Ex-Genius: Apple No Longer Values Retail Staffers

December 31, 2011

A former Apple store Genius who was allegedly bullied by managers into resigning from the Arrowhead (Ariz.) store has just posted an email to company CEO Tim Cook, thanking him for the job experience, but warning that the stores have shifted from life-enriching to life-draining for employees. Chad Ramey, 39, posted the email on a Web site shortly after finishing his final shift. “It was truly one of the most heart-wrenching moments of my life when I had to walk out of that store for the last time,” he wrote Cook. “No one likes to abandon their passion,” he said, “and helping Apple’s customers was not only something that I loved to do, but also something that I gave my entire heart and soul doing.” Ramey said he’s watched as Apple’s retail stores shifted, “from something truly spectacular and wonderful, to big-box retail that is no better than a Best Buy or a Walmart.” He added, “What was once a truly enriching place to work has become a place that leeches and drains everything from their employees. Apple retail no longer values its people and when I say people, I am referring to both your customers and your retail employees serving you on the front-lines.”

Ramey spent four years with Apple after a 12-year Air Force career and a job at Cox Communications. He started as a Specialist in September 2008 and became a Genius two years later. His name first popped up in Tweets posted by the Apple Retail Union. According to that group, they are, “fighting to get (Ramey’s) job back after a manager bullied him into quitting.”

Ramey’s email is similar to one written by a Michigan Genius last July to other employees in the chain. In that email, Kevin T. complained that a continually-increasing workload puts pressure on the Genius Bars, forcing quick interactions that devalue the customer experience. He told his co-workers, “We need to put down our screens, inform ourselves, talk to each other, organize and act.”

In his email, Ramey doesn’t comment on his departure from Apple, but instead explains how the retail stores have changed. He says employees are, “forced to worry more about pushing business leads and reaching numbers, rather than truly focus on the customer’s problems.” He laments, “Everything I was led to believe in CORE training four years ago has become nullified; Apple is no longer about enriching lives, it is about enriching pocketbooks.”

Ramey tells Cooks that the staff at Arrowhead is among the most talented and devoted in the company. “They give everything they have to keep the focus on their customers despite the increasing hurdles that the company keeps throwing at them.” But, Ramey warns, “They are, however, quickly being burnt out. Apple is treating its retail workforce like they are disposable, and in doing so, Apple is throwing away some of its brightest and most amazing talents.”

He claims that the continuing loss of employes is fueled by the feeling that they are neither important nor truly cared for. “The idea of thinking of employees as people instead of numbers was what used to set Apple apart,” Ramey says. “This is what has made Apple change.”

Because of an overwhelming number of appointments-per-employee and a continued push to open more and more active queues, “Most interactions are now completely transactional, rather than transformational,” Ramey writes. “We are lucky if we have time to ask the customer their name, nevertheless truly get to dig deeply into their lives and their issues, and further repair their relationships with both Apple and the Apple brand.”

Ramey concludes his email to Tim Cook by saying, “I know this letter may never reach your eyes, but I would feel as if I’d abandoned my team if I never even tried to make a change.”

Ending with advice, Ramey says, “If you truly care about the future of Apple retail, Mr. Cook, you’ll return to the foundations on which it was originally based. Create an environment where employees feel wanted and needed. Go back to the days when sales and support were geared toward the customers and not the bottom-line. If you don’t, you’ll continue to burn through some of the greatest and most talented resources in your workforce.”

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{ 188 comments… read them below or add one }

MacFan457 December 31, 2011 at 0509

I worked for a year in electronics retail, and can relate to this guy’s bad experience. With most big retail companies, things become impersonal. Depending on the job position, you are many times abused, and the whole experience is usually an unpleasant one. It is sad to see that an Apple retail store has become just as bad as a Best Buy. I always assumed that Apple was achieved a slightly higher quality environment to work in, but I guess not. One positive, however, is that the staffing seems to be adequate in proportion to the number of customers, unlike some other retail stores.

I have always been against traditional crowded retail environments both as a customer and as a employee. Whenever possible, I always try to accomplish things with the least hassle, like ordering things online, etc. I have the Apple Store app on my iPhone just in case I ever decide to use the self-checkout option.

The last time I went to the Apple store, the look on some employees’ faces was an unpleasant and overwhelmed one.

Unfortunately, I believe every large retail company is doomed to becoming just an ant pile.

At least the pressures of working for a small business include some depth to them.

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ChampagneBob December 31, 2011 at 0659

I have reason to go to my local Apple Store numerous times per month…. I have seen the increase in traffic (in itself exciting), but have seen no deminuation of service quality…. stores have staffed up, new approaches to check-out implemented and employees moral seems high…

Apple Stores have become like a doctors office where problem solving is the one of the primary jobs to be done…. resolving those issues are what makes Apple the differentiator in the industry.

No other retail organization even comes close to attaining the level of accomplishment than Apple has garnered…. i.e. revenues per store/revenue per employee/revenues per sq. ft.

Someone must be happy with the experience…. the numbers tell the big story…. 1st Quarter revenue and profits will knock everyone’s socks off.

Sure, there will be strains on the stores/management /genius bar/retail staff…. how Apple continues to innovate and adjust to success will determine ongoing progress…. I can see genius bar mini-stores for problems/repairs/warranty/conversions at some point to relieve pressure at stores….. Apple always comes up with an answer and if you are identifying a developing problem then your efforts and open discussion is a good thing….

Keep the faith as Apple moves us forward with new innovations/ideas/markets to conquer.

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MacFan457 December 31, 2011 at 0832

Apple is definitely my favorite company nonetheless.

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SlyRobber December 31, 2011 at 2139

You are obviously a corporate shill. Just saying.

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Apple Turnover December 31, 2011 at 2201

How silly.

Most companies are the same, wherever you go in retail. Time is money and employees are expendable. One employee gets angry and quits, two hopefuls waiting to take his place. Even the pharoah’s slaves didn’t have it that good.

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Dan January 1, 2012 at 1541

You must work for them or part of the 1%. Making a ton of money does not prove anything when it comes to how a company treats its employees. You are probably one of those lame managers that everyone talks about. Wake up you will be next!

Al December 31, 2011 at 0736

I have noticed that change at the Apple store(s) close to where I live. I used to be the center of a Genius universe, who would give his utmost to help me and solve my problem. Now all I hear is, “I can only give you 15 minutes of my time. Period” On the retail floor, even the greetings have changed and most of the time things are geared toward a transaction. The environment and the experience seem to be gone.

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Rings True January 1, 2012 at 2256

Bingo!

What the spreadsheet morons seem to have forgotten is that the truly welcoming, community Apple Store yielded a lot of sales. Apple has gotten high on the cheap high of iPhone sales and has given the Macintosh user base the finger.

It’s all about hustling the iMerchandise like a sidewalk vendor in there now. When the shine wears off the iPhone with the trend obsessed and Apple has pissed off all of it’s Macintosh users, who is going to pay the light bill? They are killing the halo effect with the McDonald’s ordering line atmosphere and lack of merchandise in the stores. When I go by these days I see a lot of frustrated customers and employees- most of whoom are not well trained at anything but “I can ring you up right here”.

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ScatMaster January 2, 2012 at 1558

Absolutely Right!!!!

I know of one highly placed retail operations employee at Apple who left the company because of the unpleasantness caused by the company’s shift of focus from the customer experience to sales, sales, sales…

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david27orc December 31, 2011 at 0757

It is very rare to see an instance in time that becomes a momentous occasion in the life of a very large company. This is one of those moments that will have such tremendous benefits to both customers and employees of Apple! It is of enormous importance for the Apple executive to “get it” right here and right now. A well written letter such as this has the ability to moveountains!

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Publius December 31, 2011 at 0833

Sorry folks, but unless you’ve actually worked for Apple on either the sales floor or behind the bar, than you truly can never relate to what we go through.

You have these employees that truly do love what they do & the company they work for despite every single aspect of their job being pretty terrible.

The foot traffic, the type of product sold, the type of experience guaranteed vs the most ass backwards idea of how to successfully run the day to day, an utter lack of support from your leadership staff mixed with some of the most vile, evil customers in the world equals what it is kind of like to work for Apple retail.

Don’t get me wrong folks, the single most rewarding aspect of the job is helping our customer & after as many jobs I have held, can honestly say its the 1st time I’ve meant that statement. But understand one thing, that Genius, Specialist, Family Room Specialist, Expert &/or Back Of House Specialist come in everyday with odds stacked up against them with a workload that you may never possibly fathom & do a very thankless job for very low wage & our most rewarding part of the day is helping our customers.

Merry Christmas.

Happy Holidays!

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Ex-australian-genius January 11, 2012 at 0459

Ex Genius here, I couldn’t agree more. The grass is definitely greener on the other side. Current staff should stop deluding themselves about what a great place to work it is and leave. That is what I did and it was the best move I ever made.

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IndyChris January 16, 2012 at 2102

Same here. I worked for Apple for almost five years and witnessed the same downfall that others have mentioned here. I started in August of 2006 and left last year just before my five year mark. Best decision I ever made. When I started it was a fantastic store with a small and well educated staff with almost zero turnover. By the time I left they were hiring people that knew nothing about pretty much everything. After year two I bet I witnessed the turnover of more than 150 employees. The management at my store (Apple Keystone – Indianapolis) was corrupt beyond belief. They were harsh and unwilling to listen to employee concerns, often telling us that we were ungrateful and should feel privileged to work for the company. I had a store manager (married) that had an affair with married creative. She should have been immediately dismissed, but still works there to this day. We had the smallest back of house in the company and at one point has almost 120 people sharing one toilet and four break chairs. We were breaking so many fire codes I lost count. The store even lost HVAC for almost three weeks the summer before last when the outside temps were over 100. We were told it would be fixed everyday, but during this time we were forced to work in 90-100 degree indoor temps with ZERO ventilation in the sealed genius room. Employees were getting sick and I even reported the issue to OSHA. When they questioned Apple they were told that the AC’s had been fixed. I straight up lie. It would be another two weeks until they were in some kind of working order. Just a complete lack of caring for our safety.

The sad thing is that I could go on and on, along with about 20 of my good friends who also worked and left this store after working their ass’s off for years only to get their chops busted over not pushing customers hard enough to buy “attachments” or “solutions” they didn’t need or couldn’t afford.

When I left I ended up pulling about 15 people with me. It was a great life lesson though and I’ll never allow anyone I know to ever work for Apple Inc.

