The Microsoft Stores; A few facts you’d never guess

standard May 14, 2013 37 responses

(Want to win a $100 Microsoft Giftcard? Be sure to read to the bottom!)

I’m writing this post on a laptop. It’s a PC. I bought it on Amazon just over two years ago. How did I pick it? It was the one on super sale on Black Thursday.

No. Really.

I’d tell you what it can do, but really, I have no clue. I just know that it turns on and it works. I need little else.

So when I was asked to go take a spin around a Microsoft store I said “Sure!” because I’m friendly like that, but I really had no expectations.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. I expected a few computers, a couple games, and some boxes of software. I’m pretty sure I didn’t expect a clean open space with incredibly friendly staffers who wanted nothing more than to let my kids play with each and every computer and tablet in the store while they answered a million and one of my questions.

You see, here’s the deal.

That oldest kid of mine is turning 8 in four days. At school they’re working on computers, creating Power Point Presentations, writing paragraphs, making flyers. (Whatever happened to teaching a little digital mouse to draw a box? Seriously, kids these days, they don’t know what they’re missing…)

I’m loath to share my laptop at home. Partly because I’m often on it working. And partly because… MINE… not sharing.

I know, I’m mean.

So it’s about time for us to get the kids a computer of their own and since they’re not quite as web savvy as me, it needs to be one with some easy to set up parental controls.

So I dragged the kids to a Microsoft store to see if they could help me on my quest.

It took the kids about thirty seconds to find a computer (each) and to sit down to play.

In no time at all Little L had badgered a store employee into loaning her a stylus.

And I just walked around bug eyed.

Windows 8 was really designed with touch screens in mind, so every single computer (and tablet, duh) in the store has a touch screen.

Every. Single. One.

It was like stepping into the future.

Of course for the kids it’s a no brainer. The fact that my computer doesn’t have a touch screen baffles them.

I watched them play around for a bit before accosting a lovely employee and starting my lengthy series of questions. If you have Windows 8 on a non-touch screen device you know how frustrating it can be. On a touch screen it becomes a thing of beauty.

My kids? Took to it like ducks to water.

While I learned about the Windows 8 Family Safety features they played with games, with the camera, and with the Fresh Paint app.

We left easily an hour or so after we had arrived. The staff let my kids play to their heart’s content and even let me email myself the photos of themselves that the kids snapped.

As geeky as this sounds, we’ll go back. The kids had a blast.

I expected a computer store and we found something much more than just that. Just like the Microsoft people had promised!

A few facts for you about the Microsoft stores

– There are 66 stores so far and more opening soon.
– Of those 66, 35 are considered “full line” stores and offer a “theater” in the back of the store.
– In these “theaters” the stores offer workshops to train people on various Microsoft softwares or other helpful things.
– These workshops are free. (Check the website for your local store’s calendar.)
– If the store doesn’t offer a workshop you’d like to take, talk to the manager. They’ll create a workshop for you (and your team if you want!)
– These personalized workshops are… you guessed it… free.
–  Many stores offer summer “camp” options for kids!
– These camps are free.
– All the stores offer persona shopping sessions. They’ll help you chose a computer, set it up, and customize it.
– Personal shopping sessions are free (you know, other than the price of the computer…)
– You can even host events in the “theaters.” Events, like birthday parties, MNOs, scout gatherings, or just get togethers. You can play games on a huge screen and enjoy some refreshments. You don’t even have to clean up.
– You guessed it. These events? Free. 
– Want an XBox game, but want to try it first?
– You can try it for free in the stores. 

Basically, all the services are free. You can even bring in a computer you bought elsewhere and they’ll be happy to help you configure it.

I like my tech as much as the next gal, but I’ve never been drawn to hang out in computer stores like some people in my family. I have to admit that might just change now. It’s refreshing to be greeted by staff that seemed genuinely happy that we were in the store without feeling like we needed to spend money to keep them that way.

Want to win a $100 Microsoft Giftcard? 
Leave me a comment below telling me what you hope to find in a Microsoft store!
(Winner will be drawn at random Monday, May 20th at 9pm PST and announced on this post. US residents only please.)  (All the bloggers listed as co-hosts below are also hosting giveaways! Feel free to enter as many as you wish!)

Congratulations Mama V! According to Random.org You’re the winner of this giveaway!

Want to know more?
Join me and other bloggers along with official Microsoft representatives for  a one hour #GoMicrosoft Twitter party on Tuesday, May 14 at 1p ET/noon CT/10a PT (you know, today…). All of the bloggers participating have checked out their own local Microsoft store and they‘ll be able to back up everything I’ve said!  RSVP via this Twtvite:  http://twtvite.com/GoMicrosoft

What: Microsoft stores across the country have more to offer than just tech products. Many Microsoft locations offer an Answer Desk, in-store events, personal computer training and much more! 
During this Twitter chat we’ll be exploring all of the ways that the experts at Microsoft can help make your life easier. Your Microsoft store isn’t just a place to shop, but a fun place to visit – for both you and your kids! 
Prizes: We will be giving away six prizes to randomly selected winners. Five winners who answer trivia questions during the party will receive $25 Microsoft retail store gift cards, and one grand prize winner will be chosen for a $500 Microsoft retail store gift card!

Hosts: @MicrosoftStore, @theMotherhood, @CooperMunroe, @EmilyMcKhann

Co-Hosts:
Heather, Sprittibee@sprittibee (THAT’S ME!)
Candy, Mommypalooza@mommypalooz
Kelly, Kansas City Mamas@KCMamaKelly
Kristen, Dine and Dish@DineandDish
Mara, Kosher on a Budget@kosheronabudget
Claudya, Unknown Mami@UnknownMami
Heather, Rookie Moms@rookiemoms
Jessica, It’s My Life@kikarose
Jen, The Mom Reviews@themomjen
TerriAnn, Cookies and Clogs@cookiesANDclogs
Divina, Dancing Hot Dogs@DancingHotdogs
JessieLeigh, Parenting Miracles@micropreemies
Marianna, Green Mama’s Pad@GreenMamasPad
Rachel, Rachel Ferrucci@RachelFerrucci
Sarah, Sarah’s Cucina Bella@SarahWCaron
Lisa, Crazy Adventures in Parenting@crazyadventures
Clay, Dad Labs@daddyclay
Kim, Prairie Mama@prairiemama
Stephanie, The Candid Pastor’s Wife@stephaniepete
Christine, Boston Mamas@bostonmamas
Christy, Quirky Fusion@QuirkyFusion
Mackenzie, The Centsible Family@TheCentsibleFamily
Erika, Musings of a SAHM@MusingsSAHM

Please note: I am being compensated for this post by The Motherhood for Microsoft. As always all thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone.

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