Business Week has interviewed a former employee who it has not named because Apple will sue the victim into an alternative reality if it finds out who blew the whistle on it.
Jobs’ Mob pays its staff £8 per hour many store workers cannot afford the products they sell, and receive no sales bonuses even when they sell hundreds of thousands of pounds of equipment per day. In fact they are expected to sell about 10 devices a day. Some are stupid enough to go into debt to actually work at the company.
“One of the managers had to leave because his landlord wouldn’t renew his lease. He had to leave the store because he couldn’t afford to even move into a new studio flat on an Apple Manager salary. I think he went back to live with his parents. He was in his late 30s. Maybe 40.”
Managers are usually bought in from outside, so there is little opportunity for staff on the floor to get promoted. It is not clear why Apple does this.
“There are other jobs in-store that can earn you more money, but they’re technical jobs, like working at the Genius Bar, which a lot of people absolutely hated because you’re dealing with really angry customers,” the deep throat said.
Angry customers are those who have discovered that their product is not really worth the money they paid for it, or the software simply could not do what they expected. Apparently choosing to work in the Genius Bar is a bit like volunteering to work as a kamikaze pilot. Sure you might get a few more perks but at the end of the day you are still trying to slam yourself into the side of a US carrier.
Apple has very little training to deal with angry customers. There are weird sort of rules called the three P’s: “Position, Permission, Probe.” Position a product or a solution. Ask them permission to touch their device or inquire more. But nothing for when someone has finally realised that the product is pants or is really broken. The one in Rome, the appropriatly named iCon, has to cope with strange New Zealanders conducting drive by abuse.
“There’s generally an uncomfortable customer interaction for an employee at least once a day, which will need the manager to intervene. For the Genius Bar it’s higher. I had a friend who was working on the accessories wall and a customer literally pushed her.”
The deep throat also said that Apple pressures the sale of AppleCare even though the most users don’t need it. Apple care costs £79 a year. But if you’re an average user who just wants to use their Mac for Facebook or the internet, you don’t need it. It’s only for people who want to use a specific application they may not know how.
The deep throat said that despite the press coverage only two people showed up for the first day of the Apple Watch launch and they were fanatical fanboys. The deep throat added that working at the store was a bit like being part of a religious cult.
“It was literally hero-worship with Steve Jobs. Every quarter we’d have an all-store meeting where you’d watch all of Jonathan Ive’s latest videos and go “Ooh, isn’t this amazing?” It’d be him every quarter telling you about how beautiful his new product is. There was a kind of ethos in the store that you have to believe in what Apple is all about, that you have to act a certain way. It was like every day I went to store I’d put on my Apple Mask, and totally hate it,” the deep throat said.