When it comes to selling iPads, Apple is truly anti-American (and anti-disadvantaged)

When it comes to selling iPads, Apple is truly anti-American (and anti-disadvantaged)

Summary: Apple's policy of not accepting cash is a direct slap in the face to hardworking Americans -- and to our American way of life. United States legal tender is just that -- legal tender.

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TOPICS: Apple, Banking, iPad, Mobility
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Major update (5/20): Kudos to Apple: they did it right this time. In response to this situation, and the outcry it caused, Apple has both changed the no-cash policy described below and provided an iPad to the woman in the story. This is the Apple we want to see. --David

You know that elitist image we've all come to tolerate from Apple? The one where Apple products are generally upscale, luxury goods? The one where if you're not stylish enough, svelte enough, or hip enough, Apple products aren't for you?

Turns out it's true.

KGO-TV in San Francisco is running an outrageous story about how an Apple Store in Palo Alto turned away a disabled woman who wanted to buy an iPad.

Her crime? She wanted to pay in cash.

Like tens of millions of Americans, she doesn't have a credit card. Although most members of mainstream society don't realize it, not having plastic isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's hard to go further in debt when you can't charge everything.

According to KGO, a disabled woman named Diane Campbell saved up for months, simply wanting to buy an iPad so she could go online.

Once Ms. Campbell had finally saved up enough, she took her savings to the Palo Alto Apple store, with all her money in her backpack. She brought the iPad up to the counter and presented her money -- and was turned away.

Apple turned away a disabled woman who wanted to use American legal tender to buy an iPad

According to KGO, who contacted Apple for comment, Apple turned her away because their policy is to only sell to people who have a credit or debit card. There are business reasons why this might make sense -- for example billing for iTunes crap -- but it's completely unacceptable as a corporate policy.

This is where Apple has gone too far. Steve Jobs might have a bug up his butt about protecting Americans from porn, but apparently he couldn't care less about disadvantaged Americans.

Apple's policy of not accepting cash is a direct slap in the face to hardworking Americans -- and to our American way of life. United States legal tender is just that -- legal tender. For a major technology company to refuse payment by cash in a retail location is elitist in the worst sense of the word.

It's also un-American.

Apple thinks it can set a standard for morality. Apple thinks it can tell us what we can and can't read. Apple thinks it can tell us what programs we can and can't run.

Apple is dangerous. And, as we saw in the case of Diane Campbell, Apple is becoming an out-of-control, discriminatory monster.

We can not allow Apple to continue this sort of behavior. This time, the company has gone too far.

See also Apple's turns away iPad buyer; points to No Cash policy

Topics: Apple, Banking, iPad, Mobility

About

David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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308 comments
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  • Only Apple-approved customers are allowed to buy an iPad

    I'm sure that must be in the rules somewhere. If it isn't it should be.
    OS Reload
    • RE: When it comes to selling iPads, Apple is truly anti-American (and anti-

      @OS Reload
      Apple has had this policy for a number of years now. I don't think it's illegal to do so or someone would have made a fuss before this. I tend to doubt this is the first little old disabled lady who had to walk 10 miles up a hill in a blizzard to purchase an iPad or maybe it was? Still I wonder what her disability is? Technically as a diabetic I'm considered disabled but the word disabled hardly fits me.

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
      • IANAL But actually, I believe it is illegal

        When I put an item or a product up for sale with a price that is clearly stated, that creates an implied contract for sale, at least in my state. Anyone that has meets the terms of the contract, that is supplies legal tender for the amount stated meets the terms of that contract and the contract must be honored. Refusing to do so is equivalent to breaking contract. This is a civil infraction and could be pursued legally. I doubt the lady in this case can afford an attorney, but I sincerely hope that one steps in pro bono or the ACLU helps.
        jacarter3
      • UM No.

        jacarter: read the ABC article that the author pointed to.

        "The U.S. Treasury Department says there is nothing in the law that requires companies to accept cash as payment, even though it is "legal tender." The Apple no-cash policy applies only to iPads and iPhones, although you can at least use a gift card to buy an iPhone. "
        Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
      • NO They Haven't! :O Policy is only for iPad!

        @James Quinn This is a new only for the iPad. It is meant to keep iPads in the U.S. Market from being sold in the Black Markets where iPad isn't being sold. There is also a limit of 2 iPads per customer right now as well!

        But limiting according to a Credit Card or Debit card is a whole lot less efficient than how most companies use a purchase limit or identity for qualifying for a purchase. Most companies simply have you pull out your State ID or Driver License and if they really want to be sticky about it, a current utility bill.

