Genius Departs, But Leaves Behind Some Advice

July 29, 2011

The benefits to consumers of replaceable Apple hardware are actually working against Apple retail employees, leading to less pay, an increased workload and the “delegitimizing” of the role of workers, according to an email written by a departing Genius from the Woodland (Mich.) store earlier this month. A person named “Kevin T.” sent the long and thoughtful email to other Genii, noting that Apple retail employees represent a “multicultural cross-section of the contemporary American worker and its future: we are primarily young and educated with few job prospects in a depressed economy that continues to fail.” And yet, he says store employees are, “frequently reminded by management how lucky we are to have a job at all, let alone one that has the generous benefits that Apple provides.” His thoughts and perspectives are mirrored by other store employees who have dared to speak out about their jobs recently.

The story of today’s Genius Bars is written in the numbers—the crowds of visitors have outstripped Genius Bar space and Genii time. At the end of 2004, there were 95 smallish stores ranging from 30 feet to 45 feet wide, handling about 10 million visitors per quarter. Since then, 18 of those stores have been expanded or moved to larger spaces, Apple’s acknowledgement of the overcrowding. But the rest of the early stores have remained at their original size as the number of visitors has increased by a whopping 700 percent (chart below). That increase has been driven both by more interest in Apple’s products, but also by a continually-increasing number of Apple product owners over the years, who inevitably head to the Genius Bar for service. In fact, 20 percent of the chain’s visitors during 2004 walked straight to the Genius Bar, according to Sr. VP Retail Ron Johnson at the time.

In his email to Genii, Kevin noted the ever-increasing Genius Bar staff workload, partially attributed to a company philosophy of “Get to Yes.” But that “Yes” comes at a price, he says. Replacing a customer’s product does simplify the workflow and decrease the interaction time with customers. But it also, “devalues the education a customer receives on their product and the troubleshooting, technical skills and patience required to educate and repair,” Kevin says. A replacement policy also, “decreases the customer experience in what they pay for and what they expect, and sets an irresponsible precedent overall for the lack of responsibility required of owners of consumer electronics.” The process turns Genii into “Swap-zillas,” a term that is commonly used at Kevin’s store.

I don’t want to support a culture that sells the idea of 24-hour on-demand personal entertainment that takes us outside of what’s real. – Kevin T.

With his goodbye, Kevin tells other Genii, “Talk to each other. Talk at work. Talk at home. Stay engaged, get involved. NPP isn’t yours, it’s management’s.” He urges them to share information on their pay, on what changes they’d like to make and how to do the job differently. “Question information,” Kevin advises. “Who’s to gain based on a decision? Why is there a disparity here or there? Why can’t our requests be met?” Lastly, he tells them to, “Look into the Apple Retail Union and the IWW,” and provides several Web links for research.

Kevin included an “additional rant” that expressed his fear that humans are becoming “defined by what’s on our screens.” He philosophized, “Valuing, discovering, leveraging the power of and sharing honest information may be our generation’s greatest tool for doing good.” He said that corporations are beholden to their share holders, but he added, “As workers and consumers (corporations) must be accountable to us.

He ended with more philosophy. “As workers, as students, as a generation we need to put down our screens, inform ourselves, talk to each other, organize and act. When you seek truth and nonviolence the oppressors can only provide the opposite: untruth and violence. If you are appalled by such things then you can find human morality on the side of the exploited, the disenfranchised, the manipulated, the marginalized. If we share these passions in the physical presence of other humans we might experience a new joy. We might affect a change towards something we believe is better.”

Read Kevin’s entire email.

The number of total visitors has doubled over the last three years, straining even the staff and space at recently-built stores. Earlier stores are suffering under a workload that is four to 10 times what they experienced after opening day.

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{ 109 comments… read them below or add one }

Silicon Valley Engineer July 30, 2011 at 0041

I generally act arrogantly (and negatively) towards calls for more worker rights. It’s partly because how well we are treated, and because our jobs are less replaceable.

But it was refreshing to read the letter, and not find some radical ideologue trying to push his view point. The economics of supply and demand dictate too may decisions, so I don’t know if there is a better way out for most workers. But after reading this letter, I wish a bit more that things turn out well for them.

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Maybe it's agitation August 4, 2011 at 1257

Stop wishing and instead start acting. Conscious thought (which you have proved you are fully capable of) is certainly valuable and the first step towards resolving a lot of the inequalities in this world. You yourself are admitting there is an issue but that you are willing to remain (and I quote) “arrogantly” against worker rights. Don’t let yourself become apathetic or to demonize the side that is trying to further equality for a class that whether you will admit it or not, you’re fully aware is being oppressed.

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Former Mac Genius July 30, 2011 at 0254

If “Get to Yes” equated to “swap-zilla” he was doing his job wrong.

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Former Mac Specialist July 30, 2011 at 0431

Or it shows the philosophy of the stores management and those above. If he does’t want to replace a phone that has been launched from a car window but the customer kicks off to a manager and then they agree to swap it, it’s not him doing his job wrong.

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FrMRApple July 30, 2011 at 0925

The idea that he should be simply swapping out items to make quick work of the issue for the customer only to complain low pay and urge unionizing is hilarious.

He wants to take lots of time, extra steps and make more work by troubleshooting and repairing and wants better compensation for it. While what he should be doing is swapping it out to create less work. He sounds like a artist who has taken a job as a house pinter. Don’t paint a replica of the Sistine Chapel on the walls then demand more time to complete it and more money for it when the job was to paint the wall white.

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CurrentGenius July 30, 2011 at 1207

This is the EXACT answer I would expect from a former manager. This is how Apple brain washes you people to think. Our Genius Bar traffic has quadrupled because we are going from appointment to appointment in 10 mins. HOW can we provide a good customer experience within 10 mins. To be able to explain how things are breaking, how the customer can possibly prevent it from happening, figure out if it needs replaced and then if needed replace it. This in addition to “One to Many”, taking more than one appointment even spreading ourselves thinner. Kiss my ass FrMRApple. You go and walk around, managing the wait time queues and add queues for “active queue” at the 15 to the hour, making our jobs MORE difficult by adding another queue because someone can’t get in for another hour. If you call a doctor’s office for an appointment and they don’t have anything for that day, you get the next day’s appointment, and you better bet that doctor is making a crap load more than me. . . Shame on you.

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Moo July 31, 2011 at 0030

Hail, hail.
…truth.

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Actual Apple Employee July 31, 2011 at 1100

We had (stress on had) a manager that was infamous for adding an iPhone queue with no back up staff on hours when things were behind. We got around it by watching for when he was going to the back to punch it in and then booking 2-3 of the appointments under fake names. We had a theme every day so folks knew not to call those names out loud. they were just cancelled as no shows. Our best day was when the “Simon Pegg is one of my oldest friends” didn’t notice that Nick Angel, James Scott, Ben Dunn and Tim Bisley all had iPhone appointments in a 3 hour period.

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FrMRApple August 1, 2011 at 0812

When I was at the bar or on the floor helping customers, I was able to do it. I became manager because I was good at my job and both helped customers and kept queu times and customers needing sales help in check. Just because you can’t don’t blame me.

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CurrentGenius August 1, 2011 at 1255

No one is saying they’re not able to do it. What we’re saying it that there is a point where we all need to say enough is enough. 7 years ago Apple Retail was about customer experience, when buying a computer, when coming in to get a case for your iPod, when coming in to check you’re freaking email, or to come get help with setting up a printer at the Genius Bar. I think our point is, we don’t have that ability because the expectation are so great now. What Apple is asking us to do as a team if OBSURD. No where should we be seeing 80 customer’s in one hour at the Genius Bar. How is there ANY kind of customer service there? “Hey, what brings you in today?” “My iPod isn’t coming on anymore” Cool, I’m sorry to hear that, lets see what we can find out.” Plug in, nope it’s not powering on. Customer asks what can cause this, what can I do to prevent it? I have so little time to explain anything thing at this point because my 10 mins is almost up its stupid. I still have to explain to them that because they haven’t plugged into their computer none of their stuff is going to be available to them, write up case notes, check WTY status, and exchange it. Granted I can talk and type, but that’s only if our Mobile Genius is working right that hour. Then I have 5 other people waiting for me to help them at the same time. We’re not saying we can’t, but we have to know when, AND APPLE should know when enough is enough. They have made BILLIONS off of us at the retail stores. WE’RE the reason that they are making their money for the patent war, we are the pawns sent out to the front line to get OUR asses, kicked so they can rock things in California and keep making more money. They need to do one of two things, realize that what they have is great and back track a bit and understand that we’re way over worked at the retail stores or two maybe just show us a little more gratitude, and we all know that the first one isn’t going to happen. FrMRApple, you really disappointment, really, you are so hung up on “I can make it work, I can do this.” I can’t IMAGINE working on your Genius, Creative, or FRS Team. You are only able to do it because you have members of your FR team that are still willing to put up with this crap.

