What it’s really like to work in an Apple Store

Regarding 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.

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.

Being part of a cult? Sure.

Sometimes the company can feel like a cult. Like, they give us all this little paper pamphlet, and it says things like—and I’m paraphrasing here—”Apple is our soul, our people are our soul.” Or “We aim to provide technological greatness.” And there was this one training session in which they started telling us how to work on our personality, and separating people into those with an external focus and an internal focus. It was just weird.

Getting fired? Easy:

They have a really lenient attendance policy. You have to be late like 15 times before they’ll fire you. But if you talk to the press or speculate to a customer about the next iPad? That’s the end of you.

Dealing with unlocked phones:

We get tons of people asking us for unlocked iPhones, which, of course, we don’t sell. We usually have to tell them that if they unlock their iPhone, it won’t work. That it’s going to be like a $700 paperweight, and that the antenna will fry itself on T-Mobile. Of course, that’s not true, but that’s what we tell them. And if they have an unlocked iPhone, we won’t touch it at the Genius Bar.

Genius Bar or quits:

When I’m there, I get sucked into the competitive culture. Normally I’m pretty low-key, but when I’m at the store, it’s all sell, sell, sell! I wanna work my way up, get promoted and eventually get to the Genius Bar—which is where you want to be. Who doesn’t want to be a genius?