Going to gadget stores these days is a real crapshoot, if you are really fortunate you get someone who is at least marginally interested in technology, however, the usual encounter is with an employee who is simply trying to get by and just earn a living. Honestly, this can be frustrating, but my usual defense against this is to be as prepared and knowledgeable as I would like the staff to be.
So it was with some trepidation that I went to a recently opened Microsoft store here in Columbus, you see I had purchased a Surface 3 a few months ago but did not purchase the optional Surface Pen, colleagues at work had demonstrated how useful the device was so I set out to buy one. After being quickly greeted by one Microsoft employees it took just just a few minutes with a really capable and knowledgeable Microsoft staff member (Beth, a local CS student) to realize that these guys use and care about the products.
She ran through a few standard demos, and so I asked general details on Windows 10 and more specific details on the new Edge browser and she nailed it! Admittedly this is a really low bar, and the fact this experience would result in a blog post shows how badly I feel gadget box stores have fallen recently.
For a long time I thought the idea of Microsoft opening stores was unnecessary and smelled like an uninspired copy of the Apple store, but now I realize how important it is to own your products entire narrative, even with the simple idea of selling your products to knowledgeable consumers.