“A Mercedes per square foot. Probably the highest grossing retail store in history.” - Bloomberg, 2010
The unbelievably profitable Apple store is the closest any of you have come to getting inside the MCP from Tron. Or at least, what the MCP would look like if it was three stores down from Wetzels Pretzels and Mrs. Fields.
It's like Willy Wonka made a factory for grownups: Everything is shiny and sleek, helpful people magically appear out of thin air, and "Geniuses" solve even the most complicated glitches. Perhaps most amazingly, in a store in which computers and tablets run twice as much as those of the competitors, everything still feels like a bargain. Steve Jobs's vision is fully realized, a place of wonder in which customer worship at the temple of consumer capitalism.
But what happens behind-the-scenes at the Apple store? Does it pose the usual chaos of working in retail? Or is it the equivalent of retail utopia? What does an apple genius do? These tales from apple store employees - culled from Reddit - give a backstage look at Jobs's Store of Dreams.
Slight spoiler alert: Even when Apple employees share stories anonymously on Reddit, they still have overwhelmingly positive things to say about the house of Mac. (Writer's Note: A special thanks to non Reddit humans "Lanny P" and "Drake" for their own tales from the front lines).
Customers Are Almost Too Honest
From Bhaijjan. "I had a customer come in and openly told me that he took a shit on his phone."
The Geniuses Wield Tremendous Power
Former Apple Genius draggingalake explained he could go "off book" and swap out faulty hardware.
"I hooked people up all the time - as long as they were honest with me. If you broke your iPad/iPhone within the first month, I would almost always cover it unless you were a jerk to me or said something bad about the product. If you were six months into your iPad and it broke... I probably would have to charge you. Unless it was a story that your daughter fell off a boat and you jumped in to save her because she couldn't swim and your iPhone was in your pocket and now it doesn't work... I covered that.
This was all up [to] the Genius, it was never a rule or requirement."
Moral of the story: be nice and don't insult the hardware.
Customers Expect Miracles
Some customers assume every problem created by man can be solved by man. From draggingalake:
"I've seen an iPhone that was pretty much pure dust in a ziplock bag. I forgot what happened to it. I've seen an iPhone melted to a log... like from a campfire... they dropped it in the fire and it melted to the log and they brought in the entire log."
Wonder if that phone belonged to the Twin Peaks Log Lady?
Geniuses Used To Hook Up Customers More
"Years ago I could do whatever I wanted. If I wanted to cover your liquid damage machine just because, a manager would not say anything. After Ron Johnson left and Apple Retail changed for the worst, I could only cover OOW (Out of Warranty) computers within 45 days. iOS devices had a limit of a OOW week to cover. None of this was ever officially and it did changed quite frequently. Really all you need was a manager override. We had managers at my store who would never ask why you needed an override, they would just trust you were doing the right thing. As long as the customer was nice and understanding, I would always try to go 'above and beyond.'"