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 }

noname January 4, 2012 at 0745

What he was saying is truly from his heart and 200% apple’s way to say that. i really understand but that is all i am allowed to say. i really hope Cook can see this and thinking about this not only the stock price and how he is successful in others eyes.
especially in China there are many very good employees leaving just because what they said” in China Apple is Just an Chinese Apple” it means it is no different to other chinese company, it is just a retail store covered by a beautiful lies. i am wondering how long apple can go if they are keep on doing like this. where is OUR PEOPLE, really can not see

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A 30 plus year Apple Customer January 4, 2012 at 0820

The last time I went to an Apple store, I walked in at 10am, was first in the door, was told I needed an appointment. No one could help me otherwise. The manager of the store that morning was a complete ass and did nothing but stand around looking about the store. He was rude, not knowledgeable about the product, could not help me get a machine in for repair. Luckily I only waited 45 minutes till one of the “techs” had time to take care of the issue.

It is totally inexcusable for a store manager not to know at least something about every position within a store. It is not rocket science we are talking about. However, when this manager was asked why he couldnt help, his response was “It’s not my job so you will just have to wait”.

If half of what is written in the email from Chad is true, that is too much. From reading the other experiences from other “Employees” is true then the Apple Stores are heading down the drains as quickly as the Circuit City, Computer Land, or Comp USA stores went.

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Woods January 4, 2012 at 0826

Question: Are you a winner or a loser? Said more softly are you an Achiever or Explainer.
Explainers, alway seem to find a reason as to why they can’t be successful. “There are too many customers”, “I’m not praised enough”, “Customers are mean”, “I don’t get paid enough”, “my manager does not support me”, “the hours suck” and on and on and on.
Achievers (Winners) take personal accountability and pride in finding ways to drive their own success? Achievers face all of the challengers that an explainer does but it’s their attitude that ultimately makes them more successful and more happy.

This is true at Apple and True in life.

You have choices. If you not happy leave. If you don’t think you are valued then ask yourself, “why should they value me? Then talk to you manager about it to find out if your on the same page.

If you find happiness is just making 1 customer a day smile then cherish it. Happiness is contagious.

When a customer yells at you, know that listening has less to do with hearing the words that are spoken and more to do with understanding why the words are spoken. I have personally turned many irate customers into raving fans. I find turning such situations around can be fun. Those I couldn’t turn around I forget about quickly.

Your work for a company that is growing. This means opportunity for the leaders and the positive change agents. Having an over developed sense of entitlement won’t get you anything, not at Apple or anyplace else.

Also, you want to know the big mystery as to how someone with mountains of experience and tech savvy doesn’t get promoted. It’s all about the soft skills. It’s not just what you know it’s how you communicate it. How you communicate to your managers, your team members and your customers. Also, communication is a two way street, if your manager does not know you then it’s just as much your fault than it is theirs. Don’t play victim (Loser).

You have the privilege to work for a company that truly does value it’s employees. The credo says that our most important resource, our sole is our people. That means all of the people. So when someone is always late or mouths off on a thread potentially damaging our brand don’t be surprised if someone gets fired. Because it’s those actions that put the hard work of everyone else at risk. No one person ego is more important than the rest of us.

You get to work within a store/community of brilliant technologists. Half the fun of working at Apple is your coworkers. Want to know something about photography then ask the Aperture guy. Commit yourself to learning something new and teach something new every day.

You also have the privilege of working with product that you love. Remind yourself why you love it and then transfer that passion to your customers and coworkers. Your carrier will shine and grow because of it.

This thread is heartbreaking as some of you simply don’t realize or appreciate how lucky you are.

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pseudoemployee January 4, 2012 at 1033

I can’t believe how dead wrong you are… You can appreciate the good parts of the job and still realize that you are being sorely taken advantage of. Some of us work extremely hard and can tell that we’re appreciated by the managers, but, at the end of the day, there’s only so much that people at the extremities can do.

I plan on writing up something on a separate avenue, but here’s the sad truth of the matter: Apple employees used to work hard and do their best because they viewed a kinship with Apple. Apple took care of them and they felt like the company was loyal so they did their best to represent the company. Like the bad boyfriend/girlfriend, as changes came in, we took the negatives with a grain of salt and worked hard because we assumed positive intent and tried to see the end result and we had a soft spot for our “family”. Now, after being taken advantage of time and time again, we’re all just sick of the excuses and we realize that it’s not a symbiotic relationship anymore. Apple is no longer loyal to its retail employees because there are thousands of other people waiting in the wings to take those places. Unfortunately, because Apple is not loyal to its employees anymore, they’re not going to be loyal to Apple and they’re not going to go above and beyond because of it.

