The iBrotha

The Rodney O. Lain Archive

It's Not Steve Jobs, But He'll Do

I met Apple Retail VP Ron Johnson today . . . in McDonald's

Rodney O. Lain

This 2001 article was published on iBrotha, Rodney's own website that no longer exists. It is copyright 2001 by Rodney O. Lain. Links have been retained when possible, but many go to the Internet Wayback Machine.

"There you are!"

"Do I know you?"

"No, but there you are!"

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

(SOMEWHERE IN MINNESOTA) - I couldn't find one damned place in town today that accepted personal checks.

On my way to visit a customer today, I stopped by McDonald's in Eagan (southeastern suburb of St. Pau). After placing my order in the drive through, I read the sign that said "No checks."

I cursed to myself and drove off. I went on to visit my customer in Minneapolis. In Minneaplis, I stopped at Wendy's. "No checks."

I went ahead and visited my client. Afterwards, I'm driving down Highway 100 in St. Louis Park (suburb west of Minneapolis), I stopped in the McDonald's near Micro Center. Whadaya know? They take checks.

Standing there, waiting for my order, I see a familiar face.

"Ron Johnson!" I shout. "How ya doin', brother?"

It was Ron Johnson, Apple's Senior VP of Retail.

Not missing a beat, Ron steps over and warmly shakes my hand. I figured he couldn't place my face, so I help him out, telling him, "things are still looking good at the Mall, eh? [there is an Apple Store at the Mall of America]. I just went in the store last night."

We talked a few seconds and the server told me my order was ready. I got my bag of burgers, and as I turned to leave, Ron asked me, "You said that you went to the store last night?"

"Yeah," I said. " I couldn't believe the traffic. Is it true that the MOA has more traffic than Disneyworld?"

We talked some more. I exchanged pleasantries with him, asking how long he is in town, does he get to come home much, etc. I noticed that he was with his little boy, so I decided to leave him alone. i wanted to do an impromptu interview, but I didn't have the heart. I wanted to tell him that I'll be working at the store next year, but I decided otherwise.

I decided that I like Ron. He's a really likable guy. I expected an Apple exec to exude power and authority. Pleasant surprise. I'm not complaining.

However, when I'm headed back down the highway that I remember that I forgot to ask him why the Apple stores don't carry logo'd merchandise.



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