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Businesses The Almighty Buck Apple

Apple Store Employees Soak Up the Atmosphere, But Not Much Cash 654

Posted by timothy
from the paid-entirely-in-itunes-scrip dept.
raque writes "The NYTimes is reporting on just how badly Apple Retail employees are being paid. Apple is exploiting its fan base for cheap labor. This is one reason I don't go to Apple Stores if I can avoid it. Stores like NY's Tekserve offer a great shopping experience without so exploiting their workers." Would you rather start at an Apple store for $11.91 an hour (average starting base pay, according to the linked article) and an employee discount, or at Tiffany for $15.60?
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Apple Store Employees Soak Up the Atmosphere, But Not Much Cash

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 23, 2012 @07:16PM (#40424215)

    My wife works at an Apple store and pulls in $29.15 an hour working the genius bar. Which means that she would have been able to qualify for the mortgage we took out three months ago just on her salary. The 25% employee discount is nice also.

    Methinks the poster has an axe to grind with his inflamatory language.

    • by ThatsMyNick (2004126) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @07:42PM (#40424441)

      So how many employees usually last beyond the first few months? Or in other words, what the ratio of new employees to well established employees be, at any point of time, in the store?

    • by D'Sphitz (699604) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @07:53PM (#40424497) Journal
      Even for the non-genius bar employees, is $11.91/hour starting pay for retail supposed to be shocking or what? I worked many jobs just out of high school in the 90's for $5/hour, it's been a long time since I was paid hourly but am I really that disconnected that I think 12 bucks an hour seems fair?
      • by Yosho-sama (800703) <Yosho.NIN@gmai l . com> on Saturday June 23, 2012 @07:57PM (#40424517)
        Your comment is based on your lack of understanding about how badly the dollar has devalued. $12/hour isn't a living wage in a lot of places.
        • Your comment is based on your lack of understanding about how badly the dollar has devalued. $12/hour isn't a living wage in a lot of places.

          It may not be a living wage, but it's almost twice what my wife makes at Target doing a fairly similar job. Everyone else's wages have been stagnant despite increasing cost of living (I make only about 15% more now than I did right out of college 7 years ago), so I don't see why retail would be an exception. Of course, if we didn't legitimize bribery in our government, maybe we'd have a minimum wage that you could actually live on, but that's a completely different topic.

        • by jbplou (732414) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @10:47PM (#40425723)

          Very few entry level salaries at retail stores pay "living" wages. I don't think you understand that low skilled jobs don't pay high wages.

        • by SuperKendall (25149) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @11:31PM (#40425955)

          12/hour isn't a living wage in a lot of places.

          And why should it be?

          If you pay everyone at ANY job a living wage, how are teenagers supposed to find work? They do not NEED a living wage. They would rather you hire two of them instead of one on a living wage, so they both can work.

          It's no surprise teenage unemployment is skyrocketing, with a whole generation of kids unable to gain the valuable experience of working - and it's all thanks to people like you who REALLY do not understand the full job market and all the roles it plays throughout someones lifetime.

        • Where exactly is this "most places" you speak of? I live in Phoenix, which is within a few percent of the national average cost of living index, and $10 an hour (while not exactly providing for a luxurious lifestyle) was plenty to live off of only a year ago (I've increased my income substantially since then, in case you're wondering.)

          Source: http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=cost+of+living+in+phoenix [wolframalpha.com]

          Keep in mind, cities like New York with their large populations and massive cost of living over the natio

        • by kenh (9056) on Sunday June 24, 2012 @02:13AM (#40426783) Homepage Journal

          Who said $12/hour was a "living wage"?

          And why should Apple pay retail clerks walking the floor a wage designed to support a family of four? Do the clerks add THAT MUCH value to the proposition that they deserve $20-25/hr + benefits?

          Should Apple ignore the near inexhaustible supply of willing and able workers that will take the job for $12/hour?

          If Apple were to double retail clerk pay ($12 -> $25/hr) do you think Apple would keep the same number of clerks, halve the number of clerks or create more clerk positions? My money is on halving the number of clerks in the store.

      • by D'Sphitz (699604) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @07:57PM (#40424521) Journal
        A quick google shows fast food starting pay is right around $8/hour, retail at $9/hour, so I'm having trouble generating any outrage over Apple paying $12/hour.
        • by MacTO (1161105) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @08:10PM (#40424629)

          In a lot of respects, I agree with that assessment. Yet I'd add a caveat: the value of an employee depends upon how much they contribute to the company's bottom line. This favours Apple employees: fast food involves a lot of labour for a low cost product.