Actual Apple Employee July 31, 2011 at 1052

At my store we Get to Yes all the time, but it doesn’t always equal a swap. Especially on phones. What’s the point of swapping a phone if the person is going to jailbreak and put back on the same app that is screwing with the phone. Nothing. What is the point of swapping a phone when the issue is a glitch in the software that can be fixed by redownloading one of his apps and resetting the internal authorization preferences and so on. And yes sometimes we ‘fix’ the problem by not giving into you so you can learn the lesson that you need to care for your stuff or pay the consequence of having to buy a new phone.

Also, I hope that folks are careful about his ‘share information’ advice. Because in some states, its a huge no no to talk about your salary etc with other employees.

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jacK August 3, 2011 at 1709

FYI, employees’ right to discuss wages is protected by the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933. It establishes the National Labor Relations Board, and protects the right to discuss wages, among others.

Managers at any company, Apple included, may discourage employees from discussing their wages, but there is ONLY ONE REASON to keep this information private: the wages are a competitive secret–and in this case, low wages are no secret.

Your right to discuss your wages is specifically singled out and explicitly protected because only in a free and open environment can employees consider the benefits of unionization. To prevent them from doing so, to refuse to allow them to have all the information necessary, is to discourage and prevent them from even discussing unionization.

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Howie Isaacks July 30, 2011 at 0637

He was making some good points right up to the point where he brings up the retail union. If you think Apple’s prices are high now, just wait until a union comes in. Prices will skyrocket. The stores will go down in quality of service since unionized employees work for the union, not the company. Apple can improve on work conditions, but unionization is NOT the answer. As a Mac Genius, I often disliked the constant iPod/iPhone swapping, but the alternative was to pop them open, and repair them. Doing so would mean that we would be deluged with repairs.

The truth is that the Apple stores are a great place to work. The pressure can be high sometimes, and things may not always go your way, but that’s life. Get used to it.

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FrMRApple July 30, 2011 at 0929

You are completely correct. High pressure is why it’s called a “job”.

Apple Genius is not only called so because they have the knowledge to tear appart something and repair it. Being a Genius means knowing when to simply make quick work of a situation and give the customer a working product. Using ones knowledge doesn’t always meant cracking open a case.

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Actual Apple Employee July 31, 2011 at 1105

So now you are claiming that they shouldn’t just be swapping everything in site. That’s the opposite of what you were saying before when you wanted us to just get them out of the store.

Make up your mind. Flip flopping on what you want is as stressful to your employees as the customers. Maybe more so

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CurrentGenius August 1, 2011 at 1300

No being a Genius is about educating the customer on how to make their machine work for them if it’s not working at all. Getting them back up and running as quickly as possible so their time is better spent, NOT at the Genius Bar. In order to educate them, we have to have time. (I love being able to go back to that) Apple has a lot of great resources on their support site, but the navigation is shit. It’s gotten better, but I would think that MOST of us at the bar still struggle with finding an article, unless we already have it memorized, for the customer to look over on their own time. However, most of the customer want us to help them resolve the issue, after all that’s what they bought. They paid the extra premium for our product to have the support that Apple offers. In a while their 10 -15 mins at the bar isn’t going to be worth them coming in, we’ll fall apart and people will start saving the 500 bucks and buy or build a PC for themselves. What are they paying for at this point? If we’re supposed to just give them a working product, they’ll be back in another two months because it’s doing it again. Because their ISP went offline and corrupt the location in network settings, they won’t know to try to create a new one, because I did it for them and didn’t have time to explain what or why I did it.

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Actual Apple Employee August 10, 2011 at 2337

At my store, if someone needs more than 20 mins of computer education or 10 minutes of phone/ipod education they are turned over to a specialist or a trainer who is not in an appointment. Because as one of our managers pointed out, getting to yes doesn’t mean doing it for them and it doesn’t mean that we at the bar must be the ones to teach them. The point is that they are taught. So when we see that the issue isn’t bad hardware or bad software but is in fact a bad user, our ‘yes’ is to find someone to introduce them to, get them away from the bar and move on to the next appointment.

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lfceline August 1, 2011 at 1330

“The stores will go down in quality of service since unionized employees work for the union, not the company.”
That statement is from management anti-union propaganda 101 and has no basis in reality much less labor law. Unions do not set hiring or firing standards for companies nor do they pay employees. You work for the people who hire you, and you follow their rules. Some of those rules may be ones that are agreed upon by employees and the company in the course of negotiating a contract along with wages. As far as quality goes, unionized workers are normally more satisfied with their jobs and it shows in the quality of their work.

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Actual Apple Employee August 10, 2011 at 2346

Unions may not set standards or give out the pay but many times they do have some say in the standards and the wages. It all depends on the union and what it has negotiated.

And while a union might not reduce quality of service it can reduce amount of pay and that is something folks need to consider. Apple is retail and retail doesn’t make that much to begin with. Having to pay 30% of your gross pay to a union isn’t that big of a deal when you make your rent etc in one week but when you are barely making ends meet those union dues can be killer. And can a union in this case actually do better than the local laws have. Very possibly not.

Plus one has to wonder if this guy ever actually spoke up to his boss, his boss’s boss or HR over the issues he had. I’ve worked with a number of folks that would bitch and moan during breaks etc but never once just dropped a message to HR or asked to talk to the boss behind closed doors.

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FrMRApple July 30, 2011 at 0918

People just want their products to work. If it’s easier and faster to swap it out, do it. If he wants to tinker, troubleshoot and physically repair computers and gadgets and believes that is the true way of technological enlightenment, let him do so on his own time. Just get me quickly in and out of the store with a working product I paid hundreds of dollars (or more) for. I’ve got a life to live.

I am glad he no longer works for Apple. He is missing the ENTIRE point and philosophy of Apple products and Apple Stores. A computer is nothing without the user. People are the heart of Apple products and ease of use (and ease of repair/replacement) is paramount. There are plenty of opportunities for a customer to learn about the inner workings of a computer. The time the customer is in need of repair when they are at their most frustrated, their most vulnerable, is not that time.

He sounds like a know-it-all who believing if someone doesn’t understand the technological inner workings of an iPhone, they can’t possible use and enjoy it.

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anony-mouse July 30, 2011 at 1603

as one of the original recipients of the email, i promise you that he is absolutely not a know-it-all, nor did he ever treat customers with anything but respect.

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lolzer July 31, 2011 at 0705

yeah you totally missed the entire point of his email, bruh. you’re just focusing on one very tiny point of contention. post again when you have a real argument. ’till then, go back to the manager’s office and count something.

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Actual Apple Employee July 31, 2011 at 1103

Swap it and get them out isn’t always in the best interest of the customer or the company. The problem isn’t always the hardware and it’s not always a defect. Just swapping it means that the person does the same thing over and over and keeps coming back for us to fix it. That adds up.

And folks don’t have to be taught to be experts on all things to understand that jail breaking their phones can change very important things in the software that could cause the wifi to stop working. Or that having 50 apps running in the background is going to make the battery drain. These are the kinds of things he’s talking about

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Actual Apple Employee's Little Brother August 15, 2011 at 1830

Mom called. Our macaroni & cheese & crackers is ready. It’s your turn to pull me in the Radio Flyer home! What a screamin’ house of horror! You would have thought someone had died with all the commotion. My, my, boys, it’s just retail. Not like it’s a career or something important.

