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What do you make of this sentence? Thanks!

Even if a potential customer would never have seriously considered switching from a PC to a Mac, the company knew that if they could get them into the store, they had a chance of converting them.

Being a non-native speaker, I’d say there’s nothing wrong with the highlighted bit. At the same time, I am aware of conditional sentences rules: only present, past simple or past perfect (and not “would”) are correct after “if”. Does “even” change things? Would the sentence still be right without it?

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    Very awkward, bamboozling construction! Simplify! "Even if a potential customer had never seriously considered switching from a PC to a Mac, the company knew that they would have a chance of converting them if they could (just) get them into the store." – Dan Feb 24 at 15:12
  • if the gentleman at the back would please silence his phone ... – Lawrence Feb 24 at 15:39
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    It’s not ungrammatical to use would in conditionals. – Lawrence Feb 24 at 15:40
  • The "conditional sentences rules", as cited, are wrong. Who told them to you? What book are they in? Don't trust them about English from now on. – John Lawler Feb 24 at 16:10
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    The conditional rules you learned are incredibly simplified. There are lots of wrong ways to use would in conditionals (they teach you those simplified rules in ESL classes to keep you from using would in the wrong ways) and a few correct ways. This is one of the correct ways. – Peter Shor Feb 24 at 17:08
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I answer your question NOT as a grammarian but as a close reader.

Here's a protracted description of a possible scenario:

Pick a customer. Any customer. Make sure the customer would never under normal circumstances consider switching from a PC to a Mac. Get that person to step into a Mac store. Have that person talk to a Mac employee. Said employee engages the person in a conversation, the purpose of which is to convince/persuade that person to switch from PC to Mac. The employee may succeed or not, but from the company's perspective at least they have been given a chance to do so, even though the person, normally, would neither consider switching nor be willing to step into a Mac store.

Whereas my protracted description of the scenario takes over 100 words, your highlighted sentence manages to consolidate all the information contained in my description in just 37 words:

Even if a potential customer would never have seriously considered switching from a PC to a Mac, the company knew that if they could get them into the store, they had a chance of converting them.

Big difference, yes? And while there are other ways to word the sentence, such as the way your first commenter suggested, both ways summarize the scenario quite well. And you know what? They both contain 37 words!

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