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Joe December 31, 2011 at 0835

Isn’t the obvious issue the way Apple’s pace of retail expansion simply can’t keep up with the increased demand for their products? Apple is selling enormously more devices today than they were when Apple retail was founded, but the growth in capacity of their stores doesn’t begin to compare. There are still millions of people living more than 1 hour away from an Apple Store in the US, their current largest market. China is even more underserved. I suppose Apple is building out stores as fast as they believe they can; but it’d be nice to see a larger share of that 80 billion in cash being used to grow the retail operation faster.

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Anthony December 31, 2011 at 0924

Hope Tim Cook sees this and takes it to heart. Apple not being your typical mindless no help know nothing retail experience is what set it apart.

Makes me sad for both employees and customers to hear the good becoming like the bad rather than the bad becoming like the good (i.e other retailers).

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Sam December 31, 2011 at 1032

I am a former Apple employee and a stockholder with over 5 years of experience and I was promoted several times during my stay, everything he says is true and there’s more. I left on my own due to similar situations and other employees were and are doing the same. We lost so many good people.

Actually, he is being very nice about the situation and while Apple as a company is second to none in their products and service to their customers, they lack in every department on the treatment and work experience of their retail staff.

Apple is no different than another retail company like Walmart, Best Buy and in fact much worse. It’s little things like having to eat lunch on the floor because the break room is so small there is no place to sit. Stockrooms so overcrowded with products that if there was ever a fire people would be trapped due to having to crawl over piles of burning macs (fire codes and safety is violated everyday at Apple).

Of course, the management is very poor to say the least. I could go on about these guys but this has been talked to death in other places so nothing new on that.

It’s Mr. Cook’s job to run the whole company and not just part of it and I believe that he does know about the conditions and he choose not to address them because in the end its costs money. It comes from the top and these conditions seep into the lowest levels of the company. They have to be one of the cheapest companies in history when it comes to their people. The mistreatment is far and wide.

Remember this company has unlimited resources to address everything and anything. Mr. Cook, it’s your time to stand up and do the right thing. You have been given the keys to an amazing kingdom and it’s your responsibility to care for the people who make it happen everyday. People will judge you on this. As the credo says “people are our passion” so start making that a true statement.

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IndyChris January 16, 2012 at 2105

Mr. Sammy M., is that you?

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Actual Employee December 31, 2011 at 1110

What I want to know is what did this guy do before he quit. Did he call HR about his managers behavior? Did he ask to be moved to another store. What was his attitude with his co-workers and his managers. Was he actually doing his job in accordance with the listed job responsibilities or just screwing around texting in the back when he was supposed to be doing a while you wait repair. Was he really bullied or is this yet another case of someone showing up late too much and being told if it happens one more time it’s game over and he felt that was stupid and he should be allowed to be late as much as he wants.

My store loses at least one person a month over excessive tardiness and everyone defends that person as the managers being douche bags. But the reality is that the employees know the game. They know the rules and if they are late that’s on them. Hell the rules give us 10 minutes to be late before it is on the books as being late. We lost 4 people after our last quarterly meeting because the frat boys decided to show up to the Sunday night meeting visibly drunk. Sure they were drinking on their own time but they know that they aren’t to show up for work drunk and a meeting is still on the clock and thus work.

As for the talk about no break rooms etc, that’s not universal. Many if not most stores have complete break rooms with refrigerators, microwaves, sinks, lockers for personal items etc. And Apple has to deal with the malls etc to make changes and some of them just don’t want to play ball. So what can Apple do. Only choice is to move the store and that takes time to find a place.

Now don’t get me wrong. I know there are douchebag managers and stores that way need to be remodeled and built out. But these are generally the exception not the norm. As is the employee that was a 100% angel and was shat on over nothing. We are rarely given the full story by these complaining employees.

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Sam December 31, 2011 at 1236

You are part of the problem if you can’t see the forest through the tree’s. Plus if you a current employee why don’t you fire yourself for posting on here as its against your contract with Apple. Seems like your a rule follower or at least think you are? Plus defending a company like this who doesn’t care one bit about you in beyond lame and ignorant. Stay long enough and you will get yours…

We are not talking about obvious situations where an employee should be let go, like being drunk or late for work. No matter what there will always be people like this. Its all big picture stuff but so many people can’t and don’t understand since they are not involved.

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Cory Moll December 31, 2011 at 1709

Policy can’t deter us from complaining about or taking action about working conditions. At least here in the US, there’s this thing called the National Labor Relations Act, which protects employees against retaliation for speaking up about workplace issues. http://www.nlrb.gov/

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AdamChew December 31, 2011 at 1836

Face it Sam, everyone who leaves a company always say he is the most conscientious worker who truly love his job but never about his short comings or his attitude to his work.

I am not surprise this ex worker wouldn’t dare to write of his short coming but only his best behavior unless and until we know the truth we can only speculate.

Btw no one like to sell himself short and if he is as good as he said he is would he let himself be bullied and I believe there are avenues for him to seek redress.

Yes, what do I know I am only a user.

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James Dempsey January 2, 2012 at 0906

I happen to live in Phoenix, AZ – and the Arrowhead store is typically the Apple store I go to when necessary (it’s the closest). By pure coincidence, Chad Ramey visits my site (TheGraphicMac.com) – and I had the chance to meet him once or twice. Very nice guy. In fact, a few years ago, the entire staff was really great.

Nothing about Chad or the staff back then seemed out of line from a customer perspective. They took time to ask me REAL questions (or just chat about whatever BS happened to be going on in the world if it wasn’t too busy in the store). You could get EXPLANATIONS at the Genius Bar back then, not just “your shit is fixed, now please make room for the next person on the list.”

I must say that the Apple retail experience is just shy of horrible right now. The stores are too crowded (mostly due to the free WiFi) with people who have no intention on buying anything, the employees working the floor always appear to be busy talking to each other instead of customers. And quite frankly, I haven’t met an employee (at least in the Arrowhead store) that knows more than the customers in the store about Apple, its hardware or software. I sometimes shake my head when I overhear the employees giving customers flat-out incorrect information/advice. I’m not talking about the Genius Bar workers – they don’t have time to talk to customers. I’m talking about the “sales associates” on the floor who ultimately can make or break a sale.

I can’t blame Apple for everything. It’s a great problem to have to be so popular that they can’t keep up. But these stores are beginning to fail at the very thing they were created for – providing a better experience for customers.

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Frustrated Apple Employee January 3, 2012 at 1214

As another Apple employee, i have to disagree. Our market has a store open every day of the year, ridiculous hours, our store meetings are at 6am! Nothing like closing the night before and getting off at 1am to be back 5 hours later. Not only that, but the store I transferred from in the same market, the back of house is so small, there is no break area. We use one of the bathrooms to store computers (if you buy an iMac that smells like piss, probably came from there), the employees actually sit and eat in the hallway outside the bathrooms (outdoor store, so too hot in summers and too cold in winters to go outside). When the managers eat lunch, they lock themselves in the office where they at least have a chair to sit on! And speaking of managers, to get hired for any other position you have to have Mac knowledge. We have managers hired from Starbucks and other retail chains that no nothing of Apple. I understand managers are not supposed to sell, but when the whole team has the passion to work for Apple and our leaders don’t, no wonder they don’t care we get treated like shit.

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Jose Menez January 3, 2012 at 2152

Let’s look at your assessment. Is an employee not suppose to contact HR about poor management/ treatment? What exactly is HR’s role? Is it to sit in a cubicle and get paid to shut-up employees who complain? Sounds worse to me than someone texting on the company dime. Maybe this “slacker” showed up late for work because management was too incompetent to communicate schedule changes or the manager changes the schedule on a day to day basis. I can’t remember a much worse experiences than getting off work late exhausted, and then scheduled to come in early in the morning. Humans are not perfect, nor are they robots. They need sleep, rest, and time to take care of themselves. I speak as a former employee who saw these thing happen. I have moved on and it is my advice for anyone who feels they are being treated badly and probably are.

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fricfrac December 31, 2011 at 1132

My daughter works at a London Apple Store and says there faults on both sides of the management divide when things go wrong(she has a degree in psychology) and has commented to me about her working life. ie. It’s true about the workload though it must be said, retail is hell on the floor at any busy premises. Often, she thinks, employees leave it too long to tell senior management if they are having problems, mostly because they think they will get a negative response. So when things are about ready to blow, management gets cross because its too late to do anything constructive and let the employee go since by then they appear to be troublemaking. Management is also under similar pressure from the next rung up the ladder.
One of her most memorable courses for her degree was about ‘employees getting the management they deserve’ which dealt with how floor level dynamics can produce good management or the pits, simply by the way they interact. Often one employee leaving can change the whole group dynamic for the better – not because they were not friendly, good at what they do or hard workers, but just for the way they fitted into the bigger picture. Which is to say its not anybody’s fault per se. but that they might not be a good fit in that particular workplace.
I think it’s too early to call Apples retail strategy ‘heading for failure’ but I do think they need to employ more co-operative facilitators at the shop floor level who by their very nature would see and deal with potential problems at an early stage.

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Publius December 31, 2011 at 1218

I’ve worked at over 14 different Apple stores through passports& can honestly say that it takes a few managers to really mess things up. I do agree with the other Apple Employee that in 99% of the cases, the fault lays in lack of communication by the employee being ‘wronged’.

Genius’s in particular, at certain stores, are treated very unfairly & are spread very thin with an almost unrealistic work load. I have heard statements from managers such as, “Well, if you’re unhappy here you can always quit. We have plenty of people that will take your spot”.

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Joel December 31, 2011 at 1324

What do you expect when you have retail managers from other big box stores running each of these individual stores. I have interviewed for several positions at Apple stores and they refused to hire me. Why is anybodies guess but I have observed that over the years the service from both management and the floor sales people has deteriorated to almost unacceptable levels. In fact, I do not even like going into the stores anymore because of the lack of professionalism that has gone away and has been replaced with arrogance and ignorance of the available product line.

You must remember that Tim Cook is a financial guy whose big interest is the bottom line and not necessarily the user experience. In other words, things have to be just good enough, which does not address the ideals of professionalism.

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chano January 1, 2012 at 0748

You really are not in a position to comment on what Cook is. He is an operations guy. All ops now that he is CEO.
Are you on Apple’s board?
You seem to have deep inside knowledge.

