7 Confessions Of An Apple Macintosh Specialist

It was a dark and stormy night, and the Consumerist team was hunkered down at HQ poring over leads. Suddenly, we heard a ruckus coming from the alley. Footsteps, followed by the sound of breaking glass and a cat crying out as if to say, “OMGWTF?” We ran out to see who it was, but by the time we got there they were long gone. Only the noise of faint footsteps could be heard dissolving into the distant hum of the night. I glanced down and spotted something on the ground. As I knelt down to pick it up I saw it was a tattered white envelope bearing the words, “7 Confessions of an Apple Mac Specialist.” Its contents, inside…

7. iPods have two fixes. Resetting and Restoring.
If both of those features do not work, your iPod is trash. Unless it’s under warranty or you purchased AppleCare, then they will give you two options. First is to trade in your iPod for 10% off any model (except shuffle), or they will give you out of warranty replacement, Which usually means that you will pay around $100-$250 depending on the model you purchased.

6. We have 4 things that we will try to sell you when you purchase a computer.
AppleCare, of course, is your extended 3 year warranty, we are told to sell it as a service plan, but it does not do ANYTHING extra, but extend your warranty, and does not cover anything extra. .Mac is a ripoff unless you use the web site hosting. ProCare has to be the biggest ripoff. All this does is upgrade your AppleCare for one year. It has a little perk for business uses, but otherwise useless. Lastly, One-to-One training, which is the best deal in the store.

5. If you have a return outside of the return policy we will most likely take care of you.
If it’s sealed we’ll take it back, and open, if you speak to a manager and plead your case, they will most likely take care of you no matter what.

4. We do not know ANYTHING about when some product will come out.
And we aren’t allowed to speculate on anything that isn’t on apple.com. We can get fired if we even tell a customer that a 3G iPhone might come out.

3. Apple Employment: If you want full-time, do not get into this company.
To be full-time, it is a recommendation that you be with the company for a year or more. The shifts are horrible, and they typically have more than 100 people working in a single mall store. For part-time you can get anywhere to 4-20 hours in one week, very very unreliable.”

2. Why we will ask you for your e-mail at checkout.
This is for two reasons. One, we will send your receipt to your email, and two there is a survey at the bottom of the email. This leads to the store being ranked on what is called detractors and promoters. The company takes an average from the surveys and ranks us. 10-9 is a promoter, 8-7 is a “passive” and 6 below is a detractor. Which leads to the next confession.

1. If you fill out the survey and rank us 6 or lower, a manager will call you the same day or the next, corporate policy.
They usually will ask why you had a bad experience, and offer to make it better, usually by discounting something or another for you. These are directly related to the salesperson who checked you out, so we get our asses reamed when we make a detractor. Also, If you complain to a manager, nothing usually gets done, it goes in one ear and out the other. Buy something very small, have them email your receipt, and fill out the survey. The management will wait on you hand and foot. Oh, and return the product.

(Photo: madmarch)


Edit Your Comment

  1. kyle4 says:

    Interesting, and hopefully no people take advantage and purposely complain to try and get a discount.

  2. homerjay says:

    Well until this gets changed to “anyone can rate a store” then the last line seems to be some of the best recourse.

    I never thought .mac was a rip. I use it all the time.

  3. highmodulus says:

    Very interesting and useful information, especially about the survey on the receipt. Still, one of the few “confessions” that makes it more likely to do business with a company.

  4. stupidjerk says:

    these sound more like tips than confessions…..don’t they?

  5. pastabatman says:

    Procare is not entirely useless if you are a “pro”…actually.

    Also I would bet it depends where you are in the country – ie your location.

    I’m in NYC and had my video card die. I work as a video editor off the machine (at home – just me and the mac) and was in the middle of a job.

    here’s the thing I found with the procare. they may not FIX it faster (i don’t know), but they will diagnose it with 24hours. I was almost sure that it was the video card but if it was the motherboard, then I was in trouble.

    Either way the faster I know the issue, the faster I can act and get my ass to another machine OR know that it’s a 30 second card swap.

    My location was a factor (nyc) as they were swamped and the diagnosis was (without procare) up in the air. This was before the last 2 stores even opened, so it was intense over at the SOHO store. Add that to the fact that even bringing the thing in was a hassle. (it’s NYC – i am not insane so I don’t own a car)

    But I would guess for the ‘normal’ owner it’s not huge advantage.

  6. chrisdag says:

    Ouch. That detractor policy seems like a recipe for denial-of-manager attacks on a store :)

    Once I found a perfect Boston area shop that does AppleCare repairs in-house (rather than your system getting shipped out to some remote depot they keep your system inhouse and ship in the parts) I’ve been very happy with AppleCare.

    I go through macbook pros like mad (typically one per year) and gift the used one to family members. Giving them a year-old laptop with 2-years of Applecare remaining works out really well.

    Combine Applecare with a Renters/homeowners insurance policy and you are covered even from your own stupidity. I tripped on some stairs and smashed a laptop screen that would have been about $1K to replace – fully covered by my renters insurance.

    The other tip left off this list was that Apple academic pricing is better than even apple resellers get. The price difference is not worth it for low margin items like ipods but you can save many hundreds on laptops. Taking occasional evening classes at a local university counts as you only need to provide an institution name and your student ID.

  7. JustaConsumer says:

    I have always had wonderful service from the Apple Store. Sounds like they need to treat their employees better. That is disappointing.

  8. I am also a former Mac Specialist and have a few bones to pick with this.

    AppleCare is a fantastic deal. It extends your physical warranty from 1 year to 3 years. If your machine needs to be repaired ONCE in years two and three, your purchase was worth it. Repairs are expensive. Additionally, it extends your phone support (which covers a lot, iTunes, iMovie, Mail, etc) from 90 days to 3 years. Great for new users and folks who don’t want their parents to be calling them 3x a week.

    .Mac is very meh, but good for new users who want to click one button in iPhoto to send pictures to their grandkids or whatever. It can be useful to the right people.

    Be very very nice to Geniuses. They have final say on if something gets repaired out of warranty. If you bitch too much, you’ll get nothing.

  9. BuddhaLite says:

    So you get shitty service and in order to have someone listen to you you’ve gotta buy something? I think the logic here is that it couldn’t have been that bad if you buy something. In past retail jobs I had the manager would blow you off if you called the store and complained. Now if you had the balls to complain to their face they’d do anything to keep you happy.

  10. BuddhaLite says:

    @Jordan Golson: Sorry dude. That is a rip off. Pay with an Amex and if something breaks within 3 years they’ll refund the purchase price.

  11. ooh, I wanted to post this a long time ago but the whole confidential disclosure thing scared me off (I remember signing lots of pages). I wasn’t familiar with the survey thing (new this year?).

    #1 is true (during my time I was the “trifecta” king, and shudder at the thought of .Mac)

    don’t get me wrong, certain things that you can attach when you buy a computer can be helpful, but buy them only if you need them and can take advantage of them.

    With that being said, I always advice getting Applecare with your computer (laptops especially) no matter what

  12. Amy Alkon000 says:

    I have had Macs since 1985, and I’ve had AppleCare since the program started. A couple of times, I’ve had repairs done beyond the cost of what I paid for the computer. The people who work for AppleCare are nice, very smart, really know their stuff, and take care of the problem — in my experience…and as a newspaper columnist who spends every day pounding her computers (an iBook and a 20-inch iMac) you could say I’m a serious user.

  13. zentex says:

    Apple needs to start offering something like Dell’s CompleteCare. I fear for my PB every time it leaves my desk.

    I got the AppleCare with my PB…my HDD died and I used it…but unfortunately my options were send it in or use CompUSA…next time I’m sending it in (thank god CompUSA went under, THAT was a horrible experience).

    Which brings me to another point…Apple needs more stores. I’m not driving 2.5 hours to an Apple Store. 2nd largest city in GA, and no Apple Store for ~120 miles.