          • by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @11:00PM (#40425805)

            I see two sides to this.

            1) People walk into Apple stores to buy Apple products. iPhones literally sell themselves. It's not the guy with the credit card scanner.

            So in this regard, the sales staff, while important--aren't terribly unique or important to the transaction except not being bad. And there are plenty of not-bad employees to choose from. So I see no reason to have high wages.

            2) The flip side is that as they say an Apple sales person can easily sell $350,000 worth of *PROFIT* per year. Probably gross sales for an Apple retail employee are a fraction of say a Target checker but that's incredibly efficient--so it seems from a one-off perspective a company which makes $350k from someone's labor every year should give him a good cut of that. Instead they just put the profit into the bank.

            As to the article in specific. Comparing an Apple Employee to a Tiffany's employee is a bad comparison. Like I said, an iPhone sells itself. A tiffany's employee needs to present a high-end image to the client. A Tiffany sales person needs to compose themselves like as if they too could afford their goods. That means their expenses for wardrobe are higher, they will have a higher demand on their physical appearance and they need to present an image.

            A 20 something sales person at Apple though just needs to be a 20 something person who uses a smart phone... which is pretty much every 20 something in existence.

            • by AmiMoJo (196126)

              An iPhone may sell itself but Apple profits heavily from upgrades and accessories. Any salesperson who can up-sell from the base model and get the customer to sign up to Apple Care is generating extra revenue.

              Unfortunately for employees the only reward for this behaviour is keeping their job.

        • Which is not to say workers are not underpaid in the US as a whole.

          e.g. the national minimum wage in Australia is $AU15.51

        • by jbplou (732414)

          I don't think you would do any better at Best Buy and that is about the closest thing I can think of.

        • by X0563511 (793323)

          Me either. However, I do find myself generating some outrage at the overall picture.

          If you're working full time, you should be paid enough to live. I don't care if you're job is cleaning up dog shit in the park. If you can't afford to live off a full-time job, then you are not employed, you are enslaved.

      • by beelsebob (529313) on Sunday June 24, 2012 @06:14AM (#40427713)

        Seems fair enough to me... Did some googling for other retail jobs you might be unlucky enough to do...
        McDonalds Cashier: $7.63
        McDonalds Manager: $9.69
        Burger King Cashier: $7.92
        Burger King Manager: $10.55
        Macy's Sales Associate: $8.51
        WalMart Sales Associate: $8.82
        WalMart Manager: $11.15
        Sony Sales Associate: $9.81

        Apple Shop Flunky: $11.72
        Apple Genius Bar Employee: $18.06

        Basically, it seems that yes, Apple pays its retail employees pretty well... In fact, it seems to pay it's retail flunkies more than most shops pay their managers.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 23, 2012 @08:24PM (#40424727)

      I admit, I'm a bit of an Apple hater sometimes. It's their attitude, towards thinking they own basic concepts, but I digress. I did a quick check to see what competing retailers are paying.

      Best Buy sales associate $9.70: http://www.glassdoor.com/Hourly-Pay/Best-Buy-Hourly-Pay-E97.htm
      Fry's Electronics sales associate $9.19: http://www.glassdoor.com/Hourly-Pay/Fry-s-Electronics-Hourly-Pay-E3186.htm

      They are paying more than the going rate it seems. Though I'm sure it's worth it if your are trying to fill your store with hipsters that the apple fans can look up to as the apostles of apple...

      Anyway, for me this story is doesn't seem to have any basis that I can clearly see.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by geoskd (321194)

        I admit, I'm a bit of an Apple hater sometimes. It's their attitude, towards thinking they own basic concepts, but I digress. I did a quick check to see what competing retailers are paying.

        Best Buy sales associate $9.70: http://www.glassdoor.com/Hourly-Pay/Best-Buy-Hourly-Pay-E97.htm [glassdoor.com] Fry's Electronics sales associate $9.19: http://www.glassdoor.com/Hourly-Pay/Fry-s-Electronics-Hourly-Pay-E3186.htm [glassdoor.com]

        Not in New York City they're not, and that is what the New York Times is talking about. Yes, Much of the country starts people at ~$9 / hr, but in NYC, $9 / hr is starvation wage. $12 / hr will pay for food and possibly rent, but thats about it. Glassdoor uses the nationwide numbers, and the number of retails sales people in rural areas far outweighs the numbers in the major metropolitan areas. That is why the major met areas pay more, because each individual sales person does more volume by virtue of being

        • by superdave80 (1226592) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @11:03PM (#40425819)

          Not in New York City they're not, and that is what the New York Times is talking about.

