back to article Leaked Genius Bar manual shows Apple's smooth seductions

A copy of the training manual used to prepare Apple employees for work at its in-store Genius Bars shows the smooth patter and sales mindset Cupertino seeks to indoctrinate into staff. Before donning the sacred blue t-shirt and becoming a Genius Bar operative, staff must first pass through a 14 day training course teaching not …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    To paraphrase Orwell...

    Don't you see the whole aim of Applespeak is to narrow the language of thought? In the end we shall make purchasecrime literally impossible because there will be no words in which to express it.

    1. Annihilator

      Re: To paraphrase Orwell...

      You're thinking of Appletalk... since deprecated and replaced by Bonjour...


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: To paraphrase Orwell...

        Definitely deprecated, in fact giggled at.

      2. Stevie

        Re: To paraphrase Orwell...

        Bonjour. A net discovery service that is too pig thick to figure out that if you aren't *on* a network it should quietly sleep for progressively longer times.

        Amazing how people slander Symantec for larding up their systems with useless clock-hogging crapware but give iTunes a pass for the same behavior with the added bonus of filling the log with error messages.

        Not to mention the stupidly inadequate level of indirection in the iTunes app that results in albums being broken up and scattered all over the bloody interface instead of being dealt with properly.. But that is another subject.

        "Better design". Riiiight.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Being of sound mind

      Being spoken to in a Apple Speak context, I'd feel distinctly patronised, and annoyed the same way a politician speaks to you on your doorstep when canvassing. Don't use amateur psychology on me.

      Personally when in this situation, I just say, 'cut the smarm, the crap and the tech speak, I'm here because I'm here to buy, I want that and I want to pay.'

      I don't want the 'experience' I just want the goods, usual transaction time 1 minute subject of course to the queue.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And for out next trick

      Please take off you shoes and socks walk around on out Apple inductive flooring (patent 2312345/324-7A) relax, while perusing we offer our Apple head massage (patent 12/223/768765788/3) to help your brain make the right choice. When purchasing your goods, because you will, breath in the Apple additive air (patent 96756463/768-5646423-987/7676) to help your heart slow and reduce palpitations when you see how much it cost.

      Finally, as you walk out of the door look up at an angle of 65 degrees into out Apple Customer Mirror (patent 45/23980-98734/9/647264/8900) and you will see the most amazing person in the world, while out Apple shoe and sock retriever (patent ASER/3458/910/86-5) washes your feet in purified Apple Water (patent H2O) and replaces your footwear.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ... sound more like a cult every time I read about them. And that's coming from someone who works for a company which sounds like it has gorged itself stupid on marketing drivel and motivational speaking.

    Anon for once because my reg name is my real name and my boss wouldn't approve. After all, my company is "renowned for project management excellence" rather than being renowned for having to refund a cool billion plus to a state-run healthcare system. We all have to play along with the game now, which includes young men and women on barely more than minimum wage (and less training than they'd get in a fast food bar) being called geniuses; products that do what they are supposed to do being "AMAZING" and ....

    [ *explodes into full-on Victor Meldrew rant* ... deleted ]

    1. Ian Michael Gumby

      Not a cult... Re: Apple

      There really is nothing new here. Seriously.

      Selling is a profession, regardless of what you sell. So understanding what makes the potential buyer tick, is important. I'm not talking about the fast talking idiot of a car sales rep who think's his shit doesn't stink, but the professional who works for an Apple, IBM, Oracle, <insert your favorite Tech company here.>

      IBM does a week long course teaching Solution Selling Methodology. It was actually one of the few training courses I was allowed to take and it was one of the best courses out there.

      Looking for non verbal signals is crucial in understanding how your customer perceives you.

      The concept is everyone is a sales rep isnt new. While at IBM, I tried to ingrain that message in to our consultants every time I have them on a project. Not so much to get them to sell something, but that its part of their job to always be professional and to put on the best face. Also if they uncover a latent opportunity, they should alert me so I could handle the sale.

      If you think Apple is bad now... you should really look at IBM during the 60's.

      1. John A Blackley

        Re: Not a cult... Apple

        Dear God! A sensible comment on a thread about Apple!

        I must watch out for flying pigs on the way home.

      2. ItsNotMe

        Re: Not a cult... Apple

        Absolutely true. MOST companies use Brainwashing to indoctrinate employees into the ways of its culture.