  14. wozzeck says:

    I disagree entirely that AppleCare is not a great deal.
    AppleCare is a wonderful deal, even more wonderful if you are a Mac-knowledgeable family member of someone who buys a Mac.

    My father in law is on the phone with AppleCare all week. Every one of those phone calls represents time he isn’t asking me questions like—I unplugged my Mac mini to move it, plugged it back in, and now it isn’t on. What do I do? “Turn it on.” “But I plugged it back in.” “There’s a button on the back, press it.” “Oh, I didn’t know there was a button.” “Hey, can you please call AppleCare with questions like these, instead of me when I’m in the middle of a deposition?”

    God bless AppleCare.

    Not to mention that Apple’s machines are so tightly packed and integrated that just about any repair costs more than AppleCare.

  15. macbone says:

    We’ve had .mac since the start, and we’re quite happy with it. Mostly we use it to host our photo pages, and yes, I could find a place to do that cheaper. The ease of clicking “publish” and moving to the next thing is worth it. I think they hump you a bit on the 2nd email address.

    I like the sync functions as well.

    As far as Apple treating their employees well or poorly, they must at least treat them fairly- go into a place that treats their people badly and you can usually tell.

  16. TehViking says:

    I’m also a former Mac Specialist, and one of the main reasons I quit is that I can’t in good conscience push AppleCare, ProCare, and all that BS on people.

    Usually, they’re already stretching their budget to include an Apple computer instead of some cheapass Dell, and the computer will do plenty to try to force them

    Although the retail experience is far better at Apple than other stores, they risk ruining it with forcing employees to push high-margin, low-value items like these.

  17. TehViking says:

    Oops! I meant to say the new Mac will do plenty to let them know of the “value” of .Mac when they boot up for the first time.

    Booting up for the first time is like this:

    “Enter your personal information.

    Want .Mac? No? Really? Are you sure?

    Are you sure you don’t want .Mac? Really sure?

    FIne, enjoy your computer, jerk.”

  18. freshyill says:

    Interesting, seeing as how I plan to buy an iPhone today.

    And yes, I know the 3G model is right around the corner, but my *brand new* Sony Ericsson broke after a three-foot fall. I’m going to give this iPhone to my fiance when the 3G model comes out. I hated this phone from the start, and i don’t want another piece of shit.

  19. cave12man says:

    @chrisdag let me know next time you need a new one…id be happy to buy it off you for a reasonable price

  20. @TehViking:
    did you have a jingle whenever someone bought *just* .Mac?

    ::does a little truffle shuffle::
    “selling naked dot-mac”

  21. astruc says:

    Apple is the only company that I enjoy calling when I have a service problem. Their employees have some personality. Twice I’ve had Apple employees check out my web page after talking to me on the phone, which I got a huge kick out of. Just all-around decent.

    I also use .mac and like it enough to pay for stuff I know I could get cheaper elsewhere, but the total system integration is really nice. I actually think the web hosting is the least of the package, not the best part.

  22. @Bevill: Got a link to that?

  23. spinachdip says:

    @Amy Alkon: Yeah, AppleCare has more than paid for itself on two laptops for me. A replacement monitor by itself is more than what I paid for AppleCare.

  24. spinachdip says:

    @stupidjerk: I think that’s the point of the confessions – I think too many readers take it personally (“OMG, these people are mean! And they don’t care about customers!”), but knowing how they think and operate is more than half the battle.

  25. ionerox says:

    Eactly. ProCare gets you express service at the bar, and yearly tune-ups on your machine. It’s just that most people don’t need this.

    It does not, however, have a damn thing to do with AppleCare.

  26. stacye says:

    For point 7: Yes, you can fix an iPod by either resetting, or restoring, but you can at least attempt to salvage your data before wiping the drive.

    Try putting your iPod in hard disk mode ([support.apple.com]) before doing a complete reset. If it syncs up with your computer, then you may not have to restore. Also, you can navigate to your music folder, and save your music files. They are named with cryptic names, but you can still get the files. And if you upload them back to your iPod after resetting, iTunes will still know the names of all your files.

  27. DCGaymer says:

    There was a salesman at the SF Union Square store who had the WORST body odor ever. I actually had to turn my head when he was checking out my items to catch a breath of fresh air. I couldn’t figure out how his co-workers could stand it. So I guess I should have rated the store a 6 then told the manager what was what when they called. Next time.

  28. for point 7, the figures might be a little off. i had a broken and out of warranty ipod that they offered to replace with an identical model (30gb 5th gen) for $60. even though the current base model is 80gb, i still feel like $60 was a pretty good price.

    also, the 10% discount does not apply on the iphone either. this might be obvious to some, but it is an ipod model to an extent.

  29. @TehViking: While .mac really isn’t too bad since the update, for the first year I worked there it hadn’t been significantly updated in a seriously long time, and was mostly a joke to anybody who knew what they were talking about.
    @discounteggroll: Dude nothing beats the naked trifecta: “Hey, I bought a computer yesterday from so-and-so, and forgot to get those extra things, the imac (everybody calls .mac imac, dunno why), the warranty, and those class things.”

  30. Trai_Dep says:

    Clearly a fraudulent posting. A real Apple person would use a glass-cutter and wear a black cat-suit. Because that’s how they roll: it’s the attention to detail that counts.
    Breaking a window?! Making a ruckus?! How… PCish!

    PS: and the cat would have been petted, and a saucer of milk left behind. A PC tech guy would have tried to impregnate it. Thinking it was a dog.

  31. kamiikoneko says:

    In response to #7, regarding IPod replacements, I’d like to share a contrary experience I’ve had.

    I dropped my IPod in the parking lot to my 9-5. Result: click of death, goodbye hard drive. I called apple support or whatever its called and informed them that I was starting a business and we used several macs and I myself had a new Mac Pro (both true, but noone checked up on me, I could have been lying). I told him I had messed up my IPod and that their superior support in this matter would supply me with a reason to continue ordering Mac products, and that I considered myself and other small studios like myself to be very valuable customers. The associate was very friendly, called in a higher-tier support staff, and set me up with a mac store appointment with a “note about my situation” attached.
    Long story short, I walked into the store, told them my name, and they immediately replaced my IPod for free, no questions asked. This same strategy worked for getting free repairs on my Mac Pro and several of my partners in the studio have had similar luck. Note that all of these cases required a call ahead of time to apple support.

    Moral of the story:

    With Apple, I find that providing a gentle reminder that they are still vying for market share while simultaneously presenting yourself as a supportive, faithful, but important customer helps your situation incredibly. Try it.

  32. @workingonyourinvoice:
    my attach rates were the highest in the area (somewhere around 105%/97%/91%), but I don’t think I EVER had a naked trifecta. I did get some pretty impressive stuff (i.e 3 procares on 1 computer). naked .Mac sales ruled. naked procare sales got you on the genius’ and creatives’ really good side (I won’t get into detail about that)

  33. weave says:

    I like dot mac. I just wish I could edit calendar entries via a web interface and then it’d sync to your computers and devices when attached.

  34. romeodawg says:

    I’ve been using dot mac for years and I find it absolutely invaluable — especially if you have other Apple products.

    There’s no faster way to publish movies and photos — great for me and also new people I introduce the Mac to.

    I manage 6 different sites and blogs easily within one iWeb application, all with one-button publishing to my .mac site, and all with different masked URLs.

    Many mac lovers like having a .mac email address — I know I do.

    My Apple TV can access my own as well as anyone else’s .mac photo and movie galleries — impressive on a big screen.

    There are also many new third-party software companies that integrate dot mac into their product for sync/publish/backup.

    But the most crucial feature for me is the sync feature. All of my bookmarks, contacts, calendars, keychains, mail, and even dock settings and computer preferences are sync’d between my home and office macs and my desktop. It’s like working on only one computer no matter where I am, and that is awesome.

