Reports Persist of Budget Cuts, Emphasis on Revenue

August 27, 2012

Despite a public acknowledgement by Apple that recent retail store staffing changes were “a mistake” and have been reversed, store employees still haven’t received an official explanation of the changes, and signs persist of a continuing focus on revenues and profit instead of customer satisfaction. Sources say employee performance standards have changed to emphasize the employee sales functions, more small products will be stocked at the stores, and that several budget categories have been slashed, including for store maintenance. All the while, morale continues to drift lower among many retail store employees. Last month Sr. VP Retail John Browett made several staffing changes that included laying off probationary employees, reducing hours and limiting overtime. However, after the changes became public and generated sharp criticism from employees and Apple aficionados, The Wall Street Journal reported that Browett reversed the changes and instructed leadership teams to tell employees, ‘We messed up.’” He also told his team to stress that no one had been laid off, and that new hires were being made. But despite Browett’s denial, all the sources to IFO were unanimous that employees had indeed been laid off, fired, assigned no hours or otherwise made unemployed by Apple. The sources also say they’ve not heard one word from Browett about the incident, not even an acknowledgement of Apple’s public statement.

After Browett’s reversal, insiders say that everyone who had been dismissed was indeed rehired, and inter-store transfers were again approved. However, the number of in-store workshops at some stores has been reduced, sources say, overtime is still limited, demotions were not reversed, and managers are assigning only minimum contracted hours to part-timers. One tipster even claimed Apple has stopped printing the monthly workshop schedules that have been available at high-profile stores for many years.

More troubling, one source says, are changes in how employee performance is measured, so-called metrics. Contract sales of iPhones are now used to measure individual performance, and also now appear on store performance charts. Employee sales success is also being judged by something called, “essentials per hero product,” judging Specialists on how much value they can add to the sale of any product with cases, accessories and other products.

Adding to this pressure, Specialists have been told to make customers buy accessories using the EasyPay app. But if they do refer customers to EasyPay, that revenue is credited to the store, not to the Specialist’s sales history which, in turn, affects their performance report. That report is used by store managers to justify raises, inter-store transfers and other job benefits.

One source claims that training areas in the Family Room, and even product displays in the Red Zone will be sacrificed, removed and replaced by more “Etc.” and accessory shelving to help increase sales.

Even the stores’ physical condition may suffer under the new Retail segment management. Sources say that store maintenance budgets have been reduced, so that in the short and long term the stores could be more grimy and less attractive to visitors. Cleanliness has been a hallmark of the chain, with cleaning occurring even during business hours.

As for an explanation or apology from Browett or store management about the original staffing cuts or policy reversal, the employees have received neither. In fact, employees have been told not to discuss the situation with anyone. Overall, employee morale has plummeted due to the lack of information, the inability to discuss it with management and the increased emphasis on sales instead of customer satisfaction.

Background: Steve’s Support

Several sources have provided background on the original staffing changes that may provide some logic for Browett’s decisions.

One source said there is always an “ebb and flow” of hours available for part-time staffers at Apple’s stores. The changes in hours generally mirror store revenues, which peak during the pre-Christmas holiday season and decline after New Year’s Day and into the spring. Specialists can work full-time approaching the end of each year, but then hours are cut back after mid-January. In a typical year the working hours can from 35 to 40 hours per week, all the way down to 10 to 20 hours.

What didn’t make sense to many employees was the timing of the recent staffing cutbacks—Apple’s stores are heading into the busiest time of the year, and at least two major product launches are reportedly scheduled for September and October.

But the most compelling accounts date back to the early days of the retail chain and its first Senior Vice-President, Ron Johnson.

Johnson was champion of customer satisfaction, designing and staffing the stores to provide a superior experience for visitors and buyers alike. He was able to win over Steve Jobs with the concept that revenue and profit should be a secondary goal of Apple’s retail stores.

But in 2009, Jobs took six months of medical leave and put Tim Cook in charge of the company, including the retail stores. Cook is primarily an “operations guy,” sources explain, and his natural focus is revenues and profits, not customers. While Jobs was away, Cook and chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer began to confront Johnson on his customer-centric retail philosophy—both felt the stores didn’t generate enough revenues to justify operating expenses.