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Joel January 1, 2012 at 2302

It is true I do not know what is in Tim Cook’s heart. But his past record speaks for itself before he came to Apple. Only time will tell if he can truly lead Apple and maintain the innovation and efficiency that has helped build Apples reputation.

I am also a stock holder in the company which means I follow Apple with the greatest of interest.

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Fred December 31, 2011 at 1649

It’s a shift in mindset that you see in every company at one point or another. Hopefully, the feedback will help, but more likely it’ll be chalked up to just another disgruntled employee.

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Tiffany-Amber December 31, 2011 at 1857

It doesn’t take a “genius” to figure out Apple is a RETAIL store first and foremost, and in retail you always have to accommodate a manager’s wishes. It sucks, and sometimes it’s unfair and unnecessary and demeaning but it’s RETAIL. Do not expect to go into any store on Earth and have glowing benefits of real jobs. The dreamlike environment they pretend to have for their workers would never be able to hold up in the real world. If you piss off a manager anywhere you’re going to get fired or get screwed one way or another. It’s time to find a job outside of a mall.

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chano January 1, 2012 at 0753

Agreed, but while they may work for Apple, they remain retail employees.
The average person in Apple corporate is under the same pressures to perform, but the focus is on shipping products, or rather products to ship. Once shipped, the products sell themselves.
The stores exist to put a local face on the brand.
They have dome that very well so far.
The pressure is one thing.
The angst in Apple retail must also cluster around the fact that these people have very little prospect of promotion. Retail experience will not carry them to Cupertino rsn.

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Jet January 19, 2012 at 2016

What I don’t understand is why retail is not considered a REAL job. How do you define a real job? Also, why must one feel it is ok to be rude or condescending to a retail employee? Why does it have to be a demeaning job? I’m here to help you, not to be your footstool.

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darnell December 31, 2011 at 1904

sometimes getting rejected is the best thing that ever happened to you..
this works for amazingly beautiful women and also for working at APPLE..

don’t get me wrong, i love APPLE .. but the number of resume’s i have sent could fill a warehouse pallet. i got 2 interviews for 2 different stores, never got a call back. interesting note during my 2nd interview, i actually knew the location in the mall where the store was going to be opened BEFORE THE MANAGER OF THE STORE KNEW. [www.ifoapplestore.com]… even though not an apple employee i could go into an apple store and ask general questions of pretty much any associate KNOWING FULL WELL THEY WOULDNT KNOW THE ANSWER. [actually one associate from the naperville, il store did surprise me]

at the time when i didn’t get the job i was bitter and thought maybe i needed neon blue dreadlocks hair or Birkenstock shoes or something … maybe more facial piercings? a more UNITED COLORS OF BENETTON LOOK ? at the time as much as i loved apple, i wondered if i didn’t look too diverse enuf.. even though i knew my stuff but couldn’t prove it. $300 for a certification test is hard to come by when you are unemployed.

now, just like getting turned down by a beautiful curvy [high maint, insincere and materialistic] woman i realize that not getting hired by APPLE … means i can still love the product because buying apple gear would be really hard to do after getting fired by APPLE.. and oogle the products…

i can always order apple gear online. besides the stores are too crowded anyways..

maybe mr cook will get a clue because he seems to be softer/gentler that mr jobs. [who i hear fires people for riding in the elevator with him.]

i dodged a bullet.
and i can still love apple products.

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voiceinurhead January 1, 2012 at 1018

Well, you’re not missing all that much. The reality is just because you love Apple products doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll love working for them. The have never really been good at HR, just great at making products. It’s naive to think that the experience should transfer over. Just like any other company, Apple is full of contradictions, and sure, it can be draining to work there. If you look at the economy, however, it’s a better place to work than others who are not doing so well financially, especially retail.

Since Tim Cook has taken over, there have been a lot of small changes that have made a big impact:
The return of matching charitable donations, paid holiday time off, even for part-time employees, health insurance for part-time employees, they are even revisiting the whole metrics issue with selling.

I think Chad had just burned out from being overworked and had little to no help from his leaders to fix the issues he had. Most Apple stores have overworked geniuses, and I think that now they are starting to see how when one leaves, it takes awhile to get them replaced by someone of equal experience and quality.

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onamission December 31, 2011 at 2050

I have worked in the same market as Ramey and worked at his store. I may have even trained him when he first got hired at apple.

I will tell you right now, in the Arizona Market, what he says is 100% truth. Managers do NOT respect those who know what they are doing. Higher-ups will NEVER hire someone who’s been with the company for 4+ years to be a manager; they would rather hire them from the gap or Starbucks. Knowing nothing of big retail.

Yes, it is a retail job, yes when it comes down to it, the managers will ONLY stick out their necks for another manager, this coming from experience when a manager blamed me for something he did and I was fired. To those who asked about going to HR, it’s a joke. They side with what the managers want; they don’t listen to what you have to say. Should, you go to HR first- you will be bullied by your managers for doing so, how you ask? Getting awful shifts, never getting time off request fulfilled, always getting the run around with questions you have, never getting support when you have an unruly customer.

You will never know how we feel because you have never worked there; you will also never work there because the manager they hire currently are stupid and not capable of running that type of a store- therefore you get idiots who get hired and you loose what’s most important, customers and quality employees.. Managers now know they can hired idiots who will be run like dogs for $9/hr and say things like “I have plenty of people who’d love to fill your spot”.

Please Mr Cook, take a look at what apple has done to its great employees and stop it before it gets worse.

Also, I will be willing to talk to any union worker about my past experience with being fired. If I had had a union, I’d still have my job.

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pseudoemployee January 4, 2012 at 1007

Listen, you probably got fired for something you did and you probably didn’t put any effort into your job. The people in the Phoenix market are some of the hardest working people I know and most of the people that get fired get fired for a reason. The problem is not managers being douches or whatever, it’s that the higher ups don’t value the investment they’ve put into people. The whole “our soul is our people thing” went out the window months ago as the drive became more about cramming in more appointments and seeing more customers rather than maintaining their investment. What incentive do people have to stay with the company when people (me included) have been with Apple for years and outside people are hired in for lead spots, employees (especially in the family room) are given more work without any additional compensation, and hard workers are not grown because there are 10 more people waiting to fill their spots. For as highly technical as most of the position are, they have the worst compensation structure.

Some people get paid in learning, some people want money, and others want experience. At Apple retail now, you get none of the 3…

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Nameless Ex-Apple Employee January 4, 2012 at 1135

Well said. Concur on every point made.

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Current Genius January 5, 2012 at 0321

Hear hear!

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Transum December 31, 2011 at 2058

If Apple starts burning through Genius’ like Kleenex – Apple will begin to plateau. I’ve seen this many, many times before, once a company starts eating its young … it begins to loose its edge, though it may take a few years for this to become apparent.

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Rings True January 1, 2012 at 2307

Anyone who has used the newer software releases knows that Apple took it’s eye off the ball and sold it’s soul to the sugar rush of iMerchandise which will not last over time. Each new version of Apple software gets buggier and less stable- like an eternal beta for an early adopter.

Apple stopped valuing both it’s employees and customers some time ago. Glad I cashed out my Apple stock that I have been accumulating since 2001. I may not have hit the absolute peak- but Apple has already jumped the shark in the US market.

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Jane December 31, 2011 at 2327

For the last 6 months they have put an emphasis on moving people through like cattle. Where it used to be a place customers could hang out and feel welcome, it is now about how quick you can make the interaction. From smart signs to shortened set-up to forcing geniuses, FRS’s, and creatives to take several genius bar appointments at a time while still getting away from the bar. No one should be expected to service 12 devices in an hour.

Not only are employees no longer valued, but customers aren’t either. They don’t even want customers to be able to sit while they set up their computers. Customers will sometimes wait 20 minutes for a specialist to answer the “smart sign”. They sell this 1:1 training but won’t offer enough sessions to accommodate members because “fixing mobile devices is the number one priority”. Forget that the viral marketing comes from those who know how to use their device/computer. Hense, 1:1.

Apple is becoming known for long waits, impersonal interactions, over promising and under delivering.

Hopefully Mr. Cook will see the error. Apple would be no where if not for retail employees giving their soul to “enrich lives”. The employees really do care, many have degrees they could use but choose to work at Apple.

If they don’t clean this mess up, there is no reason to have retail. You can get the same customer experience at best. It and walmart at cheaper prices.

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Rings True January 1, 2012 at 2316

Bullseye. The few still hanging on who know anything are worked to exhaustion and the rest are clueless, poorly trained hustlers of iPhones which can be bought just about anywhere. Fadell & Serlet are long gone from Apple and the bean counter is running the joint along with Steve Jobs wannabe SF. Why should it be any different in the retail side?

The fanbois are willfully ignorant and the trend hoppers are already starting to drift. There isn’t anything special about Apple Retail- it sucks just about as badly as the crappy stores it arose as an answer to. Giving the finger to someone with a Pro rig loaded with software to hand hold Barbie who cannot figure out her new smart phone is’t a very good trade off in the long run.

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Jake December 31, 2011 at 2354

As a stock holder I love Apple and what they have done for my finical situation but I frequent the stores and I am starting to see what these employees are talking about. Hard working, faithful, just way above any other retail stores I been too. These stores are crazy places and not good for anyone to be in for long periods of time customer or employees. Cook needs to wake up before. Guys kinda sounds like a jerk and need to give his people a well deserved raise!

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Risotto January 1, 2012 at 0357

I can confirm everything single point that has been said by Chad for the swiss market. Management is rather unqualified in most instances as they have little to non knowledge about Apple products and people management. Most of them where hired from local Retailers that have nothing to do with Apple products or the Apple Retail Store philosophy at all.
Apple seems to be not longer interested in hiring “real managers” as they usually won’t act like string puppets and that seems to be expected by Apple from a manager at the moment.

Fluctuation of employees has extremely increased over the last few months, we do have new employees almost every week. New hires are offered less money but at the same time Apple expects more flexibility and commitment. No work-life balance at all. The staff rooms are to small, I have seen people having breaks in the stairwell of the Store.

Apple should witch back to “the old values” before it’s to late!

Happy new Year!

Risotto

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Ex-Genius January 1, 2012 at 0419

I’ve read a few articles like this recently and would like to put in my 2c. First off, I get the impression as a non-American that a lot of the problems that have come to light are due to the employees having very little rights or benefits in the US, e.g. few holidays, termination without notice, little or no comeback for fired employees. Given what I’ve seen and experienced in European stores, I get the feeling a lot of problems would be amplified in the US.