    For $99/year? Or $69 if you buy a Mac. Sorry, I think that is a GREAT deal.

  35. @discounteggroll: The naked trifectas (or quadfectas after the intro of 1-to-1) is really bad karma though, as you’re probably snatching the metrics from the person who sold the computer. You just hope they were stupid and didn’t properly pitch the stuff…

    As much fun as ARS was (worked in the highest volume store in the region) I am soooo glad to be out of retail.

  36. hardmanb says:

    Disagree about AppleCare. I’ve been a Mac user since the first Mac, and always tell the Apple people first of my loyalty…AppleCare has saved my butt twice over the years.

    As to AppleStore employees, many young people do not have old-fashioned values of “customer is always right” or “customer comes first…not employees”. Apple’s emphasis on CUSTOMER care leads people to think that the employee is not the king…and they are right. Keeping the customer the king is a major reason for Apple’s success…and my loyalty.

  37. BlackFlag55 says:

    Been a Mac household since Lisa. Tried MS, didn’t like it. Now learning Linux so I’m not hog tied to Mac. In any case, Mac CSR has been ‘mostly’ helpful, and dayum they’ve tried my patience on occasion. But then, I detest where customer service in general has degraded to since the days of an actual human telephone operator on the other end of the phone who knew your neighbors and the first name of the local sheriff.

    Big … is the problem.

    When I learned DotMac was not an Apple company but a vendor under their name, I exited. It’s probably useful for those people for whom it is useful, as per the above comments, but I don’t like dealing with hide-and-seek corporate whack a moles when it comes time to face who’s on first.

  38. nequam says:

    I use .mac for the web hosting, email, online backups and “back to my mac.” iChat… not so much.

    I think it is a good value for me. YMMV.

  39. Oryx says:

    “7. iPods have two fixes. Resetting and Restoring.”

    and also:


    Used it to replace a bad headphone jack on my 5th gen.

    Apple Store Quote: $150

    Bought a new jack for $25 with shipping, opened ipod with a credit card, replaced, and presto–problem fixed.

  40. ptr2void says:

    @Jordan Golson: Yeah, got a link to that Bevill? I just bought an MBP — with an Amex — and I believe the deal is that they will extend the warranty an additional year beyond any existing warranty, extended or otherwise. So if you buy AppleCare, then the warranty will be 4 years.

    Also, I told the guy at the store, when he asked me about buying AppleCare, that I would buy it from Amazon for $50 less, and he was surprised that that was an option.

  41. @stupidjerk:


    When I needed help from Apple, I have gotten nice, helpful people at both the Apple Store & Apple Care. They have been nothing but excellent. (And I have never worked for Apple).

    Personally, it seems Consumerist has a personal bias against Apple, or maybe it’s just me.

  42. lasciate says:

    He should have mentioned that ProCare is specific to the Apple Store you buy it at and cannot be used elsewhere.

  43. Buran says:

    @ionerox: Not really express service. It just makes it easier to reserve a slot.

    Doesn’t mean that you don’t sit around waiting for 2+ hours after your time (yes, this has happened to me… I left after the store had closed, and my problem was a dead hard disk and I knew it and the guy knew it — 90% of the time we spent working on it was writing up the repair order).

    The store really needs to stop making people wait for 2+ hours.

  44. Buran says:

    @chrisdag: There is no edu discount for ipods anymore.

  45. ByeBye says:

    Sounds to me this guy just wanted to vent. A shame too.

  46. veronykah says:

    @Jordan Golson: I totally agree, I purchased an iMac g5 when they were still on the newer side. My apple care just ran out last december. I had it repaired at the apple store as well as having a tech come to my house and replace the hard drive and logic board at one point. No clue how much that cost but I’m going to venture a guess that it was quite a bit.
    I also utilized the phone support quite a few times…
    I would absolutely buy it again.
    @Bevill: Really? So ANYTHING I buy if I get an Amex has this policy? I can buy a cell phone, drop it 2.5 years in and get a new one free? Really?
    Is that why they charge you a fee to have an Amex?

  47. Totorototoro says:

    What kind of “EXTRA” do people expect from AppleCare? Its an extended warranty. Its clear from the website and the box that its an extended warranty. Is this guy claiming he’s pushing it as something more than an extended warranty?

    Anyways, I’ve never bought AppleCare, but it seems like a decent enough deal, esp. for notebooks.

  48. @lasciate: Incorrect.

  49. trujunglist says:

    For some reason this article makes buying Applecare sound like a bad idea. Let me repeat what I’ve told… god, a million people?


  50. Apple care is a good deal, and I’d say essential if you get a hard-drive based iPod. Google made .Mac obsolete, I only use it for the iDisk, but this is the last year I give Apple $100 for a semi-useless feature.

  51. ConsumptionJunkie says:

    Apple employees have been great to me.

    When my Macbook crashed and needed a new hard drive, I asked if I could get a new, replacement Macbook. They said “no problem” even though my receipt was dated past the 14 day grace period for returns.

  52. chromakeyerguy says:

    As a current Specialist (we have new names now) I do agree with some of the complaints.

    For not working on commission our managers sure push the metrics (dotMac, procare, APP, and 1 to 1). I do believe that two of the metrics are vitally important AppleCare and 1 to 1. Most of my customers are switchers from PCs. Two things happen when you tell them about APP, 1) they are amazed that we have in house technical support for free and 2) they are amazed that we our phone support free when you buy APP. Especially for switchers 1 to 1 is incredible. You get 52 training sessions and have the ability to ask (almost) anything you want. You also get a complete setup on your computer. you bring your old PC to the store, we will do a data transfer for you. Customers love that.

    I will concede that procare is just about a waste of money, I only recommend it to business customers. dotMac i have a love hate relationship with.Some customers will absolutely love the web gallery and iDisk, others will look at you like you are insane.Most of the time I will reccommend it to older couples who have no idea how to share their photos.But to those with a myspace, it is pretty much useless.

    In our training we emphasize customers needs over our own personal sales goals, and I for one like to approach each of my sales with the customer in mind.

    One thing the author didn’t touch upon was personal shopping (the mini-metric). My store has a huge emphasis on personal shopping. For those of you who don’t know what personal shopping is, its basically time for a customer to come in to the store and have one hour of uninterrupted time to shop with a specialist. I know that some of the stores(mine included) will shit a brick if we don’t reach our personal shopping numbers. We go as far as to schedule iPhone resellers for personal shopping appointments, even after they purchase the phone.

    As for treating us nice, my store certainly does. Apart from a Nazi-ish attendence policy, I love work for Apple.

  53. jeff303 says:

    AppleCare is great but keep in mind you shouldn’t buy it at the same time as your computer unless you have a bunch of cash sitting around for no good reason. If you do this you’re essentially giving Apple a 1-year interest free loan on your $350. Since you can buy/apply it anytime within the first year of ownership (original warranty), wait until just before that expires to buy it. Also I bought mine on eBay for $190 and it worked without any issues (Apple was charging $350 for equivalent).

  54. ecwis says:

    @Jordan Golson:

    Be very very nice to Geniuses. They have final say on if something gets repaired out of warranty. If you bitch too much, you’ll get nothing.

    There’s always small claims court if one decides to be mean to the “geniuses.”

  55. bangbangbonnie says:

    Yeah, that number one rule is completely true. Sort of.

    I have had an awful experience with a “genius” before. My laptop needed some routine maintenance that should have taken an hour or so to fix, but he insisted that it would take TWO WEEKS and my administrator password to solve the problem. I asked if I could just set up a guest account for them to use and he said that it was just not an option – they had to have my admin password. When I tried to ask him if he could just order the part that I needed and then call me when it came in so they could install it, he became belligerent and insisted that it was just not possible and I would have to do what he said if I wanted the service. I ended up telling him to forget about it – that I would go to a store where they could take care of things in a reasonable amount of time (I need my laptop for school) WITHOUT admin access (like I am going to trust some peon at a mac store with my personal information) – and walked out shortly after he all but called me an idiot. I then drove two hours away to another mac store to see if they could fix my problem, and, sure enough, they had my laptop for an hour before returning it good-as-new.