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jacK August 15, 2011 at 1839

“At Apple… we offer a stimulating work environment, designed to create unparalleled CAREER experiences and develop lifelong skills.” -Taken directly from internal Apple documentation.

It IS a career and not just a job, douchebag. Either you don’t work for Apple, or you’ve forgotten our credo.

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John July 30, 2011 at 0932

You’ll actually find that he sent it to all of the Back of House email address. None of it actually reached his obviously desired audience. He represents a small minority of the Apple Retail employees. Most of us actually love and enjoy our job. It disappoints me that websites such as this and others insist on constantly publishing the employee rants. My last point would be that if someone hates their job enough to post on the internet then leave. No one is making you stay. There are plenty of other jobs out there but I bet those same people will complain anyway.

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Gary July 30, 2011 at 1736

As for publishing “employee rants,” I’m open to posting almost anyone’s thoughtful, coherent and new perspectives on an old subject, especially if they have some ideas about how to make things move forward.

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GeniusDude July 31, 2011 at 1752

It got sent to the (Genius room) emails, so it hit every Genius team in the company. At least in my store, it’s been quietly passed around the Genius team.

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CurrentGenius July 30, 2011 at 1020

Swapping a phone for a software problem is common because the customer wants to get out as soon as possible. When the customer gets home and the same problem returns because of software they’ll be even more upset. Most customers need education on using the products. Readers of this blog may have trouble relating to that. Fixing a problem in a way that the customer knows how to deal with it in the future is what we want- not to “tinker” or “show off”.

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CurrentGenius July 30, 2011 at 1213

Exactly. He’s wanting to give the customer an education. When I started as a Genius six years ago, that’s what our job was. There is no education that goes into giving a phone back to the customer in 10 mins. That’s enough time to take the phone, look up the SN, talk to them about the issues, run our beloved Behavior Scan, show it to the customer that the reason their battery sucks is because they have crashing software. By this time, the appointment time is over, and you have the next appointment

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Former Creative July 30, 2011 at 2212

I’m no longer at Apple, but I repair mobile devices for a major mobile carrier. I strongly agree with CurrentGenius. Trust me, 90% of the time it’s all about education and having the user understand their device.

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Uncle Bernie July 30, 2011 at 1629

What a sorry douchebag. Seekers of justice and truth. This loser needs to go to Mexico or some other 3rd
World country where he can explore “justice”.

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Current FRS July 30, 2011 at 1631

It seems everyone has missed the entire purpose of the email. Several of you are making pointed attacks at the former Genius, are we not all asked to share our thoughts? Are we not encouraged to develop ourselves and have honest feedback with each other? It seems we’re apt to dismiss this employee for an email that actually gave a great deal of hope to a lot of employees who read it. I don’t think this person hated their job, I think they experienced what a a lot of us diehard Apple loyalists that work for the company feel: a slow crushing of our passion due to inexperienced management, overcrowding, and overall overload. There are still those of us who still truly adore our jobs at Apple Retail, there are those of us stick with the unfair policies and continue to push ourselves to be better, encourage each other and continually seek to provide excellent customer service as we know our product holders deserve.

This email provided a great deal of hope to so many of us who thought we were alone in our disappointment. We felt that someone else, somewhere had the courage to speak, and we continue, as we always have, to hope that someone who CAN do something about this, WILL do something about this. We have long been waiting for change and we are doing our best to stay above water and still provide the excellence that our company demands of us. This email was a call to action on the part of those in charge, we are unfairly paid, we are unfairly treated, and we are most unfairly overloaded, perhaps if we continue to speak our voices will be heard.

I challenge everyone who reads this email to think about what this guy was saying, don’t pick out things you don’t like, but really read the letter and understand that there is still Apple loyalty there, it’s simply a call for action, what is a company worth if it is not willing to continually become better and better?

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CurrentGREmployee July 31, 2011 at 0820

Right on man, thanks for reading and understand. FrMgApple, your out of touch, I feel sorry for any employees you may have charge of. You should be the one to talk about salary, you make over double that of a genius for far less work.

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Actual Apple Employee July 31, 2011 at 1107

Feedback is one thing. But this guy is talking about going around revealing your salaries and making demands. That’s crossing a line. That kind of stuff just causes drama and animosity etc

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WTFWTF? Sad Sacks... August 15, 2011 at 1835

‘have long been waiting for change’
another lemming waiting for droppings from the big people’s table.

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The Sweater July 30, 2011 at 1655

As a current genius, sure I want out, but unfortunately due to the fact that I’ve made commitments (mortgage, credit cards, etc) based on job perception at the time, 6 years ago, I simply can’t leave as quickly as I’d like to. The company used to compensate us very generously. The bigger we got, the less we saw, the more we worked. My raise last year was less than three percent, while the company was having record breaking numbers during the worst economy in decades. They give us Apple branded blankets for Christmas. We all joke that it’s to keep us warm when the banks come and take our houses away. Kevin’s e-mail is very accurate and well-written and I’m almost relieved that it’s not just happening in our store. And trying to stay optimistic about the situation helps me from stressing out too much, believing that maybe, just maybe, upper management will have some decency and share the wealth. The reality of it is… not. gonna. happen. Apple stays ahead of other retailers in hourly wages and that’s a good business decision. You can’t argue with that, cause that’s what ‘merica roots for… BIG business! But I’m getting out as soon as I can because it is an unpleasant environment and it’s not what I signed up for. After work I’m stressed, frustrated, resentful of a company that I used to love. So to get me through until I can get out from under some of these self inflected debts I find relief in doing a few things just to make my job a little easier and I encourage all other frustrated employees to do the same. Here’s an example, the fake appointment. Grab some friends, make a night of it. It’s like a creative writing project. Keep the names believable. It’s a gas. Anyway, I’m bored with this…

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Actual Apple Employee July 31, 2011 at 1111

Most retail companies don’t give their employees anything. No caps, no blankets, no free software. No holding quarterly meetings at roller rinks or laser tag etc like they did one quarter last year. Hell most companies don’t give their managers the money to order lunch for the staff on launch days or to have more than sodas and cookies at a meeting.

They also don’t all offer part time health benefits, free metro passes or even stock plans. They don’t give you a rather generous ten minute grace period before you are considered late or more than the legally mandated 10 minute paid breaks and so on

Apple may not be perfect but there are places that are just as greedy with the pay raises and the hours and do even less for their employees

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Cory Moll July 31, 2011 at 1949

And we have no guarantee that they won’t take any of those benefits away. We fought for them, yes, but there’s nothing stopping them from selling us out (it feels like they already do). As Apple becomes a larger and larger company in terms of shareholder value and net profits, they appear to be demonstrating just how valuable we as employees really are.

Understaffing zones and overbooking queues. Hiring more part-timers instead of offering full-time positions. “It’s not about the numbers” but every daily download hawks NPS metrics and attachment rates and QTD revenue like a carnival sideshow (and win a stuffed Angry Bird if you hit enough APP!) And, remember when they switched from American Apparel to our current cheap and unbreathable shirts made overseas? Oh, don’t forget that fabulous thank you letterpress note card to congratulate 10 years of Retail? Yeah.

Sure, we get discounts on Apple products but it’s not like we can afford to buy any of it. And sure, they even give us personal not-for-resale licenses for Apple software including Lion and Final Cut Pro, but again if we’re lucky to own a Mac that we can install it and use it on…

We work for a Fortune 50 company with a cash value that exceeds many small countries. This is how they treat us. But we stick around not because we enjoy the torture and stress, but because we genuinely love what we get to do and we put up with the shit.

So, and especially in accordance with the National Labor Relations Act here in the states and similar laws abroad, we absolutely have the right to complain and to stand up and organize and demand better.

Our Time Has Come.

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WTFWTF? Sad Sacks... August 15, 2011 at 1843

Hey, little Moll,
you are one bitter and sour puss. if you do not like your job – find something better instead of spoiling it for everyone else. Have you ever managed anything in your life? Do you know what it is like to have to motivate selfish and greedy people such as yourself? Your the monkey standing against the outside wall having a cigarette bitching to some other sod while the customers are left waiting. The loudest ones are usually the most ignorant.

