Apple store vs Authorised reseller
If you saw an Apple authorized reseller store you might be mistaken for thinking its an Apple store. It looks like an (small) apple store, has the layout of an apple store, only sells apple products but unlike an apple store its an empty shell. Let me explain.
I recently had an experience at an Apple authorized reseller that made me compare it to my experience Ive had at official Apple stores.
In the past Ive been lucky enough to be staying in proximity to official Apple stores when Ive need their services and every time I have needed to use the genius bar the service Ive received is excellent. The stores Im talking about here are the two in the center of London. Covent Garden and Regent Street.
However in France where I literally live 2km above sea level up a mountain my options are severely limited. The recent service story being a case in point.
I had a relatively old Macbook pro, which for whatever reason developed a firmware lock and no password in my repertoire would unlock it. The only solution is for apple to unlock it. They are the only ones with the relevant tools to circumvent the lock and I have no problem with that. But as someone with a history of support and an extensive technical background I know the time taken to solve this problem equates to about 1 hour. A special Apple USB key in connected , codes are entered etc and voila.
After speaking to Apple support online, who are, in my opinion, an excellent service I asked to make an appointment at an Apple Store, the two nearest are Lyon and Geneva, both of which are a 2+ hours travel distance away. The person online said I could take the device to a nearer Authorized Apple reseller and she gave me the option of Grenoble or Annecy. Both of these are only 1 1/4 hour away. I chose the later. It should be noted that at the time I was unable to drive due to wearing a cast on my leg. So I needed some 3rd party transportation and ½ day of travelling to / parking etc . Anyway now thats out the way. I turned up at the time stated, explained the problem to the guy at the service counter who said the device would be ready by the 27th May. Considering it was the 16th May that is 11 days. He explained that they would have to send it to Apple and then charged me 50 euros. Had I known this I would have preferred to have gone directly to an Apple store where they are properly equipped for such problems. In another 7 days time I will now need to spend (waste) another day heading to the center of Annecy to collect the laptop.
But this wasnt the first story I had heard about an Authorized reseller. While living near Chichester a friend of mine had decided to change a life of using PCs to Macs and purchased one from the Authorized reseller in town he also asked if the shop could give him a little training on his new purchase. As he sat down with the trainer everything was going fine until he asked a question. The trainer turned to another computer and typed the question into google. After doing this twice my friend asked for the manager and complained that the trainer should actually know what hes meant to be teaching.
So if you want a place to buy a Macbook, Ipad or Imac then an authorized reseller is probably adequate (its in their name) if Apples excellent website isnt enough or you need the item immediately. However if you want support then I would recommend an actual Apple store.