As for what this guy has written about, I’d have to say I broadly sympathise. Working at Apple should have been a dream job for me, and in many ways it was, however I did get disillusioned after a while. Partly, it was just working in retail for so long – it wears you down – but given the high standards Retail employees have to meet, it should be judged against a similarly high standard itself.

As mentioned a few times already, it’s partly down to management. As I see it, there’s an unacceptable inconsistency in the quality of managers recruited. Many are decent enough, some are absolutely excellent, but there are others that I consider are just power tripping on the gravy train (if you don’t mind me mixing metaphors). Most seem to be recruited from generic retail like the Gap and cellphone stores on their supposed management skills, and sometimes this works fine (after all you won’t find that many Apple experts who also have retail management experience – especially the number Apple require). However I have also found those that get their foot in the door and then make no effort to understand the technology they sell, or what it means to users. Another problem is treating their employees with contempt (poor attitude, condescension, little or no consideration for work/life balance) while they bluff their way through meetings and interactions by parroting meaningless corporate speak.
Then there’s workload. As others have mentioned, footfall and demand is still increasing massively, and it is retail after all, so working for Apple will always be busy and stressful. I understand that even with the rate of expansion, it can be difficult to keep up with demand but coming back to the high standards, it can be done better. Yes, it must be expensive to build and run an Apple Store compared to rivals, and yes, there’s a recession on, but if standards slip, then it defeats the whole purpose of the Store and the Genius Bar especially. If you need more queues, you hire more people, and you pay them a decent wage and give them a reason to stay. Overworking people and giving them a hellish work schedule is only going to contribute to high staff turnover, which is bad for everyone.

So Mr Cook, get yourself a good replacement for Ron lickity split, and invest in your Stores, and most importantly, your people. Maybe I should send an email off myself.

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Sparrow January 1, 2012 at 0424

I used to work with Chad at the above mentioned store. While he wasn’t perfect (none of us are), he is and was by far the most devoted and hard-working person on that team. He would frequently skip lunches, breaks, and stay late to take care of his customers. His NPS (customer service scores) was astronomical. This is not a disgruntled employee, but someone who genuinely wishes to see a difference in the company he left behind.

Yes Apple is retail, but Apple is another level of retail. More is expected from its employees, and the workload is exponential. This letter to Cook paints a mild picture of what Apple Retail employees go through. I hope Chad’s message makes it to the top and the executive team takes it to heart; there needs to be change for all of the employees left at Apple.

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A Developer Stockholder January 1, 2012 at 0606

This has been some of the most disturbing series of comments I have read about APPLE.
My company went public at around the same time as APPL in the early ’80’s. I have watched the ups and downs of the company as a active user, we built our business with apple devices, developer, and stockholder.
Since this is in one sense a “#’s” problem, for fiduciary purposes, we need to have a analyst look into the situation.
What is really happening here? These stores are apples lifeblood. We all have seen the radically higher body count in the stores, the innovation on the cash register basis and product dispersal changes.
The simple question is the system falling apart due to stress, bad mgt., space requirement, and loosing (turn over of staff) employees? What needs to be done and what does the numbers + the people involved tell us. Simply throwing more and larger stores into the mix without fundamental understanding of the issues is a road to disaster. Possibly the departure of Apple senior vice president for retail Ron Johnson ( he had the model in his DNA Cano began his career at Apple ten years ago as manager of the Palo Alto retail store) is a ominous tell?
Apple get on this now, do not dare let a over success turn into a crushing blow to growth!

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Sue January 1, 2012 at 0942

You should be worried but its all true and more!

Lets talk about something simple like human need to use the bathroom every once in awhile. At my store it is common for there to be no toilet paper and not even hot water to wash your hands (sink breaks all the time). Two bathrooms for hundreds of employees and customers as well share this same disgusting , unsanitary place. Hair, pee and other unmentionables all over the place and seat. Sometimes is will be days before its cleaned.

Yes at Apple they don’t professional clean the store and bathrooms everyday because as one Senior Manager said to me when I complained that its simply not in the budget. Budget, don’t we have over 80 billions dollars?

As a women its a hard thing to deal with. I have a friend who judges a restaurants by the how clean the bathrooms are. She feels that if they won’t or can’t clean the places you can see whats going on in the kitchen? Great analogy here don’t you think?

So think of that the next time you shake an Apple employees hands. Welcome to Apple I just used the bathroom but couldn’t wash my hands. Is there anything I can help you with. Classy!!!

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chano January 1, 2012 at 0738

Ramey may have a valid grievance.
Apple’s store managers are likely to blame for target implementation.
I have only two questions.
Is Apple Inc. applying performance pressures on its store managers?
Is Ramey, ultimately guileless if he makes what should have been a private communication so public?

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lkern January 1, 2012 at 0750

Sorry, but with no details on exactly why the man feels that way, I cannot see how this story can be commented on by anyone, and in some cases posting comments that are so very rude to other posters.

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voiceinurhead January 1, 2012 at 1025

“I cannot see how this story can be commented on by anyone,”

And yet YOU leave a comment.

You should leave well enough alone. The people here who still or formally worked for Apple are venting, which is healthy. Would you just rather them snap one day and go on shooting spree?

Go ahead folks, vent away.

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Anthony January 1, 2012 at 0843

As a minor stockholder and an ordinary user for the last 10 years, who is however Mac OS X certified (so I do know something about the product), I haven’t been in an Apple Store much recently, but I did notice a couple years ago that the quality of employee was heading downhill from where they started at. Meaning the staff started to feel more like that “know nothing” experience you get from a typical retailer and the appointments were, I guess you could say, difficult to obtain. Once in front of a Genius and you had his/her attention they did seem quite adept and I then felt like I was with somebody who had the kind of knowledge of the product that this customer had (which the regular staff did not).

At the time I attributed it to growing pains and figured Apple would fix it as they normally do with errors they make.

I’ll have to pay attention the next time I’m in an Apple Store. If it has slipped further instead of being fixed as it sounds here, I’m thinking I need to consider selling my stock because the single biggest value to all things Apple is their stellar reputation. Of which I can personally attest has been well founded in the past on most points. And is the thing I think even the rightfully disgruntled employees are clinging to….until they can’t take it anymore.

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Anthony January 1, 2012 at 0857

Oh one other thing I should mention is that I had a similar experience to darnell up there when I applied for a job at an Apple Retail Store a while back. I work in Finance/Real Estate and was unemployed for a few months a few years ago. During that time I figured I’d apply to an Apple Store since helping people with their Macs/Apple devices is something I enjoy doing on my own time anyway and I was Mac OS X Certified, too.

Much like darnell the HR staff barely gave me the time of day. They did talk to me over the phone and it went nowhere. And this is the time I had noticed that their staff was heading downhill so I thought I’d be a shoe-in. Full scholarship to college, self taught Mac OS X Certified, member of the board of an Apple User Group, friends/acquaintances telling me all the time that I should be working for Apple, etc.

If darnell reads this I had that same feeling of “geez what are they looking for? Do I need to color my hair or something? I’m already more versed in Apple products and software than most of their floor staff .” So, don’t know what that all means but just letting him know I had a similar experience.

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Tim January 1, 2012 at 0922

The comments here are 100% correct against Apple retail. Do you the when working as a Genius or any other position for Apple retail it is common for a full timer to work 10 days in a row. No overtime!

How can this be, well since you can work anyone of the seven days in a week and and there are no regular weekends (Saturday in the Starting day of the week at Apple retail). Scheduling manager/software will stack 5 days to 5days which would be something like Monday thru Friday, then Saturday till Wednesday. This would then force to give you two days (by law) off which would be Thursday and Friday of that week and the you could go another 5 days. So in 17 days your hard working fellow Apple employee work 15 days. They also will work you unit 11 to 1:20 at night and you have to be back in by 7-8 and again with no special compensation.

Again all this is going on at the same time at every store. What kinda life is that and this in in the USA. Who knows what they do in places with less laws. What does the do to burnout, what does this do to your interaction with the employee, does it affect your experience as a customer. What does this day about Apple leader now and in the past?

Apple customers should demand apple treat its people with respect because in the end its what you are paying for and your not getting as good of service you deserve for the high price your paying apple is charging.

Sorry to burst your perfect image of Apple. Its true and even Walmart respects their retail employees more. People are staring to talk and word is getting out. Apple with have an image problem, question is not if but when at this point. Cook needs to wake up!

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D. Brown January 1, 2012 at 0925

I’ve discovered PeachMac near my home, a firm that offers a far more pleasing experience for me than that which I’ve found in any of several nearby Apple Stores now for some time.

I can’t get adequate support from any of the Apple, Inc. gurus who only appear to offer help – either online or within the stores.

Seems as if everything Apple is turning more calloused with every passing day. And I can’t help but believe that Apple, Inc. doesn’t even care about this trend. One Apple, Inc. care giver called me recently to, “just listen,” he said, after which he replied simply, “Well, there’s nothing I can do to help you.”

I suspect the answer to this problem will not come from within the now overgrown Apple, Inc. Possibly could the old Mac User Groups find a way back into our communities?

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Sue January 1, 2012 at 0947

Sorry for posting twice but I wanted to make sure that everyone see this

You should be worried but its all true and more!

Lets talk about something simple like human need to use the bathroom every once in awhile. At my store it is common for there to be no toilet paper and not even hot water to wash your hands (sink breaks all the time). Two bathrooms for hundreds of employees and customers as well share this same disgusting , unsanitary place. Hair, pee and other unmentionables all over the place and seat. Sometimes is will be days before its cleaned.

Yes at Apple they don’t professional clean the store and bathrooms everyday because as one Senior Manager said to me when I complained that its simply not in the budget. Budget, don’t we have over 80 billions dollars?

As a women its a hard thing to deal with. I have a friend who judges a restaurants by the how clean the bathrooms are. She feels that if they won’t or can’t clean the places you can see whats going on in the kitchen? Great analogy here don’t you think?

So think of that the next time you shake an Apple employees hands. Welcome to Apple I just used the bathroom but couldn’t wash my hands. Is there anything I can help you with. Classy!!!

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that guy January 2, 2012 at 0020

you lie.

it is mandatory in every apple store to have a janitors cleaning everything.

maybe there not enough toilet (same case at my store) but, the managers allows us to leave the store at anytime to go to the toilet.

come on ,

you have a job. your paid more than your average retails buddys

stop complaining about what you dont have and realise what you have.