If you think you’re lucky to work for Apple retail, then you’re either deluded or you just haven’t been there long enough to see the change in the culture.

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Woods January 4, 2012 at 1047

How am I wrong? If anything your reply solidified my point.

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pseudoemployee January 4, 2012 at 1110

You’re wrong because you still think that Apple retail values its employees. It doesn’t. That’s the difference in culture that everyone is voicing concern over. Everyone in Apple retail is now replaceable by the 10 people waiting in the wings for a job at Apple. There’s no more development from within to promote from within… It’s all external hires. On top of that, yes, Apple is a great company but the treatment of retail employees as second class citizens of the United States of Apple is extremely disheartening and insulting.

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Woods January 4, 2012 at 1317

So make yourself unreplaceable, Be a positive change agent. It’s truly up to you. If your not happy leave. I wish you well.

pseudoemployee January 4, 2012 at 1530

I can’t reply to your most recent comment, so I’m doing it here…

You *are* delusional. Some of us have been major investments for Apple. There are very few of us that have been around for 5+ years and are certified in all of the Pro Applications, CORE, Genius certification, OS X certification, *and* FR Foundations. Up until this year, I have felt like a balanced investment. They invested in me and I returned the investment to them. This year has changed all that. Your nonsense about being an agent of change is bologna. How can you be an agent of change when you’re constantly ignored and taken advantage of?

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Current Genius January 6, 2012 at 0249

I absolutely agree with Pseudoemployee. Many of us still work for Apple because we are trying to give the company time to get over its growing pains, but this is not a new issue. There has been a steady decline for the last two years; the public is just now hearing about it be because employees are afraid to speak up. We have tried to make changes. We plaster smiles on our faces and try our best to give our guests the best experience. Yet, we can only do so much. The whole, “if you don’t like it then leave” idea will just make matters worse. If we don’t like it, we need to find the people that can make changes because this is not a single store issue, and we only can enact so much change as retail employees. That is why Chad wrote this letter, not to be negative but to reach out to those that can make a difference.

I don’t know if you work for Apple or not, but please don’t judge those of us that have experienced these issues until you’ve walked in our shoes (and if you have, then I’m glad you haven’t had the same experiences).

Another Fmr Genius January 4, 2012 at 2156

Really? “Positive change agents?” Woods you have drank too much of the Kool-Aid.
While there is merit to some of your arguments, such as co-workers and (some) customers, Apple has not responded appropriately to the explosive growth in the Family Room (iPhones.) Store Leaders wonder why their NPP scores are so low, but they ignore the obvious. “Market Support” implements solutions that may sound great in theory, but AQM and overnight repairs make most people miserable. But they are trapped because there is not a plethora of jobs out there. “Well if you’re unhappy here at Apple you can always get another job” is NOT effective leadership. It’s a cop out.

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So give it a try big shot! January 5, 2012 at 0718

I’d like to see how long you last standing there in the abuse for just over minimum wage…. Call me and let me know how it goes. Don’t forget, think positive, happy thoughts.

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Woods January 5, 2012 at 0824

Your missing the point. You are in control of your happiness, no one else. Take accountability for you. If you don’t like the pay or the environment then it’s your choice to either stay or go. Your for you. No one is going to hold you hand so either make the best of it or move on. Also, I have not drank any Kool-Aide my opinion comes from decades of experience. Take it or leave it, it’s up to you.

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Current Genius January 6, 2012 at 0255

Take it or leave it is not going to fix anything. The problem is that most of these issues are outside of our lotus of control. We make the best of what we are given, we take accountability of the issues within our grasp, but these issues are bigger than us. Complacency is not going to fix the bigger issue at hand. Would you tell someone in an abusive relationship to find happiness in it? No.

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Snowman January 8, 2012 at 0948

Woods you are so a manager (I have a running bet on who you are and you are a worthless human), drinking cool aid and spiting right back at us. Your the one who needs to go! Get out of our way, we will make changes eventually and you might wake up and yes you are part of the problem.

This is so stupid “You are in control of your happiness, no one else.” true but you can apply that to any situation. So a parents child dies, a women is beaten or abused so on and so on but you are in control of your happiness, no one else so I guess they should just make the best of it. Good advise.

Apple success should be felt by all not a few and its that simple. Man up and do the right thing.

