The Telephone Call From Apple Headquarters

Back in February, I received a call from a woman named Anita who works on Apple’s Retail Communication team at the California headquarters. Someone out there had seen my blog, “The Genius of Apple’s Retail Stores.” I wrote that Apple’s exemplary customer service reflects on the public’s behavior (see 3/26/12 blog). I contend that Apple’s customers are rarely rude or impatient because the store’s employees are courteous, timely and so good at what they do, customers (no matter how panicked or frantic their computer has made them) have faith that the problem will be resolved. In other words, I said Apple even makes the public behave well.

Anita’s asked if she could interview me for an article about how Apple products and employees helped me write, edit and ultimately get my “Sugar Hill” book into print. Computerly speaking, Apple knows everything about me because their people taught me what I know. Also, I respond, sometimes in great detail, to online surveys requesting feedback on my weekly sessions with the Creatives (Apple’s instructors).

When I asked Anita if I could read her completed article, she hesitated and said she’d check. I’m familiar with Apple penchant for secrecy, so I’m not surprised that she hasn’t shared the finished product. I know the article appeared in a company publication, because employees at my local Apple store told me they’ve seen and read it. I don’t want to put any staff members on the spot by asking to see it, but I wish I could remember more of what I told Anita, because some of my experiences are unique, such as buying a new computer that I didn’t want, or need. That’s a story for another day, but trust me, I came out way ahead.

Anita and I talked for close to an hour, because I had more to share than how Apple helped me with “Sugar Hill.” For instance, I told her about discovering the two photos on this page in a suitcase, after my Aunt Cecelia died. The seated figure is my great great grandmother, Fannie Dempsey (I know her name, only because it was scribbled on the back of the picture). In the group photo, the woman on the top left is Martha Brown, my great grand grandmother. She’s with her sisters, and Fannie Dempsey is their mother. I vaguely remember Grandma Brown and well remember Vernetta, one of the great great aunts, because she moved to NY. Before this discovery, I’d never even heard my great great grandmother’s name, knew how she looked, or imagined what her life might have been like.

After finding Fannie’s picture, I used iPhoto to make a five generation family picture book. I am very happy with my album because, other than a 1926 bill of sale for my great grand parents’ house in Norfolk, few family documents survive. There are no letters, deeds, journals; even my grandmother’s Bible is lost, but I have my photo album.

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