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January 06, 2008

Resisting Temptation at Fry's and the Apple Store

Yesterday, I pulled off a daring two-fer, as a friend and I went to the Palo Alto Fry's, and later to the Apple Store, and I managed not to buy a thing. Despite being surrounded by flat-screen televisions, DVDs, video games and widgets of every kind to support my iPod and Mac habit, we were thrifty, and didn't get our credit cards out once. Tough job.

But that didn't mean I resisted letting my geek flag fly.

At Fry's, I wore a tie-dyed Apple logoed t-shirt throughout the store. While everyone else was bundled up from the storm-like weather outside, I donned the t-shirt, sensing a marketing/advertising community, helping to push the unwashed, white box PC builders at Fry's to consider a healthier alternative.

When at the Apple Store, we outgeeked the sales reps themselves. As we messed around with a 30-inch Cinema Display, we ended up showing the employee some of our favorite Web tools, from Assetbar to FriendFeed. We showed off high-quality videos playing on our iPod Touch. We even introduced him to products we knew the company sold on the online Apple Store but not in their retail store. After a while, the guy was asking us if we were "visiting from corporate", i.e. from the mother ship in Cupertino.

Interestingly enough, the Apple Store in Palo Alto continues to be a major hub for Silicon Valley digerati. Years after seeing Apple CEO Steve Jobs there, in the store's early days, last night I recognized and talked with Michael Arrington from TechCrunch. He reported he's not going to CES, and said Om Malik is still in the ICU, but has been well-protected by his team, so updates have been slim. Arrington said it was good to meet fellow bloggers, and it's likely not too often he's recognized in the real world.

So, that was fun. Why didn't I buy anything? Because we're still recuperating from the holiday purchases. I didn't tell you we bought a 50-inch Samsung plasma screen from Fry's on Christmas Eve for our living room, and got a guy to take our old, bulky, entertainment center. So that means our overhaul is further along, but not complete. We still need to get both TVs on the wall, and get a smaller half-height entertainment center. Then, maybe... I can start buying again.