        It's just that the folks who BUY the merchandise are equally Brainwashed.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not a cult... Apple

        > If you think Apple is bad now... you should really look at IBM during the 60's.

        Which is amusing given the lengths Apple goes/went to distance themselves culturally from IBM. There's pages that could be written about the whole "THINK" vs "Think different" business.

      4. BillG

        Re: Not a cult... Apple

        I agree, nothing new here. This is how Marketing works. Apple has figured out how customers make technology decisions and they are addressing these customer's concerns.

        However, marketing gets evil when someone is manipulated into buying something they can't afford.

  3. Alan W. Rateliff, II
    Paris Hilton


    "... if Apple's retail sales are anything to go by, the techniques certainly work."

    Except on those of us who are MOSTLY immune to bullshit and possess the intrinsic ability to detect empathetic patronization, or patronizing empathy, a mile off. Though, I would wager any with said ability would generally avoid the Genius Cave altogether. We're not the Apple target demographic, anyway.

    Paris, perfume makes me gag; Genius P needs a shower.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Impervious

      Some intrinsic... Some acquired...

      If you grew up on the east side of the iron curtain during the days of the great gerontocracies you are probably immune to any sort of patronization (empathic or not).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Impervious

        unfortunately, quite the opposite. The Poles, I know rather well, for example, gobble bullshit en masse, and never seem to learn from previous failures, including "consumerism". Yes, there's always this tiny minority who resist, but like elsewhere, this group is insignificant to the sales masters. Everywhere the majority swallow, rather than spit. And, arguably, their philosophy has some merits, e.g. life's too short,etc.

        1. deadlockvictim

          Prolefeed | Polefeed

          Do you mean 'Proles'? The good burghers of Poland may not be too happy with your generalisation.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Impervious

        You would think so, but some seem especially naive to Western marketing methods! OK, they are probably self-selecting :P

    2. JDX Gold badge

      @Alan W. Rateliff, II

      Seriously, get over yourself. You're nothing special.

      1. Chris Parsons

        Re: @Alan W. Rateliff, II


        How the hell do you know? What a puerile comment.

    3. Psyx

      Re: Impervious

      You wish. Truth is that we're all vulnerable to being read and manipulated by subtle use of language and non-verbal cues.

      If you don't at least admit or acknowledge it, you're essentially walking down dark allies decrying the existence of muggers.

  4. Comments are attributed to your handle

    Breaking news: Stores teach employees to sell stuff

    Full story at 11.

    1. Alan W. Rateliff, II
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Breaking news: Stores teach employees to sell stuff

      Yeah, to some degree. Back in the old days when I sold shoes, tacos, and computers, I was trained, taught, and learned to know my products and understand the customer. That never included not admitting that a product could be flawed nor power tactics which put me in charge of a sale. Take ownership, yes; give guidance and advice, yes; but never to seize a position of power over the customer. Nothing pisses of a customer more than realizing at some point they were duped or manipulated.

      Provided they ever realize it at all. In my current life I have dealt with customers who believe the salesman of MegaMiniSoftwareCorporation, Inc. is actually their friend and confidant and said salesman would never tell them an untruth or statement lacking in fact.

      Paris, taking power over us all.

      1. TheOtherHobbes

        Re: Breaking news: Stores teach employees to sell stuff

        We all love corps who slimily fake friendliness for cash.

        If Cupertino was bovvered about the punters it could ask its boys and girls in blue to fill in issue feedback forms and use them to fix problems and improve products based on real customer needs.

        Instead it's all about controlling the punters emotionally and faking the happy.


        1. Ian Michael Gumby

          Re: Breaking news: Stores teach employees to sell stuff

          "We all love corps who slimily fake friendliness for cash."

          If that were true, then the sales training team failed to do their job.

          The art of the sale is to not be fake or slimy, but to be real.

          Its all a bit of Jedi mind tricks, only you don't see them happening.

    2. Gav

      The horror

      Sales people receive training in sales!

      This is most unfair. While it is acceptable for IT people to be trained in IT, sales people, being lower life-forms, should remain inept at their jobs and only succeed through blind-chance or the abilities they were born with.

      Customers are entitled to believe these people are employed to assist them and have little interest in selling anything. Actually training them to sell is deceiving the customer and the sort of shameful trick you'd expect from Apple.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The horror

        This is most unfair. While it is acceptable for IT people to be trained in IT, sales people, being lower life-forms, should remain inept at their jobs and only succeed through blind-chance or the abilities they were born with.

