I just returned from another satisfying quick stop at the Apple Store. I don't have a MacBook or iMac, but have loved their iPod and iPhone from the moment they were introduced.
In preparation for a trip to Biloxi later this week for a poker tournament, I needed an extra iPhone-to-laptop cord. The store was busy with holiday-weekend shoppers, but there were plenty of staff helping out. I found the item I needed and looked around for a clerk to pay.
At the Apple Store, you don't have to go to the counter or wait in line for a cashier -- any employee can handle the transaction. In about five seconds, I found one who wasn't busy. She took the item, swiped my credit card in the slot on the side of her iPhone (!), asked if it was okay to e-mail me the receipt, verified my e-mail address, and asked me if I wanted a bag. I said no, so she handed me my item and credit card, said, "Thank you."
Total time of the transaction: 60 seconds. Total time in the store: 5 minutes.
Now that's how you run a retail outlet.