According to accounts, Cook pushed Johnson “quite hard” about how other channels were selling more Mac’s per-capita than the retail stores. Without Jobs’ support, Johnson found it was nearly impossible to keep Cook and Oppenheimer from switching the chain’s primary purpose from a superior experience to revenues.

Last year when Cook became the permanent CEO, he hired Browett from UK-based Dixons to head the retail chain. Cook was apparently attracted by Browett’s like-minded focus on the more traditional concepts of retailing—logic and process leading to revenues and profits. With his new position as CEO and staffed with a revenue-focused Sr. VP, Cook naturally moved the retail operation in different directions, the sources say, resulting in last month’s staffing changes.

Ironically, Apple’s original retail mission was to re-invent retail, and it succeeded for the first 10 years. Now, sources lament, innovation in retail seems to be coming to an end. A source says, “Those that have come from other failed or failing retailers will be allowed to peddle their poor ideas at Apple, and tarnish what has been one of the single greatest retailers on the planet.”

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{ 63 comments… read them below or add one }

Apple Expert August 27, 2012 at 1929

This is absolutely correct. Apple has adjusted the focus on customer experience in lieu of metrics. We have been continually told to essentially ” bounce ” customers after 10 minutes of setting up their product even when we’re not busy. Further, they’re getting rid of many internal programs that encourage the notion that Apple is a career, not a job. Apple isn’t a Best Buy, but the way things have been going since Browett got here, it’ll be that way soon. With morale the way it’s been at our store, it’s becoming evident that Apple is taking customers’ default delight with Apple for granted.

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David August 27, 2012 at 1950

Bahahahah. Outsiders are naive to think that Johnson was all about the customer. This focus on maximizing profits and revenue while sacrificing the morale of employees and Apple’s customer oriented culture was already underway while Johnson was in charge. Browett is just renewing that focus and executing with much greater success than Johnson.

Anyone who legitimately thinks Apple retail is a career is totally clueless. Unless you’re at at the corporate level, it is simply another retail job no matter what they tell you at that brainwashing session that term ‘core training’. Apple does not care about the well being of its retail employees nor do they care about your career development. Anyone considering Apple Retail as a career should run far far away. Even part time work is not worth it. There is way to much stress involved and there are other retail jobs that pay you FAR MORE for the same type of work and offer much more in the way of career development.

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Apple Fan Boy August 28, 2012 at 0021

I totally agree with you David. Retail experience is as important as the product .Happier the employee on the floor, better the experience he/she will provide to end customer. Tim and John needs to understand this basic concept.

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Dave August 28, 2012 at 0628

Apparently you don’t know much about actually working retail, David… Having worked for Apple and other retailers, Apple seriously pays better than any retail chain out there save ones that have you work on commission. To say that any for-profit company is not interested at all in profit is a joke. Of course Apple focuses on revenues and income, but their primary focus was always the customer experience and how that can drive revenues. Of course reviews include financial results… it’s easy to quantify how many imacs or iphones you sold or serviced in a given week… not so much on the two people who took the time to fill out a customer survey. I know a lot of people who work for Apple that have gotten promoted and have made a career of it and are doing quite well now. Towards the end of Steve’s time running the company, when Tim Cook had started doing more to head things, you saw retail making drastic changes, not usually for the better of the customer experience, which didn’t help revenues either.

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Ex-Apple August 27, 2012 at 1957

As distressing as this may be for current staff, I encourage patience where possible. There exists in retail something called “flavor of the month.” Corporate retail frequently creates/dissolves/adapts programs and pushes same to stores. This, of course, is the result of the typical business environment where corporate employees need to create change to justify their positions. It’s why sometimes things will be working perfectly and corporate will issue a change out of the blue. Apple stores have gone through plenty FOM changes and eventually what’s new is old and gets changed back.Yes, it’s stupid. But it is what happens in retail. Apple actually did this less than any of the other retailers I worked at. With Browett, this will probably happen at a more frequent pace initially as everyone in corporate jockeys to get noticed and approved. Three months from now, things will settle down. The shift to economy will become a shift to funding customer service as the new focus. If you work in retail, you have to learn to ride out the FOM’s and repeat the sales staffer mantra: this too shall pass. I do realize some part time staffers can’t afford to wait it out and that is the unfortunate part. But if you really need a regular paycheck, retail is probably not the place to be.