          Are you sure about that?

          ...Jordan Golson sold about $750,000 worth of computers and gadgets at the Apple Store in Salem, N.H.

          Well, I guess I can't blame you, since they hid this way down the article in the first sentence...

    • by milkmage (795746)

      is that after the recently announced bump or didn't she tell you ;)

      up to 25% wages
      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-21/apple-retail-store-workers-said-to-receive-wage-increases.html [bloomberg.com]

      and $500 off a mac, $250 off an ipad (every three years) - ON TOP of the 25% discount.
      http://www.electronista.com/articles/12/06/21/retina.display.macbook.pros.excluded.from.program/ [electronista.com]

  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Saturday June 23, 2012 @07:16PM (#40424217)

    "Would you rather start at an Apple store for $11.91 an hour (average starting base pay, according to the linked article) and an employee discount, or at Tiffany for $15.60?"

    I think the people who work at Apple Stores -- and others waiting for callbacks -- have already answered that.

    What, supply and demand suddenly can't drive wages now?

    But I imagine this, like any article on Foxconn (aka "Apple factory"; forget all other customers), will be another anti-Apple free-for-all, so have fun!

  • by brunes69 (86786) <`slashdot' `at' `keirstead.org'> on Saturday June 23, 2012 @07:23PM (#40424283) Homepage

    With US unemployment at a six month high and the global economy in the tank, a story comes out that people making > $11 / hour at the local Apple store have it hard off?

    Pretty sure that there are 10 people waiting in the queue for every 1 job that opens up at one of these stores.

    • by Volante3192 (953645) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @07:48PM (#40424467)

      Yes, making $11/hr means you've got it hard.

      Contemplate the meaning of that for a moment. It's not just that we have high unemployment, it's that those WITH employment aren't getting anything close to a living wage. And you know what happens when you don't get a living wage? You have to go on welfare programs.

      Funny how that works out, isn't it?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by khallow (566160)
        So what makes you think that $11/hr is not a "living wage". I'm a bit curious because I currently make slightly more than that and have no trouble putting most of that money away.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 23, 2012 @08:01PM (#40424551)

        Are you telling me that people cannot live on 22K/year?

        Here is a man that raises his family of four on 27K/year: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/06/01/raising-a-family-on-under-2000-per-year/.

        I live on 28K/year (making 90K/year, mind you!).

        My two roommates live on the 12K/year stipend for their research.

        My girlfriend lives on 15K/year.

        None of us are on welfare. All of us have savings cushions. All of use drive our own (paid for) cars (between 15 and 4 years old, mine is the oldest). All of us can afford to do reasonable things: going to swim with dolphins this weekend, all of us have spent at least 1 week in a foreign country this past year, several of us have had theme-park weekends, and we each eat out of the house about once per week. We are not about to claim welfare.

        Fuck you.

        • by cptdondo (59460) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @08:45PM (#40424887) Journal

          Budgets please. Unless you live in some total backwater, you can't live on $12K/yr, or $15K/yr without some form of assistance. Where I live a cheap apartment can cost $6K/yr. Groceries are easily $400/mo, so that doesn't leave enough to buy gas for one of your paid-for cars.

          • by khallow (566160) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @09:13PM (#40425117)

            Groceries are easily $400/mo

            Don't eat out much. Buy and cook in bulk. Save leftovers. Buy generic over brand name, etc. You can get that number down. I'd say $200 a month per person (and I bet there are slashdotters who could get that down to $100 a month per person!) is a good target for most of the developed world, unless you're in an unusually expensive location.

            Such attempts at cost savings don't make much sense, if you earn a lot of income since they often take time to do and your time is more valuable doing other things.

          • by Sir_Sri (199544)

            Two roomates pretty much sums it up.

            That and actually spending 28k a year is a lot. That's equivalent to about 40k/year in before tax income (which is 20 bucks an hour).

            The two on research grants only get 12k but they don't and aren't expected to be building a pension or unemployment for example. Nor would they be able to build equity in a property at that rate. On and if they're on research grants they probably have health care through their institutions, and they're living that badly (with no meaningfu

        • by timeOday (582209)
          Sure, you can live on $15K/year as a kid, supporting just yourself, if you're lucky enough to be in good health. But for a family of 4, health care premiums alone average over $15K / year [cnn.com]. $15k minus $15k doesn't leave a lot for other essentials. ("Family of 4" is the most reasonable unit of sustainability, since two people with two kids on average equals a steady population.)

