It turned out that somebody had ripped off ’ quite literally, for once ’ two iPhones. The staff were unperturbed.
The O2 where I bought my wondrously sleek iPhone is on the Kings Road, across the road from Marks & Spencer and just across Markham Street from Boots. It’s also within easy reach of Waterstone’s, the Gap, Caffe Nero and, of course, Starbucks so it’s slapbang in the middle of Brandland. As indeed are most of us much of the time these days.
This outlet is small, spic-and-span and there are usually a couple of staffers there. They are youngish and helpful but there is usually a bit of a wait and most of the customers, at least whenever, I’ve been there, are seeking instruction on some I-Phone capability or other. As – some ten days ago – was I.
I had finally reached the front of the queue and was sitting opposite a young woman with my back to the door when there was a sudden commotion in back of me and the automated wailing of a siren. It turned out that somebody had nipped in off the Kings Road and ripped off – quite literally, for once – the two demo iPhones that were on a table right in the front only a few feet from the open door.
I was struck by the demeanour of the young staffers. They were quite unperturbed. 'It happens every week,' my instructor told me.
She added that the instruments were attached with crazy glue so were almost certainly fractured and useless.
The following week I was back in O2 for further instructions. It happened again.
This time I caught a glimpse of the back of the fleeing perp. He wore a dove-grey hoodie.
Again the in-store alarm, again the unalarmed staff.
'Why in the world don’t you just move the table,' I asked.
'Why not put it at the back?'
I was told that this was simply not possible, that Apple insisted that their goods be positioned up front. As I said, we are living in Brandland.
Later that day I telephoned an Apple department that handles media and asked for a comment. A young woman said she would try and get one. So far, not a peep.