iPods Killed The Genius Bar

One of the blogs I’ve been following recently after my experience at the Apple ‘Genius’ bar with a smug doofus who told me I’d have to return my $2,000 laptop because he couldn’t figure out how to turn a screwdriver counterclockwise is ungenius, the chronicles of an ex-Genius detailing life behind the Bar. I haven’t linked it before now because it’s never really as incriminating as I’d like.

Still… Joel and I have a lot of hate going on for the Genius Bar: our visits there have usually resulted in us having to tell the Genius what needs to be done and literally begging them to do it. We’d be a lot more understanding of these idiots’ incompetence if they didn’t wander around grouping themselves in the same bracket as the likes of Sir Stephen Hawking. But since they do, we can’t understand what’s wrong with the entire Genius experience, or how it got fucked up so bad.

Well, J.C. over at ungenius has written a thoughtful post explaining what killed the Genius Bar: the iPod. Geniuses are idiots precisely because 95% of their job involves hard resetting iPods for a living. Where once they had to actually know stuff about Macs and have troubleshooting skills, now all they need to know is how to troubleshoot a device so simple that it’s either broken and needs to be returned or it isn’t and needs to be rebooted.

Interesting stuff if you’ve ever wanted to headbutt an Apple Genius until his brains spilled out of his forehead.

Genius Bar: The Apple Store’s Fading Legacy? [ungenius]

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  1. mark duffy says:

    Best to take one concussion grenade with you every trip to the Genius
    Bar; spreads them out right quick and does minimal structural damage.

  2. Falconfire says:

    Eh I am very good friend with a lot of Genius’s and I have to tell you most are not idiots. The key though is unlike before where they went to training in Cupertino, now there training is mostly home grown. For the new crop they just are not getting the training they used to in the formitive years of the Apple Store.

    Likewise the real techs in a lot of the stores are not running the bar anymore, but instead are hanging in the back working on machines so some of these new techs arnt even trained. And the ones who are, usually only work with Pro Applecare users, so if your off the street you kinda get the shit end crew.

    That being said for my repaires I send them to Apple anyway. I would rather lose my computer for 3-6 days than to worry about a tech in a store fscking it up. Contrary to popular belief you CAN live without a computer for that long, even if you use it in buisness. Greatest invention ever has been memory sticks. With a properly configured one you can have basically everything you need with you on a moments notice to move to a older computer.

  3. ModerateSnark says:

    It’s not surprising there aren’t enough Apple “geniuses” to go around. Apple has been opening a lot of stores, and if you really are an Apple genius, there are other jobs around that are more interesting than sitting around in a retail store.

  4. Lemurs says:

    There’s no such thing as a technical genius who works in a retail store. Sorry, it’s just not possible. The fact that they weren’t smart enough to get a better job automatically rules them out of that category.

    In the Venn Diagram of Life, the circles of “Works Retail” and “Genius” aren’t even on the same page, let alone intersect.

  5. Falconfire says:

    Thats not very true. There are plenty of people who like help desk work enough to not move up. Its a decent paying gig (I make 44k + full medical and dental) not to mention I like the work, and would rather make less than my boss and not land in the hospital with stomach problems from my job.

    Retail has a lot of draws to people, its very biased and discriminatory to think that everyone who works it does it because they cant amount to anything.

  6. Lemurs says:

    There’s helpdesk work, and then there’s retail helpdesk. Those are two VERY different creatures. I find it very hard to believe that anyone on the Geek Squad or behind the Genius Bar make 44k a year plus bennies.

    If you do, I am 1) impressed that your employer is willing to spend good money to retain smart people. 2) happy for you. 3) Very curious about where you work. I’d definitely be willing to spend money there knowing they try and keep real technical resources on staff for their retail customers.

    My point still stands, RETAIL helpdesk is a place that chews people up and spits them out…the ones that stay behind are generally not very good, because they could make more elsewhere *and* be more satisfied.

  7. Falconfire says:

    Well to be fair Geek Squaders have the same issue as Apple does. When they where small pre-BestBuy they where excellent (and made more than 44k but also had to have full certs too)

    now while you will find some great old timers a lot of the new guys are being rushed.

  8. kerry says:

    Remember, some people who get jobs at the Genius bar are doing it because they’re really fond of Apple. There are actually people out there who will work menial jobs that don’t pay particularly well to be part of a corporation they admire. Just look at all the high-minded hippies working at your local Whole Foods. None of those people would have considered stooping to cashier work were it not for the supposed admirability of Whole Foods. Apple actively recruits Mac evangelists to work retail, and people take those jobs with two things in mind: 1) I like this company, they’re something I want to be a part of and 2) maybe if I pay my proverbial dues in retail I can get a “real” job with Apple.