In a short while I'm going to put some clothes on and walk into town to visit the Apple store. My poor little laptop just can't take the heat any more, and I need to investigate the possibilities of buying a new one. I can't really afford another Mac, but I can't go back to a PC now, can I?!
Anyway. I have a little fantasy about how this is going to go.
I'll take my little list of details about the specifications of my machine (because I'm utterly clueless about what any of it really means and so couldn't reel off its properties off the top of my head, like many of my friends can). I'll breeze into the big, cool, clean space of the Apple store and I'll start playing with one of the test-machines they have out for just that purpose. At some point I'll be approached by a cute Apple-geek - impossibly thin, wearing maybe a checked shirt and chinos, with a casual hipster haircut and glorious shoes. They'll ask me if I need any help, and I'll say "yeah, actually I do" and I'll explain my situation. They'll nod intelligently while I fluently recite my list of specifications, and tell them what I need a computer to do, and what options I've been considering and why. They'll smile at me - maybe they'll think I'm cute, too, and they'll be endeared to me by my obvious amateurish understanding of computers and what they do.
They'll be the perfect assistant. They will be knowledgeable and interesting, and they won't actually try to sell me anything, but they will understand what I need and they'll be just dying to spend half an hour talking me through the options and showing me features of cool Apple stuff. They'll be overtly passionate about the products but they won't up-sell - they'll know when a specification is high enough for my needs, and they'll say "you don't need that, this is fine for you". When I say "I'm not going to buy anything today, I'm going to wait for the summer when the new operating system is released", they'll tell me the exact date when that's going to happen, and they'll tell me if it's worth waiting. Hopefully they'll tell me that that they'll throw it in for free if I buy a new computer today!
They'll be on my side. They'll be interested in my needs and desires, and they will love the products so much that they'll want to talk to me about them. I'll emerge half an hour later, my head brimming with knowledge and intelligent opinions about the pros and cons of various options. Perhaps I'll have asked the cute Apple-geek out for coffee. It could happen!
It won't go like this, of course. More likely, I'll wander in, stand around awkwardly waiting for someone to approach me, and then eventually I'll be faced by some sullen teenager who just wants me to leave so they can return to standing around clock-watching until their shift is over. I'll leave 3 minutes later with precisely no more knowledge than I had when I went in, and no coffee date either.
But hey, a consumer can dream.