        I'll correct:

        This is most unfair. While it is acceptable for Sales people to be trained in Sales, IT people, being lower life-forms, should remain inept at their jobs and only succeed through blind-chance or the abilities they were born with.

        There, fixed.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Breaking news: Stores teach employees to sell stuff

      Finding out that Apple wants customers to think they care only deepens the mystery of why Apple Retail is run by the ex-head of Dixons.

    4. Tom 13

      Re: Breaking news: Stores teach employees to sell stuff

      There's a difference between teaching someone to sell, and teaching someone to use cult indoctrination techniques.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        the cult shit gets results

  5. Grikath



    Crapple used the same pitch since time immemorial (especially for the Young 'Uns), their walled garden lasted through an age where really smart people opted for a PC/hardware choices/driver issues/proprietary software/hacking/open source and all the stuff that made the world as it is now.

    Which took some really, *really* bright people to make it actually work.

    All this proves is that the average Fanboi is a shill, and nothing else.

    Move along peeps, nothing to see here.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Really smart people?

      As you suggest, they generally have open-source solutions that they've adapted to suit their particular needs and ways of working. But I do feel obliged to point out that they do often recommend OSX to their family and friends simply because its stability and lack of widespread malware minimises the amount of dreaded family computer support needed.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Dúh

      Another market segment is older, richer folk who are intimidated by computers, and don't need to be encouraged by word like "crash, bomb and freeze" in order to believe that all computers are full of temperamental gremlins. Don't let conspicuously irritating hipsters confuse you as to the demographics of Apple customers.

      It should be noted that in a survey of their member's, the UK's Consumer Association 'Which?' found Apple Stores to be highest rated in terms of customer experience, just ahead of John Lewis and Richer Sounds. (PC World, Curry's et al aren't as crap at this as they used to be, but can still just read out the specs of a computer to my old man until his eyes glaze over.)

      The inevitable car analogy? In the early days of motoring, Rolls Royce cars didn't break down, they merely 'failed to proceed'. Tis true... but then of course one's chauffeur would have spent a week being trained by RR in mechanical matters. The owner would have no interest in what happened under the bonnet.

      1. Chris Parsons

        Re: Dúh

        Survey of their member's what?

  6. Baudwalk


    I feel dirty^Wunclean^in a non-optimal sanitary state after reading that.

    Not that Apple are unique in employing projectile vomiting^W^Whigh velocity emission inducing sales techniques.

    How ever much I wish they were.

    1. Psyx

      Re: Urrgh

      Don't think that every large company you deal with *doesn't* do this.

      "The manual reinforces a constant message that staff must be empathetic to a potential customer's needs and should employ what it calls the Three Fs: the words "feel," "felt," and "found.""

      This is the same technique as TSB use on customers to sell them stuff. Y'know those people we call cashiers? TSB calls them sales staff.

  7. jake Silver badge

    Every now and then[1] ...

    ... I'll drop into an apple store to needle the idiot "blueshirts". I tell 'em I'm in the market for a new BSD home server, and proceed to boot the most powerful/expensive Apple box I can find into single-user to poke around. Half the time they go red & yell for security ... the other half go completely white and call for a manager to bail 'em out. The fucking idiots have no clue how the OS works, all they understand is the GUI interface.

    The iFad generation is going to become a swear-word in tech circles. Mark my words ...

    [1] On the rare occasion there isn't a line out the door full of fanbois/grrls trying to get help with their supposedly "easy to use" systems ...

    1. toadwarrior

      Re: Every now and then[1] ...

      Personally I wouldn't publicly admit to being such a sad cunt that I feel the need to waste the time of some low paid shop staff just to make myself feel better.

      Just because you're forever alone doesn't mean you take out your anger on people just for working in a store that caters to people with different tastes.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

        Re: Re: Every now and then[1] ...

        "Personally I wouldn't publicly admit to being such a sad cunt....." Well, your post did kinda imply you fall into that demographic. The post was obviously made to bait fanbois such as yourself and you nearly fell over yourself jumping up to get hooked.

        But it's not just Apple's salesgrunts that draw such ire, it's patronising sales types that actually don't have any technical knowledge but pretend they do. I used to work with a guy who had a vendeta with PC World and used to like sneaking into their stores to mess with their laptops.

