“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 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?
Employees Deserve Hazard Pay And Antibiotics
"We had a couple insect infected machines. I'm not a bug person and bug infestation can be declined... so once I saw bugs inside (the) computer, I closed it up and declined repair. Time to buy a new machine buddy.
I've had smoke/tar damage so bad that I've declined repairs. You can usually tell that might be the case before you check in the machine.
White MacBooks + college guys + a dirty keyboard. You can only imagine what's inside. I wish I was making this up."
Employees Are In the Dark About New Products
Apple Store workers know no more than us regular citizens when it comes to new releases. From draggingalake:
"(When it comes to) new products... (we know) NOTHING. Apple doesn't care about their Retail employees. When a new iPhone is announced, we know the same time you guys do. All the Geniuses read MacRumors, TUAW, etc, we know what's coming and what's rumored, but we really don't know."
AppleThrowaway030917 backed up this claim:
"We find out when the rest of the world does, no one ever believes that but is the truth. Just like the rumor sites usually we get indications, like low stock levels, predictable cycles etc. but we don't get any information or training on new products until the keynote happens.
As for receiving products, most products we will have on launch day but very little quantity... After launch day its not unusual to not receive any stock for weeks after. Apple Store Pickup is definitely the best way to check stock levels, it is super accurate. Don't bother calling stores, our default answer is to just say no it's not in stock and we don't get any indication of when more will be coming in."
An iPod Can Be A Weapon
On some days, the Apple Store comes close to resembling Thunderdome. From draggingalake:
"I've seen people break their own phones in the store due to anger.
I've seen someone spike their Macbook to the ground because we told them there would be a 30 min wait to see a Genius.
I've seen someone throw their iPod Classic across the store and hit an employee in the head.
I've seen a kid jump off a stroller and hit his head on the 'kid's table.' The whole store went quiet as he SCREAMED and bled everywhere until paramedics came."