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The Worst Apple Store In America — An Employee Confession 310

Posted by Soulskill
from the what's-the-world-coming-to-when-you-can't-trust-cheap-labor-anymore dept.
Cutting_Crew writes "Gizmodo has a piece that describes one of the worst and most corrupt Apple stores. Two employees recount management exchanging brand new computers for face-lifts (and other things), not just from customers, but also from businesses. Other common activities ranged from destroying devices repeatedly and ringing up new ones (for themselves and friends as fake customers) to outright stealing merchandise and cash. Customers may have also lost their data if they weren't polite when coming in for a repair, or the 'Genius' help may have been intoxicated."
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The Worst Apple Store In America — An Employee Confession

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  • by aristotle-dude (626586) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @02:19AM (#41078071)

    Consider the source always. This is not the first hack piece written by them. They were caught knowingly purchasing stolen goods but got off on the technicality of being part of the "press". It is not supposed to be a license to get out of jail.

    • by kthreadd (1558445) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @02:22AM (#41078083)

      Exactly, how credible is this source and the source that they are quoting?

      • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

        by Taco Cowboy (5327)

        Even if the source is not credible does not mean that types of crime as outlined in TFA does not take place in Apple shop (or any other store)

        • by yurtinus (1590157) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @01:24PM (#41083305)
          Does Taco Cowboy punch babies? Sources say maybe!

          Really, my response here has nothing to do with the credibility of Gizmodo in this article (they may or may not be, I honestly don't know). I just want to say that any time we defend an incredulous source of information because there might be a tiny nugget of truth buried in their lies, we only serve to give more credibility to those lies. Sort of like the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jcr (53032)

      In addition to purchasing stolen goods, they also attempted extortion. All that aside, those assholes have been on my shit list for a lot longer than that, ever since the stunt that got them banned from the Consumer Electronics Show.

      -jcr

      • by jbolden (176878) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @08:40AM (#41079689) Homepage

        They did not attempt extortion. Apple made a request and Gizmodo said yes provided it was a formal request, in writing not a phone call. Steve Jobs considered that extortion, because he believed rightly, the purpose of the formal request was to generate a story which would generate page views. That's not remotely extortion.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          The way you describe it. Gizmodo was trying to sell an item, that they knew was stolen, back to its rightful owner with conditions designed to generate additional financial gain by generating their own "news" story at the expense of the owner. Sounds like extortion to me.
          • by jbolden (176878)

            Extortion requires coercion. Asking for an official on the record request doesn't come remotely close to extortion. Apple may not like the idea that Gizmodo is going to make money from the return but that isn't extortion.

            • Extortion requires coercion.

              I have something that belongs to you, but I won't give it back unless you do what I say. How is that not coercion?

      • Let's not limit it to just the sub site of Gizmodo. The whole of Gawker media reeks of this type of "bloggerism" (they are not journalists). The only saving grace that Gawker has seems to be LifeHacker or possibly iO9.
    • by MrHanky (141717) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @02:25AM (#41078107) Homepage Journal

      But were any of their previous hack pieces about Apple? Last I read Gizmodo, they were still massive Apple fanboys, to the point of unreadability.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TubeSteak (669689)

      They were caught knowingly purchasing stolen goods but got off on the technicality of being part of the "press". It is not supposed to be a license to get out of jail.

      Actually, being a member of the press is supposed to help you stay out of jail.
      Even judges think so, otherwise we'd be locking up every journalist that published classified documents.

      I think your understanding of the First Amendment needs refreshing.

      • by shaitand (626655) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @03:09AM (#41078287) Journal

        We try to... see wikileaks.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by jbolden (176878)

          No one involved in wikileaks as a journalist has been jailed for wikileaks. Both the NYTimes and the Guardian have offices in the USA.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @03:11AM (#41078289)

        The first amendment was never intended to be license for just any misbehavior or licentiousness or criminal misdeeds. It's protection specifically, with regard to the press, protects them from prosecution for things they say or print. It doesn't permit them to lie, cheat, and steal... by which I mean they cannot perjure themselves, commit fraud, or commit larceny with impunity. Freedom of the press is not a blanket permit to do whatever they feel like.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @04:02AM (#41078523)

          It doesn't permit them to lie, cheat, and steal... by which I mean they cannot perjure themselves, commit fraud, or commit larceny with impunity. Freedom of the press is not a blanket permit to do whatever they feel like.