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Sue January 2, 2012 at 0939

Please! Why would someone lie about this. It is 100% true, maybe not your experience but its mine.

Your “stop complaining about what you dont have and realise what you have” is a poor excuses. You could say that about anything in this world. Apple should be help to the highest of standards not the lowest?

They are taking advantage of their retail staff period and if you can’t see that than you haven’t work here long enough, your a suck up who thinks he can get ahead or you part of HR or Management. Either way your part of the problem as well.

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And what planet do you live on? January 3, 2012 at 0816

“you have a job. your paid more than your average retails buddys”

Really??? Wow, talk about naive! Paid more than who? The guy standing at a sunglass kiosk in the mall? I bet he makes more on hourly wage and commission than an Apple Specialist makes! If I had been paid a lousy 3% commission (and some retailers pay as much as 9% depending on the product), I would have been making well over 60K/year on commission alone, bringing my annual income to just over $87K–something worth putting your best efforts into. Needless to say, NOBODY is paid commission at Apple Retail, and like everyone else I was paid a meager hourly rate, and annual compensation was not enough to live on. And oh yea, I was part-time (like the vast majority of retail employees are) so I didn’t qualify for things like healthcare or paid holidays.

So, to advise someone to “stop complaining about what you dont have and realise what you have.” is about as ignorant as it gets! I’d advise you to walk in Sue’s shoes before you start dispensing such words of “wisdom”. GET A CLUE!

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Rick January 1, 2012 at 1056

As a shareholder, I am in agreement with @A Developer Stockholder that this is a very disturbing thread because it not only confirms some recent personal experiences at Apple stores but is also significant in light of other issues that Apple is facing.

It is well recognized that Apple has labor relations problems at its manufacturing operations in China. There has also been talk about Apple US retail employees considering unionization. Taken together these issues indicate that Apple has real human relations problems that it needs to address head on and resolve.

In addition, from Q1 thru Q4 in 2011, profits at the retail segment declined by a staggering 32% from $1 billion to $679 million. During the same period, store visits increased only 3%, from 75.4 mil to 77.5 mil. If store volume is relatively flat while you increase the store count by 13% (40 new stores in 2011) and profits decline 32%, then your retail operations have a management problem. This seems to be anecdotally confirmed by the comments here. And my recent visits to Apple stores have been not what I expect.

Here is one of several. On December 10th my wife (technically challenged) went to the 14th Street store in New York to buy a 4S, 32gb iPhone, which I had reserved for her. The store wasn’t busy and she was served after a short wait. The employee got the phone, made the sale including an Apple Care Protection Plan, set the phone up and synched to her iPad. She then asked to have the contacts from her Blackberry transferred to the 4S. This is a customary service that is always done without question at the Verizon stores where we usually buy our phones.

The employee demurred saying. “You can do this at home from your computer”. When she insisted he left and came back with a box of cables and eventually found the right connector. He then began the transfer, which took about 10 minutes. During this time an assistant manager came up with another customer whom he placed between my wife and her sales rep, requesting that he “take care of this for me”. The sales rep now turned his attention to the other customer.
After the contacts had transferred my wife asked for some help on how to use the phone. He showed her the on button, the swipe motion and the phone icon and resumed his conversation with the other customer. She left the store since he showed no interest in providing the other information she wanted. The upshot was that there were issues with the phone and it took the rest of the day for her to figure out how to make calls from it.

The invoice was $398.00 and Apple received approximately another $400.00 in subsidies from Verizon, so Apple grossed about $800.00 on the sale. I am very sure that if we went to an upscale restaurant in Manhattan and paid $800.00 for a dinner the wait staff and maitre’d would be all over us to be sure we were delighted with the service. And they certainly wouldn’t seat another couple at our table during the middle of dinner and then ignore us!

The Apple stores are an important business segment because they provide 13% of company revenues and profits and, in many cases, 100% of the customers only interaction with an Apple employee. Customer satisfaction has to be the priority at these stores and that satisfaction begins with well-managed stores staffed by properly trained and motivated employees for whom service is priority number 1. A management that does not want its retail employees to become career candidates within the company will never invest the resources in its staff to make quality service and customer satisfaction its most important goals.

If retail segment profits do not show a remarkable improvement in this quarter (to about $1.25 billion), then I expect that will become an issue for analysts during the January shareholder conference call. Hopefully Mr. Cook will have a plan to address that problem and have already begun improving management-employee relations at his stores.

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Mark January 1, 2012 at 1536

Wow, very well written Rick. Good points and good evaluations of where the little things can go if not addressed. This has been my feeling all along.

Mr Cook is and had been running this company long enough and he falling at this at every turn. Remember Cook is left over from the Steve days and while a visionary Steve failed at one thing and that was how he treated his people, not the important people but the front line people. (FYI I wish he was still her but just pointing out that he was not perfect and defiantly hard to work for). This has been well documented and explains the top down approach issues.

Unfortunately Apple Retail has long ago fired, push out, and force out their best and brightest in retail. They have lost these people for thousands of reasons. Most of which did not fall along the lines of a bad employee but a bad company to work for. Apple used to pride themselves on people that had more than 5 years experience or even 10 or more and in retail that is unheard of.

People should start personally calling out these bad managers and hold them accountable.

Do you want to spend the kinda money you do in this place when the employee is making less that 15hr in most cases? Heck a bartender makes more than that. Imagine that in NYC, they must live in near poverty. I just believe that I am going to spend thousand of dollars in any place I want the employee to be happy, be well compensated because in the end if they are not then why? Does it mean Apple is not giving me the best experience they could be? It all matters and the little things do count. Again people keep saying its retail but it not like I am buying a pair of jeans at the gap? One reason I don’t go to Walmart ever is because how the treat there people. Apple needs to listen!

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Sad but true January 1, 2012 at 1550

I worked at Apple retail for almost 10 years (was promoted multiple times to good positions, made good money for retail). I saw it all good and bad. Bad just outnumbered the good way to often I guess. I couldn’t take it anymore so I just left one day. It was very hard to do that.

That’s a long time to work somewhere in this day and age! They didn’t even bother to ask why? No one cared? I guess I didn’t matter, I guess all those people I helped didn’t matter. What a waste!

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SP January 1, 2012 at 1555

I worked with Ramey at Arrowhead. In fact, we attended CORE (new employee training) as well as opened the Arrowhead store together. Fortunately, I left the company just before the madness struck, but I can speak from personal experience that Ramey was one of the most dedicated employees (and fan) of Apple, and you could literally see that dedication with every customer interaction.

To my point, whilst you may not know the entire story – this isn’t some revenge or disturbed employee that is pissed because he got “caught texting instead of doing repairs” or some of the other possibilities I skimmed through above; and I’ll act as one hell of a vouch for this man.

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Joe Apple January 1, 2012 at 1731

What so many people just don’t get is that no matter what we may think of Apple as a corporation and creator of awesome stuff, retail is just different. In my market, I watched the biggest assholes climb to the level of market manager and beyond by simply ‘playing the game’. I didn’t play this douchebag’s game, and it really cost me. In retail, you’re at the mercy of your manager, even at Apple. As a store manager for another company now, I can safely say that HR depts are there solely to protect the company and not the employee, even at Apple. I have the same HR rep as my employees do, and when I call to discuss the very few issues that have come up at my store so far, it’s clear whose side HR is on.

Retail is what it is. If you’re willing to play the game, whatever that game may be and whomever makes the rules, you can do well, make a good living and move up the ranks. But be careful what you wish for.

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Creative #27753 January 1, 2012 at 1816

I’ve been an Apple Retail employee for 4 years. I love Apple. I like and respect my leadership team at my store. I get along really well with just about every team member at my store. This is my last week working for Apple and while I’m sad to say goodbye to some really amazing coworkers and customers, I’m relieved to be done.

I completely agree with the points Ramey makes. Working for Apple was a completely different experience 4 years ago. Some improvements have been made, but overall I used to enjoy my job much more. I used to truly enjoy coming to work in the morning and left feeling fulfilled at the end of the day, but that’s just not the case these days.

I used to feel valued as an individual employee. Starting about 2.5 years ago, I noticed the company making decisions that made us feel less like people and more like numbers on a spreadsheet. I feel burnt out and I know the rest of the Family Room does too. When I told my team that I was leaving, I could see the jealousy in their eyes. What’s really upsetting about this is that most of us really loved what we do; we’re no longer given the resources to treat our customers the way we should.

It’s frustrating when the company puts me in a position where I can give mediocre service to several people rather than give excellent service to each one. The more people I’m pseudo-helping in less time means more money and I can’t take it anymore. It feels like I’m just a cog in a wheel in a gigantic corporate machine where the bottom line is king.

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Another Fmr Genius January 3, 2012 at 1955

Indeed. The rise of the iPhone and it’s über profit have sounded the death knell of the soul of Apple Retail, who’s Credo Card states “our soul is our people.”

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pseudoemployee January 4, 2012 at 1017

I was a Lead Creative and your sentiments ring a little too true… :(

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Rings True January 1, 2012 at 2245

I have seen the decline of the Apple Stores with the rise of the iPhone and the wholesale abandonment of what made the Apple Store a unique and valued place to shop- it’s just a box store with tables of iPads now. There is not a thing there that I cannot easily get elsewhere and without the hassle.

The letter/posting of the now ex-employee is sad because this is the kind of person you want to keep. The Apple Store closest to me is just a place Apple hustles iPhones and iPads- it has nothing to do with the Macintosh, Apple software or taking care of the user base. It’s all about selling the iOS toys and the trinkets that come along for the highly marked up ride.

If the moves Apple has made the last 12 months are an example of the future of Apple, I’m not impressed. Final Cut has been ruined, Lion is a train wreck, the Apple Stores are just another brick in the wall. The stores, once a welcoming place, are about as welcoming as a Wal-Mart now.

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that guy January 2, 2012 at 0013

I am currently working in a apple store in canada,

i dont know for us, but here it is absolutely different .

we are supported, loved and valued by or leadership team, we love working there and we receive way more thumbs up for our NPS rather than our sales or APP %.

that being said, there is known ressource’s (HR) for bullying manager and i would love to see the track record of that so called ”perfect” employees.

