I took advantage of a trip down to Atlanta this week to check out the new AT&T Experience store, which promises to bring together all of AT&T’s formidable triple-play assets. In particular, I was interested to check out U-Verse and HomeZone, its home video plays.
I thought I might document the trip with a few pictures, but was accosted by an employee on some kind of cigarette break while I was outside the store, maybe 15 or 20 feet away just taking pictures of the facade. I can — OK, I really can’t — understand companies getting testy about taking pictures inside a store, but outside? Does the store have anti-aircraft artillery on the roof to take down any planes snapping pictures for Google’s or Microsoft’s maps?
Regardless, the employee said I needed to get permission from corporate in order to take pictures of the store. She pointed out the manager to me so that I could ask permission but was too late to prevent me from finding out the deep corporate trade secret of what AT&T’s logo looks like. The manager was on the phone and I didn’t have that much time so I decided to keep the camera in my pocket.
Inside, the store was a blown-out version of a Cingular store, with various tables focused on tasks such as music, games, etc. However, it would be a stretch to say that these tables provided any kind of “experience”; there was a notebook PC at each station running a bland informational presentation that could be easily transplanted to any AT&T mobility store. There were, however, far more accessories on display and for sale than you’d find in a typical wireless carrier store. And a large kiosk devoted to the iPhone with a few sample units.
As for AT&T’s home stuff, there wasn’t much. Three large flat-panel TV screens were on display toward the rear of the store showing video loops. The ones on either side featured DirecTV while the middle one was dedicated to U-Verse but featured only a loop of low-resolution video highlighting some upcoming movies that could apply to practically any cable system in the country.
I actually did get to speak to that manager, by the way. As I walked back out through the door utterly disappointed after about 15 minutes, he ran after me asking if he could help me with anything. No, he couldn’t.