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FormerCreative August 27, 2012 at 2013

Yep, that sounds about right. I noticed the change in culture at our store a bit after Cook took over for Steve’s medical leave, but it was so incremental I didn’t really put it together until now.

OnetoOne has been drastically downsized, including cutting sessions to 30 minutes from the 60 minutes customers were promised. They removed the Family Room from iPhone and iPod free workshops entirely, and cut the Mobile Queue appointments to 10 minutes from an already unrealistic 15 minutes previously. The reason I left was simple, I wasn’t able to do the job my customers deserved and paid for with the time and resources I was allotted. As transplants from Best Buy and Circuit City became our managers, emphasis on customer support disappeared in favor of rigid appointments and reduced service. It was truly heartbreaking to see a store I could always feel proud working for transform into what it is today.

And here’s something I never saw reported: those big raises everyone talked about? Not applicable to longer-tenured staff. I quit just before they started offering them, but most of my colleagues who had been there three years or longer got 4-6% raises. The only staff who got the big 20-30% raises were rookie employees hired under the new, miserly pay scale instituted in the last few years. Good for them, of course they deserved it, but shameful penny-pinching from the most profitable retail operation in modern history.

I have always been one of the most ardent Apple fans, and my love for their products continues unabated, but it makes me sad knowing what the current corporate regime has done to what used to be a truly unique place to work and shop.

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nova August 29, 2012 at 2222

There are still 60 minute sessions. 30 Minute sessions were an addition to the program. You can choose either a 30 or a 60. It’s right on the website under Personal Training. http://www.apple.com/retail/learn/one-to-one/

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Andy Crossett August 27, 2012 at 2027

Its clear that Apple has the same pressures as anyone else in Retail. You cannot have sales staff standing around. I think they need to do a much better job of promoting 3rd party products in their stores. We are getting back to longer replacement cycles for the core products. Now is the time to promote the best accessories. Apple has done a poor job of this so far. They can do better in this area.

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Icarus August 27, 2012 at 2027

Sadly, this is what will happen in the era of Cook and why Jobs was so great. Cook’s a great COO but not a great CEO. He’s not the type of guy you want running a technology company for an extended amount of time.

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Throwthatham August 27, 2012 at 2034

Everything said here is true. Cleaners are in the site with customers and it doesn’t look pristine anymore. We are supposed to show customers how to “check themselves out”, those who figured out what someone said earlier, refuse to do that. They are zoned for half a shift in etc and are still judged on total revenue. How stupid do they think we are? I don’t tell people where I work anymore, tough to be proud when everything is crumbling around you.

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Throwthatham August 27, 2012 at 2042

No one has said ANYTHING about a reversal of policy or that “we screwed up” it’s business as usual since John Browett arrived. Everyone is unhappy but are afraid to say so because they need this job in addition to the other(s) they have so they can pay their bills. there is no more OGT or any hope of this being a career.

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Sawitcoming August 27, 2012 at 2120

Saw this coming when I first go hired on. Honestly its a retail job nothing more.

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A Genius August 27, 2012 at 2121

@Ex-Apple Spot on with your flavor-of-the-month philosophy.

Very little has changed. The loudest voices of outcry are, as always, in the vast minority. There is always an “ebb and flow,” and I believe Apple will continue to innovate and be on its own level in the retail space. Certainly there are things about working Apple Retail which are less than desirable, but as far as retail jobs go, there is none better.

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Don August 27, 2012 at 2210

You know what? You really HAVE to blame this on Uncle Steve and RonJon. They set out to make retail a rock star–lots of flash. Apple Retail makes more per square foot then any retailer in the free world, but they institutionalized the highest OVERHEAD–the rent at most of the stores is insane, because they could AFFORD IT: buildouts were overpriced (millions for a small 30ft space), free full service tech support (even I’d you buy your iStuff at Walmart or places that actually HAVE tech support like best buy or AT&T). Steve didn’t answer to the board: he was the chairman and he hand picked everyone on the damn thing! If Steve says he’s not building a store at the new $1million/month lease site, well, the stock holders don’t care since it it’s up 100pts anyway. Ron got an almost blank check as long as it was cool enough for the hippy kid.