Your time will never come. We don’t want you. Good luck with organizing your ‘union’. Ya cad.

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WTFWTF? Sad Sacks... August 15, 2011 at 1843

Hey, little Moll,
you are one bitter and sour puss. if you do not like your job – find something better instead of spoiling it for everyone else. Have you ever managed anything in your life? Do you know what it is like to have to motivate selfish and greedy people such as yourself? You’re the monkey standing against the outside wall having a cigarette bitching to some other sod while the customers are left waiting. The loudest ones are usually the most ignorant.

Your time will never come. We don’t want you. Good luck with organizing your ‘union’. Ya cad.

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jacK August 15, 2011 at 1848

You sound like one entitled lazy manager, WTF. Have YOU ever managed anything or anyone, and actually managed them instead of just standing around criticizing? When my manager tells me out of the blue that “you know every product” (emphasis on “every”), and it’s the first positive feedback I’ve gotten in months, there’s a problem.

Before you flame, think about the situation I’m coming from: I really DO know every product well enough to deliver a workshop on it, and yet only when we’re crunched for time and talent does this skill get recognized.

Apple Creative July 31, 2011 at 2014

Sure other companies may not do that, but I remember a time when Apple gave every employee an iPod classic for getting hired. Giving away iPod shuffles as holiday gifts. Giving all the 1 Year + and Full Time employees iPhones. and then…. the blanket. Do I expect the company to give us all iPads? no. But it would be nice to get something more than a blanket or stuff I can buy from the company store.

The iPhone was the best thing to happen to Apple’s business but worst thing to happen to the stores. and Ron’s “Our stores were built for this moment” quote was total fluff and crap

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None July 30, 2011 at 2112

Wow, as a current “swapzilla” it is great just to see the exact same frustrations.Handing out the financial equivalent to what I make in a year in a single month to people that just plain don’t care for their products is a daily chore. Cheers to he who spoke his mind, and I’m glad it made it to the world wide webs. This needs to go more public, because Apple only makes change to big enough crowds.

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FrMRApple July 30, 2011 at 2159

Wait. You want Apple to change the policy of swapping out defective products under warranty because collectively the replacements surpass your monthly pay?

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CurrentGenius July 31, 2011 at 0415

No Shameless One,

He’s saying that those people that don’t know how to take care of their produces and Apple’s back door policy of “Get to Yes” is more than he makes in a month. He’s giving people that don’t care about our products replacements under WTY or as an “exception.” (even though Apple doesn’t want us to use that terminology)

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CurrentGREmployee July 31, 2011 at 0822

Right on man, thanks for reading and understand. FrMgApple, your out of touch, I feel sorry for any employees you may have charge of. You should be the one to talk about salary, you make over double that of a genius for far less work.

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Actual Apple Employee July 31, 2011 at 1115

They don’t want us to talk about exceptions. Someone should tell my managers. Because when we do a CS they are the ones that come over and tell the customer that he/she really shouldn’t be getting this but said manager is going to make a one time, never to be repeated at any store, exception and that at that very moment the tech is putting in copious multiple notes to that effect so that everyone up to Apple Care knows.

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Actual Apple Employee July 31, 2011 at 1113

No. He’s talking about swapping something with a new product when the issue isn’t the hardware, it’s user error, jail breaking, damage etc. In other words, inflating your usage numbers by just swapping everything so you can run though customers in 5 seconds rather than actually fixing anything

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CFRsAlot August 8, 2011 at 1858

says the manager who grasps at straws.

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AppleNoLonger July 31, 2011 at 0521

Having left Apple retail as genius within 2 months ago, I could not agree more with Kevin’s email.
I am fortunate that I left when I did, and feel sad for the staff who are still there.
The job truly pays poorly as well as the impossible hours and working with the public.
I now work mon – fri and get to see my friends on weekends.
I am no longer the zombie I was becoming due to late night repair shifts and poor scheduling.
While at Apple retail, I can honestly say that I never felt more like a robot or resource than when I worked there. Seriously, repeating yourself every 10 – 15 mins is not good for your mental health.
If you are a current employee and ever have any doubts about leaving Apple, stop deluding yourself about what a magical place it is and go find some greener grass.

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lolzer July 31, 2011 at 0712

Huzzah! If it wasn’t for the health insurance, I’d be right behind you. I can’t stand working with a group of spineless drones like FrMRApple whose opinions aren’t their own, but those of a detached corporate entity, too far removed from retail life to even begin to understand how it works, or ought to work.

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Genii July 31, 2011 at 0939

Actually the genius salaries overlap the managers salaries. Ass manager not senior. However if you were promoted from within you most likely got shafted as they don’t raise your salary up very much. When hired from outside you can at least bargain if your smart.

The points made in this letter range from very true and well stated, to a little preachy and whiny.

I would agree the shift to closings to do repairs and the “one to many” ideas hurt both employees and customer experiences. With employees it takes the work/home balance and swings it way off, also putting repairs off that could be done throughout the day leaving customers waiting.
With the one to many it
leaves customers feeling neglected and uninformed and puts incredible stress and stain on a genius to remain on time. At least this has been our feedback so far. Most of the stores currently don’t have room to accommodate the influx of people making another part of the 10-15 min appointment just figuring out where to work with the 1-3 customers we are expected to help at once.

The parts where he loses me is about saying no to doing the job. Unfortunately this reflects badly on any employee. I would never say arguing and stopping doing your job will help a situation. A company progresses and requires more of employees in almost every situation, whining about it won’t make anything change especially when they can just hire someone else who can keep a better attitude.
Feedback can help though. Speaking with HR about making a schedule that works better for your quality of life usually helps resolve this issue (I would speak 1st with the store leader and market leader about those concerns). Also there is no reason for the additional rant as it takes away from his argument.

The only resolve I can see is either redoing stores with larger renovations (like Glendale) or a mass genius hiring spree. Like 5-10 per store). Then opening the cues won’t feel so bad and then we might also have more room to function.

Another solution is opening more stores in areas where current stores are hitting mass capacity. This helps traffic in the store concideribly.

My last concern is about fire regulations. Have you ever been in your store looked around and just felt unsafe with the amount of people there? I certainly have. Not sure who is watching this though.

Thats it for my rant
Genii

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Actual Apple Employee July 31, 2011 at 1120

If One to Many isn’t working in your store then you aren’t doing it right. Because it can be very useful and actually improve experiences. It’s meant for times like when a customer needs a phone restored. While that is going on the computer behind you, you take the next person in the queue and get them started so that they aren’t having to wait 20 minutes after their appointed time while you watch numbers tick on the restore. Or while you are running net diags on computer A, you find out what customer b is having trouble with (that will probably need to be hooked up to your other diags port for a scan which you can do while you are looking at the results for customer A).

Customers get in and out on time, your queue stays caught up and you don’t have games like folks not taking breaks on time (or at all by their choice) because of delays.

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Secret About Box August 9, 2011 at 2238

You make a very important point which I think is just blown past by almost everyone. I, too, have wondered about about the numbers of people in the store and the fire regulations that apply. Our store is jammed ALL THE TIME. Little kids, moms with strollers, seating jammed together for workshops, boxes open and strewn about near set-up, all the things that make emergency evacuations nearly impossible. I also wonder how workplace noise regulations can be met when the roar is so high that you are nearly yelling to be heard by the customer you are next to. I’d swear that my hearing has been affected by the noise level in our store, but trying to prove it would be impossible. For as much as gets done in our store, we could easily be 4 to 5 times larger to really accommodate the peak crowds we see regularly. Customers see it too, and mention it. As the company market penetration continues to grow, our market could easily absorb at least three more stores. They tell us that other stores our size turn more considerably more dollars that we do, but nearly every day we are beating our forecast, often times quite soundly, and our business team is just whomping the crap out of their numbers, too. Somethings got to give sometime.

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Genii July 31, 2011 at 1436

What your describing isn’t one to many. It’s just normal appointments and common sense. The new system is actually called one to few and has you group 3 cracked screen replacements, or home button issues so you can give the talk once to a few people at once. It’s quite hard but gets 3 out of the queue. This so far is not brightening people’s days genius or customer.