          As far as I know it is not illegal to lie. Making lies illegal would cause a problem as soon as two stories differ from each other, for example when the government says one thing and the press another. Since the government controls the law they can pretty much conclude that the official story is the truth and say that anyone who claims that the official story is false is a liar.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        So if a member of the press commits murder, you'll let them walk?

        Ever since Judy Miller went to jail for that noblest of causes the Bush Administration, the US media has loved this idea that being part of the press exempts you from criminal prosecution. I am not a lawyer, but as far as I know it does not, has not, and should not.

        I believe strongly in a free press and I disagree with many excuses made for keeping information hidden ("national security", "intellectual property", etc.), but I among other thin

      • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999&gmail,com> on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @04:42AM (#41078715)

        How does the First Amendment protect you from purchasing known-stolen goods?

        As far as my "limited understanding" that may need refreshing, the first Amendment protects your right to free speech in the face of the government.

        Buying stolen goods that you know are stolen is not free speech.

        • by jbolden (176878)

          Generally the possession requires the goods were part of commerce to qualify for the crime. Using the goods for purposes of notifying the public may not be considered commerce. Otherwise lots of journalists who get information could be charged under the stolen goods clauses.

          Cigarette companies used to make a similar argument about executives who violated their contracts and spoke about chemical additives to cigarettes to journalists. Since they were under an NDA the journalists was engaging in tortious i

      • Being a member of press doesn't give you free reign to commit crimes. The first amendment isn't some shield that lets you do whatever you want.

        It means you can write about whatever you want, and you can protect your sources, but blanket immunity? Nope.

      • by rolfwind (528248)

        Actually, being a member of the press is supposed to help you stay out of jail.
        Even judges think so, otherwise we'd be locking up every journalist that published classified documents.

        I think your understanding of the First Amendment needs refreshing.

        I believe freedom of the press applies to all Americans, and not just journalists - unless you can point me to any such similiar wording in the Constitution.

      • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @07:17AM (#41079327)
        Perhaps you should do a little studying. "Freedom of the press" does not mean freedom of those in the business of selling news. It means freedom of the people to use printing presses to publish what they would like. The First Amendment does not give special protection to the news media. From the perspective of the Framers of the Constitution calling someone a "member of the press" would be like us calling someone a "member of the Internet".
      • Being a member of the press does not shield you from all laws. Shield laws protect journalists from disclosing sources only; however, Gizmodo bought property they knew to be stolen. Now if they had quickly returned it to Apple, that would have been another story. Instead they dismantled it, reported on the component, and held it ransom until Apple acknowledged that they had a prototype. So you can add extortion, violation of trade secrets, etc.

    • by epyT-R (613989) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @04:27AM (#41078637)

      Doesn't mean what they're reporting isn't true.

    • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @06:14AM (#41079067) Homepage

      Oh I don't know about that... there are lots of licenses to get out of jail.

      I won't just consider the source. I'll consider my experience. It surprises me not at all that Apple is nothing more than a really shiny Best Buy. There may be a good number of tech savvy Apple users, but the majority are not. And those people are begging to be exploited. Corruption isn't a crime of character as much as it is a crime of opportunity and it's a human condition. That this happens within Apple's doors only speaks of a variety of side-effects of their image, customer base, and of course, their cool and relaxed manner.

      The story also smacks of "Waiting" (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0348333/). It's not a crowd I feel comfortable with. I do, however, understand the risks of doing business in organizations with images like these. So yeah, for some things and in limited amounts, I will risk my dollars and time in limited amounts at Best Buy. Apple stores? Not so much... the prices are too high for the risk.

      It makes me wonder... it has always made me wonder why Apple gear is increasingly a completely sealed box with no removable anything. That is the main reason I will not buy any more Apple stuff unless it is user servicable. Is Apple's reason for doing so their employees? Or customers? Both? My initial thought was to prevent creating 3rd party markets for batteries and other compatible parts... and I still think so. But this practice also puts customers at further risk of exploitation... and as has been acknowledged since time immemorial... ...corruption is a crime of opportunity.

      It's not only a matter of "if" it will happen, it's a matter of when and how often and it should be a given that it WILL happen. So I'd like to say this happens "everywhere, not just at Apple" which is kind of true. But I'd like to add that Apple make is more possible for a wide variety of reasons.

    • by jbolden (176878)

      How exactly is a willingness to purchase stolen goods to get information not consistent with a source being a good source of information? As a consumer of journalism I want journalists that go the extra mile.

  • what?!? (Score:5, Funny)

    by LodCrappo (705968) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @02:21AM (#41078077) Homepage

    OK, I can believe the management is a bit corrupt, but are you seriously trying to tell me a bunch of hipsters barely making minimum wage goofed off and stole from their employer??

    this is an outrage!