Enter Tim. Cook reports to the board. Company margin is officially targeted at 30%, but has consistently been 40% (since iPhones are 300% margin with carrier subsidy. Can’t blame AppleCare, that’s a loss leader, but the division that EARNS revenue, retail, only has a 5-10% margin (amazing for retail, btw), ON TOP OF THEIR CHANNEL SELL-THROUGH ie, retail “buys” the $800 Mac from apple for $850, sells it to the customer for $999. Apple inc gets $50 for the computer, retail gets $150, stock holders get 20%margin, but retail only gets 15% before rent, salary, etc. closer to 5%. Cook has to ask Browet why he isn’t making the minimum 30% like the online store does–Browet needs to raise his margins during a low-margin quarter (no new iPhone), but the only things that don’t require contract negotiations are flexible workforce, otherwise the board makes Tim send his arse back to the UK.

So blame Steve. It’s his fault. He should have made the board elect Tim chairman.

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Apple Fan Boy August 28, 2012 at 0034

You are absolutely right but Retail is not the same as online and Steve Jobs understood that.

People need to experience the product before buying, most of the people get their experiences from Best Buy and buy stuff from Amazon. But Apple doesnt have that problem as the money is flowing to one company and its not fair to compare online and retail.

Steve Job once said – “We don’t sell products we sell experience” thats the difference between Apple and others. Tim and John need to trash their conventional operational mind set and follow the Apple way.

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Addicted August 28, 2012 at 0422

A perfect encapsulation of how MBA school theory has trumped reality.

Only an MBA can see a company that is making 10% more margins than expected and ask the question “which divisions do I cut costs so that I make even more profits!”, without ever realizing that (a) not every division needs to make profits, and (b) the losses in some divisions (or in this case, smaller margins) more than pay back for themselves by leading to greater profits in other divisions.

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Yuhong Bao August 30, 2012 at 2207

AFAIK Steve chose Tim Cook as CEO *before* he died.

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DMann August 27, 2012 at 2339

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNcaMqiD64g

This illustrates everything.

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Gary Allen August 28, 2012 at 0127

In this video interview Browett talks about the FIVES program, a sales technique adopted by DSGi, a business unit of Dixons Retail that Browett previously headed. The business unit includes retailers PC World Business, Equanet, MacWarehouse and Microwarehouse. You can find some information the FIVES here.

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Apple Fan Boy August 28, 2012 at 0014

Six commandments for Tim and John to optimize Apple Retail

1. Keep or increase the workforce in retail stores (They are the front face of Apple Retail)
2. Increase salaries of all employees at all the Retail stores.
2. Get rid off Retail Program Management in Cupertino.
3. Get rid off IS&T Retail Middle tier teams in Cupertino.
4. Cut down Retail travel budget (you don’t need to send 150 – 200 people for a store opening). Most of them are just having vacation at the expense of Apple.
5. Cut down all the useless IT projects, they add no value and most of the time its buggy.
6. Run a lean Retail engineering team.

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selkirks August 28, 2012 at 0148

Time to begin looking to Forstall?

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Art McGraw August 29, 2012 at 0004

That sounds about right.

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s3adog August 28, 2012 at 0205

Sounds like the same exact crapola I heard from Brad Anderson in Best Buy’s infancy: “when a customer says they’re just looking, challenge them and say, ‘you didn’t drive over here just to look, you NEED something. What do you NEED today that we can get for you?’ “

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Business Specialist August 28, 2012 at 0714

Browett was heading up Dixons before he came to Apple Retail and almost ran that company into the ground. Dixons is a Euro version of Best Buy. I believe Ron Johnson was exactly what Apple needed to get their retail division off the ground. Browett isn’t the one to continue Apple’s vision into the future. It’s sad to see a company that was once heavily focused on the customer experience is now so blinded by the metrics they force on employees like myself on a daily basis. When I first started with Apple I saw it was a career opportunity with many paths and experiences. I don’t see that anymore and I also see the effects that it has on customers. Apple needs to rethink who they put in charge of their different divisions because If things keep going the way they are, Apple Retail may become another Best Buy.