Almost every company has 401k and stock plans. Of course none doing as well as apple stock Also most companies do retreats and party’s to excite the staff. So let’s not say this makes or breaks the deal.

So the main genius boss usually goes to stores and adds about a hundred queues just to show the store that they can handle it.

Soon the system will auto open new queues if it gets fully booked, saving those arguments with management. It may be hard to see all those waiting faces staring you down.

I’m not debating right or wrong arguments here. I just think more time should be spent finding different solutions. It could only help to talk about it. Like what’s happening here.
Genii

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GetReal July 31, 2011 at 1509

Seriously. Fan boys will never get the picture. Remember Apple when there was bonuses? When numbers didn’t matter it was about the customer experience? It’s all gone to absolute h@ll. Steve, Ron, everyone that is leadership, you have made the Apple Store a horrible place to work. Pretty soon they will bring FoxCon workers in to take our positions. I can hear them saying “You behind appointments, no break few yew.” Apple has gone the way of Best Buy, they are another big box store. This story made absolute sense.

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SubGenius July 31, 2011 at 2217

One of my pet peeves is the 25% employee discount.
I’m fairly certain they are still making a profit when I buy a Mac or iPod.

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CurrentGenius August 1, 2011 at 1303

If you’re working at Apple for the discount then you’re there for the wrong reason. LOL. Yeah their still making a profit, they have to in some way. I’m not dogging you, I understand your frustrations. I’m totally okay with the 25%. I just want to be able to afford it when I’m able to use it.

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GET over it August 1, 2011 at 1030

People, calm down, you have a job, you don’t like it leave. Simple.

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Kevin T August 1, 2011 at 1201

That’s a weak argument. Apple retail workers have told management directly and through our anonymous “Net Promoter for our People” (NPP) semiannual surveys that we are unhappy with the expanded duties workload. It’s not even increased pay that we want. We’d like a say in the discussion of how the store’s operations change to accomodate more customers. Workers are told that they’ll be working with more customers simultaneously in less time. They’re told that they have to work hours outside of their availability. When workers share these frustrations with superiors there’s no change. Discussion among workers is discouraged. A union may not be the ultimate answer but historically a business’s worker base has had to organize and speak together when they have grievances. Suggestion Boxes are worth little. Being an anonymous worker in a limited, one-way (vertical) conversation has no accountability.

It’s not just Apple technicians or salespeople feeling this crunch. American workers in every industry are faced with longer hours to drive productivity. As their co-workers are let go remaining workers have to keep quiet on new demands of the job or else they’ll be jobless too. The article on “Speedup” that I linked to at the end of the letter speaks to this. Not everyone can just get another job. It’s an employer’s market and if workers are told just “get over it and deal with it” then standards will silently decrease. Those with grievances in any job should make them heard.

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CurrentGenius August 1, 2011 at 1310

Kevin,

Thanks for visiting. Exactly, what are we doing for the customer buy lessening their time we can spend with them and the time we are spending with them they have to share with 3 or 4 other people. Our response from our management and lead when we talk about what’s going on, is it’s not going to change, Apple wants it done this way, we’re going to do it. There is no discussion past that. So our GR store spends most of its time close so we can vent amongst ourselves, but the problem with that is no one hears us. Kevin, I just want to say that your letter has sparked a fire up under a lot of our asses. Our team has grouped together after reading your letter more so now than any team building, outside of work, party/get together that we had previously. For that I think you. We can only hope that someone will hear this and understand where we’re coming from and help us work through to better work conditions throughout Apple Retail.

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Cory Moll August 2, 2011 at 0027

I sure am listening. People from every team in the store are talking and have written in about the issues that are important to them, especially the Genius team.

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MyJobSuxToo August 1, 2011 at 1154

GET over it. Just as easily as they could quit, you could just not read the forum if it offends your “just happy to have a job” sensibilities, but you chose to express your dissatisfaction with what is being said here.

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GET over it August 1, 2011 at 1216

MyJobSuxToo, your title says it all, please quit apple.

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GET over it August 1, 2011 at 1221

I guess it is true when people have it good they will find and complain about anything and everything, I like you all are one of these people, however the difference is I can admit it, and I’m complaining about you whiners.

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CurrentGenius August 1, 2011 at 1314

GET over it, did they higher you from Best Buy? I’m just wondering. How long have you been with Apple? What do you do? Because you don’t sound like you have any clue what you are talking about. You get on here and post one or two one liners and then hope on telling people to get over it. Not sure how I dislike more here, you or FrMRApple. That’s not the point here, it’s to about liking our jobs. I love my job. I go to the bar everyday looking forward to helping customer’s with their problems or questions. I love working with people and having the customer interactions that I have. Our problem is here that Apple themselves keep piling on workloads that are unreasonable, for us and the customer.

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GET over it August 1, 2011 at 1412

Its unreasonable to you because you just cannot keep up. I have been with apple for 6 years as a Genius.

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CurrentGenius August 1, 2011 at 1419

Awesome! Then you should understand where most of us are coming from. What Apple is expecting of us is unreasonable. It has nothing to do with me not keeping up. For months I was #1 in our region for NPS and I was able to “keep up”. It’s amazing to me that you if you are a Genius wouldn’t feel the work load and the increased demand as troublesome. To me, the way you are responding on here I would have thought you had been with the company, maybe a year, an external higher from Best Buy. You have no good info on here other than telling people to get over it. I highly doubt you’ve been with the company that long. Matter of fact I would put my job on it.

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genius-me-arse! August 15, 2011 at 1825

hey, ‘current genius’, you are neither a genius or current. put your job on it and, perhaps, you should be practicing this phrase: “will that be paper or plastic”.

what a room full of buffoons.

GET over it August 1, 2011 at 1441

so you will be leaving soon then, great.

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Mr Bean {ex-apple employee} August 1, 2011 at 1446

I agree with my fellow colleagues, senior staff (management) bully you around. And when you do say something to HR continuously. You are later set-up by management and HR that you are in breach of your employee contract and dismissed.

Whilst I working at Apple, came across sexual harassment, racial discrimination, management misuse of authority to sex scandals.., and ass licking to get promoted.

I wonder if Steve Jobs actually knows what is going on in his great Apple Stores around the world.

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CurrentGenius August 1, 2011 at 1613

Mr. Bean,

The wonder if Steve actually knowing is a great question. It’s a hard one to try and picture. Steve is a hard ass, he has worked his entire life to make Apple what it is. He has never been one to really be hard on cash flow. When he was pushing for development of the computers he was usually the one writing the checks to keep things moving forward. I don’t know. I would like to think no, he has no clue.

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Anthony (Current Genius) August 1, 2011 at 1547

This letter has hit every nail on the head. It got me to put some thought into a lot of the issues he points out. Although I agree that things have become more stressful, hectic, chaotic and there is an over all consensus of being pushed to the limits, this is Apple. Apple is a great company to work for, one the best. They offer unrivaled benefits, employee discounts ranging from their own products and stocks to those of other companies, a great enviorment to work in, great people to work with, opportunities to move up and support to relocate. Apple pushes limits, this is why they are the best at what they do, this is why we are the best at what we do. Do they make enough money to be alittle more kind toward retail? Sure. We are the face of Apple and, in my opinion, we are the reason Apple is thriving. Us. But compared to any other retail franchise out there, Apple sets the bar. Another BIG reason for Apple’s success? Trial and Error. Apple is constantly adjusting what they do, how they do it and the impact of such actions. I believe that Apple truly cares about it’s employee’s and how they feel. I’ve felt this from day one and it only became stronger when I got to vist Cupertino for my training. I believe they will constantly adjust what they do and how they do it. Not just because it’s right for the customer, but also because it’s right for the employee. I have faith. But who knows, maybe I’m just “brainwashed” as some of you call it.

