Apple Stores are an unmitigated success. Unfortunately, that is bad news for those who sold Apple products before the stores came along. Yet another Apple retailer is closing this month, as Arizona’s iStore Owner Steve Walker told patrons on its website.
Walker cites an unfair playing field provided by Apple:
“We had a lot of fun over the years working so closely with the Apple product and loyal Apple product users. Unfortunately, since the introduction of the Apple Corporate Stores in 2001, dealers have continually struggled with fair inventory allocation by Apple along with a horribly uneven playing field in relation to the independent’s ability to service our customers in the same way the Apple Stores are able to provide service. As an example, Apple will swap iPhones, iPads, iPods and oftentimes Macs that are not functioning properly, but do not provide the ability for Independent’s to offer the same level of service. These problems existed even though iStore has consistently met all metrics as measured by Apple to be a distinguished and high-performing Apple Specialist and AppleCare Premium Service Provider. For these reasons and others, I have made the tough choice to close our stores.
The note on the website is pasted below:
To Our Many Valued Customers and Friends,
We have enjoyed assisting you with all your Apple needs over the past 17 years here in Arizona. I feel blessed to have been able to provide for my family while being entangled in all the cool Apple products. Over the years, I have had the privilege of working with some of the most talented Apple people around – those who have helped you with everything from your complex issues to your simple problems or helped you figure out exactly which Mac, iPod or iPad was right for you.
With the gradual opening of what is now 5 corporate Apple Stores here in the Phoenix area and corresponding changes at Apple with their reseller relations, Apple has made it nearly impossible to sustain profitability while providing great customer service. As many of you have experienced (most recently with the 3rd Gen iPad), Apple consistently withholds product from their independent dealers while providing abundantly to their own corporate Apple Stores. For this reason and many others that would take too long to enumerate and, quite frankly, you probably don’t care about, we have chosen to permanently close our stores.
As is the case with all businesses, we have made our fair share of mistakes. We could have done better at many things. If you were ever caught in the crossfire of those situations, I hope you were made whole by us (except the crazy ones like that guy that expected us to give him a refund for a product he purchased at our competitor’s store).
I thank you for your kindness, tolerance, patience, humanity, business and friendship over the years.
The question is: Should Apple have some compassion for retailers that have been with Apple for decades? Or is this just part of business?
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