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Scott August 28, 2012 at 0934

I don’t think any “old-timers” who served under the Apple Reseller umbrella (and the very few still left) would find any of this “profiteering” unusual at all. Apple has acted like this in the past; the only difference now is that although they -own- the store, still seems like they’re treating their employees like independent resellers. Us vs Them.

When Apple opened stores, this was the exact thing I expected would eventually happen. They’d squeeze out most (nearly all) the independent resellers because Steve didn’t think they were doing a good enough job (this after having been put on a Depression-era diet thanks to Apple’s declining performance), it was only a matter of time before the same dissatisfaction came to pit Corporate against their own Retail.

As with then, Apple Corporate is again missing the forest for the trees: they are acting like BMW salesmen, expecting to PUSH PUSH PUSH expensive, arguably undervalued machines to consumers who truly can’t afford them (see -Economy (Recession)-). As competition ramps up, which is inevitable, Apple fails to pivot from Innovation Leader to Marketshare Leader by adequately lowering their pricing. The will continue to beat the high prices until the very last minute, and then, in desperation as market share plummets, they’ll Performa. All the while it will be the fault of Retail, not at all the engineering/marketing teams that have provided them the wrong products.(To be fair, the products aren’t wrong, they’re overpriced, over-margined. 54% margins with a rock-bottom R&D budget is puzzling. Not to mention the $120B and growing. However, when the “Performa” happens…they will be truly bad BAD products.)

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FRS August 28, 2012 at 0938

For anyone that wants to know how this ends, study Borders Books.
A speciality book store that focused on knowledge and service. You had to take a test when applying to ensure you were knowledgable enough to talk intelligently with customers about literature. Then MBAs came in and plan after plan failed and in the quest for ever increasing profits they brought in a CEO who ran grocery stores. A few shorts years later they were out of business.

Apple’s Growth is directly tied to the halo effect Retail provides. Even people who have been to an Apple Store know about them. If they go the Best Buy route, it will greatly diminish the brand. Remember the last days of CompUSA and look at Best Buys 90% drop in year over year Q2 profits. This is bad, real bad, and there’s no return of Steve that’s going to save Apple this time. Cook is the new Sculley. Remember Sculley wasn’t a product guy either, and he tried to be a softer kinder visionary. I wonder who the next Amelio will be?

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Alan Gilliland August 28, 2012 at 1022

I would like to put my view as a customer, not aware of the internal workings of the stores.
It is customer satisfaction that is at the HEART of Apple’s success!
Take that away and they will become just another average computer company that will at first slither then shoot downhill on as more and more people become disillusioned, comparing their experience of what was the BEST company in the world for its customers to the new just another ‘screw-you for everything we can get’ company.
It’s not just about good design – its about how Apple have treated their customers with the greatest tact and respect and generosity in after-sales service including replacing faulty items without quibbling or trying to wriggle out of it, as every other computer company does.
With their existing policy ‘costing them too much’ according to these new bosses, Apple are funnily enough the richest company in the world.
Disenfranchise and disrespect their customers in up front pre- and after-sales in-store service and there will be no reason for these customers to maintain brand loyalty.
Having spent years singing the praises of their unique brand of excellence in all aspects of service, I certainly will not stay loyal if I find the experience in store degraded in the future by executive boors.
I have personally had the most extraordinary exchanges within stores regarding replacement of faulty computers or parts thereof – even out of the AppleCare extended warranty period, where they checked and discovered the fault was a recurrence of one within that period, giving me a new out-that-day replacement MacBook Pro for my PowerBook Pro. Immediate replacement of my 27in iMac innards and screen when fault developed, completed the same day. Replaced Time Capsule without quibble.
When that MacBook Pro itself had a problem more than a year out its AppleCare warranty they discovered the graphics card was from an early faulty batch (It was the first batch) whose warranty had run out but its fault was a recurrence of one a year earlier not diagnosed as such then, they replaced that graphics card without demur.
There is no other company that provides that level of service, and through it, level of customer satisfaction. The AppleCare service is a godsend and the main reason I have never dreamed (as a designer and publisher) of moving to any other company.
Remove or degrade this instore and AppleCare experience and you become just another computer company and will, I am certain, take a fall.

