NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Most shoppers know better than to bring a goat into a retail store, but not Mark Malkoff.
Malkoff, a comedian and filmmaker, had heard rumors that Apple(AAPL_) essentially gives customers free rein to do what they please in their retail stores and decided to put the company’s tolerance to the test with a few unusual stunts at Apple stores in and around New York City, which he filmed.
He had a pizza delivered to one Apple store and proceeded to eat it while browsing laptops, took his wife on a date in another store accompanied by a personal chef and trumpet player and yes, he walked into one store with a goat on a leash, all in plain sight of employees.
Not one tried to kick Malkoff out of the store or even reprimanded him for his behavior. One worker even thought the pizza delivery was “awesome.”
“I’m amazed by what the Apple Store will allow,” Malkoff said after the experience. “There are hundreds of videos online of customers singing and dancing in the middle of their stores. It’s hard to imagine any other big chain greeting my antics with laughs and hugs.”
So why would a major business such as Apple allow its customers to run wild? Some retail experts argue it’s all part of the company’s effort to build a more customer-friendly store experience.
“Apple is trying to create an unfettered, totally free store experience,” said C. Britt Beemer, chairman of America’s Research Group. “Sure, one customer may take that to an extreme, but more than anything, Apple wants their store experience to be different and unique from other stores.”
Unlike many other retailers, Apple is known for putting all of its products out in the open for customers to play with. Shoppers can spend as much time as they please hanging out in the store and trying out gadgets with little interference from customer service representatives, a policy Beemer describes as very “pro-consumer.” In essence, Apple’s tolerance of unusual customer behavior is just an extension of that.