Federal Penitentiaries Remove Hard Wooden Benches; Apple Sets them Up in their Stores

When an Apple store opened up in my neighborhood last year, I jumped for joy. I visit the store so often, half the time I'm there for no good reason at all. Every time I visit I sit on the hard wooden benches they've set up. To get a perspective on hard wooden benches, I checked in with a friend, Kenneth, who works as a counselor at a Federal penitentiary.

"Just curious, Kenneth, do they have hard wooden benches in Federal prisons these days?"

"Nope, they removed them all several years ago. We found that they hardened the butts of our most hardened criminals. They increased recidivism."

"I see," I replied cautiously. "Would it surprise you to hear that Apple has set up hard wooden benches in all of their stores?"

"Wow, is that so? Are they doing it to punish people? Have their customers done anything wrong?"

"The only thing their customers have done wrong is to walk into a store which sets up hard wooden benches for people to sit on."

"I'm not a technology person by any means, but I would think that a person sitting on a hard wooden bench would go from cheerful to grumpy in just a few minutes."

"Yes, that's right."

"And that they would be less likely to buy an Apple Cinema Display after sitting on a hard wooden bench."

"The 22-inch display or the 23-inch display?"

"I'm talking about the 23-inch display. Speaking as a professional counselor, I would say that a person sitting on a hard wooden bench would be strongly disinclined to buy a 23-inch display. I've also heard that hard wooden benches were banned in Europe several years ago."

"For what reason?"

"Their negative effect on the economy. Billions of dollars in lost tourism spending."

"Is that so?"

"Yes, and in the most humane European country, Holland, the doctors use hard wooden benches as firewood."

"So you're saying hard wooden benches are a colossal mistake?"

"As big a mistake as the hockey-puck mouse. As big as the Titanic disaster."

"Wait a minute, the Titanic disaster involved massive loss of life. It's not fair at all to make a comparison."

"The losses from hard wooden benches are even more precious than life. Losses in sales."

"I see," I replied. "Did you hear where the hard wooden benches from penitentiaries ended up?"

"Last I heard, Apple bought 'em all."

Phil Shapiro
The author, the former president of the Virginia Macintosh User Group, is a satirist and Mac enthusiast in Arlington, Virginia. In his spare time he works on various projects for bridging the digital divide via his support of organizations such as Community Technology Centers' Network,, Digital Divide Network,Washington Apple Pi and Capital PC Users Group. He can be reached at: pshapiro@his.com

Yes, this spoof may be freely reprinted in any nonprofit publication, including user group newsletters.

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