    Three days after all of this trouble, I get a call from the first store that my part has come and when am I coming in to get my computer fixed. I explained politely to the elderly-sounding woman what had happened when I was in the store and that I already had the problem fixed elsewhere. She apologized profusely and said that there had been problems with that particular guy before and that I shouldn’t hold it against the store because he was a douche (my words, not hers).

    Two days after I talk to the old lady, the store manager calls and wants to know why I gave their store a bad rating and, in the course of talking to him for about twenty minutes, implied that it was all my fault for they way I was treated but it shouldn’t stop me from coming back and buying crap in their store. He made no offer to make things better, he made no effort to apologize for the behavior of his employee. And I know that they customer is not always right, but the customer should always FEEL like they are right, even when they aren’t.

  56. ironchef says:


    you need the admin password to install even the most basic of patches and updates. The Apple Genius was correct on insisting for an admin password.

  57. bangbangbonnie says:

    @ironchef: I should have clarified that I was in for a cosmetic repair only (the wristrest cracked and needed to be replaced). At the time I took it in, everything in patches/updates were up to date. I guess the problem was more that he failed/refused to explain WHY he needed it beyond the “I just do” argument.

  58. RainyDay says:

    I have nothing but good to say about Geniuses and Applecare. My wife and I each have a refurbished MBP with Applecare, and I’ve had to use it on one of the machines. The most recent use was for a CD stuck in the drive.

    I was told by the Genius that the depot would return the trapped disk (which was a quite expensive install disk). As is the way of the world, the disk didn’t come back with the repaired computer. I was immediately on the phone to the store. The manager spoke to the Genius and confirmed my story, and said she would replace the software at no charge. I couldn’t get up to the store for a few days, and the day before my expected visit, the missing disk arrived from the repair depot via DHL. I was immediately on the phone to tell the Apple Store manager that I had received the disk, that I would certainly not need the replacement software, and that I was extremely pleased with the level of service I had received (and almost received).

    AAAAA+++++ will happily deal with again!

  59. ClankBoomSteam says:

    7. iPods have two fixes. Resetting and Restoring.

    This just isn’t true. Depending on the problem with one’s iPod, there are a variety of ‘fixes’:

    I stopped taking my iPod Classic 160gb (a notoriously crashy device) into my local Apple Store for ‘fixing’ (which was never anything but a complete restore, and a loss of 140gb+ of data) when I realized that I could access the iPod on my computer like a hard drive and actually salvage 90% of the “lost” data that my local ‘Genius’ would have cheerily erased from the device.

    Since the Classic 160 also takes FOREVER to fill (as iTunes just can’t handle large data transfers of any kind without locking up), this completely trumps the redundancy and wasted time of an iTunes backup.

    I also recently explored the possibilities of DIY battery replacement on a dead iPod, and guess what: for maybe $40 and a half an hour of your time, you can completely revive your “bricked” older-model, out-of-warranty iPod (rather than getting that fat 10% off a new one when you trade your old one in). It’s an easy process, and most of the battery kits I’ve seen even come with a tool for opening the iPod.

    Even better, the batteries you install yourself are superior to the official Apple batteries, with longer life between charges and longer life on the whole. Hard drives can be replaced in iPods with similar ease. Sounds a lot better than buying a new $300+ iPod, if you ask me (even with the $30 off they’ll give you for your old one — what a joke).

    So, no. There are two quick fixes for Mac Geniuses that can keep them moving from customer to customer, but there are certainly more options than the reset/restore binary offered here.

    The simple truth is that you don’t exactly need a degree from MIT to get a job as a Mac Genius, it’s the McJob of the tech industry. If you use your brain, you can avoid getting ‘help’ from the Apple Store, and save your blood pressure. I certainly saved my own.

  60. ryanrit says:

    Attention former mac specialists…

    We’d love to have your input on the blog and forums over at thedigitallifestyle.tv Since most of us have worked at two or three Apple stores, it would be great to get the perspectives from other stores…

  61. ksherer says:

    I’m a Mac Specialist, and these are all true and not really confessions. The only ones that I think are completely false are 5, 4, and 3. .Mac is NOT a ripoff, and we don’t try to “sell” you anything. Numbers are wholly unimportant, and we trained to provide you solutions, not sell you things. If this guy’s boss heard him say that, he’d probably get fired. It’s everything that Apple is against. However, those 4 things are usually part of the solution that fit most people. AppleCare also covers phone support and is NOT A WARRANTY. Phone support is $50 per question after 90 days without AppleCare. Also, out of warranty repairs are expensive, especially on laptops, and AppleCare is usually less than the least expensive cost of repairs. ProCare isn’t a waste of money if you’re computer is necessary for work and such. $99 covers a plethora of things including complete set-up ($70), annual clean-up ($99), and almost no wait time at the genius bar. However, if it’s not the right solution for your needs, of course it’s a waste of your money and we wouldn’t recommend it to you, just like I wouldn’t recommend AppleCare if you lived in another country (it’s useless). If a package is closed and we still carry the item, we’ll more than likely return it. If it’s open and way out of the return date, we won’t, even if you make a big stink. Only under extreme circumstances will we, and that’s only for a good reason. Not liking it isn’t. About Full-Time: If you’re a good employee, Full-Time and other advancements are offered almost immediately. We have a lot of people who are hired to become Full-Time Geniuses and are sent straight to Coopertino almost directly after hiring. Apple Retail isn’t just a job, and a lot of people come in thinking that (like this guy apparently). The company is great, and I believe in almost everything we sell. If I don’t, I tell people it’s not a good product. We’re all about honesty and nothing about selling.

  62. ecwis says:

    @ksherer: Ever heard of a paragraph?

  63. dandyrandy says:

    Former Mac specialist here.

    Ksherer says: “Numbers are wholly unimportant, and we trained to provide you solutions, not sell you things”

    And that is complete bullcrap. Many was the time I went to the storeroom cages to get a Macbook, iPod, iPhone, etc. Before he/she would unlock the cage for me, the manager on duty would invariably asked if I had tried to sell one or more of those intangibles. In their opinion, every single person that bought anything in the store must needed one or all of them – it didn’t matter at all what their ‘needs’ were. Gotta beat the Apple Store down the road in conversions!

  64. Syrenia says:

    @Jordan Golson: Adding: Geniuses are not infallible. One of them in my area is an idiot who should be fired. But that was the only less-than-stellar experience I’ve ever had at the Genius Bar.

    Specifically, the guy at the Genius Bar cannot promise you that there is a firmware update going to be released to solve the problem with power usage on your MacBook Air. (See #4.) He is making it up to get you to go away rather than tell you that he has no idea how to solve your problem. And even if he did know about an update, he still couldn’t tell you before it is announced.

    It’s rare that you get a dud at the Genius Bar, but it happens. If the genius doesn’t solve your problem, play along with anything non-destructive and then call AppleCare. If you are in NYC or Silicon Valley, go to a different Apple store.

    (And if “my” genius is reading this, yes, I remembered your name and narced on you in extensive detail when I called AppleCare, who was able to significantly improve my situation.)

    Generally: most geniuses are great, AppleCare rocks, .Mac is fantastic for lazy people (among whom I count myself), and the folks who do the One-on-One training have the patience of saints. They are teaching my aunt how to use her computer. They even call me each time to get her Gmail password since she can never remember it, and her admin password since I’ve never told her what it is.