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CurrentGenius August 1, 2011 at 1624

Anthony,

This is a breath of fresh air. What you’ve said here is for the most part how I feel. There are times when I just get burned up. Apple is still young in Retail. They’ve been around for 10 years where you have others that have been around for decades. If you ‘re going to work retail, it might as well be Apple. They are by far the best company. None of us are saying they’re not. : ) I think what we are trying to say is “Trial and Error” with your staff so you can bring in a few extra billion is a little rough to swallow. At the end of the day, I still leave tired, worn out, to the point where I get home and I don’t want to do anything. My kids want to play, my wife needs help with the house work. However, Apple makes it really hard to leave because of what they offer their employees. My mother in law works for a law firm, and I’ve got better benefits than her. When you have someone like Apple that historically has been known for taking care of their employees, it brings people in, and makes it that much harder to leave. I like you would think that there is still a bit of faith in me that Apple is going to do the right thing. My only worry is that they think they are doing the right thing.

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GetReal August 1, 2011 at 1556

GET over it,
WHAT YOU’RE HIRED FOR, is to help us… does that seem clear to you? TO HELP US, not to… EFF-US-UP… to help those who are going out there to try to earn a living… You fairy. You company man.

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GET over it August 1, 2011 at 1709

you fairy? thats new. Also get what ever is up your #$% and calm down.

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GetReal August 2, 2011 at 1641

Give me a pack of bubble gum and I’ll show you how to chew it.

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PureGenius August 1, 2011 at 1856

I was at Apple from the time our store opened in July 2005 to this past March. For the last three years I was a Genius. It went from being an “Apple” Store to being a “RETAIL” store with an Apple logo out front. That is undisputed. If you can’t work at a mall store, you will HATE working for Apple RETAIL. I was 1 of 3 employees out of 80 that was MARRIED and had KIDS. I’m only 34. I was the ONLY employee out of those 3, with a working spouse. When I get guilted because I need to go pickup my sick daughter at daycare, because my wife can’t leave her admittedly much more important hospital job, I think it’s time to move on. When I get a “vibe” that I need to spend a few days at home because my wife is stressed, I then confide with a manager in asking for a few days off, and their first response is WHETHER I CAN AFFORD TO GAIN PENALTY ATTENDANCE POINTS, I think it’s time to move on. It sucks that I don’t work at Apple anymore. But what I left wasn’t Apple. It’s a mall store. And it’s a shame.

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FormerAppleEmployee August 4, 2011 at 0151

Could not agree more. When I first started at Apple, it truly was unlike any other retail store. The environment was relaxed and we were truly concerned about doing what was right for a customers. In addition managers always went out of their way to accomodate our personal lives, as they believed that happy employees would translate into a better customer experience. Fast forward 3.5 years later, it turned into some totalitarian regime. Where the only thing that mattered was metrics, and where training consisted of positioning and sugar coating lies to our customer, and where those who voiced any dissent were punished or quickly terminated. The day I quit was honestly one of the best days of my lives. I also had many colleagues who just decided to quit even without another job lined up because they had enough. If Apple wants to run their company this way, it is perfectly fine. Judging by their profits, it is working perfectly for them. However, the fact that they make it seem like it is some god given privilege to wear those cheap lanyards that crack at the edge every month, makes me absolutely sick.

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AppleExpert August 3, 2011 at 0548

I could not agree with this email anymore.

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fight.the.stupids August 3, 2011 at 1142

If ‘GET over it’ really does work for Apple, say goodbye to any decent raises in your future. I worked for Apple in several Markets as a Lead, opened several stores (NSOs), for many years. My teams were always top performers. After 5 years I hit a ‘market cap’ and got a 1.5% raise because I’d been with the company too long. My review gave me a 4 out of 5. It wasn’t my performance.

I stuck it out a couple more years because I figured I’d work even harder, and develop my team members even more and maybe I could get a promotion to manager – or something. There really was no path ‘up’ but I figured I was invested, so kept giving it a go.

Instead, they decided to hire people from ‘known successful companies” like Starbucks, Gap, etc. My thought was, ‘shit, I’m from a known successful company called Apple, what about your current people”. But nope. We even had some managers from those failed Dell Kiosks get hired in. Guys from Used Car lots were hired. People from Target (imagine that).

Then a little over a year ago they decided to stop doing repairs during the day. They wanted to let them all build up and keep folks there until midnight doing repairs. So instead of taking a machine to the back, having a person staffed to just replace that Optical Drive or whatever – what we called a 0-30 (minutes) repair it sat on a shelf. Now, maybe for some stores that couldn’t handle their queues this idea might have worked as a last ditch effort to catch up. It also counts as a ‘same day’ repair because it was done before midnight. It wasn’t a true same day repair, of course, because the customer couldn’t pick it up until the next day. It was nothing but a ploy to improve metrics so managers at a meeting somewhere could congratulate themselves on what a great thing we were doing for our customers. In reality we’d gone backwards.

The Gap-ification of Apple is mostly because they keep hiring Retail Managers who don’t know anything about running a service business, to run a service business. They really don’t have a clue. I remember we had managers who would deflect almost any GB issue to a Genius because they ‘don’t even know what a logic board is’. The managers would call it ‘pushing the power down’. It was a joke.

When I left, or rather, was pushed out – I was replaced by a retail employee from some other company. Yep, none of the geniuses on my team were promoted to Lead, instead they gave the job of Lead Genius to a guy who didn’t even have a Mac. No joke. He didn’t know what a PRAM reset was. Failed his certifications etc. But, he was quickly promoted to Manager because he was a ‘yes man’. Never questioned anything and kept racking up the open queues on his Genius Team.

Not long after much of the experienced team quit. About half had been there for the more than 5 years since the store opened. Now none of the MGs in that store has more than a year of experience.

Whatever. I don’t have the benefits I did. I’ve adjusted to a different life (my pay was more than most managers since I’d gotten in early) but at least I didn’t have a company always reminding me ‘what a privilege it was to work there’ and not even giving me an honestly earned Merit increase while I’m helping them earn billions.

Oh, and someone should do a study of the rates of alcoholism among MGs. I’m sure it’s high.

Apple: our most valued asset is our people. Yeah right. We’re all expendable and they know it.

It’s too bad too. There was so much promise for the stores to be more when they first opened. Oh well. Not my problem anymore.

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Your Boss August 15, 2011 at 1501

Here is what you are doing wrong:

1. You rant and you rave when things do not go your way.
2. You mastered information that is now obsolete.
3. You do not see the big picture.
4. You are not someone I want in my company.

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fight the stupids August 16, 2011 at 1219

Funny, I just had a review/meeting with my boss two weeks ago (in the real world a competent person isn’t micro-managed) and he commended me on the fine job I’ve been doing as well as the positivity I bring to the group. Getting thanked by the CIO for my work several times since I’ve been here is nice too.

1. Pardon me for considering things imperfect and looking for ways they can be improved for the good of all. I didn’t feel my post was ranting and raving, but hey, if that’s your perspective, run with it. The only reason I posted in the first place was so the other folks here could see they weren’t alone. I guess we’re all wrong. How’s NPP going in your store these days?

2. You’re right. From a developmental point of view working at Apple in a retail store is a stultifying experience. There is no ongoing training that’s useful in the real world (yippee, I did an ilearn on how to use iPhoto! or sell AppleCare). Thankfully, the skills I possess and honed on my own time allowed me to find a ‘normal’ job outside of Apple with sane hours, opportunities to learn new things (programming, networking, managing ‘professionals’ not kids) better pay, holidays with my family – you know, the things that make for a decent work/home balance. I sorta miss the stock plan and fancy healthcare, but I’ll hold onto my xxx AAPL and hope it keeps growing.

3. So enlighten me. I thought we were supposed to be enriching people’s lives and building careers? Reinventing retail and the way people shop and get support? No? People can’t expect to be rewarded for hard work and proven results? People are not allowed to question where things are going and make suggestions? Are we allowed to ask about the big picture if it hasn’t been well conveyed to us? Are we allowed to have relationships with our management team that make for stronger discussions on how to best accomplish these things?

4. Now you sound like my old boss. They purged a lot of folks that had been around a long time and replaced them with folks they’d worked with at other retailers. Maybe they were all masters of obsolete information, I don’t know. I think that was the most frustrating thing about the management team at my old store. Sure, I got over the lousy raise thing years ago – under different managers. I still loved Apple, wanted it to succeed, and wanted to be a part of that success. But once managers start playing the favorites game and destroying trust in a team, there’s no way to work your way out of that. There’s no room to ‘ask about the big picture’ because through a culture of fear it’s perceived as a sign of weakness, destroying upward trust even more.