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Throwthatham August 28, 2012 at 1044

Scott is right. Things are much more like car sales and it doesn’t feel good. We don’t work as a team anymore. “experts” are supposed to be there to be leadership examples for the rest and what they really are is an example of what you don’t want to be. They are pushy, sell people things they don’t need, dont do things that the rest are expected to do,and pick and choose which transactions are worthy of their high status. How is that providing a superior experience to anyone- customer or coworker .

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James August 28, 2012 at 2310

Apple must have been mad to take Browett on. He comes fomm a culture of selling people $6 HDMI leads for $100, paying people minimum wage and incentivising staff to sell customers equipment they don’t need.

I don’t think anyone in the US truly understood what Dixons was about here in the UK, if they had they would have run a mile. Dixons represents everything that is bad about retail and makes Best Buy seem like mother teresa in comparison.

Browett’s core values couldn’t be further from those that Steve Jobs held dear.

Big mistake..

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Specialist September 9, 2012 at 1230

Agreed. The worse part is that when he was hired, we got an email from Tim Cook saying at he shared the same “great customer service values” as Apple. We can see now that this definitely not true…

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Roedael August 29, 2012 at 0020

No doubt it would be difficult to quantify the halo effect but exist it does. Having accompanied a friend to an apple store for a genius session, lasted about one hour and the problem, a gritty one, was solved.
Friend promptly bought a new iPhone, to upgrade his existing iPhone, after having bought an iMac and a MacBook Air. The genius Bar experience, and it was a very convincing session, led my friend to purchase the new phone: that really is halo effect. Hope shirt-tail Tim gets it.

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Martin August 29, 2012 at 0236

As long as there are hundreds of people attending the opening of a new store, even sleep in front of them the night before to be first-in-line, the stores will be fine.
I am a frequent customer of a store in Germany and I am always surprised about the buying experience. And that’s what I hear from a lot of my friend who have visited the same store.

I also think that even with the new policies, cuts,and other cruelties, the buying experience will be more superior to that of other retail stores for a few more years. Admitted, the gap, which is as big as the Grand Canyon actually, might get smaller, but there will always BE a gap.

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fight.the.stupids August 29, 2012 at 1618

“And how are monopolies lost? Think about it. Some very good product people invent some very good products, and the company achieves a monopoly. But after that, the product people aren’t the ones that drive the company forward anymore. It’s the marketing guys or the ones who expand the business into Latin America or whatever. Because what’s the point of focusing on making the product even better when the only company you can take business from is yourself? So a different group of people start to move up. And who usually ends up running the show? The sales guy. John Akers at IBM is the consummate example. Then one day, the monopoly expires for whatever reason. But by then the best product people have left, or they’re no longer listened to. And so the company goes through this tumultuous time, and it either survives or it doesn’t. Look at Microsoft — who’s running Microsoft? (interviewer: Steve Ballmer.) Right, the sales guy. Case closed. And that’s what happened at Apple, as well.” – Steve Jobs

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fight.the.stupids August 29, 2012 at 1620
Throwthatham August 31, 2012 at 1037

I am hoping that he didn’t think Tim Cook would change Apple into Best Buy mentality or that he would hire someone like Browett. No one is happy and long time specialists are all looking elsewhere. It has become a sterile impersonal place to be, both front and back of house.

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lookingelsewhere August 31, 2012 at 1106

Over the past 6-7 months most of the staff where I work has either quit or been fired for stupid reasons. They havent hired new people in months, but the last group of maybe 7-8 new hires have been awful, completely worthless and should be flipping burgers at McDonalds. They used to hire great people-knowledgeable, professional, honest….but now, not so much.
Im trying to look elsewhere but the thing is….Apple reimburses me for my school tuition. Stay and have my tuition covered or leave and take out school loans? :/

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Throwthatham August 31, 2012 at 1558

If this doesn’t tell you things are headed over the cliff nothing else will. In addition to having cleaners in the store while people are shopping and doing mostly “spot cleaning” at best, the cleaners aren’t even using Lysol or something like it anymore. There is a gallon jug of Dollar Store Fabuloso cleaner that stinks.

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Matt Simpson August 31, 2012 at 1958

“Sources say…” Sure…

This is lame journalism followed by a bunch clueless comments, trolls, and rumors.

