Originally Posted by jragosta
Do they search the database for previous purchases to the same name before selling you an iPad? Does Apple really store every purchase from every store in a common database accessible by all stores?
Obviously you have never dealt with the "business account" side of Apple's Retail Stores. Where once it was simple to obtain the modest discount, provided you dealt with a "business associate", they are pushing hard to make it a far more draconian process. The idea was to allow any store associate access to the business account database, but it has proven to be ridiculous.
Case in point: I call my local Apple Store and ask them to hold 3 moderately priced items for me to pick up that evening. Simple, right? Uh, no. When I get there, 3 different associates approach me and I explain the same situation the them, although not at the same time. All three disappear to check for the held items, then one-by-one, they all reappear with the same problems: "What was your name again?" and "What was your company name again?" followed by "We cannot find any orders for that name/business. I'm sorry, but you'll need to pay full price for these items."
Now, normally, I cut the retail folks some slack. But not this time. This entire process was now at the 45 minute mark and I was getting pissed. What really shocked me was that in spite of my asking, they said the manager was "busy". I found that just a little hard to believe when I was now in the store for over 45 minutes.
In the end, I pushed back hard, and got the lowly discount. The only reason I WAS pushing back was to make it clear when I filed my taxes that these would be considered business purchases.
The next day, my regular business associate called me and apologized about the situation. As I mentioned earlier, apparently Apple is attempting to provide business account access to all associates on the floor. To do so means an entirely new database system that does not interface well with the old "business only" system. The system managed to lose all track of the tens of thousands of bucks I have spent on both my "day job" business and "Apple only" business. They had no record of either!
So, to take the long way 'round to answer your question about tracking? Heck yes, they track almost everything when it matters to them. Although I think that the volume they are receiving now in all aspects is pushing the limits of their current scalable model.