    • by MightyYar (622222)

      And can "corruption" even occur in private industry? I mean, I know that technically the usage is correct (you can even "corrupt" a person's soul) - but generally private corruption isn't newsworthy: the only people who suffer when Apple has corrupt employees are people financially tied to Apple. Generally we are much harder on government officials... hell, one of our vendors just dropped off a big pile of doughnuts for us.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @02:24AM (#41078099)

    That's not the worst of it. One of them tried to sell me a computer with two year old specs at twice the price of a new one anywhere else.

  • by rabtech (223758) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @02:43AM (#41078179) Homepage

    A bad store manager can leave a lasting trail of damage. Sounds like this store had a bad one and it rubbed off on the employees.

    I don't see how this is a noteworthy story though... In any large retail operation you will have some bad "apples". It also sounds like Apple found out and fired most of them.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I love Apple

      Lol. I'm sure Apple loves you too...

    • by Xest (935314) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @04:27AM (#41078641)

      To be fair, it does raise questions as to what the fuck the point is in Apple's extremely rigorous and invasive recruitment process such as multiple credit checks etc. though.

      If they go to such extremes when hiring but can still get away with the excuse that "Well, this happens in any store", then maybe they could at least stop subjecting potential employees to such an awkward recruitment process, or at least stop pretending the recruitment process in any way improves the quality of employee they hire in their stores.

      • by LodCrappo (705968) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @05:27AM (#41078879) Homepage

        the arduous hiring process is actually part of the new employee's conditioning, not really a screening mechanism at all.
        making them feel like the accomplished something simply by being hired is an important early step in the corporate mandated mental manipulation.
        notice the quote in the article from the disgruntled employee:

        "...statistically speaking, it's harder to get a job at the Apple Store than it is to get into some Ivy League schools," he says

        This isn't something he just came up with. It's a "fact" he was taught during the indoctrination process, designed to make the iPeons feel like they are somehow special for obtaining a low paying position in retail.

        as you pointed out, it's largely ineffective at preventing crappy people from being hired, but that's not what its about.

        • That I am NOT special despite it clearly saying so on my corporate mug? Well, DAMN!

          Does that also mean all my co-workers are also not special? ALRIGHT!

          • Does that also mean all my co-workers are also not special?

            Depends. Do they wear Helmets and/or Depends?

            Note: Depends as a Helmet is a dead ringer for "special".

          • by msauve (701917)
            "That I am NOT special despite it clearly saying so on my corporate mug? "

            Don't worry. You're a totally special, unique individual, just like everybody else.
        • by erroneus (253617)

          Do you mean when the Navy told me I was among the "best of the best" it wasn't true?! OMG!! I don't know who I am any longer!!!

          Hehe... yes. I wish more people realized the simplicity of how things work. It's a classic method and has been used by countless organizations which exist primarily on pride.

          • by LodCrappo (705968)

            "best of the best" might have been a stretch, regardless you did a generally dangerous thing that probably helps make my life better, as far as I can tell. It's all a bit murky but that certainly puts you a world ahead of the iPeople in my book and I thank you for your service.

  • THIS IS NOT NEWS! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tastecicles (1153671) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @03:03AM (#41078265)

    People steal from work! News at 11!

    This is what infidelity insurance is for!

    • by fm6 (162816)

      Your notion of how insurance works is pretty unrealistic. You can't just insure against a potential problem and then consider it a non-issue. If you do, you soon won't be able to afford insurance.

      Those Apple stores with their "geniuses" (my scare quotes are based on a less enthusiastic evaluation of their intelligence) are a big selling point for a corporation whose market cap is slightly greater than God's. If one of them is as badly run as this article claims, it's news all right.

      • Re:THIS IS NOT NEWS! (Score:5, Informative)

        by Tastecicles (1153671) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @04:36AM (#41078687)

        Is it? I've run businesses and if I know one thing about infidelity insurance it's this: they will not pay out if they can show that you saw it coming.

        Q: What's the difference between a wage slave and a convicted thief?

        A: One of them got caught.

        My policy has always been the same: if I catch you thieving, YOU'RE GONE. BOOM! DONE. IMMEDIATELY. From that point you're a trespasser. If you want to fucking argue with that, I've got a bit of CCTV that'll very quickly find its way to Youtube. Do not fuck with me.