  65. IssaGoodDay says:


    ^ To anyone and everyone who either needs a laugh, works in retail, or thinks that the customer should always at least FEEL right.

    Just because you’re a customer doesn’t mean you have the right to treat employees like crap. If you look at the places that REALLY excel, they will stand behind their employee’s decisions – and I feel like Apple stores typically do that. The managers have (almost) complete freedom, and the geniuses have quite a bit of leeway as well.

    So to all you consumers who think you’re always right: YOU’RE NOT.

  66. ironchef says:


    absolutely. Horror stories on both sides for sure.

    Generally, I’ve found the Apple people lightyears ahead of the typical retail personnel.

    What this confessions of an Apple specialist seems gloss over is the amount of training they do to make sure the Genius is up to par.

    I found most Geniuses are extremely informed techs with lots of up-to-date knowledge on most mac issues.

    I don’t think this article was fair or written by a real insider.

  67. @weave: try Google Calendars

  68. OMG! Ponies! says:

    @ecwis: So true.

    In my experience, once you explain that most small claims courts have no filing fees and that a half-dozen people may think that a $1400 computer should last more than a year, you can usually get out-of-warranty repair service fairly easily (within reason).

    When my MacBook’s drive failed after 13 months, Apple waived the fee once I explained that not everyone is cool with buying a laptop once a year. And it didn’t cost $300.

  69. Topcat says:

    @ironchef: Not really accurate. This is moreso a result of hiring people interested in a specific product. You won’t get good help at a Best Buy or Walmart or other ‘big’ store because everyone’s a generalist- everybody knows very little about everything.

    At a Mac store, or any other specialist store, the employees generally work there because they’re interested in the product they’re selling. In this way, these stores hire people already knowledgeable, and have an environment where they get to be a specialist.

    And Apple personnel, I’ve found, are terrible at actual customer service outside of their scripted interactions. Geniuses especially in the post-iPod Apple spectrum are dumbfounded by most technical questions that a user might ask, and are fairly useless as actual computer technicians.

  70. ionerox says:

    @Buran: It also used to mean you could drop the machine/iPod and they’d call you later to talk to you about the repair. But I found out the other day they’ll now do that for anyone who asks.

    Hell, I’ll take waiting a couple hours and going home with my machine over mailing my computer off to some unknown depot. I know for a fact that my local Apple store’s Genius Bar has a average repair turn-time of less than a day.

  71. ironchef says:


    Topcat: “Geniuses especially in the post-iPod Apple spectrum are dumbfounded by most technical questions that a user might ask, and are fairly useless as actual computer technicians.”

    Oh please. That’s not really accurate either.

    If there was a rare issue that can’t be solved by a tech, they have a hotline to escalate to a level 2 response, someone who’s intimately specialized on that exact product. They are on-call and there is no wait time for a real time conference between the Apple Genius and the product specialist.

  72. jonbruc says:

    I bought Applecare for my powerbook and used it twice: to replace a worn out power cord, and to replace a dead hard drive. Both times it only took one day to et the part(power) or get the repair done.

    I’ll never buy another laptop without it.

  73. Madjia says:


    Actually Applecare is great even if you live in another country, it gives worldwide coverage.

    I’ve bought Applecare on one occasion during one of my stays in the USA and the people at the apple store in the Netherlands have always accepted the Applecare without a question.

    But then they’ve also been a ton of help with my iPod Touch which I bought in the US, didn’t have a receipt or Applecare for, maybe cause it hasn’t been around long enough to be out of warranty, but hey.

    Always had very good experiences with Apple customer service.

  74. woot says:

    AppleCare is worth it. I really wouldn’t be without it. The level of service has been is great, and it’s one of the reasons Mac usage in my family is so high. On the rare occasion that something has gone wrong, it’s been a surprisingly quick, easy, and pleasant experience to get it fixed.

    .Mac is a little bit on the expensive side compared with the alternatives, but it is highly convenient (especially for my parents, who are getting on a bit and just like stuff to work as simply and automatically as possible). On balance, I have no problem paying for it and, in fact, just renewed it again. A family pack is worth considering.

    Apple SHOULD be pushing those services, because they are genuinely useful and worthwhile for most customers even if, in the case of .Mac, they aren’t using all of the features.

  75. MonkeySwitch says:

    Applecare not worth it? Are you kidding??? I learned that the hard way when my iBook G4 died ONE WEEK out of warranty. Faulty logic board. There were a few petitions floating around for Apple to extend the G3 program, but it fizzled out. Apple wanted $300 to fix something that was proven on the internet to be a manufacturing problem. I cried.

    Also, if anyone can solder a logic board, or has a spare one floating around, I still miss my iBook.

  76. ksherer says:

    Well, that’s really not correct. What comes with the product is a one year international warranty. However, AppleCare is supposed to be specific to the continent/country. When I say it’s useless to have it if you live outside of the country, I meant that if you don’t have a US address, you can’t register the US/Mexico AppleCare (US address required). Once it’s registered, it *should* be fixed at any Apple authorized repair center (except for iPhones which can only be repaired in the country of origin). However, there is a technicality that many places overlook when positioning AppleCare:
    iPods and other portables (meaning not desktops) can be repaired anywhere no matter where the AppleCare was purchased. However, desktop AppleCare has to be purchased in the country where it will stay. Many technicians overlook this detail and repair it anyway, but I personally have had reports from customers who could not get there desktop fixed out of the country. So, what I’m really saying is be careful.

    @ dandyrandy:
    I’ve worked in 3 different stores in 2 different regions, and I’ve worked with people from stores around the world. Occasionally you’ll go to a store that doesn’t follow Apple’s directive to provide accurate solutions to the customer, and push selling items to get better numbers. However, most Apple stores follow the required credo. Yes, my manager’s ask if I mention AppleCare, ProCare, One to One, and .Mac, but they are of course understanding if it isn’t the right solution. My store is predominantly travelers, and they live in countries without Apple stores. If they’re buying and iMac, I would of course inform them of AppleCare, ProCare, and One to One, and give them the information on the requirements for each, but it is up to them to make the decision. If they visit often or have a house here, often times they will buy One to One and only come 4 or 5 times in their entire year. However, for them, they believe it is work it: $25 for a One to One session is not bad, especially if you know nothing about your computer.

    My job is about informing the customer and positioning services to best fit their needs. I have never been punished or reprimanded for not selling something, I have only received feedback if I felt that I didn’t do my best (i.e. having them not purchase a certain thing if I felt it was really what they needed). But, all Apple stores are different, and some are run better than others with employees that actually care about the customers. Hopefully you all will step into one of those next time. It always makes me sad to hear bad feedback about Apple when I know it is either untrue or unfair. I really love my job and believe that Apple truly cares about the people that buy their products.

  77. josho2001 says:

    you see, I have to disagree with number one. I walked in last week with an ipod touch I bought when they first came out and it couldn’t be fixed, it wouldn’t restore or reset, and I had no protection plan. The guy walked to the back and just grabbed me a replacement one. The nest part: I got mail and maps for free because it’s one of the new ones :), so it’s almost like they gave me 20 bucks back. I will continue to be a faithful mac follower.

  78. michaelzz says:

    what? since when is Procare and One-on-one training not the same thing? Procare makes it easier to get a genius bar appointment, has one on one training, and you get a computer cleaning once a year, for only a hundred bucks. How is that a ripoff?

  79. RaulColgate says:

    Response to article Obviously this information comes from an Apple Store employee or someone who
    has had extensive contact with the Apple Store. But let’s look at the points

    7. Resetting and Restoring your iPod.

    Sure, these are the two options that John Q. Public have aside from putting
    it in the shop. The writer is correct in the cost for repair and if your
    iPod is out of warranty, then I suggest finding some DIY(do it yourself)
    info on the web and making an attempt to fix it before you drop the $129.99
    to $299.99 for a new one. (Unless you really, really have to have the new
    iPod Touch!)