        1. Danny 14

          Re: Every now and then[1] ...

          so you are that empty you need to stamp your geek authority over other people who might know less than you? How sad is that. Do you pull wings off flies to prove you are higher up the food chain? Beat kids at scrabble to prove you know bigger words?

          Go to a hackers convention or whitehat for a while if you are that bored. Alternatively just get a life you sad wanker.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Every now and then[1] ...

        Just because you're forever alone doesn't mean you take out your anger on people just for working in a store that caters to people with different tastes.

        Oh come on... you've never used the CTRL-ALT-Arrow key combo to rotate the screen in some PC outlet? You have no sense of humour (or should I say "humor"? That might explain a lot).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Every now and then[1] ...

      Of course if you really want to make them explode, you could always just drop in comments along the lines of "you know Apple just ripped off all this stuff, its not like they wrote it or anything - but that's OK, the true innovators don't mind when people copy"

    3. tcac

      Re: Every now and then[1] ...

      Is your life really that empty?

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Is your life really that empty?

        I bet he tries to strike a conversation with cold-callers too, what a life.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Every now and then[1] ...

      Every now and then Jake wakes up from his fantasy world and makes another pot noodle

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Every now and then[1] ...

      If you do this in the UK you'd arguably be liable for prosecution under the Computer Misuse Act.

  8. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    Now you know..

    .. why I prefer to buy online. I have Apple kit because it works for me, but the wannabees in the Church (Apple Store) annoy the hell out of me and I thus avoid their stores unless I absolutely have to. All this friendliness and touchy feely stuff they told to enact feels about as genuine as Tony Blair's smile, so it creeps me out.

    Besides, I'm a male - when I enter a shop I already have a pretty good idea what I want.

    1. Silverburn

      Re: Now you know..

      +1. But in their defence, they did twig eventually that I was a guy in "shopping mode":

      Me: "I'd like a base MB Air 11' please"

      Genuis: "Have you considered the 13'? It has..."

      Me: "No. Just the base 11."

      Genuis "Would you like the 4GB option? It's better for..."

      Me: "No. Just the base 11."

      Genuis "Ok, sir - have you considered a thunderbolt display?"

      Me: "No. Just the base 11."

      Genuis "Ah, ok, sir, I'll check the stock now. How will you be paying?"

      Me: "Immediately."

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Standard Tech-Corp style training...

    Been done by many other corps over the years.

    Nothing new or innovative.

    Did they patent this too, by any chance?

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Did they patent this too, by any chance?

      Now that's one patent I wish they had and which they strictly enforced!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pretty much every other high street retailer could learn by this... one thing I've noticed is apple staff will approach and immediately engage in conversation about a product you are looking at. Far more likely to gain a positive response on my part than every other store where some numpty just goes "can I help?" - "no thanks." Where as if they came up and said "Oh GalCiv, I played that, good game though the AI has its moments"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yup, some stores actually do proper training.

      This is no surprise (and another excuse for El Reg to plaster their homepage with something Apple relevant). One of the biggest DIY stores in the UK where I worked used to have (not sure if they still do) a very intensive training scheme at the start of your working life there. This was more to cover all the health & safety aspects, but game them an opportunity to teach selling skills as roleplay and through the IT training with specific products (ie store credit card).

      Apple are around to sell, it's not the crime of the century, every decent corp has one of these training schemes. The customer will always been in control. Some are more exposed to the selling techniques more than others depending on their outlook, experience, needs etc.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They repaired my three year old Macbook Pro for free. Paid for by NVidia of course after they admitted supplying people with dodgily packaged chips.

    Can't imagine that PC World would have listened to me if I'd taken back a three year old laptop to them.

    1. the-it-slayer

      Typical "PC World" response...

      No, we can't fix that. It's your fault for watching too much dodgy stuff. Would you like a new one?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      On the flip side

      They refused to replace the charger for my £2k MacBook Pro when it broke after 14 months.

      They said I should have bought the 3 years Apple Care. I pointed out that i am covered for 2 years under European law, and they said they knew that, but I should have bought Applecare anyway. They gave me some incorrect information about it being my burden of proof, which I told them was wrong, which they then admitted. I then asked what I could do, and they actually said that I could take them to court if I wanted! (They know they'll lose, but also know I don't have the time for all that effort.)