Apple is still the best place to work at and anybody that never worked there can’t understand

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Sad but true January 2, 2012 at 0930

Well your in Canada so that explains the difference, maybe. It is a well known fact that Canada is a much friendlier place that the USA. You also have different labor laws and that also might help in your favor . I am happy for you but I think for most of us in the USA that is not the case.

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Sparrow January 2, 2012 at 2124

I have to say that your circumstances differ quite a but from the Arrowhead store. That team has 5+ Ovation Awards for the Genius Bar alone, and yet that is not enough for managers and regional leaders. No one cares about NPS because they are always in the top, so the focus has shifted elsewhere. They don’t feel supported. They don’t get a “thumb’s up.” Their Lead Genius isn’t even a certified technician and has never worked Mac queue. I’m glad I got out when I did.

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Curious January 3, 2012 at 0331

I am just curious, how long have you worked for Apple?

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That guy January 3, 2012 at 0749

It s my third year now

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DaveMTL January 2, 2012 at 0727

I have no doubt that there are problems in Apple stores. The capacity to serve does not match the rise in demand. Tim Cook is probably doing what he can to “fix” the problem but he must always remember that an Apple store is more about marketing than selling. The experience a customer has is more important than actually selling a device. People can do that at Best Buy, Radio Shack, Online… just about anywhere these days. They must feel confident that if anything goes wrong, they can count on Apple to make it right. This allows AND justifies Apple charging more. The 80+B$ Apple has should be used to give a huge kick at solving this. More stores and BETTER MGMT!
The opportunity in China will determine if Apple becomes the first of super-businesses which deliver a new category of numbers reflecting the new consumer world which soon will have a billion+ new consumers in it.

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Doug Becker January 2, 2012 at 1944

My experience with Apple Retail was very similar to the author. I lasted 16 months as a part time specialist, the last 6 of which were clearly against the wishes of the senior managers. The final nail in my coffin was when I worked through a break, and entered my own business intros supposedly after I was “asked” not to. As an APPL shareholder (prior to going to work for Apple Retail) I like the eye on the bottom line. As an Apple Retail employee, all they did was devalue and denigrate me for dubious reasons that they were able to dream up. I saw a bunch of newbie specialists coming in as I was departing, several were about my age. Management was just going to go through the motions of seeming to be an equal opportunity employer.
Bottom line: I did my best, but you are not going to come out on top of any disagreement against sick minds.

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Nameless Ex-Apple Employee January 2, 2012 at 2258

Wow. Here I thought I was only 1 of the very few that could see this horrid demise in Apple retail as of late.

I’ve worked for Apple retail for more than 5+ years and a few stints up in Cupertino, so like a few of these other posters, I have seen it all.

First off, when you contact HR, to sum it up rather quickly, they won’t budge an inch and will not only side with the manager without giving you the time of day, but HR just doesn’t really care about your concern whatsoever. From there, you’ll get an extreme amount of push back from your manager, telling you off and how you should have went to them when in reality you told them countless times. It’s happened to me and happened to countless other employees often times. You really feel rather hopeless in that management now hates you for voicing your concern but also that no one wants to listen to anything you have to say. This company use to care about its’ people, they really did. So this is not a case of, well, it’s retail, you have no say. Get over it. Your opinion with Apple did matter, and we were responsible for making the store experience something that no other retailer could recreate.

In the past Managers were hired because they were really awesome with people and most had a bit of product knowledge. They ones who had the most turned out to be the managers that are still my friends to this day. In the last year, Apple has shifted its hiring process significantly. Now, 90% of management are hired from The Gap or Starbucks and 90% of them lack not only an ounce of product knowledge but just about anything electronic. Lead Creatives and Lead Genius’ are now hired based on the least amount of product knowledge or background in Macs. It’s quite astonishing.

Up until recently, the Genius bar had cues that were somewhat manageable. We always had long lines of waiting customers. A ton of us constantly missed our breaks. The Creatives turned into helping not 1 customer for an hour but 5 people at the same time for 2 hours and missing their breaks as well. One To One was now One To Many. Oh, you’re head is overloaded by helping out too many people at the same time? Who cares!

The recent trend is for the geniuses to not only help out 1 customer, but to help out another within the same time allotted. One incident that occurred was when I was not more than 5 minutes into troubleshooting a case with a customer and then bombarded by 2 brainless managers complaining that I was “taking too long with my customer”. And they said this right in front of the customer. And when you’ve been with the company for 5+ and know that is not the Apple way, and this brainless manager that has been there not more than 2 months is giving you shit about how to properly diagnose problems at the bar, things started to not gel well quick.

To make a long story short and leaving out a ton of other important details, my friends have posted pics of all the crowded scenes from their store this past holiday, and all of us ex-Apple employees (which coincidentally is a ton of us who have left in the last 4 or 5 months…) would agree on the same sentiment: DON’T MISS THIS SHIT AT ALL.

Peace out Apple. You use to be a good place to work and you were different from every other retailer out there. Your soul were your Apple. But not no mo…

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ex-genius January 3, 2012 at 1511

This is spot on! At this point people you just need to abandon ship! Seriously, things are not going to change because Apple is a well oiled machine now. The only thing that’s going to change the way Apple runs its retail division is if millions of customers start to complain. The real sad thing is that there are people just waiting to jump at their chance to work at Apple retail and because of this nothing will change. Apple you are sucking hard right now..

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Former Business Partner January 8, 2012 at 1140

Nameless Ex-Apple Employee, you are spot on. I worked for Apple for 6+ years in the LA Market. Worked my dream job helping people discover the magic of Apple products. Well, a new SM took over my store and he and I never got along. He eventually terminated me for not performing my job through DC. DC was a total joke. I had reached out to HR many times but as you said, they will side with management.

The SM probably wanted to get rid of me for at least four reasons:

1. I had been with Apple longer than he was and thus was being paid more than most of his ASMs.
2. I had been vocal in complaining about OSHA violations and worker’s rights.
3. I had been hurt on the job and began taking time off to heal my back.
4. He knew I didn’t need the job because I had multiple revenue streams from the businesses I owned(and thus encouraged his managers to harass me to encourage me to move on).

I do know that my fellow co-workers who were not exactly knowledgeable of their rights were being abused. Many of them hurt their backs while lifting all that inventory. Apple doesn’t encourage using a weight belt because they look bad on the floor. Well, two of these young folks who hurt themselves were advised not to file Worker’s Compensation claims. They were put on leave of absences via Matrix(don’t trust them either because ultimately, who pays them?). Then, they were eventually terminated. Yep, they were hurt on the job and Apple terminated them. On top of that, these two employees were not informed of their rights and were told white lies by HR and Matrix. They were told they could get “Re-hired” and were strung on to the point their Statute of Limitations expired. Very smart move by Apple but totally unethical!

Anyhow, in my case, I was let go. HR somehow messed up on my Final Paycheck and shorted me less than $100. I doubt they did that on purpose so I gave them a chance to remedy the situation. After a few weeks of discussions, they said I owed them around $100 and gave me their Austin, TX address to mail a check!!! So, I hired an attorney and took it up with the Labor Board. Let’s just say the Apple attorney was embarrassed at the hearing. The Labor Commissioner started adding up penalties north of $25,000! Guess who came scrambling to me to settle!!!!

Funny thing happened to me. I was at a wedding and ran into a Labor Attorney. He told me, after a few glasses of wine, that all his clients make mistakes because they don’t have a clue! That’s why he has a job and is so busy. It is his job to mitigate their damages but they do Labor Code violations all the time. Later on, I found out that one of his firms main clients is Apple Retail!!!!!

Well, now I’m suing Apple for those labor violations and helping my friends try to get Worker’s compensation that they deserve.

In sum, don’t trust your manager. Don’t trust Matrix. And especially don’t trust HR. Hey, if you don’t value your job, then go straight to your manager if you have a problem. Go straight to HR if you have a problem with your manager. And make sure you believe everything that Matrix tells you when it comes to your rights as a employee!!!!

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Walter White January 8, 2012 at 1713

All of your statements ring true with me as well. Favoritism was so a part of Apple retail. I read someone else’s reply that said CS codes are not available to Genii? Wow. Because I am in a right to work state, you can be fired at any time for anything (except for discrimination and the like)… I never thought to fight it. Apple could have continued to be an awesome place to work. I also dealt with Matrix… off for many weeks for physical illness, again, had an issue that I couldn’t pin down before they fired me… While I was off, my manager wrote a review which was then thrown in the can and rewritten by the market leader. Then when I returned a new manager was brought in and the new guy gave the review and then the DC… ugh. The bitter end.

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Anonymous January 3, 2012 at 0620

I sincerely hope that the high ups at Apple read this. So many people at my store feel this way. If you feel this way, and work at an Apple store please send a link to this story along with your additions to Tim Cook and maybe even your store leader. Don’t use your real email. Maybe if there’s enough outcry something can change.

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joopnsf January 3, 2012 at 0738

No surprises here. Bright shiny on the outside, rotten on the inside. But as this former genius pointed out, it hasn’t always been this way. There was a time when Apple paid a decent wage, and valued other skills and talents that an employee brought to the team. When sales and profits far outstripped everyone’s wildest dreams, the bean-counters took over and they shoved all of that aside and bought into the standard big box retail employment model — bring ‘em in, burn ‘em out, move on. While employed at an Apple flagship store, I was told by a manager to my face, that they don’t expect retail specialists to stay more than 18 months max.

The best revenge was when I found another job that paid nearly three times what I was making at Apple (and make no mistake, there is no credit to Apple whatsoever–this position is in no way related to my work there…) the look on my manager’s face during my exit interview was the priceless when I told her I would be earning more than she was.

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Lulu Boho January 3, 2012 at 0814

You know my husband works for Apple. He’s a good employee, really tried hard, but they keep pushing and pushing him for more time and more effort. Everyone on his team is utterly exhausted. He is constantly stressed. They have meetings till midnight and training at 7 am. Sure they have occasional breakfast or pizza for lunch. Never once have they invited the families of all the employees to hang out together. They just push the employees to work together more and more and as a team. Mindless drones. Bravo Apple on killing the family unit!

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true January 3, 2012 at 0848

So true. Our store had our 10 year anniversary. We had a party to celebrate and we had to provide our own food, drinks, and entertainment? WTF Apple. People bust ass for you and you can’t even buy them dinner? Hey at least they provided the store right. They didn’t charge us to use it. So thoughtful of them.

