The good news? Apple stores crowded but not scary. She’d suggest bringing a mask – Kansas City Star

Stacey Hatton works on her old Microsoft PC in 2003.

Stacey Hatton works on her old Microsoft PC in 2003.

Courtesy photo

Do you use a Mac or are you a Microsoft Windows fan? You say “Apple,” I say “applesauce.” It’s funny to me how people are incredibly loyal to one or the other. Don’t praise Microsoft in front of an Apple loyalist, or vice versa. Each side boasts it is the superior product line, but I say tomato (or potato). But moving on, past the produce aisle.

During the mid 1990s, I moved to NYC to perform on Broadway. What does that have to do with my computer choice? I’m getting there.

It’s common for every actor to pay his or her dues before landing a prized role, so to pay my obscene amount of rent money every month, I worked as what we called in showbiz, a temp. One of my favorite long-term placements was as a temporary administration assistant for one of the many vice presidents of the New York Microsoft office. It still tickles me that I moved to the Big Apple to work for Microsoft.

Since I started at Microsoft not long after the invention of Windows (maybe a few weeks after the mega release), the office was still aglow. According to my job trainer there, young VPs instantly became millionaires overnight and were kind of bonkers about it. Who wouldn’t be? The office was a joyous place to work. If there was any job dissatisfaction it was smoothed over with all those zeros on their paychecks.

One of my responsibilities was to edit the manual for the new products, so I learned a ton about MS Office products, which has come in handy ever since. I think the excitement of being a tiny a part of Microsoft, plus the familiarity of the software, made me a Microsoft loyalist.

I only performed in one show while living in NYC. My role in the off-off-Broadway production of “Godspell” took my evenings for many months, but sadly, I wasn’t heading toward the Great White Way, so I continued temping for Microsoft and in the evenings I started writing my first stage play about my New York adventure, using Microsoft software.

As Elaine in TV’s “Seinfeld” said, “Then yada, yada, yada.” I moved back to Kansas. Fast forward 12 years and I was married and starting a family. We used MS for several years since my writing projects were in that format, but my husband needed to use a Mac so I compromised when I learned I could merge my work in the new format.

It was then, about 10 years ago, when my unfounded phobia of Apple stores began. The stores were great. The employees knowledgeable and friendly. But it was a whole new world and vocabulary; plus, my human hard drive was almost full, so I was slow to learn and embarrassed to admit it.

When we got that first Mac product, we purchased a one-year training experience at any of their stores. I just needed to set up the appointment and have some young person show me the ropes. So…that didn’t happen. I blamed it on being busy with two young girls, but in hindsight I was scared. To be honest, I didn’t step into an Apple store until last week. A decade can do wonders for your fear of something.

I walked into a beautiful store and was met by a smiling person, who directed me to the back of a long line. My stomach knotted up, my mouth went dry. Anxiously, I thought, “I’m going to be here all day.” My anxiety voice was wrong. I was swiftly moved up to the Apple Genius Bar, where a smarty would assist me with “my daughter’s broken ear bud/pod thingies” (interpretation AirPods). I waited for my “genius” on a cute little wooden seat, which was not formed for the average tush.

To pass the time, I turned around and panicked noticing how many people were in the store. I counted more than 50 unmasked guests and workers in total. Social distancing was not happening with this group. I’m vaccinated and have been running around town sans mask per Kansas state guidelines, but this just felt like a breeding ground for the Delta variant.

Instantly a woman two seats over from me sneezed. Yikes! I yanked a crumpled-up mask up to my face. Catching my death at an Apple store wasn’t going to happen. An Apple a day doesn’t keep COVID away.

And by the way, the young man who assisted me was a genius, fixed my problem, lightened my fear of the store and didn’t make me feel like an idiot (too much). I might even go back soon. Witha mask.

Stacey Hatton can be reached at


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