      I was concerned it was my attitude with the staff (even though I stayed calm and polite), so tried on the phone, and sent a friend into a differet store, and got exactly the same respnse!

      1. Armando 123

        Re: On the flip side

        Odd, the Apple Store employees here seem to be a LOT more customer-friendly and eager to please. I've seen this in Apple Stores in Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Chicago, and Ann Arbor. Then again, maybe it's a Midwest thing ...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: On the flip side

          Yeah, the ones in the USA seem way more helpful. But I'm in the UK.

          I specifically chose the friend to send in, as they had taken their broken out of warranty MacBook Air into a store in the USA and got a whole new one - so I knew they knew how to ask nicely! He said he'd never buy an Apple product in the UK again after the experience he had in the UK Apple store! I think I'm going to buy any Apple products from John Lewis in future, as their customer service rocks.

          Also, anyone want to say why they downvoted my original post? It's a description of what happened - how can that be wrong?

    3. Tom 11

      "They repaired my three year old Macbook Pro for free"

      Obviously, as PC world do not produce their own stock. Unless as in your case, there is a well documented component failure rate, then statatury rights would mean that anyone would have to replace it....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "They repaired my three year old Macbook Pro for free"

        Neither do Apple, they get someone else to make it for them.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    LOL at the indignant rage on show here

    This is how every *good* customer service rep - from *any* company - works with any customer.

    Seriously, I've seen this with BT, DSG, and even some government internal helpdesks.

    This really is nothing new, and I'd be more shocked if Apples training *didn't* cover this in detail.

    What you should get indignant about are companies who don't explain this in detail (or don't give the boot to those who fail to grasp it properly), as they are the ones with atrocious customer service skills.

  13. Dick Pountain


    Are they allowed to present a tissue to customers who start dribbling?

    1. Silverburn

      Re: Drool

      No, but if you dribble on it, it counts as "store damage", so you are obliged to buy it.

      Which the dribbler do without thought, naturally.

  14. tkioz

    I've worked retail so I know how common stuff like this is, but damn is it still creepy as hell when you read about it all hanging out there. It's part of the reason I hate dealing with sales people full stop and prefer to buy online whenever possible.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      Re: tkioz

      You're missing out on the fun! Once you've seen a few of these manuals you start recognising the salesschpiel early. The trick is to look like you're engaging, let him get a hint of a big sale, then segway the conversation off into an area the salesgrunt obviously won't have a clue about and let him flounder and sweat for a bit. Most of these salesgrunts are working to a script ("if he says answer A go to option 2, if he says answer B go back to option 1") and the fun is in breaking them out of the comfortable options and into an area where they can't swim alone. I used to have a colleague who was a master at handling such salescalls, he'd end up leaving the salesguy promising to call him back with the answer to a completely impossible question to answer (e.g., "Yes, I like the look of your wireless access points, I'd like to order twelve with 24-7-365 support, but I need re-assurance from your lab people that it will not interfere with my dog's <insert fictional brandname here> pacemaker....").

  15. Crisp

    Companies that want to stay in business train their staff.

    It really is that simple.

  16. Senior Ugli

    again, I do see how this affects people who know about IT as we should know what we are choosing.

    I just see this as exploiting average joe dumbass who if they cant be bothered to educate themselves, then whats wrong with apple teaching staff to sell to them properly? these are the peopl who walk buy and go 'ooh shiny things' and really need a £2k mac to go on facebook

  17. The New Turtle

    This helps explain why, when I took a 3 month old semi-functional Macbook to the 'genius' he was completely unable to acknowledge that it didn't work properly or was faulty, but instead would only send it away for investigation (if I was willing to pay if there was nothing found to be wrong, even though it also had applecare). And yes, other companies will do this sort of thing too (ever had a telesales call?).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Shurely Applecare covers warranty cosys? Or do you either know something the rest of the world does not (b) had a non warranty issue or even (c) were persuaded that you had to pay for work carried out under Applecare.

      Interested consumers would luv to no.

    2. Ivan Headache

      Over the years

      I've had bullshit called on me for some of my posts.

      I call bullsit on this one. Applecare will cover wahetever is wrong and anyway the warranty would also cover it.

  18. xyz Silver badge

    My girlfriend's next door neighbour...

