Apple Store Worker Says Staff Routinely Get Death Threats From Customers

Business Insider UK this morning published a detailed interview with someone claiming to be a UK Apple retail employee, which provides an intriguing insight into what it's like to work in an Apple Store.

The interview is unusual because every Apple staffer signs a confidentiality agreement on their first day in the job, which apparently prevents them from speaking publicly or announcing their new employment on social media, and even bans them from taking a selfie wearing their Apple T-shirt.

According to the veteran staffer – who remained anonymous in fear that Apple would pursue a legal action against them – Apple pays about £8 per hour in the UK (around $11.70) and staff receive no bonus incentives for sales, leaving many unable to afford the products they sell.

The worker claims that although positions in the company's stores are highly prized, Apple doesn't promote internally in the UK either, and that staff are prevented from transferring from part-time to full-time employment as a matter of policy.

"We had between five and eight store managers during my time at the store, of varying kinds," says the staffer. "Only one of them had started at Apple, the rest had been recruited from elsewhere – from, say, Dixons or HMV."
They did try to fix that with a 'Lead and Learn' program, where you train on the shop floor by acting as a manager without being a manager. We had some great people on the shop floor, people who had been there for five years, who were selling more than anyone else. But they were still just specialists or experts [two of the lowest ranked positions at Apple].

As far as I’m aware — and I’m still in contact with these people — no-one on this programme has been promoted to manager. There are other jobs in-store that can earn you more money, but they’re technical jobs, like working at the Genius Bar, which a lot of people absolutely hated because you’re dealing with really angry customers.
According to the worker, Apple Store staff routinely face death threats from unhappy customers, and receive no benefit if they manage to sell an enterprise contract to a business customer worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

There are some advantages to working at an Apple Store though, says the employee. Staff get a generous discount on Apple products, a 15% discount on AAPL shares, and occasional direct access to CEO Tim Cook.

Apple declined to comment when contacted by Business Insider. The in-depth interview can be read in full here.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

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48 months ago
Apple could never make so much money if it had to start paying their retail workers more silly! These stores print money, so you would think bonuses would be standard here. And since Apple (Tim) is very vocal about social issues, income inequality you would think would be one of the things he could directly affect at his stores by paying 2x minimum wage. People say a lot of things, but at the end of the day, it's how they run their ship that counts.
Rating: 59 Votes
48 months ago
One thing to remember is that Apple's entire philosophy around the Store is to not pressure customers into buying an Apple product every time they walk into the store, so it makes sense why they aren't incentivizing employees to sell to customers.

That would turn it into a Best Buy: every time I walk into the store, I'd have 3 people offering to show me a lot of products i'm not interested in that are all out of my price range, which would cause me to not go back to the store in a while.

The promotion issues are rather annoying.
Rating: 59 Votes
48 months ago
They need to call them something else, calling them a genius gets them a lot of hate from the get go.
Rating: 54 Votes
48 months ago

Apple Store staff routinely face death threats from unhappy customers

Judging by how angry people get on these forums are meer rumours, that doesn't surprise me!
Rating: 43 Votes
48 months ago
What the hell is this about. Find a good job.
Rating: 38 Votes
48 months ago

staff receive no bonus incentives for sales, leaving many unable to afford the products they sell.

receive no benefit if they manage to sell an enterprise contract to a business customer worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

I don't get why anyone would desire sales incentives.

It sucks for employees and customers, because it promotes pushy sale tactics and punishes those that actually help the customer make the best choice. (And it only offers a short-term benefit to the company compared to employees who can focus on promoting the product without pushing for a sale.)

Sure, ask for better pay. You help the company make money. But don't ask to be exploited.
Rating: 32 Votes
48 months ago
No matter all the environmental PR Apple spews out, Apple is still a profit driven company at the end of the day, and having worked in retail whilst being a Uni student, it's often those at the lowest end of the food chain that get Apple it's sales, but are often overlooked for everything else.
Rating: 30 Votes
48 months ago
As someone who works for a major shipping company, we get threats all the time. Even when the passenger is obviously in the wrong (like the wrong port).
I had a death threat once and that passenger left the port in the back of a British Transport Police van...

Customer Service should be rename putting up with awful customers
Rating: 27 Votes
48 months ago
From the linked article--"Workers feel the company's mandatory internal criticism policy makes Apple "like a cult.""
This statement rings true on the forums here sometimes. Criticisms do not go down well with some forum members. Some forum members here will only accept positive endorsement of Apple. Constructive criticisms are fair and useful.
Rating: 27 Votes
48 months ago
With all Apple's billions of savings, Apple should be treating its staff much better-- better pay, better conditions. Steve Jobs had been noted to have spoken highly of the way Hewlett Packard used to treat its staff when working for them as a teenager. A bit more of this old fashioned genuine appreciation for employees is required. When I think of Apple, I often think of McDonald's and the poor way they conduct their business and treat their staff.
Saying this, death threats is not a tolerable situation and Apple should be reporting these customers to authorities.
Rating: 20 Votes

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