      • Genius is a relative term. These sales clerks work in Apple Stores. Compared to their customers, they are most certainly geniuses. People give monster cables a bad rep but compared to Apple cables, they are a BARGAIN! Why yes, a DVI to dsub connector, that be 20 euro please. COME ON! You fall for that, your knuckles are dragging across the floor.

    • by smpoole7 (1467717)

      > People steal from work!

      Indeed they do. Whether this particular story is accurate, speaking as someone who has run a small business, it's a constant and real problem.

      In fact, here's a life lesson, something to keep in mind no matter where you shop: if you go into my store and are waited on by a not-especially-quick employee, you might wonder why I hired him or her. It's simple: because they're HONEST. I'm not looking for Betty Blaze or Stormin' Norman. Just give me someone who'll keep their hands off in

  • by theshowmecanuck (703852) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @03:16AM (#41078307) Journal
    Is this how bad the hype on freakin' Apple is getting? The fanboys and girls just can't get enough so that now they're all hyped on reading reviews on the fucking stores? Stores? It isn't enough we have to endure sanctimonious drivel about how cool their iWhoGivesAFuck is, now we have to endure commentary on their stupid fucking stores. Get a grip people. What's next? Are they going to start writing essays on the possible ways Wozniak washes his balls?
    • by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @04:35AM (#41078683) Journal
      This story is actually relevant; anyone using Apple products may have dealings with these stores at some point. If there are similar shenanigans going on at McDonalds, Fry's or other well known chains (and I am sure that there are), then there's a news item. Nothing world shaking, just interesting.

      If you think this is an example of how bad the Apple hype is getting, then you have no idea. Head over to Apple fan sites for any or all of the following:
      - Review of an iPhone, with a lengthy description on the orgasmic joy of taking an iPhone out of its packaging.
      - An exited article about rumours on what the new iPhone's dock connector is going to look like.
      - Pictures of "leaked" parts intended of the new iPhone 5, such as the logic board, the battery, and said dock connector. Popular enough to prompt criminals to circulate these pictures in a PDF that has been infected with some malware.
      - "Apple working on red iPhone bumper".
      All actual articles taken from Apple fan sites. Not quite up there with Woz' balls, but still...
      • Popular enough to prompt criminals to circulate these pictures in a PDF that has been infected with some malware.

        To be fair, one can hardly construct a PDF that doesn't infect computers with malware.
        Adobe's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by vulnerability.

      • by Cederic (9623)

        This story is actually relevant; anyone using Apple products may have dealings with these stores at some point.

        That would only be relevant if every other fucking electronics store on the planet didn't suffer the same issues.

        Idiotic cunts work in retail. Get used to it. Don't blame Apple for this one.

  • This is a story?! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @03:27AM (#41078367)

    So, I broke Slashdot tradition and read TFA.

    Short version:

    This store was staffed by, and managed by, a bunch of power-mad dicks who were all either fired or left. Several employees were caught stealing or scamming the system, and fired and forced to pay for what they stole, and now the system is harder to scam.

    Isn't that how it's supposed to work? Bad people are forced out, and system is improved to limit the behavior of bad actors? I mean, I get it, we all hate Apple, (STEVE JOBS WAS AN EVIL THIEF!) but I don't quite see the story here. Tellingly, the main storyteller, "Ronald" is still unemployed, presumably because his past references are something to the effect of "this guy stole our stuff and abused our customers" and now trying to get some some of satisfaction by trashing his employer for not stopping him from being a huge dick?

    • Couldn't Apple have payed their wage slaves better so they wouldn't want to risk their jobs by thieving?

      Also, Apple has very invasive hiring practices with the excuse to stop bad Apples. Doesn't work at all it seems, so why the invasive hiring practices?

      • Couldn't Apple have payed their wage slaves better so they wouldn't want to risk their jobs by thieving?

        Psychology works against you. Most criminals are notoriously bad at evaluating the consequences of their actions, so the risk of losing their jobs doesn't come into it. The other problem is that the more you give a person, the more they will think that they deserve to get. If paying more would help, then there would be no dishonest CEO anywhere in the world.

        Also, Apple has very invasive hiring practices with the excuse to stop bad Apples. Doesn't work at all it seems, so why the invasive hiring practices?

        Where do you get this information about "invasive hiring practices" from?

      • Couldn't Apple have payed their wage slaves better so they wouldn't want to risk their jobs by thieving?

        Right, because well-paid people and employees never [wikipedia.org] steal [cbsnews.com] from anyone [wikipedia.org].

