It’s a random Friday. The radio on my central AirPort stops working. I reset the device, do everything I know to do, but while I can log into the device through AirPort Utility there is no SSID, no radio signal whatsoever. What to do? String a cable across the room so that it can get ripped out of a computer when the crazed, sweet & squealing toddler invariably streaks through the office? Not a chance. I’ll just run out to the closest Apple store and grab a quick replacement.
So I hop in the car and drive to the mall. What is going on with parking? I finally find a spot out in no-mans-land, but wait – an 80-something year old woman in a brand new Civic swings in front of me, practically clipping my bumper to steal my spot. Wow. There’s another spot a little further out, but wait – again my life is put in danger, but this time by a car load of 40-something year old women with hair cuts that are shorter in the back than they are in the front, some with a little spike back in the back but all with at minimum two colors in their hair. Wondering whether my car would fit in the back of their Yukon, I think find another spot! After a quick scan, much akin to a running back trying to figure out where that linebacker and free safety are, I see a carload of nuns and orphans, with hate and fear in their eyes, about to take that spot. I slam on the gas, flip right in front of them and gently rest my car between those beautiful golden lines. I hear a scream as their tires scream to a halt and see poor Tiny Tim’s face writhe as his crutch smacks him in the back of his head, knocking him out cold; but I am finally in a spot, after at least 5 minutes of searching for one. As I sit, heart pounding, I wonder at how I was able to get caught up in the craziness. But more importantly, what is the craziness about?
I exit the car and start making my way towards the mall entrance. After traversing the distance of a marathon, with a group of nuns seemingly chasing behind (my time was 3 hours and 2 minutes, theirs 3 hours and 1 minute – but they were slowed up by Tiny Tim until they left him behind) I finally approach the door of the mall. Just then, the Salvation Army guy pounces from behind a column, ringing the Vorpal bell so loudly that I can see the sound waves approaching and feel the 1d6+5 hit points of damage they do inside of my temples. I pull a spin move, and while I have no idea how he’s made it this far, this fast I see Tiny Tim lunging at me from my periphery. Recalling all those games from his days at Georgia, I hurdle Tim in a manner that Knowshown Moreno would be proud of and fall into the door of the mall, feeling the warmth already thawing out my semi-frost bitten feet. I sigh.
But just then I see a shopping cart barreling down on me at a break-neck pace. I roll away just in time and see who I guess to be Large Marge from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure wearing a Green Bay Packers sweater and shrieking with laughter. Before I can contemplate what in tarnation is wrong with people the group of nuns flings the door open just behind me, with a bloody stump of an arm still clasping his bell waving over their heads. They lock their eyes on me and I sprint into the mall, juking right, then left and then an old school swim move to get past the thin, pale, faux-hawk toting/director glasses wearing college kid who for some reason is foaming at the mouth and snarling at me. Once past, I look back and see him lock onto the nuns. I smile.
I see a father with his 3 children sitting on the floor eating ice cream. they are sitting in front of the Apple Store. There is a nice young lady at the door of the Apple Store. As I cross the threshold of the store I notice the number of people inside. The nuns, Large Marge, the ladies from the Yukon, Tiny Tim (apparently he found a supercharged wheelchair and changed his name to Timmy 2000 – TIMMMAAAAAAHHHHHGGGG!!!!) and the poor one armed Salvation Army guy approach but slam into what is apparently a force field surrounding the Apple Store. Relief!
I move to the back of the store, passing the Geico lizard, peaking from behind the genius bar (that would explain the angry cavemen hovering outside the store). There, I see the AirPort that I am there for. But no, I have a question. Crap. It’s busy. A nice young lady (another nice young lady) approaches and asks if I need anything, seeing the furrow in my brow). Why yes, I respond. She knows more than someone her age should about 802.11a/b/g/n but alas not the answer to my question, but wait here, I’ll be right back. Ya’ right. Within a few seconds she appears again, with a nice young man (apparently they’re an equal opportunity nice young person employer) who actually does know the answer to my question. Well good grief, I guess I should get two of them then… He swipes my card, gives me a bag with my schwag in it and actually gives me the small business discount, apparently having remembered me from a previous ACN event. Wow.
I look back at the door with the forcefield, Large Marge (now armed with a curtain rod from Macy’s, Tiny Tim (now armed with a bolo made from Bang and Olufsen speakers and speaker-wire), the Nuns (wielding torches made from burning t-shirts from Spencer’s) and of course the Salvation Army guy wielding fugly fashion victim white sunglasses from Louis Vitton with tight, pegged $900 jeans and a $400 flannel shirt that makes Kurt Cobain roll over in his grave. I know I will survive though, as Apple has called in Bruce Campbell to escort us all to our cars. Finally, I think to ask. What is wrong with people today? Ash looks down at me and asks “what is wrong with you people, going to the mall on Black Friday?!?!”
I didn’t know what I was getting into. I just needed an AirPort. On Black Friday I was able to walk into the Apple Store at Rosedale Center and in less than 15 minutes, walk out the door with what I needed. The only good experience in the whole mall – even on Black Friday! Kudos to you Apple and to the whole team at Rosedale.