicated software. This one is “Music Lab,” which generates “music” – I’d call it “noise,” but whatEVER. Right now he’s showing how to create a beat, emanating whacka-whacka-whacka-WHACK whacka-whacka-whack-WHACK at high volume. The latter being required so the two people watching can hear it over the ambient racket.

Just the thought of working here…ugh! It’s unimaginable. These people must go home with a splitting headache after every shift. And consider: we have to drive on the same roads with these harried folk as they trudge back home from a crazy-making day in this place.

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Not surprisingly, the Apple Genius (they don’t exaggerate with that…) figures most of the issues have to do w/ outdated software, both the OS (which I’ve had to keep in the pre-Christian era because I haven’t wanted to move to Microsoft’s cloud and so needed to maintain the functionality of VERY old Wyrd and Excel programs). He is, however, the first to know that Microsoft has updated versions of Wyrd and Excel that can be installed as resident on the computer, rather than floating in the Cloud.

He proposes I install these. This will create an Issue, because they’ve been changed so many times over the years that they’re totally alien. Effectively, I’ll have to relearn Wyrd and Excel.

As you know, this will mean a Chinese mathematician will shortly fly in the door waving 30 pages of differential equations and crying “we must turn this into English YESTERDAY!”

At any rate, if a miracle happens and I have a few days before the next client surfaces, I may be able to run out to the campus and get one of the librarians to coach me. Except…it’s coming on to Christmas break, so unless I move fast it may be too late to trap one of them before the semester ends.

In any event, I’ll still have the big iMac loaded with the outmoded but mercifully functional Wyrd, Excel, and various Mac programs, so if push comes to shove I can perch in front of that thing to work. The problem is…sitting at that desk is bone-crushingly painful.

Pray for no work…

Mall as Gym?

So we just knew there has to be something worthwhile remaining amongst America’s dying suburban malls.

And no doubt of it, most of them are dying. Not too long ago, I commented on Scottsdale Fashion Square, Arizona’s answer to Rodeo Drive. That entrancing venue along with an open-air shopping center are about the only retail malls in the Phoenix area that can be said to thrive.

Friend of mine and I made a grand tour of Scottsdale Fashion Square a few months ago and found the commerce pretty lively. The rich, after all, are always with us. And when there’s only one Prada store in the whole state, well…

So yesterday SDXB, who appears to be dying of boredom out in lovely Sun City, announced that he wished to schlep to Scottsdale and spend some time hanging out in that august realm.

We arrived shortly after 10 a.m. and were greeted by — wouldn’t you know? — a friendly concierge, who apologized for all the construction. The place was pretty much torn apart, though the stores were trying to do do business around the chaos. Probably because of said chaos, the place wasn’t as crowded as it had been, but new and even more ridiculously upscale stores had been moved in.

We spent about 5 hours trotting around. Then we went to a couple of freestanding stores in central Phoenix, which required us to not walk but RUN across two  major thoroughfares, twice. By the time we headed home, we had gotten our exercise, free, thanks to a three-story shopping mall and a spread out sprawl of storesl

And therein lies a strange tale:

We observed that all the Majorly Fancy-Pants Retailers — Armani, Bulgari, Kate Spade, Jimmy Choo and a slew of others — are clustered together on the west end of the mall. The middle-brow stores that you’d expect to see in an ordinary shopping mall anchored by a department store or two are banished to the east end of the mall, down by the entrance to the movie theater and the greasy-smelling food court.

Hm. Interesting strategy. In effect, they end up with two malls: Rodeo Drive on the Desert and yet another plain-vanilla shopping ghetto for boring chain stores full of Chinese products: J. Jill, Ann Taylor, Express, and on and mind-numbing on.

Remains to be seen how that will work out. Personally, my guess is that most of the custom will go to the elegant stores, and the Chinese-junk stores will languish. Why even bother to go out to buy that junk, when you can order it on line? But why not go out and buy from a Brighton or a Cartier when you are Mrs. Gotrocks, you can afford it, and you have nothing else to do? And no, you’d never be caught dead in a dowdy piece of J. Jill fatlady junk designed to fall apart in six months?

How d’you think this will go, dear readers?