• Like I said earlier, not my problem anymore. I visited an Apple Store once since I left, well out of state (I can’t see myself ever going to a local ARS at least not until the next round of management turnover), and was kind of excited to go back and see one with fresher eyes. Yet, once I went in, my stomach got all jittery, the old stresses of people standing around the bar came back, the fear and negativity of poor morale. The lost look in the eyes of those folks in the blue shirts. It all came back. It was just an uneasy experience. So glad I never went down the road of being a retail manager. I would have had a sad life.

I will give credit to Apple for allowing me to realize how much potential I have within myself. By working with other talented individuals we got a LOT accomplished. The early years were the hardest for Apple and we really helped grow the brand. It was great to be a part of it. No one thought we’d have more than 100 stores back then. Some of the best folks I’ve ever worked with were there in the early days. I hope the newcomers enjoy the fruit of it. Apple’s growing up. It’s becoming another ‘Gap”. There’s no one to blame, it’s what Apple has to do to be a successful Retail operation. That means low wages, tough hours and high turnover. We just thought differently early on and I will never regret the time I spent there. It’s just crappy what it became. Successful products or not.

Oh, and one more thing, Honey Badger don’t give a damn. :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4r7wHMg5Yjg

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Genii August 3, 2011 at 1907

So when the 1st class action suit gets filed against the company for discriminating against geniuses with families who cannot make a schedule that works to balance work/home or a suit that shows inconsistencies with merit/earned increases of pay vs time in position and outside hires. I’m happy to sit back and wait for these, as I know they will be coming, and when they do I’ll bet some accounting and scheduling changes will come as well.
Genii

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David August 3, 2011 at 1946

Apple is Walmart dressed up with a shiny stainless steel sheen, glass, and great products.

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FamRL August 3, 2011 at 2122

I can defitnetly understand everyone’s frustration. I look at my family room team and they work their butts off.And while I have not been here since the beginning of retail (4 years), I have seen and learned a lot. My question to you all is how would you deal with the change? Knowing more and more customers use our products everyday… Knowing more and more customers will visit out stores everyday…..How would you usher in change. I know some of you (not all) want to spend more time with the customer, but that is not the reality now. Yes doctors office make you wait days and sometimes weeks, even if you really need to see someone. Do you still feel that’s right? Would you not want to improve that? So all of you are smart and dymanic individuals. I mean this and I am not being sarcastic. So given the talents and knowledge you possess and knowing we have to grow as a company and improve everyday (not a lot, but a little better)….my question is how will you do it? Will you do it? do you want to do it? If the answer is no….that’s ok, but please know that we need to move forward and I would love our teams to move forward together as one. Make no mistake,leaders need their people more then their people need them.Everyone here has a choice…..nothing is holding you back. Bills,obligations? Apple did not make those decisions, that was us individually. thanks for reading this.

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CurrentGenius August 3, 2011 at 2200

FamRL,

You have an open mind, that was truly spoken like an Apple Manager. That’s not a bad thing at all, but we can propose change all we want, the problem is the right people don’t listen. My store has some AMAZING management. They understand from the bottom up our frustrations as a Genius Team, but I can tell them all I want what I feel needs to change and how it may benefit the customer/team, but they have the same response, well that’s not going to change, what can we do to make this (The current situation with 10 min/late nights) work for us. We have made some schedule adjustments and we do have some earlier shifts that are not affecting the bar time and closing repair shifts. These early shifts allow us to have some repair time in the AM before the bar. This allows us to clean up from the night before, check quick drops and get the bench ready for the folks at night/through out the day .I’m not really bent out of shape at the 10 minute queues, but I am bent out of shape that Apple doesn’t realize what type of constant stress that places on their employees. Constantly having to separate yourself emotionally from the situation, trying not to get angry that a customer has come in, blatantly lied to your face and you are giving them a new phone or iPad, or MAC, because you know if it escalates then you’ll end up replacing it anyway. The job itself it emotionally tolling because Apple just continues to ask more and more of us, with little addition to staff, with little reward, other than the fact that, “We’re lucky to be working for such a good company.” Is the company really a good company if they lose track of “their people”? Do they still remember “Think Different”? I don’t believe they do. That was our growing statement. We lived by that. This company was build on individuality, but when you walk into our stores every one is wearing the same tacky blue shirts. Granted we can wear shorts, flip-flops, Converse, boots, even the bad ass that works at Cupertino that wears a kilt all day long. (Being serious there) My fear is they don’t care, they don’t want to be different anymore. They don’t remember where their Billions of dollars are coming from. The company has sold out to the shareholders and the mass populous.

So do I honestly believe spending the time to think of another possible resolution would help, no. In our store it’s a matter of time until someone tells our scheduling manager that we can no longer have the early shifts. It will all go away and we’ll all be back where we were a few months ago.

I’ll say it again, I love my job, I just don’t know if I love the company anymore.

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FamRL August 3, 2011 at 2347

I think there has to be an investment of people first. I am not going to go not detail about what it took to get my team where they are at, but I can’t tell you that they are the best team in the market when you look at metrics and talent. I learn from them everyday and they have had the biggest impact on me as a leader. If I left tomorrow, I would be satified with my time and the team I helped mold. They are believers now ofwhat they can accomplish.Do they still gripe and push back,yes….but they are a team that embrace change versus tolerating it. You are right though……it takes the right people to listen and I can’t say that I haven seen the obstacles you are talking preventing things from change. Maybe I am just lucky.I think it does take managerial courage to make chancge though. I tried the midnight shifts with my team and quickly changed it. They needed work life balance. i let the team decide how to tackle repairs and they came up with a late Sunday blitz which worked out better for them since they would came in later on Sunday and stay till aout 11 or 12. It worked out since our store closed at 7 which gave gave 4-5 hours of repairs and multiply that by 5 genii. and we order food and make a night out of it. Doesn’t happen often but we know we have that just in case. But the point is, we listened to each other and put some action behind it and ultimately they came up with a solution they thought was fair and they owned. I know every situation is different and the last thing we would want is for anyone to fall out of love. But I can’t walk in your shoes and only you know how you feel inside. I wish you and your team luck and hopefully you can bring about change. Never have i worked for a place where I changed so much in such a little time. Yes they might be small milestones, but at my previous job (major department store chain), it never happened or came close. good luck CurrentGenius.

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CurrentGenius August 4, 2011 at 0648

FamRL,

Thanks for the words of encouragement! Maybe the retail stores need more managers like you? We’ve got several great managers I’ll say that, they try to work with us, but within boundaries. We’ll have to see. Good Luck and thanks again!

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FamRL August 4, 2011 at 0016

“but I can tell you that they are the best team in the market when you look at ”
Meant to type “I can” versus I can’t. Typo.lol

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Chris Phillips August 5, 2011 at 1541

This article and thread is enlightening. It brings back a lot of memories; many not-so-good ones. I worked as a Mac Genius from 2002 to 2009. I was promoted to Lead in 2007. There’s nothing I can say about the job that hasn’t already been said here. I quit for all of the reasons mentioned here and to save my own sanity. I know the job market is very rough right now, but for those of you toughing out life within Apple retail just know that life can be better outside the company. Since I quit I fulfilled a long-held dream of working in Antarctica. I’m now back home with my family and life is very good. My benefits are not quite as comprehensive as they were under Apple. However, I make quite a bit more money, my workload has been slashed dramatically and I have regular hours, weekends, holidays… I’m treated like a human being with dignity and respect and I no longer feel as though I’m walking around with a target on my back. Get out and life will get better. And to the company shills: Get real and open your eyes.

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Jimbo August 8, 2011 at 1011

The reason Apple is making tons of money is they outsource all the manufacturing of computers, iPads, iPhones to Asia. If they could pay the Apple Store workers less in the U.S., they would!