I choose to leave it. January 9, 2012 at 0704

your polly-anna-isms make me want to puke. you’ve read way to many self-help books, and cannot see that what we are discussing here is that Apple Retail was once a great environment in which to work. but management has clearly chose to change focus and has turned it into yet another corporate sweatshop demanding more and more from their employees while paying less and less by plying their good brand reputation. so you’re right, nothing would please me more than to see thousands of Apple Retail employees quit en-masse. problem is, polly anna, the economic reality for these folks may not allow them to do that…

so save your mary poppins attitude and platitudes. we’re sick of it.

how about feeling a little something for someone else for a change. oh, yea wait, that would bring you down. don’t want to burst your own feel-good-about-the-entire-world bubble, now would we?

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Concerned Listener January 4, 2012 at 1128

I worked as a (Mac) Genius at the Fifth Avenue Apple Store in New York, arguably the public face of Apple’s Retail division, for several years. I was one of the top performing members of our team, and value the experience immensely.

During my time there, I witnessed corrupt corporate behavior and some of the worst management I have ever been privy to, including bribes for service discounts, overt sexual harassment by managers, racism, and shocking cases of wage inequality.

I am neither surprised by nor in disagreement with Mr. Ramey’s letter, but I fear his words will fall on deaf ears. For my entire tenure at Apple, the norm was for any sort of criticism of management or the company to be shot down as “negative thinking” or not being a “team player,” regardless of how accurate the criticism may have been.

The problem is twofold: The workers care about the company, and management cares about the almighty dollar.

Apple Retail employees, especially low-level retail workers, are not making the kind of money they should (starting at $12/hr in New York – do the math) to be so fanatical while working terrible hours and being asked to do the work of two people on a routine basis.

But there’s the disconnect – Apple does an excellent job of indoctrinating its employees into the Apple culture with credos and acronyms for how to do and love the job, and builds these people up to thinking that they work for the best company in the world. And they might, but most of them start at the bottom.

Apple Retail has long had a mandate of promoting from within, set in place by Steve Jobs himself in a corporate email I received in 2007. However, starting in 2008, my store began hiring more and more managers and upper-managers from other retailers – Starbucks, Gap, Diesel – who in turn brought with them all the stereotypically terrible tropes of the retail workplace. These managers push numbers and demand more and more customers seen every day, while still championing “quality customer interaction.” These managers also sit in their office in the back of house watching YouTube videos while the Genius Bar is an hour behind, with over a hundred customers waiting. These managers make double what most of their direct reports make, and also receive a hefty bonus every year that the store meets the goals set for it by Retail Corporate.

I have never received a bonus, despite being repeatedly asked to stay for hours after the end of my shift because we were behind and under-staffed, being in the top ten performing members of a team of almost 200 people, and receiving nearly perfect customer evaluations for every one of my hundreds, if not thousands, of customer interactions.

No, that would be a lie. Apple gave me a blanket a couple years ago. That year was, in fact, the same year that I didn’t have heat in my apartment for three months during the winter because I couldn’t afford not to live in the ghetto.

Apple Retail doesn’t need a union. It needs an Occupy movement.

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pseudoemployee January 4, 2012 at 1140

They *used* to do a good job of indoctrinating employees because there was actions to back up their words. I’ve seen my fair share of new employees that see through the bullshit pretty quickly because there isn’t any follow through to the talk.

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Joe Apple January 5, 2012 at 0520

Seriously? You made serious allegations of illegal activity at a store where I personally know and used to work with several members of upper management. Did you ever report any of the illegal activities you saw to anyone in or outside of Apple? Did you ever go to Xxxxx? Xxxxx? Xxxxx? Xxxxxx? The police? No? Then you really have no right to complain about any of it here if you weren’t willing to do something about it then.

As far as your allegations of wage inequality – welcome to retail. I manage a store now (not Apple) where I make double what my asst makes, yet one of our dept managers makes as much as the asst. The other dep’t managers make far less, and it’s all due to internal promotion vs external hire and the willingness of some managers to pay more to get who they want. This is not uncommon, unethical or illegal. It’s how retail, and business in general, works. And even in my small, suburban store a fraction the size of Fifth Avenue, I made nearly $10K/year in quarterly bonuses because management was responsible for driving the business and we drove it. You were hired knowing that you will not earn any bonuses – you were hired with a straight hourly rate. Did you really expect to get a bonus just for doing your job?

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I want what ever he's taking... January 5, 2012 at 0725

because to walk through life that either jaded or delusional must be fantastic!

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Joe Apple January 5, 2012 at 0851

who are you referring to?

