Confessions of an Apple Store Employee

Ever wondered how is it like being an Apple Store employee? Popular Mechanics has published an article entitled, ‘Confessions of an Apple Store Employee’ which offers an inside look at working for Apple Retail Stores.

Apple is famous for its secrecy, with a code of silence that runs from top management all the way down to its retail employees. One Apple Store employee decided to throw protocol to the curb and tell us what it’s really like working at the vaunted retail outlets.


Photo by cnet

Here’s what the employee got to say:

Product Launches

We are completely in the dark until they do a keynote speech. We have no idea what is coming and are not allowed to openly speculate. You can get into serious trouble if you speculate—especially to a customer. I am asked five times per day about the next iPad or iPhone, and I quite simply don’t know. But I would be in huge trouble if I said something like “The next iPad is going to have a camera.” I actually avoid the technology section of the newspaper so I have no points of view to accidentally comment with or drop into conversation. I’d rather just be dumb about it.

The day of a big keynote, everybody at the store watches it. It’s also really easy to get out of work that day by saying you want to watch the keynote from home. They’ll never say no. Then they’ll start preparing us for the big launch and start scheduling crazy shifts. During the iPhone 4 launch, they brought us food—and good food! Somebody told me that the 5th Avenue store in New York had a masseuse during one launch, and that another store had a kiddie pool full of goldfish as, like, a Zen thing. They also really emphasize how important it is for us to stay hydrated, and we can get big bonuses if we work really long hours on a launch day.

Sales Competition

We have a posted list of our metrics, and you can see everybody else’s. It shows you how much money each person is pulling in for the company. If you aren’t doing very well, you start getting manager meetings, and they sit you down and try to figure out why you aren’t selling more.

Pushing MobileMe

We aren’t paid on commission, but you fear for your job if you’re not selling enough. We’re supposed to sell AppleCare product support with just about everything, and honestly, those aren’t that hard to sell, since they aren’t a bad deal. But we’re also supposed to push MobileMe, and that’s really hard to sell. Nobody ever sells it.

For more confessions, head on to Popular Mechanics