Love it or hate it, shopping at the Apple store is a unique experience. The peppy staff, the blue shirts, the genius bar, the wooden tables that make the products seem like artifacts on display at a museum. Yes, Apple has certainly put a lot of personality into its brick and mortar stores. However, that doesn't mean the experience can't be replicated...
What you see in the picture below is the Apple store in Kunming, China. Except there isn't an Apple store in Kunming, China. Apple has only four stores in China and they are divided equally between Shanghai and Beijing. This is an entire store kitted out to look like an Apple store, but it's a fake. There's a spiral staircase, wooden tables, cheery staff dressed in blue, bright lights and huge posters for Apple products around the shop. The biggest give away that this is not an Apple store is probably the fact that this location seems to have missed Apple's recent decision to replace all of the product information sheets with iPad 2s running special software. BirdAbroad, the blogger that discovered the store, writes that the staff even believe that they work for Apple.
"Being the curious types that we are, we struck up some conversation with these salespeople who, hand to God, all genuinely think they work for Apple," the 27-year-old writes. "I tried to imagine the training that they went to when they were hired, in which they were pitched some big speech about how they were working for this innovative, global company – when really they’re just filling the pockets of some shyster living in a prefab mansion outside the city by standing around a fake store disinterestedly selling what may or may not be actual Apple products that fell off the back of a truck somewhere."
The blogger goes on to say that while she and her husband were taking photos, they were accosted by two salespeople and three three plain clothes security guards from outside the store. These employees put their hands in her face and told her she wasn't allowed to take pictures. When she asked why, she was told their boss said it wasn't allowed. When she told them she and her husband were American Apple employees visiting to check out the local stores (not true), she was allowed to continue taking photos. The best part of this story is that continuing on for another few blocks will bring you to Kunming's second and third fake Apple stores.
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Jane McEntegart works in marketing communications at Intel and was previously Manager of Content Marketing at ASUS North America. Before that, she worked for more than seven years at Tom's Guide and Tom's Hardware, holding such roles as Contributing Editor and Senior News Editor and writing about everything from smartphones to tablets and games consoles.