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Referring to January 9, 2012 at 0706

YOU!

Woods January 5, 2012 at 0829

I completely agree with Joe Apple. Well said.

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Joe Apple January 5, 2012 at 0903

Thanks, Woods. I try for reality, but it’s tough when it comes to Apple. I drank the kool-aid long before I was an employee and kept drinking it for 5 years as an employee. I didn’t see 99% of the stuff that I read about here, but I do believe that things are getting worse regarding services – Genius and One to One. The majority of the stores simply aren’t big enough and there aren’t enough hours in the day to do anything but swap more and more products when a simple repair would be the preferable outcome. I think we’ll be seeing more and more refurb product available as a result.

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Concerned Listener January 6, 2012 at 1139

I was, in fact, promised a bonus by the recruiter before being hired, as were many of the members of the Genius staff. None of us ever received a bonus

Just because you drive a business does not mean you get to take all the credit for its success. You are an example of one of the major problems in American business: elitism. Why do you deserve a bonus over the people being screamed at for hours on end? There are millions of people upset at the CEOs of major financial institutions because they are taking home massive bonuses while their companies are driven into the ground. Apple Retail is no different, and apparently neither is your store.

It may not be illegal or unethical in your mind, but that doesn’t make it right.

Do you publish your salary to your employees? Do they know how much each other makes? Some people are going to make more money than others in a business, that’s how it works. However, if you published all of those numbers in your employee break room, do you think your entire staff would read it, shrug, and go on with their day?

If so then I’m glad I don’t work at your store.

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Joe Apple January 6, 2012 at 1742

Elitism? You are completely delusional. Until you’ve been in charge of running a business, you can’t know what it takes to be responsible for absolutely everything that happens and all of the results. All of them. Store leader, general manager, whatever you want to call it, has the ultimate responsibility for everything that happens, good or bad. So, we get the bonuses. Maybe things have changed since I left Apple a couple of years ago but nobody was entitled to bonuses except managers. and we’re not talking about amounts like in the banking industry that you’ve heard about on TV. We’re talking a crew thousand dollars per quarter at most, which is perfectly normal and deserved if earned.

Why would I publish my salary? Why would you ask the ‘break room’ question? You’re a bit naive to the way business works. I earn every penny I make, because the buck stops with me. I’m responsible for everything, therefore I make the most money. If this doesn’t make sense to you, then again, you simply don’t understand how business works.

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Current Genius January 7, 2012 at 0242

A few thousand dollars?!? It takes three months for me to earn that. It may not seem much to you, but it means everything to your staff who can’t eat for the two days leading up to payday. Your staff is what carries you, don’t forget it. The buck doesn’t stop with you. The store doesn’t run without your people.

Joe Apple January 7, 2012 at 2336

Current genius – I don’t know which market you live/work in, but here in the tri-state area, Apple pays the highest wages of any retailer around. I currently pay my dep’t managers a couple of dollars an hour LESS than what I paid starting Specialists more than 2 years ago at Apple. If you’re overworked and underpaid, welcome to the world. If you think you’ve got it bad, leave Apple and see what happens to your income. Ridiculous statements like the one you made about not eating for the two days leading up to payday does not make your point, whatever that may be. It does, however, prove that you are not skilled at argument nor debate and that you do not understand retail. It is what it is, and you’re not going to change it, so enjoy it or leave it.

Another Fmr Genius January 8, 2012 at 1649

@Joe- Apple Retail’s wage structure has decreased. It’s been a pretty significant decline at the same time that Apple Inc’s overall profit has sky-rocketed. My experience primarily encompasses the Family Room, and I saw Geniuses starting for $2-3/hour less in 2010-2011 than 2007-2009. This included new hires and internal promotions. In fact, I think FRS’s get the biggest shaft because they move “sideways” and don’t even get a raise for their “promotion.” If they finally make Genius/Creative then they’ll only get a $1.50-2.50 raise.

kms September 18, 2012 at 1719

Here’s a little shock for you, “Experts” and “Geniuses” are essentially entry level positions. Of course you make about $12. That’s an entry level salary for an entry level assignment. Pay attention to the real world. Why in the world is a 39yo working in an entry level assignment anyway?

Free January 4, 2012 at 2135

Our mangers have started giving customers free products when they have to wait over an hour for their appointments at the Genius bar. I’ve seen them give away free phone cases, headphones, MacBook batteries and car chargers.

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Another Fmr Genius January 4, 2012 at 2157

Is that the new “Get to Yes?!?”

