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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Is it the job of retailers to be the Gestapo of the US government?

Recently, An Apple store employee in Atlanta, Georgia refused to sell an iPad to a Farsi-speaking customer claiming that they are simply adhering to the US policy of sanctions against Iran.

When the customer contacted the Apple corporate office to complain, they simply told her, no worries, go buy it online. WOW!!!!!!

I don’t know about you, but I love to window shop and sometimes when something special catches my eyes, I go ahead and buy it. I don’t want to be forced to sit behind my computer and shop when I can just as easily walk outside on a nice beautiful day and browse the stores in my neighborhood. After all, I live in the U.S, the so-called “land of freedom.”

Now, comes in Apple telling me that I’m only allowed to buy their products online and that I’m not allowed to shop at their store simply because I’m "Iranian". What an offensive thing to say. And what if I was Cuban or North Korean? Will they soon have translators in their stores, eavesdropping on their customers? Should we all soon be afraid to talk in our mother tongue when we enter a retail store?

Do retail stores have the right to stick their nose in our business and ask us about our nationality before selling us a product? Isn’t this discrimination? It wasn’t as though this customer was purchasing a weapon. Even then, they simply do a background check regardless of nationality, race, religion or sex. But in this case, the argument is even weaker. This poor customer was simply purchasing an over-priced, over-rated stupid electronic gadget called an Apple ipad.

Personally, I would never go back to a store that would discriminate against me and I would go even further and slap them with a big lawsuit for discrimination and tell everybody I know not to shop there unless the store was willing to give me the product I was planning to purchase for free, a minimum of a $100 gift certificate and a big public apology for behaving like an ass.

Remember the Nokia-Simmens story & how their stock took a nose dive when Iranians all over the world boycott their products? Same can happen to Apple. As arrogant as they may be, no company is too big to fail when they mistreat their customers.

Retailers are retailers. The government is the government. The police are the police. It is not the job of retailers to police the country.