    ...just bought an iPad. 2 nights ago he was round as he couldn't connect to his WiFi so i did it for him. Last night he was round as he couldn't connect to the internet, so I showed him the Safari icon and how to tap on it. Given the quality of the customer, I'm presuming genius is a relative term, which in this case means being able to breathe whilst standing up.

    Further, the girl who serves me coffee in the mornings bought an iMacbook thingy a couple of weeks ago (she wouldn't say how much exactly, but it was four figures) that died on its arse after a few hours when she tried to send her first email. There is another part to the story where they lost her data too, but I gave up trying to ask what happened as the mention of word like "drive" and "cloud" were just met with blank stares.

    She's going back to the genius bar for more help. My advice of she could have bought a new laptop every year for the next 5 or 6 years for the price of that POS made her cry a bit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My girlfriend's next door neighbour...

      I rather think I do not believe you or you are being very economical with the actualité.

      I gave up Windows and several versions of Linux (apart from at work where I can not avoid them) and even straight BSD once I got a second hand Apple power book or whatever the pre-Intel ones were called and I realised what a decent BSD implementation it was without all that faffing around required to make Linux usable. Now I've got an aging, white Apple laptop that goes on rather well. It had a a couple of problems caused by physical iineptness of myself (I'm a UNIX software engineer, not hardware). Apple fixed it, twice free and once for a minimal charge for their time. I know lots of people with iPads and Apple computers, most somewhat technical people working in IT as engineers, as well as a smattering of "civilians". Even my 80 year old mother decided she must find out about computers, bought a low-end Apple laptop and, thanks to the charming patience of the Apple staff, uses it effectively and with pleasure to manage photographs, write email, browse and search the internet and even do some stuff for her golf club committee.

      So in my opinion, either you are making things up or you are the kind of person who gets struck by lightening twice or your acquaintances have got serious problems in their interactions with the modern world. You are not too bright in the tact and commonsense department either. Or possibly all the people I know are geniuses.

      1. xyz Silver badge

        Re: My girlfriend's next door neighbour...

        Nope and nope...that's what happened and I never piss around with reality, although you are correct in one area...I have no tact (or diplomacy) skills.

        IMHO, Apple sells fashion and the trouble with fashion is that it eventually gets adopted by the inept at which point it becomes unfashionable. Case A is a builder and case B a coffee waitress (and aspiring documentary creator). For those people Apple should create an interface in bright coloured blocks (oh wait, that's win 8) and stop calling people (who know where the on switch is) geniuses.

        Speaking of low end Apple stuff...that Currys or Comet advert where the Mac thing is £999.99 and the Win thing is £355.00 or so must make a lot of people go "someone's 'avin' a larff" rather than "ooh..I must pop out and shiney myself up."

        Now Jobo lies a mouldering I can't see the party going on much longer.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: My girlfriend's next door neighbour...

        Mr UNIX software engineer, you do know that friendly versions such as PC-BSD exist? With LiveCD / DVD / USB etc ..... or even OpenIndiana / Illumos if you want your OS similar to Solaris?

        OK personally I find Linux easier to use but even so.... might be fun trying those. I also find Linux Mint works pretty much out of the box, and for netbooks you could try Easy Peasy Linux, similar to the previous EeePC Linux.

        I would suggest using Dell or Acer / Asus laptops, or possibly HP for these OSs. I would not suggest Toshiba .... from personal experience. The Tosh runs Win7-64 just fine with Linux VMs though (yes, Vrtualbox on Win, I'm not fussy!)

  19. Mako

    "Apple hardware does not "bomb," "crash," "bang," or even "freeze." Instead it "unexpectedly quits," "does not respond," or "stops responding." "

    It might be an urban legend, but didn't Rolls Royce say something similar about their cars? They didn't "break down", they "failed to proceed".

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      The famous Rolls-Royce story was of the chap who toured the NorthWest frontier and Afghanistan in a Silver Ghost. At one point in his travels he broke the rear axle on a particularly lumpy bit of cart track. He got the car pulled to a local blacksmith's and cabled Royces for a new axle. A couple of weeks later, a new axle assembly duly turned up in the arse end of nowhere and the blacksmith fitted it to the car.

      Some months later, back in Blighty, our explorer is doing his accounts and notes that he has not been invoiced for the considerable cost of a Rolls-Royce axle and shipping it to the back end of beyond. He writes to Royces explaining the situation and asking them to invoice him promptly so he can clear his accounts.