        I have 3 debit cards and 4 credit cards. Does that mean I can buy 2 iPads per card? Well actually the Debit cards are in different names, same address in shared accounts. Meaning I have both the PIN and signed access. So does that mean I can buy up to 14 iPads to sell in Europe or Asia? They sell like easy on eBay! :D

        Yet.... not only couldn't this lady buy only one in a store, but Apple is that cheap that after all this bad publicity, Steve Jobs couldn't hand deliver one to her? Give me a break. Even Microsoft and most other companies would be willing to do that just to turn Bad PR into Good PR!!!
        i2fun
      • common sense applies

        We have all been turned down by others just because saying
        no by them is easier or gives them selves a sense of power
        over others .Happens all the time , NO ?
        gkrwc
    • outrage

      @OS Reload <br>this is the most ridiculous piece i have read here on zdnet in a long time. and that says something. the phony outrage by the apple-hating techtards here goes too far! un-american? david, are you nuts? this poison and hatred is beyond any rational boundaries. what did they do to you? insisting on quality? (something you call luxury) not selling the crap that you're used to?<br><br>"Some traditional PC folks feel like their world is slipping away. It is."
      banned from zdnet
      • Unnn

        He said techtard huhuhu.
        Altotus
      • This Is Classic Fanboy Deflection

        Not one word that addresses the reported issue, but a complete attack on anyone who thinks apple's policy is crap.
        Also, his parting shot has nothing at all to do with the story, but attacks PC users, who have nothing at all to do with the issue at hand.
        And, this dickhead will ignore every single word which explains why he, and so many (most) fanboys, are dickheads, because they boldly refuse to address the issues, and admit that apple is one hateful, criminal company. PERIOD
        Steveaaaaaa6
      • This Is Classic Fanboy Deflection

        @Steve@...<br><br>"because they boldly refuse to address the issues, and admit that apple is one hateful, <b>criminal company</b>. PERIOD"<br><br>Criminal? Can you prove it? I mean how do you reason with such delusional disorder? You claiming Apple is a criminal is no different from "Techtards" with their sensational blogs (we know who they are) hunting for hits. Note the same key phrases repeated in each blog to try and get an emotional rise (Un-American, Monster, Dangerous, Hitler...) <br><br>Keep in mind this is the same person who is supposedly appreciating his iPad he bought from the same evil monster un-American of a company. Something just doesn't add up now does it?
        dave95.
      • RE: When it comes to selling iPads, Apple is truly anti-American (and anti-

        Amen brother!
        daddymatt
    • RE: When it comes to selling iPads, Apple is truly anti-American (and anti-disadvantaged)

      @OS Reload HAHA! I SO agree! I use a PC and can't wait to get my hands on an Apple all this site does is try to seek and destroy Apple at any change it gets. The more this site and the bloggers squealed the more interest I took in Apple she probably can't buy anything online through Microsoft either...oh and Dell etc. aren't all THEIR parts made in ASIA? Spare me this boredom. I am disabled, broke, use a PC and have been raked over by Microsoft by tons of Virus protection software that I have to buy...Windows 7 upgrade that I could use on ONE computer and have paid DEARLY my local computer repair dude...is THAT justice? OH, well...
      reslyn
      • RE: When it comes to selling iPads, Apple is truly anti-American (and anti-disadvantaged)

        Don't want a virus on Windows? Just don't open that email from B1ll Gaetes4339. Haven't had a virus on Windows in years...
        CKestral
    • RE: When it comes to selling iPads, Apple is truly anti-American (and anti-disadvantaged)

      @OS Reload - If you don't have a credit card or debit card to open an iTunes account you don't get an iPad. Apple only wants to deal with those who are willing to pay, pay, pay and keep on paying.
      Keywalker4God
      • RE: When it comes to selling iPads, Apple is truly anti-American (and anti-

        @Keywalker4God Rubbish. Apple doesn't allow cash purchases because they are trying to enforce their limits on bulk purchasing of the products by people who then re-sell them internationally in markets where the products have not yet been released.
        dbabbage
      • Get your facts straight...

        @Keywalker4God <br><br>Please. The iTunes store is an option, not forced upon you. A user could enjoy all the iDevices without ever signing up to the iTunes Store. Been this way since the first iPod.
        dave95.
      • RE: When it comes to selling iPads, Apple is truly anti-American (and anti-

        @Keywalker4God
        Those that are willing to pay, pay and keep on paying are the best type of customers to have. The ones with the deep pockets. Dell and HP wish they could get those type of customers.
        ConstableOdo
    • RE: When it comes to selling iPads, Apple is truly anti-American (and anti-

      @OS Reload
      Apple should be forced to put up a large sign in the front window of all retail stores.
      "iPad hopefuls without debit or credit cards, we don't take cash. Sorry."
      That should leave no room for consumer misunderstanding.
      ConstableOdo
    • RE: When it comes to selling iPads, Apple is truly anti-American (and anti-

      @OS Reload Apple changed their policy today. The person in question received a free iPad. Cash is now accepted if a person opens an Apple account in the store at the time of purchase. (Only if that person does not have an Apple account already.)
      To OS Reload .. I chose to place this comment under your comment simply because you posted the first blog comment. Now everyone that reads this blog and comment section will understand that Apple's no cash policy has been changed. Thanks and good post.
      kenosha77a
    • RE: When it comes to selling iPads, Apple is truly anti-American (and anti-

      @OS Reload <br>To update David Gewirtz's blog, it was announced that Apple has changed its no cash-no iPad sale today and has given Ms. Campbell a free iPad. See following link for details: <a href="http://www.macrumors.com/2010/05/19/apple-axes-no-cash-policy-for-ipad-sales/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.macrumors.com/2010/05/19/apple-axes-no-cash-policy-for-ipad-sales/</a><br>I'm sorry, OS Reload, for using your first post to place this comment. Mr. Gewirtz should have updated his own blog but chose not to. (Of course, the above link cited could be wrong and I would owe Mr. Gewirtz a big apology. Only time will tell.)
      kenosha77a