    6. 4 things they try to sell you.

    Duh…it’s a RETAIL store…it’s their job to try to sell you Applecare,
    .Mac, Procare or One-to-One training. If you have ever had a Mac that failed
    and you didn’t have Applecare, you’ll wish you did. Short of the
    classification of abuse on their products, Applecare is a wonderful thing
    for the price. Lets justify it this way, lets say your MacBook Pro 15″ LCD
    dies and you didn’t buy Applecare, your looking at $400+ to fix it, but with
    Applecare (so long as you didn’t drop your Pro, or in some other way smash
    your screen) it can get fixed for much much less if not free. Dot Mac…the
    writer says it’s worthless, try telling that to the throngs of people who
    actually use it and it’s features. Procare is not for the average consumer
    either, but rather for businesses and entrepreneurs who use there Mac’s to
    make money. Lastly, One-to-One training is a wonderful thing, not
    necessarily for those who are intuitive enough to get in and actually learn
    the ins and outs, but for those who have little computer experience or those
    converting from the Microsoft operating environment.

    5. Return policy.

    I can’t comment here as I have never had to return any item to the Apple
    Store. Their products and those of non-Apple manufacturers that they sell
    always seem to last much past their warranty expiration date.

    4. New Products.

    This is hype some say, but it is true for the most part. Apple Store
    employees are given limited information regarding new products prior to
    their public release. The writer is correct in stating that they can get
    fired for releasing ANY information about new products or speculation
    thereof. Apple zealously guards information regarding their upcoming product
    debuts and if your doubt that, ask the guys from thinksecret.com. Who?

    3. Full time employment?

    Depends on your state really, some states have laws that say 30 hours is
    considered full time. I will say that most Apple Store employees, from the
    Creative Specialists to the Geniuses are considered full time, whether or
    not they work a full 40 or no.

    2. Asking for email at checkout

    Not a big deal, but while they say it is for sending your receipt, it is
    still a form of data collection they use for whatever mystical purposes they
    see fit. I will say though that if you give a bogus email your chances of
    returning any product bought are slim since you don’t have any proof of

    1. Management calling.

    Can’t comment here as all my experiences with the Apple Store have been
    among the best both customer service wise and product wise.


  80. goodluck4287 says:

    I am a former Mac Specialist as well. I would like to add a couple points to this, if the Consumerist would like to promote them, that is alright as well. I will switch tenses between past and present, as I still act like I work there.

    Training is very inconsistent for Mac Specialists, a lot of times, they simply don’t know. Some employees will make things up, you should ask around to find an employee who knows what they’re talking about.

    I disagree with the point about full-time, as he may have had a much higher traffic mall location. My location had the most respect, and best scheduling for full time employees. They receive free products from time to time (new iPhone if full-time, or part time for more than 1 year). More importantly, full time employees have the best 401k, insurance, benefits packages.

    Something we want you to know: Buy AppleCare now because you will forget to buy it in a year. Yes, we sell it because our metrics will otherwise take a dive, but… you do not get an extra year of warranty if you purchase the AppleCare in a year. It is a service plan, it has phone support and a warranty, it is NOT INSURANCE.

    Most importantly, nearly every employee’s iPhone is jailbroken, and probably 1/3 using T-Mobile. You want to make an employee sweat, ask to see their iPhone.

    You can usually get new iPod Earbuds if you are still within warranty and have the patience to make an appointment, have them ordered, come back in a few days as long as they are not physically damaged.

    We can’t track your lost iPod, we don’t have the tools to do it, and it is too much of a legal liability (what if you really sold it to some guy on eBay and you want us to track it).

    We are not trying to spread the good news like Jehova’s when we hand you a Personal Shopping card, that is for your benefit.

    It is very easy to steal from the Apple Store, I am an honest person, and have never done so. Let’s think about it, 15-20 employees on the floor in a small store, lunch breaks happen on the half hour and hour, someone will have lunch, switch you to another employee. Maybe you’re receipt was already emailed to you? I’m sure it’s not hard. Seriously, don’t try to steal, you will end up in jail, but security at the Apple Store is non existent except for the floor models and the cash registers.

    We all get free .Mac accounts, therefore, we recommend them to you.

    Many Mac Specialists are capable of a lot of what a Genius does, in fact, I’ve been asked to do simple tasks like swapping a hard drive or some ram when they are booked.

    Additionally, pet peeves:
    iTouch is not a product that Apple Sells, iPod Touch is.
    We do not install Windows.
    We do not condone piracy, although many of us are good friends with Demonoid and TPB in our secret lives.
    Don’t even mention BestBuy to us, they’re idiots.
    Don’t expect us to honor your Circuit City or BestBuy warranty (ONLY APPLECARE) if we have to give you a new iPod, you’re Circuit City or BestBuy warranty will be voided because of the new serial number.
    We do not get Beta software.
    No, the product has not shipped yet.
    We do not work on commission.
    We can’t accept tips, but if you buy us cookies or something, thank you.

    More info:

    Being a Mac Specialist is the best selling experience that I’ve found so far.

    Mac Geniuses usually know what they’re talking about.

    Mac Trainers are usually only good at one or two specialties, other than that, they will sit around and try their best to figure things out.

    We usually are pissed if you buy a computer by itself. Really, you have blown our metrics, and you are hurting yourself by not picking up AppleCare, .Mac on sale, or One-To-One.

    Go to the dollar store to buy a USB printer cable, they don’t cost $20.

    Apple has a very good, non-invasive selling technique…
    Ask for permission
    Probe for information
    Position the product
    L- I forget, but I still do well without it
    Excitement for the customer

  81. ludwigk says:

    This guy actually doesn’t know what Pro Care does. Most likely because he has never been involved in the repair process, and further, does not even know what his store’s Genii do on a regular basis. This can be true at larger stores where people don’t interact as much. Or, the Genius team at his store was crap, which can detract from ProCare’s value.

  82. Devezu says:

    I KNEW IT!!!!!!! A friend of mine recently got a new Macbook Pro and got the extended care and said it protected it from EVERYTHING THAT COULD EVER HAPPEN TO IT. I spent a whole hour trying to explain it to him…..

  83. ars_workerbee2 says:

    Comments are tl;dr, I just dissected the original post:

    7. iPods have two fixes. Resetting and Restoring.
If both of those features do not work, your iPod is trash. Unless it’s under warranty or you purchased AppleCare, then they will give you two options. First is to trade in your iPod for 10% off any model (except shuffle), or they will give you out of warranty replacement, Which usually means that you will pay around $100-$250 depending on the model you purchased.

    Partially true. Resetting an iPod is a quick fix that often works for things like frozen iPods and such. Restoring works for many things such as skipping songs (the actual files and the iPod’s on-board database get out of sync) and glitches. However, after that, nothing but errors. If its under warranty or AppleCare, they’ll replace it. If its > 6 months and no AppleCare, there may be a $30 fee. If its out of warranty, the OOW replacement cost is often almost as expensive as a new iPod. Then, you can trade it in for 10% off a new one.

    6. We have 4 things that we will try to sell you when you purchase a computer.
AppleCare, of course, is your extended 3 year warranty, we are told to sell it as a service plan, but it does not do ANYTHING extra, but extend your warranty, and does not cover anything extra. .Mac is a ripoff unless you use the web site hosting. ProCare has to be the biggest ripoff. All this does is upgrade your AppleCare for one year. It has a little perk for business uses, but otherwise useless. Lastly, One-to-One training, which is the best deal in the store.