  • Scandalous (Score:3, Insightful)

    by roman_mir (125474) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @03:35AM (#41078401) Homepage Journal

    The gluttony. The vanity. The greed. The envy. The fear. The partying. The debauchery. The sex. The humanity.

    We have it all.

    Apple geniuses.

    ---

    How is that for a commercial?

  • .... great douchebaggery.

    How is this any different than the Geeksquad v1.0 fiasco where they were systematically violating privacy rights and stealing porn [slashdot.org]? There may be a difference as far as who was on the short end of the stick (as far as my porn stash vs. Apple's iPod stash), but regardless, it's a pretty classic case of giving low level workers high level authorization, without the proper regulations/oversight in place (think about the recent photos of morons stepping on the food they've prepared, etc

  • -Apple now more valueable than microsoft
    -Apple patent trolling samsung like a champ
    -Apple stores being reported as corrupt

    Apple has taken microsoft's place as dominant bully in the pc market, and microsoft seems to be fading quickly into a still important but not exciting company, like IBM.
    So who is the new apple? We need a rebel alliance, right? Well, maybe this will finally be the year of the linux desktop.
    But.... probably not.
    Unless we get something radically new, we're going to keep up this t
  • ...this is retail America. This happens at every retail chain and it only gets attention here because it's Apple.
  • by dgharmon (2564621) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @06:48AM (#41079203) Homepage
    Do Ronald and Jake seriously expect us to believe any of this and won't go public with their real identity out of fear as to what Apple would do. Unless they and Gizmodo name names this entire story is worthless ....
  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @06:52AM (#41079215) Homepage Journal

    But. My wife's macbook came from Computers Now in south Melbourne [compnow.com.au]. When it started running slow we took it back to the store. They dragged their heels on the job and I eventually decided to take the machine back. The computer they returned to me had a different metal top cover which was badly scratched. They faked up the sheet which I signed which had purportedly shown the damage when I dropped the laptop off. We argued with them about it but eventually had to accepted a damaged and not repaired computer.

    And the Apple store in Doncaster fixed the problem (a broken SATA cable) for 30 bucks as well as upgrading the OS. It took one day.

  • Anybody want to share any tips? What are the checks & balances that can help detect problems such as those in the article?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @08:23AM (#41079585)

      I own a medium-sized computer store in South Carolina. I had problems with inventory mismanagement and theft a while back, so I installed surveillance cameras in the employee work areas. Every repair bench has an overhead camera that monitors what the employee does to the computer, and monitor and keyboard data at each repair station is logged and recorded to document what each employee does with the customer's software.

      The cameras ultimately caught the employees who were stealing from me, and they are now serving time for felony grand larceny.

      But, what really solved the problem for me was being more selective in my hiring process, and breaking down and paying for more exhaustive background checks.

      Oh, and one other neat trick is never to use the references given by applicants, but ask those references for contact information for other people who know the applicant. The applicant will never give references who know the bad stuff they do.

    • Treat your employees with respect. Pay them a respectable wage with benefits. Look out for them and they will look out for you and your business. If you are a faceless megalo-corp that just hires and fires peoplemeat all day then expect to have your store pillaged and burned.
  • After it was exposed how little Apple Store employees are paid, it doesn't seem to be much of a stretch to understand the lack of loyalty among the work force. I was in a huge national chain grocery store with millions of dollars of stock and sales, and was shocked to see the store manager wearing shoes with holes in them, and threadbare slacks, he almost looked like a homeless guy. When you underpay your employees, they will take what they think they deserve, with good cause. If America continues down this
  • uniforms can do it as well Hollywood video used to have really bad ones and store employee theft was high.

    Now at apple be forced to wear one that says genius can get old fast and it makes people ride you for free apple stuff as well.

  • Duh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lilfields (961485) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @09:58AM (#41080457) Homepage
    It's funny that people are questioning the legitimacy of this...when in reality if you've ever worked retail or had friends work retail you know that things like this happen ALL the time; especially in big box stores like Wal-Mart & Target. Anyone in retail will tell you that the #1 source of thefts in stores are the employees. It happens in computer repair facilities too, replace parts that aren't bad, then scrub the inventory and take it home, steal the customer's 3rd party hardware...it's relatively common. The more profitable the company, the more hidden the losses are the from the books, the easier it is to steal. If you stole from a small business they'd notice it in a heartbeat, when you're a huge corporation it's harder to control or even notice until there is nothing you can do about it. If Apple continues as the world's largest corporation, they will continue to be plagued by this, it doesn't mean they will lose much profitability, just that it's not even a scrape to their behemoth profits.

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