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After completing the Demo Days at Circuit City, I have to say that I am much more optimistic that I would have expected. My personal experiences with Circuit City have been less than impressive, so I was a little concerned when I heard that Apple was returning to Circuit City. Despite some pre-Demo Days hiccups, everything was ready when I arrived. While the full displays wont be available for a couple of weeks, they did have one of the iBooks and one each of the available iMacs (DV, DV+, and DV SE) on display. Inventory was a little light, but this particular store is not the busiest, so I wouldnt say that it was undersupplied.
The most impressive thing for me was the fact that the staff was very open, and some were even pro-Mac. Most importantly, none of the staff were openly anti-Mac, and were very interested in finding out more about the iMacs. When I requested a demonstration digital video camera to show off iMovie 2, I was pleased to find that they were happy to help, even though they had no way to secure it. They allowed me to take responsibility for its safety.
Now given the reluctance of Best Buy to showcase the iMacs, and Sears inability to exploit the digital video tie-in, Circuit City has the potential to have stellar sales of the iMacs, and sell a boatload of digital video cameras as well. From what I have heard, the redesign of Circuit City after the elimination of the appliance section should make for a nice blend of the electronics and computers. The addition of a nice software section cant hurt either.
A couple of the sales staff were wondering if they would be carrying the G4 desktops and PowerBooks. While it would require a larger commitment from Circuit City, I would be pleased to see it. In my area, there are no Apple dealers that have a showroom; you have to drive almost an hour if you want hands-on with either.
Now all is not perfect. Despite Apples efforts to assist the iMac rollout with the Demo Days, there was nothing mentioned in the Circuit City flyer. While I know that there is lead-time with the fliers, it could, and should have been accomplished had they put forth a little extra effort. The September 10th demo days will be the next opportunity to see the corporate offices position in this matter.
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