Marissa Mayer 'Flickrs' Apple, Apple Fleeces Wal-Mart?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Over the weekend, I visited the Apple (AAPL) Store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Picked up an iPad mini, snapped some photos, posted them on Twitter and wrote an article about massive throngs of gluttons, rank-and-file over-consumers gorging themselves on Apple products.

I started a mini flood -- we're talking somebody left the bathroom faucet on -- of folks from around the country posting their Apple Store traffic pictorials and verbal observations. Talk about tech geek Twitter porn.

The consensus: Those analysts who reduced estimates and lowered price targets on Apple the other morning should be ashamed. Will Citi upgrade AAPL when it hits the firm's new $575 price target OR will it tell us it strayed from convention and used a 1-month, not 1-year time horizon?

Anyway, no mere mortal creates a buzz like Yahoo! ( YHOO) CEO Marissa Mayer can.

She Flickr'd (or is it Flickered or Flickrd?) a photo of the very same Apple Store I was in over the weekend, except she snapped and posted it right around 11 p.m. EST Tuesday night. Of course, Twitter went abuzz. I'm shocked Mayer can even walk the streets of New York City without getting stopped every second for an autograph.

Maybe she can pull off a Springsteen and somehow manage to stay under the radar, but, in my book, she deserves rock star status. Give it up! She's a brand new mom, first-time CEO and she's doing things at Yahoo! that might actually wake the rest of the broad tech/Internet/new media sector from its relative, barely innovative slumber.

Of course, Mayer used Flickr to post her picture. Important Side Note ALERT: This is how great -- yes great -- CEOs roll. You can't tell me that when she was joining Yahoo! Mayer hadn't heard rumblings of something happening in this whole Facebook ( FB)/Twitter/Instagram ménage à trois. Maybe she did not know specifics, but her ear scrapes the ground in a big way. She made Flickr a top and immediate priority at Yahoo! for a reason. And now she's snapping a picture using the platform in the middle of the world's greatest city at the flagship store of the world's greatest company.

That's why the stock is up 25% since she came aboard and is set to take out $20. This is the type of stuff angry investors should be using to go after that lousy, do-nothing Best Buy ( BBY) board of directors. But I digress ...

Mayer said "Wow," but to some folks who emailed and Twittered me after she posted her pic, the crowd at the Apple Store was nothing short of disappointing. While most of the reports I received from around the country told of huge crowds and brisk sales, I had a few, including one from the Mall of America on Tuesday, that showed relatively sparse traffic for Apple.

Don't get carried away. Don't react like a Wall Street analyst. Almost midnight on a Tuesday night in New York City. During the middle of the day at a mall near Minneapolis. I expect more red shirts than paying customers.

Stop and think about another retailer in any space -- you name it -- as dominant as Apple. Most would lie, cheat and steal for the traffic Apple saw at one store over the weekend across all of their own properties for an entire week.

Fortune's Philip Elmer-DeWitt provides solid evidence that retailers such as Wal-Mart ( WMT) are pulling something just short of a bait-and-switch by selling a limited supply of iPhones 5s at deep discounts.

Do you really think Apple is taking a desperate hit by letting Wal-Mart and others do this? Absolutely not. It's probably Tim Cook being a "nice guy" at the same time as he fleeces retailers just as Apple does wireless carriers.

Worry about Wal-Mart, not Apple. Wal-Mart apparently needs Apple products -- and is willing to, quite possibly, lose money on them -- just to get people in the door in hopes they'll buy a cheap flat-screen television, coffee machine or thin cotton t-shirt.

That's where analysts should be jumping to conclusions, not at Apple, a company already in ownership of the holiday shopping season.

--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Rocco Pendola is TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola's daily contributions to TheStreet frequently appear on CNBC and at various top online properties, such as Forbes.

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