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Joe Apple January 5, 2012 at 0907

Yeah – remember that one? Great philosophy, and when the business was somewhat slower, it was a heck of a lot easier. Ron always did crack me up in his really silly videos. He needed a director to tell him to put his damn hands down already. I wonder how JCP is doing…

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Current Genius January 6, 2012 at 0300

Get to Yes is over. We can’t even issue CS codes anymore.

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Jane Doe. January 8, 2012 at 0407

It’s all about getting to no because too many people were giving away the farm rather than finding common ground but then heck in a 10 minute queue it’s either yes or now 30 seconds in anyway.

Jane Doe. January 8, 2012 at 0405

Sweet Jesus, what a punch of wimps. It’s all about getting to no.

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Kris. Frost January 5, 2012 at 0422

I am a market leader in the north east. You know what? We are all a bunch of miserable people who have no lives. We cheat on our spouses with our employees. We fire without cause and promote without merit.
The best part, we do this with the full approval of people like Xxxxx Xxxxx’s knowledge. Why? Cause after ruining Starbucks in the North East, s/he now is doing the same here.

I know that none of my current bosses will read this. That is why as I lie in bed ( of one of my direct reports “Xxxxxx”), my husband is home thinking I am in Cupertino, at a sales meeting.

I guess I think different. Now who shall I fire today?

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Jake January 5, 2012 at 0527

Kris,

That is cold. But not any colder than the day after we hooked up at the regional meeting. Did your hubby find the photo I texted you?

Jake

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Joe Apple January 5, 2012 at 0549

Stupid grunt doesn’t even know Xxxxxx’s proper name. Xxxxx. Ruining Starbuck’s? Again, stupid grunt.

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Woods January 5, 2012 at 0831

Xxxxx and Xxxxx are both great people. You have no idea what your talking about. Further evidence that you don’t deserve the jobs you have.

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Joe Apple January 5, 2012 at 0856

I have to say that I was never impressed with Xxxxxx Xxxxxx. Never worked for her, but saw her at a few NSOs, and she really thought who she was. A little less classy than most other female market-level people I knew at Apple.

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Gary Allen January 5, 2012 at 1033

I’ve redacted the names to keep the comments focused on the issues, not specific individuals.

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Joe Apple January 6, 2012 at 1743

you may want to redact the kris.frost name as well.

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Down with Apple January 8, 2012 at 0959

Frost go F yourself. Your a slim like all the market leaders are and you certainly didn’t get their on your own merit. Everyone knows what a bunch of losers you are. You have no skills what so ever and you will get yours someday.

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Dr. No January 5, 2012 at 1216

The overwhelming demand at the Genius Bar is growing exponentially. I was stationed as the Concierge person yesterday for my full eight hour shift to check in people for their appointments. The managers added AQM every hour to both the mobile and Mac queue to make sure we had enough appointments to meet the demand, but it wasn’t enough. I still counted between five and nine people an hour that wanted appointments who couldn’t get them even after adding all the queues.

Let’s do the math…

Six people per hour that cannot make appointments times 11 hours a day that the store is open by seven days a week, by an average of 300 stores. (6×11)=66×7=462×300=138,600 customers per WEEK that are NOT being helped and leaving the store ANGRY.

The you factor in an average of five Genii and five FRS per store times 300 stores. Thats 3,000 employees that are missing their lunches and breaks on a daily basis.

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Confused January 5, 2012 at 1755

Wait, you still have Concierge checking people in at your store?

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desperate gill January 5, 2012 at 1454

“you work at apple? how cool (uncool )is that!”

Here is my top 5 for R15. why it’s not cool to work for apple retail:

1. Your Manger is asking you, if we have UBS to ethersomething cables on stock….
2. You have only 1 toilet for your staff (right next to the staffroom) that is intended to be shared by the whole store staff (approx. 120 employees).
3. Your GR is only 8 square meter in total but you are expected to work with 5 people in average and up to 8 in total in this room to do repairs, setups and other shit all day long although there is no enough oxygen for all those individuals and the temperature is always between 25-28 degree.
4. You have no daylight during the whole shift but some extra powerful neon tubes plus some extra white shining walls in your GR.
5. You have to stay until midnight for all those “fantastic” team times and are expected to be back at 8.00 am in the morning.

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The Dude January 6, 2012 at 0909

Yeah dude, i like the one with the white shining walls…same at our store, all the walls in the
back are painted in a special “Ron Johnson extra teeth white edition”. LOL

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Concerned Listener January 6, 2012 at 1148

You think 1 toilet for 120 is bad? Try 2 male sitting stalls for 700.