      The reply he receives by return says; "We are afraid that you must be mistaken in your recollection of events. No Rolls-Royce car has ever broken a rear axle.".......

      1. Rocket_Rabbit

        The moral of the story - If your profit margins are that high, you can afford to dish out the odd freebee.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, like RR/Bentley supposedly never said what the power output of their 6.75L V8s was, even the Turbo ones, but just described it as "adequate" ! :P

  20. Danny 14

    nothing new

    To be honest I dont see the problem with this. Afterall people skills is good. Dell have a very similar approach with DCSE for technicians, Dell score each engineer quite rigorously on both technical and people skills (at least they did when I worked for unisys). There are plenty of training courses run that not only does the techie bits but also dealing with customers - typically because every customer you attend is usually pissed off.

    A uniform approach to fixing or selling stuff is a welcome break from idiot mobile phone salemen who just blatantly lie.

  21. b166er

    @AC 07:14, that's because your 3 year old laptop would have been out of its 2 year warranty and therefore nothing to do with the retailer.

    In the example you gave, it was found to be a common fault caused by a third party manufacturers component. In my experience with common (acknowledged) laptop faults, the OEMs extend warranties to cover said fault. Of course, in that scenario, rather than me having to traipse back to the store, the OEMs courier will collect it from me.

    Then of course, you can compare AppleCare with the Toshiba Reliability Refund Guarantee.

    MacBook Air 13" £999 + AppleCare £199 = £1198

    Toshiba Portege Z830-104 £960 + Extended warranty £72 = £1032

    The Apple has slightly better display characteristics ,so quits on the £166 price difference, however, if the Toshiba fails, they will fix it AND refund you what you paid for it in the first place (providing you've registered for the Toshiba Reliability Refund Guarantee).

    1. Danny 14

      That being said, toshiba are terrible in the enterprise. Hard drive fail, get diags, send screen shots of diags, offer to send video of you anti static removing drive. No go, you STILL need to send the whole laptop back. I dont mind running any sort of diags to prove it is the drive not the controller (due to the fact ive already replaced the drive and it is back with the employee). I doubt apple would let you change the drive either.

      Dell and HP on the otherhand will happily assign you a technician once they realise you A) know what you are doing and B) satisfy all their checks in boxes. Horses for courses really. I'd recommend apple to my grandma, toshiba to my dad and dell or HP to the enterprise workplace, depends what you want and I dont think there is a one size fits all manufacturer.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Breaking news. Apple schmooze their customers. SHOCK!

    I've said it time and time again. People would buy shit on a stick if it were sold to them in the same way Apple staff flog their wares. Why do you think the mugs buy the crap? 'Cause they believe the crap.

    It's like looking through glass half the time. Just pander to their vanity and "big up" your mediocre product and reel them in.

    That sheen you were sold looks tarnished in the cold light of day!

  23. Geoff Campbell Silver badge

    Sales training

    I see various people have made the point that this is just good training for shop-floor staff.

    I also see that nowhere in any of the write-ups of this story is there mention made of the manual training the staff how to discuss and clarify the customers' requirements from a computer before taking over the conversation. Ho hum.


    1. El Presidente

      Discuss and clarify the customers' requirements:

      To join the cult, make them look cool, enable them to say 'oh, I use a mac' to rinse their wallets, to rip them off, to invite them into their walled garden .....

    2. VinceH

      Re: Sales training

      " I also see that nowhere in any of the write-ups of this story is there mention made of the manual training the staff how to discuss and clarify the customers' requirements from a computer before taking over the conversation. Ho hum."

      I'm not sure any sales people do anything like that anymore - if they ever really did in the first place. I think it was really just IT literate third parties that would-be buyers went to for advice, ie people like us.

      And in an Apple store, it's even less surprising. It's not as they sell different platforms, so if you're there looking at tablets they're hardly going to weigh up your needs and recommend something by Samsung.

  24. The Thieving Gypsy

    So a Sales organisation teaches their Sales staff how to sell? Who'd have thunk it ?! They might become successful, taking that approach.

    Of course, as an IT professional and Born Again Disciple of the Church of Cupertino, whenever I go to worship at the Temple, I keep my noise-cancelling headphones firmly in place so that I can commune with the Deity in isolation and without mundane distractions (such as hordes of PFYs trying to sell me stuff I already NEED, and telling me stuff that I already know better than they do). But thats just me :)

  25. djstardust

    Professionals ......