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Pin Drop January 3, 2012 at 1231

Apple Retail is so selfish. They never give anything back to the community they work in, the employees, their family. All they do is take, take, take and ask for more. There are everything that is wrong today with corporate greed and are hurting the american worker. They are taking advantage of people in this recession and making a bad name for themselves.

Mr. Cook, HR, Management you should be ashamed of yourselves. You are the lowest of low. You people who should be rounded up and kicked out of this and every decent country (along with Walmart of everyone like them). You should be made to show how you really are. Maybe spend some time with animal poachers as you are on their level. On second thought you are even worse than them because at they don’t sugar coat what they do and lie and hide behind the piles of money.

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Patrick January 3, 2012 at 0925

The Apple retail model needs to be tweaked significantly. My local store yesterday had about 70 customers and 50 staff members in it. (The store is two tables wide, and can only comfortably hold about 60 people total.) We were there for 30 minutes to replace a broken iPhone screen; they were running 15 minutes behind on appointment times.

There really is no easy way for a customer (even one familiar with their operations) to understand what to do; it is complete chaos. Apple had been trying to solve the problem with more staff, but that really just makes the problem worse. They really need to figure out a way to triage better and simplify the activation process by another 50% (they have made huge strides compared to two years ago though).

If you improve the customer experience, you also improve the employee experience.

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FredDSmith January 3, 2012 at 1059

My local Apple Store at South Coast Plaza is a crazy mess all the time. The Genius Bar is always running behind by an hour. You make an appointment, show up on time and still wait for them to finally get to you. I wish they would just stay on time. Then, when they finally do get around to helping you, you only get five minutes with the Genius before they have to take the next customer. That’s not enough time for me to tell them what’s wrong with my computer! I’ve even seen the managers give a Genius three people at a time. How do they keep track?

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Nameless Ex-Apple Employee January 3, 2012 at 1448

To be honest with you, it’s like that at nearly every Apple store. Trust me.

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Walter White January 3, 2012 at 1403

I worked for Apple for about 9 years. Held various roles, from Mac Genius (which became Genius after the proliferation of mobile devices) to Sr Manager. I loved it, and like our articles author, I hated the day I was walked to the back door. I was let go because of performance. I was sick, and had been declining in health for a few years… and finally after many months of mediocre performance, again because of my poor health, I was shown the door. After several months I did finally fix my issue and am now healthier than ever. Apple grew and continues to grow in astronomical ways. And I have to give them kudos for always responding to change. They were always updating and making things work better and faster. On the downside they also were able to up the ante for requirements in a job description and expect more and more. The “bar” at Apple retail was always raised higher and higher… Genii needed to handle more customers and then also multitask between 2 or more at a time. Doing same or greater business than the largest stores in the mall but in a tiny space makes for not enough people to do the job… but get a bunch of really passionate people that absolutely love apple, and they will be very productive. But that candle burns 2x hot and 1/2 as long… but, no problem, there are always very interested people who would love to take your place. So is Apple taking advantage? Maybe. But it seems that they get to… Work at any other retailer in the mall and you will find bored or overworked people that are there to pay bills, not usually because they absolutely love “Radio Shack” or the like…
It was near the end that I got to be on a conference call that included a corporate guy say something rather surprising… The question came up about some Genii having family and the wildly changing hours would become unreasonable…. keep in mind the stores were wanting Genii to work as early as 8 am and stay as late as midnight or so depending on the repairs of the day… and if its a holiday, extend those hours even more on the same amount of Genii… so the question about those with families came up and the answer was… to not hire Genii with Families anymore… Not really great to hear on a national conference call and it wasn’t well received by the team… But I’m pretty certain he was sanctioned for his thoughtless comment.
I LOVE Apple.. and I am pretty sure there is a HUGE difference between working for corporate Apple and Apple Retail… I say that because I have talked to those that worked for me in retail and then moved out to Cali… loved it then and are still there happily employed.
I still wish I could work for Apple. It’s an amazing company. I miss the customers and the people I was fortunate enough to work with in so many different stores. But I cannot work those crazy hours, and be away from my family and friends. Work Life balance is important to me but I don’t think Apple CAN worry about that… It is a HUGE advantage that they can easily replace anyone at the store. If they fired all inside a store, they have so many people ready to recruit, hire, train and work, that you’d barely notice a blip. A year or so before I was to go, they began getting college folks to begin working towards a store leader position… getting a young professional, groomed, interested and ready to go at the beginning and hence at a lower salary, no family and lots of energy makes this for a great idea… truly smart on their part.
It was an amazing journey. I feel very lucky to have learned so much there and can say proudly that I helped build a little piece Apple retail. I always did my best to make a difference at any store I was in and now I only move forward, carrying with me all the great stuff I was taught and supporting Apple from outside.
It sucks to lose your job… And in the terrible environment of a year ago, the last thing this family man needed to do was lose the main income at his favorite company on earth. But its the cards I was dealt… I had to cash in a retirement I had accrued and sell big items to keep us afloat but now I work nice hours for low pay and good benefits and a couple part time small businesses to keep making it happen every month. It isn’t Apple’s fault I wasnt healthy and couldn’t find the cause… All they knew is that I wasn’t performing well and they needed to run a business. Now I see my wife and kids and am able to have good times with friends that aren’t talking about NPS, NPP, AppleCare, Personal Training, Inventory or some other metric. So, in the end I am healthier than I have ever been and smarter for life. Time to keep moving forward…

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Nameless Ex-Apple Employee January 3, 2012 at 1447

@ Walter –

Admirable sentiments.

You’ve been away from Apple for at least a year, right?

If I had quit or got fired a few years ago, I wouldn’t hate Apple as much as I do now.

A ton of the changes that have been for the worse and especially those that completely go against the Apple creedo have come within the past 2 years.

For me, I wish I would have quit sooner.

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Doug Becker January 6, 2012 at 0957

The Apple Retail Credo – don’t even get me started. The Credo has got to be the biggest smokescreen I have ever seen in my 33+ year career.

The comment about not hiring Genii with families is totally consistent. In fact, I would bet that if the source of that comment was reprimanded for anything it would be for vocalizing one of the many, many unspoken discriminatory policies used by Apple Retail. I’d even bet that the “policy” extends to every position in the store, including managers. Of course, this is all my opinion.

I can’t even become an ACN member until I have been off the Apple payroll for an entire year.

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Sunshine January 3, 2012 at 1501

I believe that this comment “to not hire Genii with Families anymore” is discrimination. Not sure what the percentage of working adults have families but Its defiantly high.

I am not a lawyer but if someone meets the requirement of the job that is posted publicly and they don’t get it or pushed out because of those reasons or others that is not how a equal opportunity employer like Apple behaves. Sounds like you got to be a fly on the wall some and that is sad that is even a topic that is discussed in a official somewhat open meeting of a major USA company. What do they talk about behind the elite closed doors?

What’s next “maybe we should not hire this type of person because they are __________________ fill in the blanks with any discriminating statement you can think of. I guess that thinking different? Nice! After reading all this it must be how they operate?

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Another Fmr Genius January 3, 2012 at 2011

Well written, Walter, but the other commenters are both correct.
You are better off getting out when you did, even though not necessarily on your own terms.

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Sad Apple January 3, 2012 at 1522

Everything he says is absolutely true. When I started at apple in orange county ca 8 years ago things were very different. They cared about individuals and the knowledge they held. They don’t anymore …they hire people they think will help them sell, and they promote people who don’t “think different” at all. Actually thinking differently is now a bad a thing at Apple Retail. Go with the flow or your out. They even turn a blind eye to management that blatantly do not support basic human rights, as long as they’re successfully raking in the dough for them.

One day things won’t be as bright as they are now, and Apple will once again, need their fans …only thing is though, we might not be there for them this time around. If Apple think this new bunch of people are going to support them when the going get’s rough they’re dillusional. Most of the people they hire now were never apple heads to begin with, and will dump apple at the slightest sign of weakness. Who will be there to support them then?

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Rick January 3, 2012 at 1627

Here’s a new twist on the above complaints. I notice that most of the comments mention changes at the Apple stores in the past couple of years. Check this out on Joel Podolny, from “How Apple works: Inside the world’s biggest startup”, author Adam Lashinsky; linked on 9to5mac.com

“For years Steve Jobs was uninterested in the human resources department at Apple. Then, three years ago, just before his second medical leave, he hired Joel Podolny, dean of the Yale School of Management, to head something called Apple University. Podolny had been a widely quoted management guru. Yet when he joined Apple, typically, he vanished from sight. No one even seemed to notice when he was named vice president of human resources a couple of years later. It turns out that Podolny has been busy working on a project that speaks directly to the delicate topic of life at Apple after Jobs. At Jobs’ instruction, Podolny hired a team of business professors, including the renowned Harvard veteran and Andy Grove biographer Richard Tedlow. This band of eggheads is writing a series of internal case studies about significant decisions in Apple’s recent history. It’s exactly the sort of thing the major business schools do, except Apple’s case studies are for an Apple-only audience. Top executives, including Tim Cook and Ron Johnson, teach the cases, which have covered subjects including the decision to consolidate iPhone manufacturing around a single factory in China and the establishment of Apple’s stores. The goal is to expose the next layer of management to the executive team’s thought process.”

Source:
http://9to5mac.com/2012/01/03/adam-lashinskys-look-inside-apple-will-be-released-on-january-25th/#more-127430

It sounds to me like this “widely quoted management guru” may have been where the problems originated.

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Current employee January 3, 2012 at 2336

I’ve been with Apple almost six years. Tomorrow I will be late to both of my morning and afternoon breaks because of active queue managing. For those current and former employees who know what that is you’ll understand why. I will be late to my lunch at 12 pm for the same reason but I’ll have to be back at 1 pm regardless because they’ll be appointments waiting for me that I’m staffed for in Concierge. Nearly all of my customer interactions will start with me apologizing because the Genius Bar is behind schedule. And we are behind schedule everyday because our store is crowded with people that need help and our appointment system and staffing can’t keep up with the demand. My daily schedule doesn’t include time for me to check my company email. I will feel out of sync with Apple comings and goings so checking my email will most likely be the very last thing I do before I check out and go home. Staring down at my one device wondering why Concierge isn’t loading to see how behind the queue is will happen several hundred times in my work day. I will get a rude customer 4 out 5 times. Their largest problem will be lack of experience with their Apple product. The answer will take more time to explain then it does to replace. I’ll opt for the shorter option which is to swap out their iPhone because my queue is behind and I don’t want to be late to my break again for the 100th time this month. And to be honest I stopped caring about two store leaders ago. I like all of my co-workers and the one thing that helps me get thru my day is knowing that my level of frustration with Apple Retail is shared by all of them. I do enjoy reminiscing with the veterans about how it used to be before things went down hill but those times are long gone and those co-workers I can count on one hand.

