I just canceled my order for a Chromebook Pixel. My plan had been to get in line with an order last week and then come to a designated Best Buy in Manhattan to put my hands on the real machine and confirm my desire. I just walked across town to one of only two stores in New York where Google promised that we could see the machine -- one of only 11 stores in the entire country. I have to go searching around for the Chromebook and finally ask a guy, who shows me to an empty shelf. "Oh, no," he says, "Google won't let us lock down the Chromebook without the Google rep here." When's the Google rep coming? Shrug. "They don't tell us." I call the only other designated Pixel showcase store in Manhattan. No Google rep there. The guy who answered the phone thought he came only on weekends.
Google: You'd better get your retail act together. The Pixel is a hellofalota money. Kevin Marks said in a tweet last week that a Googler said I was the ideal customer for the thing (being a fanboy, I suppose). But even I want to make sure before spending $1,500 that essentially does what the computers I already own already do.
Google has been spending a fortune for months buying end-cap displays for the old Chromebooks in many Best Buys (many more than 11) and staffing them with reps with no merchandise to sell. Now they have merchandise and promise to show it but then they don't bother staffing with a rep and don't trust Best Buy to at least put the thing on display. Garg.
Word has it that Google may be opening its own retail outlets, where I assume they won't so much sell hardware as sell Google services, leading people to the hardware. They'd better have product to show. They'd better have reliable staffing.
I'll go to Best Buy when it's convenient for me. If I get to see a Pixel, I may put my order back in. Or not.