the above image is the cover of the book Cult of Mac by Leander Kahney, Wired News content editor and author of the Cult of Mac Blog. [ http://www.cultofmac.com/ ] If you haven’t seen his book and you’re an Apple fan, buy it-it’s a wonderful book.
So people wonder why Apple fans tend to stick with Apple, why they’ll defend Apple to the last and why Steve Jobs can do no wrong; they wonder why Apple fans’ fanaticism knows no bounds and no limts. Well, let me share a personal story with you that should help you understand why Apple fans love their company so very very much.
Several weeks ago, just for giggles, I specced out a shiny new MacBook Pro [ http://www.apple.com/macbookpro/ ] and saved it in the “Saved Cart” area of my account on the Apple Store website. I was planning on buying a MacBook Pro, just not right then, and I wanted time to mull over the purchase and everything. I know, Iâ€™m a dork, but sometimes I go and spec stuff out just for giggles and to see how much my dream machine would cost me. So I saved it in the â€œSaved Cartâ€ feature, and forgot all about it. No sooner than I got home for the night did my phone ring from a Northern California area code. I recognized the area code; they had called a couple of times before last week, and since I didnâ€™t know anyone there who had my phone number, I ignored it. This time though, my girlfriend, as curious as I was, told me to go ahead and pick it up to see whoâ€™d been calling every night for the past week, so I did.
I pick up, and on the other end of the line is a sales rep from Apple named Sam (hi Sam!) who had called because he noticed the MacBook Pro in my saved cart and was curious what was holding me back from the purchase. I told him I was planning to buy it anyway, but it was a pretty big purchase and I was just thinking it over. He asked me what Iâ€™d be doing with the system and I told him itâ€™d kind of be my portable workhorse and that Iâ€™d use it at home and at werk, and thatâ€™s when he dropped the bomb. He offered to take a chunk out of the cost if itâ€™d encourage me to go ahead and complete the order. He was curious what I’d be using the MacBook Pro for, and when I explained, he crunched some numbers and offered a rather tidy discount.
Now I was planning on buying it anyway for full price, but suffice to say I couldnâ€™t say no. He trimmed a chunk off of the price, much to my delight, and my new baby should be shipping in a couple of weeks.
And there you have it. With customer service like that, how can you go wrong? Dell would never do something like that. Alienware? No way. Gateway? Pshaw. The major PC manufacturers are large and sprawling, they don’t need your business, and they could care less if you have a purchase of a couple hundred or a couple thousand dollars, and as much as they claim to care about the customer experience to the utmost (and I’m sure many people at those companies do, don’t get me wrong!) in the end you are very much a cog in the profit-generating machine. There’s no “culture” around Dells, no “cult of Gateway,” no littany of websites devoted to singing the priases of Sony and its products, no cheering when the CEO of Microsoft walks out on stage to unveil a new technology or product.
That’s why people love Apple so much-they get more than they bargained for. And even the folks who have had horrible experiences with Apple, or hate their current Macs, or wish they’d never bought them, think not “I’m never shopping with them again,” and instead think “man, I wish I could get a new iMac, this old one sucks!” or they dream of what the next generation of their product might bring. They hope the next time is better, and come back to shop again. In many ways, it is like a cult, or a drug, but it’s a cult driven by the feeling of being important to the company-that you aren’t just revenue coming in, but that you’re actually a part of the culture, and that Apple needs you as much as you need them.
Stock quotes and financial statements say that Apple is just like any other company, of course, that to the bottom line, you’re just another cog in the same machine as if you bought a Dell or an HP computer, but with a company like Apple there’s much much more to that equation, something that can’t be quantified in the simple figures and sales presentations, and Apple’s mastered it perfectly.
So I should have a MacBook Pro soon enough, and I’ll be very glad for it, and very glad to join the legions of folks with a new Macintosh that they love. My old old PowerBook G3 has about bitten the dust, and it was definitely time for me to come home.
As for my first indoctrinization to the Cult of Mac? That’s another story, and it involves me, bright-eyed and bushy tailed out of high school, ready to roll off to start my undergraduate studies, and a shiny new Apple Macintosh Performa 6400/200 that was waiting for me at home right when I got back from Senior Week at the beach. Another day, friends!