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How Apple Brainwashes Its Store Employees

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#1 Boz

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 12:00


Check Out How Apple Brainwashes Its Store Employees--Turning Them Into Clapping, Smiling Zealots



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David Segal of the New York Times takes an excellent look at what it's like to work in an Apple Store--an occupation that has become one of the favorite "McJobs" in our economy for hip college graduates.


The pay sucks (relatively), the stores are busy and crowded, and there's little upward mobility, so it's pretty much a dead-end job.


But 30,000 of the 40,000 Apple employees in the United States work in the stores, so this has now become the defining experience of working at the company.


And Apple is perceived as cool--much cooler than, say, McDonald's or Walmart or Starbucks--so the company is continually deluged with resumes. For every Apple Store employee who quits, disillusioned, after a couple of years, there are many more eager to take his or her place.


Apple picks a small percentage of lucky candidates from the stack, which are submitted online, of course, through Apple's web site. The company screens for "affability" and "self-directedness," not tech savvy: The latter can be learned; the former is innate. Then Apple invites everyone to a "seminar" in a conference room at a hotel. If you're a few minutes late, you're eliminated.


The people who are offered jobs are often so happy that they burst into tears.


And then the real indoctrination starts.



Training lasts for a few days to a few weeks.


Check out David Segal's description of what happens when you arrive:


Training commences with what is known as a “warm welcome.” As new employees enter the room, Apple managers and trainers give them a standing ovation. The clapping often bewilders the trainees, at least at first, but when the applause goes on for several lengthy minutes they eventually join in.


“My hands would sting from all the clapping,” says Michael Dow, who trained Apple employees for years in Providence, R.I.


There is more role-playing at Core training, as it’s known, this time with pointers on the elaborate etiquette of interacting with customers. One rule: ask for permission before touching anyone’s iPhone.


“And we told trainees that the first thing they needed to do was acknowledge the problem, though don’t promise you can fix the problem,” said Shane Garcia, the one-time Chicago manager. “If you can, let them know that you have felt some of the emotions they are feeling. But you have to be careful because you don’t want to lie about that.”


The phrase that trainees hear time and again, which echoes once they arrive at the stores, is “enriching people’s lives.” The idea is to instill in employees the notion that they are doing something far grander than just selling or fixing products. If there is a secret to Apple’s sauce, this is it: the company ennobles employees. It understands that a lot of people will forgo money if they have a sense of higher purpose.


This brainwashing, by the way, is extraordinarily successful, in many ways.


First, it allows Apple to pay its employees much less than they would make selling similar gear at Verizon stores or AT&T stores. (The average Apple Store employee makes about $30,000 a year. The average Verizon store employee gets nearly twice that.)


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http://www.businessi...mployees-2012-6


#2 OP Boz

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 12:00

Wow.. they make $30k a year. Talk about being abused.

#3 Miuku.

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 12:03

Wow.. they make $30k a year. Talk about being abused.

A quick Google says the average store clerk salary in USA is around 27k$.

#4 OP Boz

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 12:05

A quick Google says the average store clerk salary in USA is around 27k$.


The article says that the same type of employees, at Verizon for example, make twice as much.

#5 OP Boz

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 12:13

Though this is a great strategy. Make your employees feel like they are doing something important and you can get them to work for peanuts :)

#6 ahhell

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 12:19

Scary. :s

#7 .Neo

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 12:26

Reminds me when a friend started working at McDonnalds as a temp job and the managers talked about being a family. American companies are just terrible like that. Gimme a break, family.

#8 Steven P.

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 12:30

Reminds me when a friend started working at McDonnalds as a temp job and the managers talked about being a family. American companies are just terrible like that. Gimme a break, family.


When I did desktop support at a large PC maker years ago, it was the same, and a bit weird!

#9 .Neo

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 12:32

When I did desktop support at a large PC maker years ago, it was the same, and a bit weird!

The thing I hate most is that some Dutch companies are trying to apply the same techniques these days. I'm way too "nuchter" (sober?) for that kind of BS and always thought it was extremely obvious what they were trying to achieve.

#10 Vandalsquad

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 12:35

Wow.. they make $30k a year. Talk about being abused.


Oh wow, you make nearly $10,000 a year more in Maccas in Australia. :laugh:

#11 .Neo

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 12:38

Wow.. they make $30k a year. Talk about being abused.

It's not like handing around a shop is brutal work. Half of the time the Amsterdam Apple Store employees do nothing and chat with each other.

#12 Secular Humanist

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 12:41

tons of people i know would be (and are) happy with $30 k a year. The only people that aren't happy with that are people with super huge high expectations out of a temporary thing called life. Typically no matter how much money they end up making they are never "happy" and always complain that they are always broke.

#13 Enron

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 12:44

Would you get fired from an Apple store if you told a customer that the Microsoft Surface was awesome?

#14 remixedcat

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 12:49

I worked at dell in lebanon,tn..on the build.. it was the first real job I had and the worst. I was treated like crap and I only made 9.50/hr and worked 12 hour days and sometimes more. I went 3 weeks without a day off. I was fired for being accused of crap I never did. couldn't collect unemployment either. working there is way worse then working at apple. trust me. SITTING WAS TREATED AS A CRIME there. my supervisor was the typical crabby old lady x9001 that hated other women and would air her dirty laundry about her husband and sister in front of others and those who didn't care for her crap would get treated worse then those who gave into her drama and got involved. i would rather work at an apple store then work at dell again.

#15 +OOOOOOOO

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 12:51

Though this is a great strategy. Make your employees feel like they are doing something important and you can get them to work for peanuts :)


Shop floor staff making almost 60k a year? Come on. No way. If that's the case, I should give up designing for a living ;)