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Jane Doe. January 8, 2012 at 0411

Now that is #winning!

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Anus January 5, 2012 at 1638

I think the biggest problem is that Apple isn’t ready for prime-time.

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eightball January 6, 2012 at 0137

I guess 56 years old naive Ron Wayne Johnson was wrong when he said: “We’re best when we’re busy” almost 2 years ago as it seems that most of the store staff get’s burned out when they’re always busy and have no work-life balance at all.

Now as Ron has left the company, we need to paraphrase the sentence to something like:”We’re best when we have a work-life balance, social life, nice working environment, competent management and are valued by Apple.”

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Amused January 6, 2012 at 1213

Woods…. You must be one of em people managers that go around drawing circles and graphs of motivation lvls and tell them to but a books when a staff member approaches you with a real issue. Open your eyes, you think every one just whines because they feel sorry for them selfs as they try to justify it to them selfs? How about the angle of; passionate people who really do give a shit about this company and what it stands for, slaving away getting treated like worthless sack of potatoes, while listening to the same generic bs from management about “new” initiatives as we need to increase availability, shorten wait time and have faster turnaround on repairs. After all during the induction all they tell u is “people are our soul”, ” it’s a great place to learns and grow” “quality not quantity” “names not numbers” Any workplace is a great place to learn and grow, it’s a part of our life, but what Apple does is plain false advertising as to what the job description is. No customer experience matters, no quality interactions are wanted. Efficient service and check out is the new moto. “Take ur shit gtfo, if u go over there some one might be able to help u turn the phone on for you”. Average age of new hiers in my region is down to 19year olds. And turnover is down to 6months. Go figure

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Out with the Old January 6, 2012 at 1251

My store has started a new initiative that is sure to spread to other stores and markets. Anyone found working a second job, not one in tech, is shown the door regardless of how long you’ve worked for Apple. Case in point, one lady at my store worked as a Teachers Assistant during the day and at Apple at night to support her two children. She had been working both jobs for years without any trouble. Good metrics and good NPS at Apple. She was available all week long, after 4pm, and one weekend day. The managers decided she needed to open her availability more. When she couldn’t, they let her go.

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Or could it be... January 9, 2012 at 0716

her age? i find apple retail to be very agist.

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NuTs January 7, 2012 at 0423

Overall the job as FRS is not to bad.But what really drives me nuts is the fact, that I can’t go for a piss when I have to. That’s because of the never ending mobile moron queue and the fact that there is no break scheduled by management except lunch.

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i'd recommend check sate employment laws January 9, 2012 at 0719

normally apple pretends to make an attempt at giving employees breaks they are entitled to under state law (especially in states where they have been sued). so check out the labor laws where you live, make sure you have your facts straight, and talk to a manager, then hr, then a lawyer if you don’t get a reply.

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Need a break? January 9, 2012 at 0758

I see the hoards of people waiting over an hour for their appointment and I just smile and walk away when I need a break or lunch. Theyll just have to wait longer, because I’m not gonna help them.

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David January 7, 2012 at 1733

As a former Apple retail employee of 3.5 years I find it laughable that people are suggesting that we should call HR to deal with our issues. I think outsiders would be surprised to know that the HR helpline is UNSTAFFED, and you simply leave a voicemail of your issue and you PRAY that someone will actually get back to you. Therefore, if you choose to file an anonymous complaint, there is pretty much no way for you to follow up. In addition, if HR does decide to investigate the issue they are often in cahoots with management to find ways to bully you to a point where you just decide to quit to save them from the hassle of having to justify firing you.

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Joe Apple January 8, 2012 at 1525

Well, there’s the generic helpline, and then there’s your local HR rep, who you can call directly. You should be able to find this person in Apple Directory if your manager won’t help you find it.

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Another Fmr Genius January 8, 2012 at 1653

Your Market HR Rep can be found in MyPage. However, they actually know your Store & Market Leaders so it seems like the corporate HR people in Cupertino might actually be objective.

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Joe Apple January 11, 2012 at 1749

Yes, but they probably won’t speak to you unless you’ve already gone through your local people.

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CurrentGenius January 7, 2012 at 2005

Listen. I understand the idea of active queue management. Sometimes it works great, but during times of the year like this it’s just setting us up for failure. If we are already 45 minutes behind, why would it be a good idea to open another queue for the hour? All I hear is well this is what Apple wants us to do. Well, you have your own brain, does this make sense right now? No.

