Why I Left The Cult of Apple in Japan

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when I say Cult? I was offered a job with Apple many years ago and turned it down. They struck me as a bit odd. Think different campaigns were somehow a tiny bit sinister. I couldn’t put my finger on it didn’t buy into it. Later I realized that most successful companies in the Valley are cult-like to some degree. It’s an Us versus Them mentality. Not my cup of cup.

Why I’ve Resisted Apple Until Now?

I’ve resisted Apple for most of my career and done fine. However, for my recent 44th birthday, I decided to treat myself to the best ‘toy’ I wanted. Whatever… One of the thoughts I had was that whatever I bought I wanted to share it with junior so he’d grow up with the best.

We went to Japan for my birthday. And while wondering around Tokyo bumped into the Apple Store. I entered. My first time ever in an Apple Store. It’s a very slick four story building with a busy atmosphere but not hectic.

First impressions of an Apple Store

A few things struck me.

  • All the computers were web-enabled so you could read your email. Brilliant
  • Free water was available from the coolers. A nice touch as it was boiling.
  • The place was super clean. Well all of Japan is spotless and this place was no exception.
  • The staff spoke near perfect English.
  • The staff persuaded me NOT to buy the Macbook Pro laptop.

Yes, read that again. The staff persuaded me NOT to buy the laptop.


If you buy in Japan (or wherever) and it gets damaged, you must bring it back to that store to be fixed. We’re heading back to Ireland soon. He said wait. Get it in Ireland.

But maybe the price is better here, I thought? What’s the catch.

No, prices are fixed across all stores.

Lessons Learnt: Apple’s Customer Service

When a salesperson goes out of their way to explain why you should buy elsewhere and then goes online with you to show that the price is the exact same, you can’t help but be impressed.

The other point was the high quality of English. How many US or European retailers hire Japanese, Chinese, Arabic or other foreign language staff? It’s a small touch but it made a deep impression.

No stilted conversations, no broken dialogues and the computer settings were setup in English too. I felt as home.

Over to you.

So, is Apple a friendly Cult? Maybe I was too harsh on Apple. What do you think?

Oh yeah, they have this mouse that doesn’t need a double-click. Who’d have thought of that?

I ordered the Macbook Pro and an iMac.

What was your first experience of Apple?