    AppleCare does not give you additional benefits, it does take your phone support from 90 days to 3 years, as well as the hardware warranty from 1 year to 3. We are told NOT to sell it as a “service plan” or “extended warranty” for legal reasons, since it is neither. .Mac is well-suited for things like Back to My Mac (the NAT- and router-bypassing way to access another computer of yours), and the online storage (including website space). There are other nifty things about it, but *shrug*. To be clear on ProCare, it gives you priority repairs (if your machine breaks, you’re first in line, can make appointments farther out, etc) and a yearly tune-up. We are NOT required to try and sell this to everyone, Retail Management (both in and above the store level) knows its not for everyone. One to One is awesome, and the best deal in the store, but at most stores, you won’t be able to get a weekly appointment, more like every 2 or 3 weeks.

    5. If you have a return outside of the return policy we will most likely take care of you.
If it’s sealed we’ll take it back, and open, if you speak to a manager and plead your case, they will most likely take care of you no matter what.

    The return period is one of the most flexible things in the store. Just don’t be an ass about it, and we’ll take care of you 99% of the time.

    4. We do not know ANYTHING about when some product will come out.
And we aren’t allowed to speculate on anything that isn’t on apple.com. We can get fired if we even tell a customer that a 3G iPhone might come out.


    3. Apple Employment: If you want full-time, do not get into this company. 
To be full-time, it is a recommendation that you be with the company for a year or more. The shifts are horrible, and they typically have more than 100 people working in a single mall store. For part-time you can get anywhere to 4-20 hours in one week, very very unreliable.”

    This is not only incorrect, but far far from the truth. I have been with the company for several years, and have never seen so many full time employees. They are expanding the number of full timers at a ridiculous rate. The shifts and regularity of scheduling varies from store to store, I have a pretty regular 2 or 3 days a week that I work, and most of the part timers I work with have the same.

    2. Why we will ask you for your e-mail at checkout.
This is for two reasons. One, we will send your receipt to your email, and two there is a survey at the bottom of the email. This leads to the store being ranked on what is called detractors and promoters. The company takes an average from the surveys and ranks us. 10-9 is a promoter, 8-7 is a “passive” and 6 below is a detractor. Which leads to the next confession.

    This also applies to Genius Bar appointments, when you are signing up and it asks for your email address.

    1. If you fill out the survey and rank us 6 or lower, a manager will call you the same day or the next, corporate policy.
They usually will ask why you had a bad experience, and offer to make it better, usually by discounting something or another for you. These are directly related to the salesperson who checked you out, so we get our asses reamed when we make a detractor. Also, If you complain to a manager, nothing usually gets done, it goes in one ear and out the other. Buy something very small, have them email your receipt, and fill out the survey. The management will wait on you hand and foot. Oh, and return the product.

    The mandated turn-around for contacting a “detractor” is 24 hours, period. I have seen expensive repairs be given away for free, but also have seen managers not do anything because they realize that the person got something small/cheap and/or won’t actually be satisfied by it.

  84. DrKoob says:

    I am not quite sure why everyone disses .Mac. I have seven Macs, all running in my house and home office. Without .Mac how do I go about syncing them as easy as I do with .mac. And I got mine on special. Three years at $59 each. I use the iDisk with my clients who upload and download to it, I post all my personal iWeb sites on it, my photo galleries that I post to every day works great because I just toss it in my iPhoto list and it automatically uploads. It makes my life easier. Why would I go to a bunch of different suppliers (all web based) to do what .Mac does.

  85. ironchef says:


    And .mac services are beyond just doing ISP services.
    .Mac helps you run backups, sync your mac, and in Leopard OSX the .mac service helps you link to your home Mac.

  86. retroz says:

    I think the Apple care is a great thing especially with laptops. I have been thinking that renters insurance is a good thing. While I know they don’t work on commission, I have a friend that is an apple employee. He says there is no commission and they pay a little over mininium wage. That is horrible. The people I know serving coffee make $14 or more dollars an hour. She also said that a typical so called specialist that do know quite a bit, make apple millions a quarter and they can’t get full time for the life of them. She said they have like 12 full time and the rest are all part time around 50 or more.

    She once said they were short and instead of hiring some full time that they hired more part time to get out of paying benefits. How terrible. Makes me want to never buy from Apple again. EVER. She also said that while they have meetings all the time that they are very “high school” in that there are clicks and if you don’t fit in, even if you do a great job and are qualified you are at the mercy of the management and friends click as they take everything soaked in like from every one that works there.

    She is very unhappy and wishes it wasn’t this way.

    You would think apple would pay more especially since they work hard are knowledable and why the discourse for not making them full time.

    There is more dirt on apple retail then some can imagine. If you know someone that works for the retail stores, ask them. Someone should do a story like TIME or some high tech company so apple can be exposed on how they don’t pay them well.

    On the other hand if you work corprate, you get days off and I hear that is a very good gig.

    Whatever. Maybe windows will get it right someday and maybe we will all( family) go full time windows as there are some good applications sweets.

    .mac seems pretty cool from what ive seen but its not worth the 99 price tag, maybe 99 for 5 years.

  87. ars_workerbee2 says:


    When I learned DotMac was not an Apple company but a vendor under their name, I exited. It’s probably useful for those people for whom it is useful, as per the above comments, but I don’t like dealing with hide-and-seek corporate whack a moles when it comes time to face who’s on first.

    WTF are you talking about? .Mac is completely run in-house, by Apple employees, even on Apple hardware.

  88. ars_workerbee2 says:

    @lasciate: very wrong. completely utterly 100% wrong. it is good at *every* apple store, worldwide.

  89. retroz says:

    I posted a very long comment. Wonder what happened?

    My sisters girlfriend works at an apple store and she loves it but hates it. She said she has been there a little over one year and no raise. She is also number 3 in sales but not in those so called matrixes (.mac and stuff) and I was shocked when I found out they make less than a coffee person at a coffee gallery.

    First off all they are more knowledgable than your typical pc person at best buy so why do they get reamed when it comes to pay or full time?

    She said that a mac specialist or now a “specialist” that she has tried to go full time and last month or two they needed more people but says they hire new people all the time and never make anyone full time.

    Is this true? She says most of the employees are part time as apple is not only too cheap to pay better but they don’t want you full time (benefits, 401) and also said many of the stores have high school clicks meaning if your not in the in crowd forget it and has seen people who don’t know what they are doing getting the better genious manager creative jobs. I told her that sounds like a law suit especially if she has been there a year or more.

    I personally don’t think apple should be so stingy and that say what comes around goes around and told her to GET OUT. She joked and said since she’s not gay and doesn’t have a rainbow on her car that she is going to give it a little more time then maybe she can write a book about it.

    After I read this note as well as the confessions of a genious bar from a former employee it sounds like they really take advantage of their employees. C’mon now. Someone needs to do a story on this as whats the point of having apple discounts on cool stuff if you can never afford to get anything.

    I don’t know if I will by apple ever again. While I think .mac is cool and apple care a must for laptops I am really thinking of going PC again for my next editing rig and I haven’t touch on apples non existent low end.

    As eveyrone knows you never by memory from apple but why the ECC memory on the macpro? its so they can get you to by their really expensive ram.

    Then I remember I looked at benchmarks for a macbook when they first came out.

    They were 83% Macbook Tiger
    Then 117% new macbook Tiger
    Then up to 171% with Leopard. Wow what a jump.
    Then apple cripples it and releases X300 which makes it go all the way down to 71% for open GL.

    Why is this a matter to consider?

    First of all you could never play a game on a mini or macbook right? But apparently at barefeats.com you could run motion. So, apple, knowing that the pro’s might buy them (as gamers never would as they are useless)…apple took it away from the .01 % of the pro user base.

    The moral of the story is the pros don’t make up the user base. Its all cracked exported china bound iPhones and Dads, moms and puppys that have crashed as most are older and the hip still buy PC as the graphics are numero uno but apple crippled the small % of their pro base and said, no no no, sorry, no cheap way out, you must buy a macbook pro or macpro.

    So you might think okay well there is the iMac.