          Like many people, I have "employer-provided" health care that pays a good chunk of the $15k, but that no longer means as much as

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 23, 2012 @07:23PM (#40424285)

    Are you kidding me? They have no specialized skill. It's a basic retail job. Some people in the US would kill for $12 an hour. And you even get to hang out in the air-conditioning. Give me a break.

  • by MrCrassic (994046) <deprecated@emaELIOT.il minus poet> on Saturday June 23, 2012 @07:25PM (#40424305) Journal
    You don't work at the Apple Store to make any sort of serious cash. There are many better conduits for people to travel down in both IT and sales if money is a concern. People work there for the *coolness* factor. It's about as hot as working for Google or Facebook, and employee discounts are never a bad thing. Its also an easy experience builder for people, especially given the floor traffic.

    And not to nitpick, but $10/hr ain't bad. Especially if you're earning tips.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Shavano (2541114)
      Yeah with the employee discount you can buy Apple gear for only 75% more than competitive hardware.
  • by maccodemonkey (1438585) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @07:28PM (#40424341)

    Funny how the summary didn't note why the article was just published, Apple just gave everyone raises. Reports are that geniuses are being paid in the ballpark of $30 an hour now, which is reasonable for an IT focused job.

    From TFA:

    "Even Apple, it seems, has recently decided it needs to pay its workers more. Last week, four months after The New York Times first began inquiring about the wages of its store employees, the company started to inform some staff members that they would receive substantial raises. An Apple spokesman confirmed the raises but would not discuss their size, timing or impetus, nor who would earn them.

    But Cory Moll, a salesman in the San Francisco flagship store and a vocal labor activist, said that on Tuesday he was given a raise of $2.82 an hour, to $17.31, an increase of 19.5 percent and a big jump compared with the 49-cent raise he was given last year."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 23, 2012 @07:32PM (#40424371)

    Would you rather start at an Apple store for $11.91 an hour (average starting base pay, according to the linked article) and an employee discount, or at Tiffany for $15.60?

    Hard to say. I'd have to run the math, factoring in such variables as value of store stock, ease of concealment, average return for Apple/Tiffany product on the black market, sophistication of store security and employee monitoring, etc.

  • by tkrotchko (124118) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @07:50PM (#40424477) Homepage

    At the risk of being redundant, these are retail clerk jobs, and don't require a whole lot of skill.

    People walk into the store ready to buy a computer. I've never seen a clerk in an Apple store actually sell someone a computer who didn't already want one.

  • In many cases, Tiffany wouldn't hire them. I've never seen anyone with two-inch gauges and tattoos from wrist to shoulder working at Tiffany.

    I'm somewhat surprised that Apple hires them -- not that they don't do a good job, but few companies would hire such for public-facing positions. I think Apple has tapped a good employee resource there; bright, competent young people who've made personal appearance choices that generally disqualify them for customer-facing jobs better-paid than 7-11. And it probably does allow them to pay a little less.

    • by Mabhatter (126906)

      How true. When I was hired at McDonald's 20 years ago, you could not have visible tattoos on anybody, any jewelry for men, and women could only have stud earrings (one per ear, no necklaces, etc). The majority of the time hey wouldnt bother to HIRE people that interviewed outside that norm. That was BRAND policy.

      Any office job was the same thing. If you got tattoos, they had to cover under tees or you would be wearing long sleeves forever.

  • by NicBenjamin (2124018) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @08:18PM (#40424681)

    Minimum wage is the norm. I work for a pretty good employer (Home Depot), and I get a raise whenever minimum wage goes up. I do not get the opportunity to work inside in air conditioning. I am expected to help people load their cars with their purchases, which more then once have literally weighed a ton (50 40 lb bags). My option for advancement exist, but none would get me to $11.91/hr. I do not get an employee discount of any kind, on anything. I could have benefits, but they require premiums and on $8/hr premiums are impossible.

    • I posted this above, also, but I worked for Lowe's about five years ago, and at that time, Depot paid more than Lowe's did. I know both have been hurting lately, but I was making $11.55 [akamaihd.net] as a CSR in Flooring ($12.05 when I left at the end of 2007) in 2005. At the time, they gave a 10% raise if you moved up to Team Leader, and again to Sales Specialist or Department Manager (I started in 2003 at $9.50). Start looking for opportunities for advancement, work hard, and kiss ass, the lack of the last being the

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