Most retailers cheer at the sight of cash for purchases, because they don’t have to pay any of the fees associated with a credit card transaction. But apparently US currency just wasn’t good enough for Apple, until recently.
Apple suffered a rash of bad press when the story of Diane Campbell hit news outlets across the country. Campbell lives on a fixed income and cannot easily get a credit card.
She had saved up her money to buy an iPad, and proudly walked into an Apple Store with her $600 cash in hand after four months of saving. However, when she forked over the money, the Apple “Genius” at the register said, “Sorry, we don’t take cash.”
Campbell had to walk out of the store without an iPad, when the only thing she did wrong was save up for a device she assumed she’d be able to buy.
Apple had a policy that specifically required a credit or debit card to purchase an iPad. This news also brought out the fact that customers can’t even use an Apple Store gift card to buy the tablet device. Apparently, this is to be able to track customers and make sure that no one is going beyond its strict 2-iPad-per-person purchase limit.
“It’s sort of astounding to think that, here is this US dollar, this money put out by the Treasury Department, and it’s being turned away,” said Alan Fisher, a spokesperson for the California Reinvestment Coalition, an advocate group for low-income consumers, in a TV news report for Southern California’s ABC 7.
“Mr. Jobs, give this sister a break,” pleaded Campbell.
Although Apple did not budge at all when ABC 7 first reached out to the company, after it got picked up and spread around the Internet, Apple decided to finally realize how crazy its policy was.
It now allows users to pay cash for an iPad, but they must sign up for a special account that will keep track of the individual’s iPad purchases. As a token way of showing that it apologized for her experience, Apple provided an iPad to Ms. Campbell, for free.