The Chatswood Apple Retail Store might lack the architectural grandeur of its Sydney CBD counterpart, but it pulls way ahead when it comes to environmental credentials.
After completing Stop 1 of my Australian Apple Retail Store tour, I jumped on a CityRail train to Chatswood — just in time to meet the peak-hour white-collar workers heading to their CBD and North Shore jobs. In those crowded circumstances, it's definitely nice to be travelling with a single bag. It's also notable how many people are lugging as much stuff as me simply to go to the office.
The Chatswood store is located in Chatswood Chase, an upmarket shopping mall which inevitably has a slightly moribund air in these cash-strapped times. In fact, I'd venture to suggest that the Apple Store is the busiest location on the ground floor, with several people venturing past to see if the shutters have been raised before the 0930 opening time. Appointments are also booked out for the day, so business is obviously doing OK.
Compared to the CBD store's triple-story frenzy of glass and staircases, the Chatswood store — a single standard shop with the Genius Bar popped at the back — looks kind of bland. But that effectively serves as a reminder of how fundamentally ridiculous that shop is. You can fit the entire Apple product range in a normal-size store and still maintain a relatively spacious air.
I remarked earlier that the Sydney store took the unusual step of placing my sole purchase - a $100 iTunes card which we're giving away in a competition — in a plastic bag. Chatswood had a much more sensible approach, offering me an envelope (which I declined) and even asking if I'd rather have my receipt emailed to me. I assume that's a standard option; maybe the CBD staff need some more coffee for those early starts.
Next stop: the train to Sydney Airport, where I'll see if my Qantas Club card is still dead, fly to Melbourne, and take a complex sequence of buses and trains to Chadstone.
Throughout May 2009, Lifehacker Australia editor Angus Kidman will be travelling throughout Australia with just one carry-on bag for the Hand Luggage Only project.