Repair shifts are fine for me since I don’t have to be at the bar, but trying to do WYW repairs while still having a queue open for you is nonsense most of the time.

Our store is too small, we can’t find our appointments because the store is packed. We break fire code every single day.

The systems we depend on to do our jobs go down every day unexpectedly. Is it too much to ask for an explanation?

Management cannot get on the same page with anything. Only one of our 8 managers was an internal promotion. They are so disconnected from Apple.

Its just chaos in the family room all the time. The customers have no idea what to do when they come in. Apple wants to depend on its employees to direct the customers, but it’s just not feasible with our demand, and then Apple cutting our staffing hours dramatically during our busiest time of year.

Our Market is finally piloting a program to give every employee dedicated training time.

I love Apple, but the retail stores need to be rethought.

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AQM, no problem January 11, 2012 at 2148

@CurrentGenius,

I have no problem with AQM, because I immediately fill all the open appointments with fake names. The managers can keep on adding queues and I’ll keep filling them. Cat and mouse game.

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Neo January 8, 2012 at 0513

A fish rots from the head down……..

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Gone in a flash... January 10, 2012 at 0001

I stopped caring about the long wait times and frustrated customers when management stopped caring if we took our breaks or lunches. Our store has a breakroom that is used for new hire training, Kool Aid sessions and anything but a place to decompress. It’s also a place where the managers can bother you every two minutes to ask you when your break is over. So, I got an idea….a wonderfully brilliant idea.

I bolt out of the store during my breaks and lunches as if the building was on fire. And, if someone has the balls to try and stop me with a question, I just ignore them. I wear my headphones and act like I didn’t hear a thing.

That way managers can waste their time looking for me rather than bothering me. Sure, I come back on time, but I feel refreshed and that’s all that matters.

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Yes Man January 10, 2012 at 1538

Wow that is well said!!! So on… that’s exactly what happens at my store. If you do get your break its really not a break because they provide an environment with zero comfort or relaxation after helping hundreds of angry customers. This is so Apple retail! Ever see the break room at a walmart or lowes or costco? Gee!!!

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Joe Apple January 11, 2012 at 1748

Regardless of what any employer provides – my own experience in retail tells me to get out of the building on your break. Sit in your car, shop at a nearby store, grab a slice of pizza … do something that takes you out of the environment. Even as an exempt manager, I leave the building on my break to truly have a break.

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Dan January 10, 2012 at 0955

Lol, Apple was never about enriching peoples lives, its always been about selling over priced electronics. Come on man, are people really this naive? Welcome to the REAL world Chad, don’t let the Apple hit you on the way out.

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David January 11, 2012 at 0839

As an ex-Genius this letter truly spoke to what I was feeling when I left Apple. I was heart wrenched and distressed. 2 years later I work for an AASP and things couldn’t be better. I have employees I love, I get to work with Apple products and assist the same customers I helped before. I LOVED my time at Apple, but it has gone down the drain. Employees are miserable, the managers don’t care and everything is focused on hitting metrics. CORE taught us how to do retail right, now it’s all wrong.

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Rick January 11, 2012 at 1745

Gary: This is abusive to Apple employees, shareholders and managers and an embarrassment to a great website. Please delete this ridiculous comment.

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The Truth January 11, 2012 at 2016

Rick,
We appreciate Gary’s willingness to provide a non-biased forum where individuals can voice their opinions. As it may be offensive to you, these stories are told by those of us who actually pour hearts and souls into our work only to be crushed by forces beyond our control (overwhelming demand for our services and a less than knowledgeable management team). This is the truth, the other side of Apple and it is not going to get any better in the foreseeable future.

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Christina Stewart January 13, 2012 at 0814

It is sad to see these posts. Yes, Apple retail has become exactly the opposite of what they intended to be. I’m not sure it’s anyone’s fault. I truly think it became bigger than anyone had imagined. Now it’s like the little snow ball that became an avalanche. Everything has changed from the top down. Think Different has become lost. Talk to one of the original 20, those people who started Apple retail long ago in Cupertino. Apple will be successful for some time, look how long Microsoft has survived even though their products lack inovation or even operation (BSD is my fave). The expectation of higher management is that the stores will rake in the money, the regional managers huddle with their spreadsheets, the store managers are nothing more than over worked schedulers – often working 7 days a week. If they aren’t in the store, they are at meetings, on conference calls, or at home in isolation from their families working on projections. Floor staff get the short end of the stick. If your manager is getting shafted 7 days a week, how do you think they will treat their staff? But money drives everything, and when the financials come out at the end of the month Apple will pat itself on the back. All the execs will get BIG stock packages as rewards and no one, no one will care about the store managers, geniuses, and store staffs. Welcome to retail.

