Apple's Color Coded Employees Confuse Shopper

An Apple store in Ohio doesn’t want to clutter up its elegant store layout with signage, so you have to rely on a color coded system to find the appropriate employee to ring up your purchase. It’s like the Homeland Security Advisory System, retooled to measure how inconvenienced you’ll be.

Robert went to buy some headphones at his local Apple store. Once he arrived, he realized that the cash registers were missing and there was a notice up about renovations. That was apparently the last sign he saw during his time in the store.

Once I located my headphones, and swore under my breath at the price, I proceeded to head to the Genus Bar to get some help. After waiting in line, for 15 minutes, I was told by the Genus – wearing a navy blue – that I needed to find a sales person. He redirected me to a lady who could help me. The assisting lady – wearing an orange – then told me what each of the colored shirts meant.


Okay, so now I need to find a light blue person to help me out. I spotted one, lassoed him, and promptly asked him to ring me up. Little did I know, he was one of the Light Blue people who just sell things, he couldn’t help me out. Oh, and he didn’t know which Light Blue could ring me up – another 5 minutes wasted.

In all, he says he spent 30 minutes waiting in lines to talk to the wrong people, which could have been averted with some signs to explain where to go.

The Apple stores we’ve been in here in NYC seem to still use clearly marked checkout areas. In case your Apple store decides to hide the registers, however, here’s the color system that the lady in orange explained to Robert:

  • Orange is here to help you find who you need to find
  • Royal Blue are the managers
  • Navy Blue are the Geniuses
  • Light Blue are the sales people
  • Light Blue are also (if you are lucky) the ones who ring you up

“Color Coded Employees – Why The Apple Store Lost A Customer” [Whalertly]
(Photo: Omar Omar and Steve Parker)

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.