If Apple is cutting back on staffing, it is only to get rid of the the slackers. If you go into any Apple store most of the first wave of colorful shirt kiddies are no better than the workers at The Gap or Starbucks. The door greeters. The ones you avoid so you can go play with the new Apple products.

However if you do end up having to get help at the Genius desk or taking a One-on-One session, the help is going to be light years ahead of any technical support you get at Best Buys or Fry’s. There are reasons Apple consistently leads the industry in customer support ratings by groups like Consumer Reports.

And for all you little toadies who say “It never would have happened when Steve was in charge…” and “Tim Cook is an idiot and wrecking Apple”…. I wish Steve Jobs would come back from the dead and beat your head in with a baseball bat because are so stupid and a waste of the earth’s atmosphere.

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Throwthatham August 31, 2012 at 2007

Matt, I take it you don’t work for Apple or you would not have made some of the statements you have here. Steve Jobs was not an angel for sure, but he was smart enough to know what was necessary to provide customers with a superior experience from the door to the Genius Bar and that providing that experience translates to happier employees and dollars from customers. I do not believe he would have hired John Browett and is likely spinning in his grave to see what is hdpoening to what he created.

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Landcaster September 5, 2012 at 1639

Moral at my store is horrible. Even with the boost in pay people are leaving. It is a shame as those who are leaving are some of the hardest working people there.

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Expert September 5, 2012 at 1720

This article is 100% correct. However I want to add some more to this. We are now being told to sell “one-to-few”. This means we now have to sell to multiple (as many as 3 customers) at once. Leadership is being instructed to enforce this as much as possible. They are also being told to “reassure” the staff the stores are not understaffed. How are we not understaffed when I am the only sales person selling with multiple customers waiting to be helped?! Managers have even begun selling to keep up with the demand. We can’t even keep up with the demand at the Genius Bar either. Corporate has begun asking the question,”How can we take more appointments with the same staff?” Apple has begun using Best Buy’s model for customer service and Tech support. A customer approached me soon after Jobs passed away. He asked me if I’m ready. I respond with “ready for what?”. Everything is going to change. With each new replacement (Tim Cook), Steve’s dreams and what he created will fade away, and Apple will become just another retail store. Unfortunately it is happening faster that even he thought.

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fight.the.stupids September 6, 2012 at 0841

The Genius Bars were understaffed for almost the entire 7+years I spent working at Apple. :)

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Throwthatham September 5, 2012 at 1851

To our customers I want to say I’m sorry. Everything being said is true. Morale and being excited to come to work doesn’t happen anymore. As sad as I am to keep reading the comments of others, I’m glad to know we aren’t alone at our store. We aren’t a team anymore and no one is having fun except maybe our experts who are pretty much useless.

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Ex-Apple September 5, 2012 at 2119

It’s all going to come down to a retail corporate meeting in January. As they assess launch/holiday sales, margins, and payroll costs, the end result will either be a win for Browett (sales will be up even with costs down) or a loss for him. If his approach fails, either he will be out or just shut down effectively and the stores will see a reversal of this policy. However, if Apple successfully launches new products and has a strong holiday, given the economy, it will just enable Browett to pursue a leaner retail store plan. Tim & the Board have to give him this period to prove/disprove himself. So, it will get worse before it gets better. This has happened at many retailers in the past. If you can cut costs and still pull in the same profits you become a hero. Cut costs and lose sales, you become a zero. Sad for the customers and staff who unfortunately become the guinea pigs in the process.

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Soontobeexappleexpert September 6, 2012 at 1128

I’ve spent the last 2 1/2 years with apple retail and I have got to say that the magic some how dissappeared. I was lucky enough to get hired on for an NSO (new store opening) and saw the hard work they put into constructing a team that was so diverse but all willing to fight for a common goal, the best customer experience any one anywhere can find. Apple did a fantastic job with picking out an amazing leadership team. Our opening day was June 24th 2010 same as iPhone 4 launch day, 90% of us were all brand new but we felt so empowered that we weren’t afraid to make mistakes, ambiguity was just something we dealt with everyday so come what may… My point is we had a sense of worth each ad everyone of us did a sense of ownership, we weren’t just working for numbers (I know at the end of the day we were a store but…) we knew numbers will fallow the experience. Now I feel like I’m at best buy all over again. A leadership team that manages instead of leading… Shouting out numbers where we are supposed to be rather than how we get there. Favoritism & empty promises just like any other retail store. The attention to detail has certainly been lacking.