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ComicsGrrl January 18, 2012 at 1552

I was with Apple for over 5 years and opted out this past November. Ramey’s written almost exactly what I’ve been wanting to, but have been busy getting along with life. While I wasn’t bullied into leaving, it was looking like that path was being cleared for it. Most of the high-quality long-timers who knew what it was when it was still pure awesome are gone from my store, and it makes me sad for all the newcomers who believe the surface message but are in for a disappointment in the mid- to long-term.

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scottd0317 January 19, 2012 at 1035

I sympathize with the stories of those who signed on to work with one kind of company only to find the company evolved into something else. A successful store like Apple begins life by leaving the competition in the dust. Over time someone in the home office determines that the store is, say for the sake of illustration, 10 times better than everyone else. Why go to so much trouble? You can still look very good by being only 2 times better than everyone else. This is where the rot sets in. The same thing happened at Nordstrom beginning about 20 years ago. There’s an old joke that illustrates the concept. Two guys are camping in the north woods. One guy wakes up and goes outside the tent to see the other guy exercising. “What are you doing? This is supposed to be fun.” “I’m getting in shape in case we have to run away from a bear.” “You’re crazy. You can’t outrun a bear.” “I don’t need to outrun the bear. I only need to outrun you.” Apple only needs to outrun Best Buy or Verizon, which I assume requires less effort now that Apple products are in such demand.

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General Consensus January 27, 2012 at 2009

I was beginning to think the feeling that the “best days are behind us” was just in my store. I was shocked to learn that feeling is felt everywhere after reading this article and all the comments. My suspicions were further confirmed after a fellow Genius was on a “Passport” visit at my store and we spent our entire lunch break discussing how far the standards have fallen over the past two years. Sad really that our once beloved company is now hiring anyone off the street to sell iDevices when it took some of us several tough interviews just to get in the door.
FYI – a Passport visit is where you work at another store for a day to see how you like it if you are interested in a transfer.

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God employee February 2, 2012 at 1401

Apple is the company that you all wanted to work for, and now they are not living up to your idiotic expectations you are mad at them, some people like Corey think creating a union is a good idea, how wrong they are.

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Nate February 27, 2012 at 0153

I think you’re right. They push you to teach you, to enrich your life… But it’s getting like fast food work. Poor pay disgusting working condition.
Please don’t take me wrong, no offense Mr T.cook you should care more about your people and
Give us some hope with changes.
Nothing to lose…

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Fuck Apple August 4, 2012 at 1827

I agree with this guy in the letter. I was bullied and harassed by dumb ass Managers who only cared about numbers but had no technical expertise at all. They complained about shit they didn’t know about and if you needed help with something they didn’t help you because they didn’t have the knowledge.

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Ross Stephens August 11, 2013 at 0712

I’ve never mentioned why I stopped visiting Apple Stores (Queensland, Australia). I’d been ‘selling’ Macs since 1989. Not as staff, just a happy, very non tech customer – and professional communicator who loves to help and advises many people. I often visited different shops, both for Wi Fi and help. I loved those shops. I would get real help and often truly fabulous service, especially on the floor. Often well beyond what one could expect. Staff cared and solved my problems. Then, over time, it became increasingly difficult for me to talk to capable staff – whether due to their lack of expertise or unavailability – even thought my needs were quite simple. More and more I wasted my time. I no longer got special service. I’d lost what I loved.

I’m a business consultant and understand business realities, but with the changes, I can no longer rave about Apple stores, nor send people in. I haven’t gotten anyone to buy a Mac for some time now. I’m no longer the brilliant evangelist who many people asked “Do you sell them”. In the past I’ve even arranged to meet friends in a shop to explain/show them why Macs were better. I read many of the stories about staff under this article. It explained why I stopped going – and stopped working as a very effective unpaid salesman for Apple. This is the unseen effect of the shop changes.

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c march August 23, 2013 at 1054

all too true. No manager knows poop about apple, they are all jerks ( ok 1% isn’t- karcher?) – and they dont care because they feel someone cheaper than you (who knows a lot less but they cant tell cause they dont know poop) is just as good. I was replaced by someone who accepted the Lead position with NO PAY INCREASE. good for you, im outta there. and i was in NY, not arizona. its the same everywhere (ok, again 99%)

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