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Confused August 8, 2011 at 2352

I’m not shocked by all the comments I’m reading but I’m a little surprised its as bad as it is in some of your stores. People come first. Sure there are policies company wide that make life harder for us to make it easier for the customer but largely, leadership should help drive initiatives in stores by obtaining feedback from their teams, determine support needed to be successful and adapt larger policies to teams and stores with specific needs. I’m sorry to hear anyone’s experience is this extreme and I hope your leadership teams turn it around and help being the fun and enrichment back into your jobs. Apple retail is a demanding job but it’s those that work hard that believe in feedback instead of complaining that make change happen. Do I agree with every decision we make? No. But I’ll fight like hell to make sure my team has everything they need to ensure the employee experience is positive through even tough changes. Good luck to you all that are thinking of moving on or out. I wish you the best. For everyone else, be a part of feedback with the right people. Talk to leaders you trust. Your market an regional leaders. Come with ideas. With suggestions and feedback. You’ll make a difference, even if it takes a little longer to see an impact.

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Cory Moll August 9, 2011 at 1210

Initiatives in the stores. Yeah, it’s called “NetPromoter for our People.” And leadership GETS ON OUR ASSES every cycle to make sure they’ve either submitted something or acknowledged the email. Which makes us really more eager to submit our feedback… *eg*

As for reaching out to regional and market leaders… they don’t work in our stores. We see them a few days out of the year if ever. They work hundreds of miles away and don’t know the individual people who work on our teams, yet make decisions that affect every one of us without getting input or seeing firsthand the results of any changes they implement.

I don’t trust my leaders anymore. When I spoke to mine about working full time for eight months without full time benefits, they made sure after that I was scheduled more “appropriately”. When I spoke to mine about trying to find outside work that didn’t conflict with their availability requirements, they said if I need to leave Apple to take another part time position then so be it.

And don’t get me started on the stories that specialists AROUND THE WORLD have told me about how they are being treated and “respected” at their stores.

F*** this “fight like hell” crap. Leadership isn’t on our side anymore.

That’s why I am fighting. That’s why we are organizing.

Our Time Has Come.

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Genii is not a word August 9, 2011 at 0938

“Genii” is not a word. Stop that.

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Former Jenius August 9, 2011 at 1124

Hopefully with all this bad rep they will change for the sake of my former colleagues.

I stopped reading the comments half-way down but basically people are right, the experience is being taken away. Work was no longer fun because everything was for “the numbers” and everything was controlled by the main manager and whatever corporate wanted.

The work-life balance they talk about, doesn’t exist.

High pressure does not define what is a job and what isn’t. What should matter is efficiency, and that comes from setting a likeable work environment which Apple is moving away from more and more.

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max march August 10, 2011 at 1825

They fired me (as a lead genius whose team was in the top 2% as far as metrics/numbers) because i made more than the managers who did nothing. sorry i was there ten years, and moved from one store to another to get that raise. SO a manager who has only worked for apple for a year finds out i make more than him, and he ‘finds’ a reason to have issues with my performance. [after being sales for 1 year, genius for 1 year, lead genius for 5, opening a new store with 3 'green' fresh geniuses, AND, as i said above, 6 months before he came on board i led our team to the top 2% in the company.] ummmm…yeah it was my performance, thats it- and you do NOTHiNG,but get paid? KARMA took great care of me, and my store manager was fired a week later, and the jerk who ‘f”ed’ with me was relegated to the walden galberia- where he deserves to kiss patrick (the little napoleon) xxxxxxxx ass for the rest of his apple career. he’s prolly sucking him off too cause they both seem very effeminate to me.

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fight the stupids August 12, 2011 at 0818

You and I have likely had a drink together.

Maybe not, but my story is similar and there were only so many of us that were in it that long.

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Shutup August 10, 2011 at 2347

Please everyone, just shut the fudge up, stop your whining you stupid stupid people.

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PureGenius August 11, 2011 at 0415

I hate when 10 year olds get Internet access. Please be a productive contributor to the conversation. Thank you.

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Shutup August 11, 2011 at 0835

I hate you, and your idiot name

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Mark Freedman August 14, 2011 at 0818

The highlighted rant ,”I don’t want to support a culture that sells the idea of 24-hour on-demand personal entertainment that takes us outside of what’s real” only speaks to this person’s self-inflated ego. He’s obviously burnt out and is spinning up some pseudo-philosophical nonsense; maybe a future in politics or religion. From my interaction with so called Apple Geniuses, one word comes to mind – oxymoron. Unless you’re a complete novice and need the ‘Apple genius’ to reset your PRAM, the only time you need to see the ‘Apple genius’ is to replace broken hardware – just as this clown is whining about. Other than that, save time and gas by googling the solution to your likely software problem.

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God Bless 'Merica August 15, 2011 at 1408

Mr. Kevin works in retail. The entire goal of retail is to eliminate retail. I stopped going to Apple Stores entirely when everything is available either through purchase over the internet or instant downloading. This is why Apple created the App Stores. If I want to purchase Aperture why should I get in my car and go to a store with unpredictable and moody customer service to purchase a box and contents that I will immediately discard and that a company had to produce? Boom! I want it. I buy it online and I have it instantly. Everyone is thrilled.

Kevin, you are like the mechanic who becames masterful at tweaking carburators. There are no longer carburators but you want to be recognized for the genius carburator tinkerer that you are. EVERYTHING CHANGES. You probably have not saved a dime in your life. If your income sucks you need to save even more. No one owes you anything. Apple treats its employees like any other decent company: based on the value you are generating. Apple will continue to simply the purchase and repair process. This is fabulous news. If you work in retail today you are like the small farmer of 100 years ago: fast becoming a dinosaur. You will not be missed. It may be time to focus on maturing emotionally and intellectually instead of bitching that the world is moving in directions you are unable to anticipate. Have a pleasant day.

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CurrentGREmployee August 16, 2011 at 1747

You drank to much Apple Kool-Aid. YOU clearly have not worked for Apple Retail in the past 3 years. Kevin made valid points and backed them up with factual numbers. Apple retail has grown to big to fast. They have increased overall workload by three times or more on the average employee.
The difference between you and Kevin. You make inflammatory statements about people you don’t know. He makes factual statements and can back them up. So stop talking, and let the adults speak.

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Expecting Sympathy? August 15, 2011 at 1422

I really enjoy the IFOAppleStore site. Unfortunately, empathetic posting of a disgruntled ex-Apple employee simply reveals the bias that ‘worker bees’ are being taken advantage of by an ever-changing industry. Apple has nailed the retail world in a time when most retail environments are, at best, staffed by luddites who do not give one rat’s derriere about me as a customer.

This former employees whining is the result of the light dawning in his mind that retail is not a career path. Good for him: now he can go on to figure out what he really wants to be when he grows up. I agree with the comment above. Retail has been a hell-zone for both the employees and the customers alike. RIP in Peace Retail. You will not be missed.

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CurrentGREmployee August 16, 2011 at 1748

You drank to much Apple Kool-Aid. YOU clearly have not worked for Apple Retail in the past 3 years. Kevin made valid points and backed them up with factual numbers. Apple retail has grown to big to fast. They have increased overall workload by three times or more on the average employee.
The difference between you and Kevin. You make inflammatory statements about people you don’t know. He makes factual statements and can back them up. So stop talking, and let the adults speak. You too.

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People First August 19, 2011 at 0737

Apple products are intimate accessories to ones life in many cases. An iPhone is not just a piece of consumable junk, but today functions as an extension of who a person communicates with (voice), what a person knows (knowledge). Without making a value judgement god or bad, it becomes and extension of a humans identity.

Apple has personalized the machine, but is devaluing the person at the same time. What has differentiated Apple Retail so far are the human beings in blue not the tech spec of the iDeJour. I hope this current cycle does not swing too far in the wrong direction.

Tipping points being what they are, I have a feeling we are doomed to be swimming like the polar bears with no ice moving forward.

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Dr. Swapper August 21, 2011 at 1835

So, here’s the deal. They pay just enough me to ask these slow moes if they have their shit saved so I can swap it quickly and help the drive thru window of customers with mobile devices. Not to be a therapist. And apparently the only move that an FRS can make is to be a Genius..that’s for the lifers. My vision is the only one that matters. Not the one they have for me.

P.S. Find ways to give yourself a raise. I did, now I can have bologna with my ramen!

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