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Salvadore January 4, 2012 at 0031

I couldn’t agree more. I can’t tell you how little I care about a customer’s problem when management asks me to “take one more appointment” before I go to lunch an hour late. I stopped apologizing for the long wait times. It’s not my fault they had to wait 40 minutes past their appointment time, when AQM has screwed up everything and management is giving us two customers at a time. Negative NPS? Not for me when I cancel their appointment at the first sign of discontent.

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Current Genius January 4, 2012 at 0031

All I can say is you, my friend, couldn’t depict a more perfect picture of our day to day lives. The sad part is, I don’t see any reprieve down the pipeline. It is just going to get worse. I’ve heard the idea of “Infinite Active Queue” thrown around in which they open as many queues as needed for the traffic. They have to understand we are bound by physical limits like time and space, but they just don’t get it. They create more access, but not better service. I’m starting to feel that a vending machine is more of their ideal Genius for tech support.

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The Future isn't so bright January 4, 2012 at 0043

I’ve seen stores pilot a “One to Many” program where they move the Genii from the bar to the sales floor and setup a group of six customers at a table that all have the same problem (dead battery or iCloud issues). That Genius is to help all of them at the same time. Whenever he/she finishes a customer, another one with similar issues is placed at the table. Rinse and repeat.

It’s kinda like triaging customers and placing them into similar groups to be seen by one Genius at a time.

I’ve also heard that some store are removing the Genius bar altogether and making the Genii “float” around the store helping people wherever they can find them. Talk about chaos! Imagine telling customers there is no Genius bar and that someone will be by soon to help them.

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Current Genius January 5, 2012 at 0333

Our store does that. We have a very small store and it is not uncommon to have 30 queues open and a bar that accommodates 3 Geniuses (5 max). Many of my guests have to be taken standing randomly in the middle of the store. Very difficult to triage Mac that way. The issue is that with this type of method and the “One to Many,” our guests get the short end of the stick and the employees get overwhelmed. There is no organization and absolutely no time to even breathe. I don’t think a lot of these people understand how much this job demands of us both mentally and physically. From the second you enter the doors you are literally running non-stop and often don’t get breaks, and almost never get a full lunch. Apple keeps looking at the numbers but most of the higher ups have probably never even run their own queue.

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Walter white January 4, 2012 at 0234

AQM… It’s like Celine Dion… all coming back to me now. That started about 2 years ago for us, and near my end it was being contested by the majority of the team… It was the same time that the repairs went to all at night and not having a repair genius in the GR… BUT having quick repairs done “on the fly” so if you were already booked, you would need to ask your fellow genius to take on another customer while you went back to swap a top case or other quickie repair. It was do-able, but again apply the candle that burns 2x as hot theory. Others are so spot on, NO time to catch up on the RNN, email etc… I had to ask for training for my team so they could keep up on yearly certifications. It’s amazing now that I have been out a year, to look back at how fast paced and no time for taking a breath. Besides that the stores were so small and the employees so many, that the BOH was filled during any moment lunch and no place to even sit. You can’t eat in the GR, so that won’t work. Inventory piled everywhere in the aisles. Added Data transfer services with no accommodations for that so it got put in a busy thoroughfare… perfect place for cables not to get accidentally pulled or something bumped. Chaos, period. Managers and Leads are taught to be strategic with time… but there isn’t time for them either. Run run run… and then all above can’t figure out why we are all perfectly trained at being “first responders”, always on the move and ready to put out the next fire…. never time to look at how each store is different… different customers, different flow at different times of the day… all of this comes into play when you have the wild numbers (traffic, $$, etc) that Apple Retail stores show on a daily basis. Even the slowest of stores is out of this world on revenue… I know because I have seen them all from a flag to a small time store.
Someone else brought up HR… HR is not to protect employees (as it sounds like and they should) Their first priority is protecting the company. If something is happening to an employee that will cause harm (litigious or otherwise) to the company, they jump in. And I have to say that the HR dept at Apple was quite nice to me… I also worked for another fortune 500 company that is now dying a slow death… their HR dept was HELL, in fact its what the “catburt – evil HR director” character is based on.. Apple HR was nice…maybe less so now. My last moments were me being read an abruptly short letter of ,”we will relieve you of your duties as of this moment” and don’t take those business cards, they are our property as well… really? you want to keep the business cards with my name on them? Would you like to come and get the rest of them at my house as well? I was told to carry them around when recruiting new employees… I saw some struggling employees from specialists to store leaders get let go simply because a market leader wasn’t happy with them, didn’t like them or maybe it came down from higher up… it did seem that the older ones, that came on early were getting let go… it seemed like they were moving out the high paid, early adopters… and the only way you stayed was to be moved up high enough, to a safe market OR go to Apple Corporate. The other big thing that changed for Apple Retail was the Annual Review.. until Sep 2010, reviews came in and if your store did well (which they all did) a moderate/ok review was bumped up since you obviously were doing well as a team, so why not. Sep 2010, they eliminated that. It didn’t matter what the store performance looked like, if you were rated (fairly or unfairly) as just ok or moderate, you got put on a Documented Coaching… Cue the Raven here. The DC was the slow death. It really was just Apples way of saying go find another job, we don’t want you here, and this is our way of saying we tried to “coach” you. And as I was taught as a manager, the Coaching part isnt really. You can’t coach the person on the DC, that person is supposed to fix themselves and the managers are not to tell you what to do AT ALL. And then after 30 days, they tell you whether you did improve or didn’t, so now you get to go, now. Most all of those Ended (the “E” in APPLE for those knowing the steps of service) with a NON-fond farewell.
It does sound like apple is “sour-ly” getting away from their Credo… which I think that card was on its third major change by the time i left.

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Former Genius January 5, 2012 at 0343

They don’t want employees to stay. They can get someone twice as energetic, twice as compliant, and hundred times as naive for a fourth of the price. Once you’ve seen too much (at the two to three year mark) they will find something to fire you for. We are in every way disposable.

Do not even get me started on reviews. We are graded on the performance of the RZ (sales floor) as technicians. Even the rare employee that receives top marks only gets a few cents raise. No bonuses. No commission. Many employees, geniuses included, earn under $10 per hour. That’s barely a livable wage and definitely not accurate compensation for the job they do.

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Jim January 4, 2012 at 0037

Product development leads to innovation, innovation leads to differentiated products, differentiated products leads to imitation, and imitation leads to commodity type products, and commodity products lead to mass production and cost cutting. Take Samsung, for example, they are copying everything Apple makes from phones to tablets and churning out low priced imitations. Samsung’s profits are soaring at the cost of Apple. How long till that pressure forces Apple to reduce the prices on current products or sell last year’s models at bare-bottom prices to compete?

The highest costs are Apple’s labor force. At one time, there was good money in teaching typewriting, selling typewriters, repairing typewriters. Now you can only make money in typewriters if you can find one and sell it at an antique auction. Someday, that will also be true of the iPhone 4S.

Apple’s bean counters can see the margins are in manufacturing, and wholesale, not retail. Retail is notorious for low margins. It is no wonder store personnel are treated like consumables, i.e., toilet paper. The next step for Apple will be to make most retail employees part-time so it can unload its employee benefits costs, and risk of unionization of staff.

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Poor Apple.... January 4, 2012 at 0737

“Apple’s bean counters can see the margins are in manufacturing, and wholesale, not retail.”
“Retail is notorious for it’s low margins”

So that’s why Apple spends MILLIONS dollars to open ONE retail location, because they know the margins are low. Huh? Apple as manufacturer AND retailer puts them in the position of paying the “true cost: (not wholesale cost) to make it’s products, but then sells it at full retail, keeping both the wholesale margin AND the retail margin. And considering Apple actually has some of the highest margins based on their MSRP, I’d say you should reconsider some of your statements above.

Do you have any idea what gross sales are at any one Apple Store? I think you’d be shocked to learn how much they bring in on a given day.

Samsung may be knocking the products off, but it pays the same or similar price to produce it, and only sells it wholesale to a retailer. So, I’d say Apple is doing far better than Samsung, not just on their mobile devices, but every Apple device sold in their own retail chain.

“The next step for Apple will be to make most retail employees part-time so it can unload its employee benefits costs” Dude, do you know ANYTHING about Apple retail? 90% of the staff in any given store is already part-time, have been for years. The only non-part-timers are a handful of Genii, the Experts and the Managers.

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At Least I'm not an FRS January 4, 2012 at 0048

Thank God I’m not an FRS (Family Room Specialist). They have the WORST job in the store. They have to put up with all the geriatric One-to-One customers that spend the entire session trying to remember their passwords, only to screw them up again before their next session. Then, the FRS has to put up with the new 24 turn around time for data transfers. On top of all that, they are forced to work the mobile queue where we see all the customers that cannot afford a Mac and treat their iPhones like crap. Those poor FRS are just waiting for a Creative or Genius to die in order to escape the purgatory.

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Current FRS January 4, 2012 at 2156

As a current FRS, I can tell you that I hate my job. Constantly working with people who have no knowledge about what they have purchased, being verbally abused and assaulted (I consider it a red letter day if I am not called some heinous name), and having to teach the same 4 lessons in one-to-ones is exhausting. As was mentioned all I am instructed to do my leaders and management is to swap devices. Many times there is nothing wrong, they just want customers to be satisfied. I could just as easily be replaced by a trained monkey. All the while, I know that all my position does is undermine the geniuses and creatives. It takes far less capital to train other Family Room Specialiststhan it does those two roles, so in this essence, Apple has chosen quantity over quality.

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Joe Apple January 17, 2012 at 0026

Shut the fuck up and quit your job if it’s so bad. What a fucking whiner!

Poor me! I have to swap devices instead of troubleshooting and repairing. What a hardship! Poor me! I have to teach the same lessons over and over. Poor me! Customers are lining up to buy something and paying my company for me to teach them how to use them! The horror!

Ever stop to think why you’re being abused so often? Could it be that you’re an asshole who hates his job? Fucking asshole whiner. Grow the fuck up.

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ChrisIndy January 17, 2012 at 0732

Steve? Is that you? I thought you died?

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