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Soontobeexappleexpert September 6, 2012 at 1138

Contd…. Sorry. No one is excited to be there anymore. I used to come to work excited work a 12hour shift and go home get up the next day ready to do it all again. Now I’m throwing my hours to any hungry part time employee. @throwthatham sad to say I agree with the expert NOW are useless. I was never that expert. I was everyone’s friend/mentor and never saw myself as being higher in any way…. If anything when I made the leap to expert I worked x10s harder cause I felt like I was on the spotlight. I stayed on the mentor team and everything. Now I ask y I even bothered. Everything we worked for in apple retail has been tossed out the window.

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Throwthatham September 6, 2012 at 2033

Thanks for seeing what’s happening and not being that expert. Ours are Used car salesman who have the goal to sell undercoating on everything. They dont inspired anything brcause they do nothing except hide until there is a large sale for them to provide ” a superior experience” . I’m going to be interested to see what is said ( or not) on Sunday night.

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Expert September 9, 2012 at 1504

I can’t believe that John Browett put his face in front of Apple Retail on Sunday night and did not say sorry to the team for his big mistake. He is an idiot and has no respect from anyone at our store. He will need to be removed sooner or later – hopefully before he does more damage.

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Throwthatham September 9, 2012 at 1307

Specialist is right, in fact there was retaliation against someone in our market who said within hearing of management that they’d read less than great press from the UK about John Browett.

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Throwthatham September 9, 2012 at 1308

Specialist is right, in fact there was retaliation against someone in our market who said within hearing of management that they’d read less than great press from the UK about John Browett. Maybe someone should forward this thread to Tim Cook.

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Throwthatham September 9, 2012 at 2054

Would love to have heard what he had to say. Must have been “optional”.

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Expert September 10, 2012 at 0229

It was all about how excited he is with Apple Retail and what a great team we have. It was terrible considering the changes that are happening and the big mistake he made. Tim, replace him now, as many people are questioning your ability to lead this company.

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Throwthatham September 12, 2012 at 0618

http://9to5mac.com/2012/09/10/following-controversies-apple-retail-chief-john-browett-rallies-troops-ahead-of-brilliant-stuff-in-q1/

Thank you to whoever recorded this audio of our great leader, John Browett’s inspiring of the troops. You know you are being had just listening to it.

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Throwthatham September 14, 2012 at 1810

New victims are being bullies and targeted in our store

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Throwthatham September 14, 2012 at 1812

Bullied

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Nowexexpert September 20, 2012 at 2027

Sad….a day like today used to be so exciting fueled by the passion to deliver a life changing experience by giving the world something they have never seen before. Now it more of man we are going to make a shit ton of cash.

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Throwthatham September 21, 2012 at 1923

No Smart Water today… Had cheaper box box brand instead. Something else that’s going downhill

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Throwthatham September 21, 2012 at 1924

Big box

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lookingelsewhere September 21, 2012 at 1957

LOL complaining about no Smart Water is absolutely ridiculous. Geez….sorry man, but you sound like a spoiled, ungrateful child. Some countries don’t even have access to CLEAN drinking water.

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Throwthatham September 21, 2012 at 2008

You are missing the point. Not spoiled but seeing a sign. I am very aware how fortunate we are in this country.

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Karen miller October 29, 2012 at 1552

There is a god!

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ex-Apple October 29, 2012 at 1611

yes, and she didn’t like Browett either!

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Ethan1960 October 30, 2012 at 1722

I laughed so hard when i read this. Are you serious? Browett fired today because he “upset” some people who have no clue about business. Oh my, oh goodness! Performance metrics for retail staff, tighter rosters, tighter budgets…. Oh the horror. Stop living in a dream land. Uninformed idealist store employees with no busineess skills, little life experience, poor little fanboys, will wake up and realize that it was all a fantasy. I love apple stores as much as the next person, but they serve one purpose alone. To make profit. Good luck with Browetts replacement, some idiot insider with no sense of a profit and loss statement. What do you think pays for 300 employees and costs on regent street london? Cook is right but should have stuck to his guns and backed Browett .

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