I love the buying experience from an Apple Store. But I absolutely hate the frustrations of dealing with the online Apple store. It all boils down to distribution. One fruitless attempt at delivery must be made before a package can be collected. It would be so much simpler to give us the option of collecting direct from the UPS or other depot without the need to go through the motions of attempted delivery. Most times I end up missing the delivery and trekking across London to some cavernous shed on an unappealing industrial estate. As a result, I order from Apple.com only when absolutely necessary. And that is usually when a new product is announced.
The iPad Mini is a case in point. I had my finger on the button at a minute past launch and successfully bagged a 64GB cellular model with an estimated 5-10 days’ delivery. Rumour had it that in-store supplies would be severely restricted and long queues were expected.
Then Apple announced the new system of order and collect from a local store. This I did as soon as I could find the right specification in stock, collected the device and tried to cancel the order from the on-line store. I had a long chat with a very helpful guy called Josh who determined that the package was ready for despatch but he would see if he could get it recalled and the cost credited to my account. I forgot about it until the UPS man turned up (fortunately I was there) and gave me yet another Mini.
I then discovered that it isn’t possible to return an item purchased from Apple.com to a local Apple Store. Systems are blamed. They wanted to send a courier to pick up the box, which is very helpful but not at all convenient. Would it not be easier to take it back to the inaccessible UPS depot? No, apparently not.
All this is supremely frustrating. My credit card has been debited with the cost of a second iPad which will not be refunded until they get the box back.
This entire system is fraught with frustrations and disapointment. It is about time new products could be ordered at Apple.com for collection from a specified Apple Store. That would ensure fairness in allocation and would avoid the annoying fact that early birds at the on-line Apple store get usurped by those, including undesirable grey marketeers, who are prepared to queue at Apple Stores.