    Nope, wrong again, it turns out that many have problems with the firewire in imacs so the pros are SOL. Isn’t that amazing? I mean think about it!

    – Pros make apple famous (artists writers composers)
    – Pros make up the smallest percentage now
    – Pros are dumped on and the macbook is stripped from using Open gl
    – Pros can’t use firewire on imac
    -apple employee’s make apple millions some individual
    -apple employees find it hard to get into a full time job
    – apple charges $600 for ram $350 for $50 graphic card
    -apple has clicks that are high school
    -apple employees are paid less than a coffee shop – i think she said a little over minium wage?! SHOCKING

    Minium wage? Are you kidding me? Apple pays that bad and no commision while they bust their butts?

    I will talk to her and see if she wants to become part of that blog. she tells me all the stories and finding this confirmed what her and her friends told me as I thought it was just the one store, apparently I stand corrected. I am really starting to wonder about them.

    One last point, was reading a book on making your passion come true and there was a part called “is your boss phycho” with some questions.

    One was, “does your boss belittle other companies to make himself appear superior” and I thought about Steve Jobs. Funny thing is, I thought about apple for all 5 or so questions. I think apple really is insecure.

    Post exactly where the blog is as I have met some of her apple friends and while they are very cool, many of them think its a sham on how they are treated (pay fulltime no vacations no holiday paid). She even told me they had an instore contest once with a really cool prize and all employees took part of it but when it was over they were told the goal was xxxxxx and they were far from it. sorry no free gift.

    You would think with the amount of money these poor slobs try to make that some sort of commision, group, or better pay would be realistic. They made Silicon Valley. Maybe its time they made a movie about apple and their dealings with these people.

    In response to some here, where she works is a high end region and they only have like 20 full time and like 60 part time so its a scam that they do to get out of paying well and paying benifits. Besides, you could make more money calling people all day from a computer as I think the highest you can make outside of managers and that’s probably not much is 35K for a genius. I would hate to think what the sales people make. Terrible, simply terrible.

    I think I’ll start a petition for her on line. LOL

  90. technical writer says:

    Everything from Apple is a rip-off. Yes, it looks better, and the interface is better designed, but once they’ve got you hooked, you’re doomed to deal with Apple and their high prices, no-upgrade policy, and erratic support.

  91. retroz says:

    Well I don’t know how true this is but the g/f sister says apple care bascially is a warranty and that they can never solve anything over the phone and send them right to the store.

    It does extend warranty but I think its pretty useless for phone support so forget about that part. I use it as a warranty only but to be honest for me anyway I sell mymachine before a year is up and buy a new one.

    Not sure how much longer I will support them. I had my suspicions and thought she was a bit mad (as in crazy in a humerous way) but it is starting to look like most of this is true.

    Apple is becoming the NIKE of the computer world.

  92. retroz says:

    PS she does want to do the blog and wants to know where other mac employee’s post. Is it this bad everywhere? Have only read this and the confessions of a genius bar.

    plus her stories.

  93. oldwiz says:

    It is clique, not click.

  94. skilled1 says:

    LOL @ “Specialist” i am sorry, but when i went in to an apple store, helping one of my friends reguarding his iphone, why is it i knew more about the phone then the ‘sepcialist’, yet i do not own an iphone, and have only spent 20 minutes fiddeling around with them….

  95. khiltd says:

    If you’re a serious business user whose livelihood is wholly dependent upon one or more Macs then you should find an independent consultant in your area who actually knows what they’re doing and makes house calls. It will surely cost more than ProCare, but you won’t have to waste an entire day lugging your equipment down to the mall and sitting on a hard wooden bench while you wait to talk to some pimply faced kid who may or may not actually be able to do anything for you.

  96. weakdome says:

    Am I the only one that doesn’t know what a “naked trifecta” is?
    Where do I sign up? How much do they cost? Is it no-strings-attached?

  97. chromakeyerguy says:


    we don’t claim to be experts on every single thing in the store. I for one know a lot about the Final Cut Suite and the editing software but i wont even answer a single question about audio production. Perhaps you got stuck with a Logic Express expert in the iPhone zone. That is usually not the case, if a specialist doesn’t know something we are encouraged to ask other specialists for help. In fact, one of the first things taught at training is to not be afraid to say “I Don’t Know.”

    at my store, the naked trifecta (commonly known as the “idiot trifecta”) is the sale of ProCare, dotMac, 1 to 1 and a computer without AppleCare. AppleCare of course being the most important part of any sale.
    A rock is a computer that has no attachments. A stand alone is a sale of an attachment without the sale of a computer.

    When I talk to customers about Apple Care, i mention that they have a year to purchase APP, but it is in their benefit to buy it now for three reasons:
    1. we will register it for you when we ring the computer up. this saves them the time of having to do it themselves.
    2. people forget to buy it within the year, then their computer is one hour out of warranty and they spend $1000 on repair that could have been free.
    3. The 90 phone support that comes with the computer is only good for one free phone call. Any additional call is around $50. Buy the apple care for the iMac, you can call the hotline 4 times and have APP pay for itself.

    Thats how I try to approach selling APP, because everyone needs it.

  98. FavoritAccident says:

    I’ve been reading the comments from other users and I’m surprised at what some former employees (or girlfriend’s sister) are saying. At my store we are about making lives better, if that means the customer not getting attachments, then they don’t get the attachments, we’re fine with that, we just want the best solution for the customer.

    As for not growing in the company, I think thats an insane accusation. There are so many positions JUST in the retail side of the store, and if you’re a good employee who has the availability, you’ll get to full time. I’ve seen so many people grow to bigger and better things, and they’re the people who deserve it, not just because their management’s favorites. You have to earn it. I’ve been with the company for 2 1/2 years now and I don’t want to work anywhere else. I used to think its just a great college job, but I’ve grown to see that its more than that, its a great career. And I know when I do graduate I want to make Apple my career.

    The person who wrote the article is right about certain things, but he seems bitter, same with some former employees. Maybe the vision wasn’t clear in your store, I’m sad you haven’t worked in an Apple store where the vision was clearer.

  99. _Truth_ says:

    Funny that Apple is hard to get full time employment at – when they paint themselves to the general public as a progressive, socially responsible company….

  100. newfenoix says:

    Don’t know much about .mac and the rest of the stuff here except that I hate Macs

  101. timesquare says:

    So much for a Apple Macintosh Specialist then lol… No but really, I have a few friends that work at the apple store and it is indeed true that the employees are sometimes not aware of future releasing product. They are left clueless. Also, I heard that there is a huge turnover rate the these stores because of no promotions or raises.
    Air Force Ones, Jordans / Jordan Shoes, Jordan Release Dates and Nike SB Shoes.

  102. aesthetaljunk says:

    First off, for those of you that think the AppleCare is junk, prepare to be schooled. The AppleCare Plan does not cover accidental damage, but if your hard drive goes out, you don’t have to pay $300 to replace it. Say your logicboard goes bad; if you have APP, its replaced for free! Don’t have APP? You’ll be looking at $600 plus to fix it. You may be thinking, “Well, for that cost, I may as well go buy a Dell.” Thats all fine and dandy, but you may want to consider the fact that ALL Dell phone support is India-based, their agents use scripts to speak with you, and the only way you’ll get a native english speaker is if you have a fat business contract with Dell. APP is worth the expense, considering if you don’t have it you’ll have to pay $49 to troubleshoot your issues over the phone (per issue).
    I mean, getting down to APP, if you have it, you can call Tech Support with any issue (whether it be hard drive failure or so simple as you can’t understand how to click your mouse) and they will be delighted to help you. Apple Technical Support is #1 in the world right now because they go out of their way to help their customers (I can’t say as much about Genius Bar because I have never worked there).
    On a shorter note, why buy an iPod? Creative offers fine products as well. You’re paying extra to own the “Apple” name. Why not be Creative (pun intended) and purchase something else?