    Yeah, these are the geniuses who tell me i'm making a mistake when I say I have a MacPro. They think I'm stupid and have a MacBook Pro instead. When corrected and pointed to the MacPro in their very store, the reply is that they're not trained on that one as they don't sell many.

    Of the 4 questions I've been to the store with none were answered on the spot and follow-up phone calls were never received.

    10 minutes on google will spare people with questions their patronising bullshit and being made to feel like a five year old.

    1. Nev

      Re: Professionals ......


      "Excuse, I'd like to buy a gramophone, please."



      "I don't think with got any 'Gram-oh-phones' here, grandad..."

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Professionals ......

      Well, the MacPro is a "computer" and the don't have the word "computer" in their company name anymore :P

  26. Arctic fox

    Am I the only one who was reminded of the Python's famous "Parrot Sketch" by this?

    "There is also a list of key phrases not to be used by Genius Bar staff. Apple hardware does not "bomb," "crash," "bang," or even "freeze." Instead it "unexpectedly quits," "does not respond," or "stops responding." Similarly there's no such thing as a "bug" or "problem," just a "condition" or "situation."

    No, he hasn't crashed he's just resting. :)

  27. annodomini2

    For those Softies who've worked for a US based company

    "Bug, we don't do bugs! We have 'Undesirable features!'"

    1. Gav

      Re: For those Softies who've worked for a US based company

      Don't you mean "Undocumented features"?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: For those Softies who've worked for a US based company

        I managed to "initiate a situation" on an OSX MacBook in less than 10 minutes after being given it to play with. And no, I wasn't stressing it or being destructive. I guess you just adjust the terminology ;)

        It was quite fun but slightly obstructive and I did think the Launcher had sarcastically large icons, like they were assuming the user was a total dope.

      2. annodomini2

        Re: For those Softies who've worked for a US based company

        "Undocumented features" are bugs the customer likes, e.g. being able to edit something you're not supposed to, "Undesirable features" are plain non-functionality bugs.

  28. Robert Ramsay

    The best part for me...

    is that they are specifically instructed not to creep up to you and ask if they can help. You can play with the toys in the shop for as long as you like and no-one will bug you.

  29. Tom Clark

    This reminds me very much of a time recently when I went into an Apple Store in London and asked a sales droid if they had any top-spec Macbook Airs on display. When asked why, I told him it was because I wanted to know if they would run the full Adobe Suite simultaneously without stuttering. The blank look I received reminded me of an android trying to process a logic bomb.

  30. Blofeld's Cat

    Uh ho...

    ...APPLE (Approach, Probe, Present, Listen, End.)

    Did I ever tell you about the time I encountered a flying saucer... ?

  31. ElNumbre


    Now I know why people feel stiffed when they going into the Apple Store.

    APPLE (Approach, Probe, Present, Listen, End.)

    Approach and Probe, well, I say.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lube?

      Approach! Probe! Penetrate! Lubricate! Evacuate!

  32. Erwin Hofmann

    Church of Applelogy ...

    ... you know what, to me, this feels just like a "Ron Hubbard" (Church of Scientology) guidebook ... hmm ... which, actually, does not surprise me at all ...

    1. Erwin Hofmann

      Re: Church of Applelogy ...

      ... "on another note" ... why do these things have to be leaked at all ... why the secrecy ... "schlechtes Gewissen" (guilty conscience) ??? ...

  33. RainForestGuppy

    Sales people lie. That's a fact, end of story.

  34. Jase69


    I took my Macbook in for repair last week after the case cracked for the second time. I spoke to the "genius" and explained that I was fed up with bringing in a Macbook for repair which was most obviously caused by a design flaw and that I was unhappy wasting my time to which she responded that the repair was free of charge. All very well and good but my time is not free. She called the manager over and I explained the same thing to her adding that I had paid for a premium product and I wanted it replaced. She refused so I told her I didn't want it and walked out.

    If anyone wants it then it is still there if they have time to pick it up. Piece of junk and a very expensive mistake. It has been in for repair for other issues since I bought it (new motherboard, new battery, new charger, new disk...)

  35. xenny

    maybe I'm broken..

    but I always ask for stuff by part no now. It completely breaks the smooth talking composure of sales staff, and gets down to the nitty gritty.

    The sales people don't seem to like it, so it's also a win from that PoV.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: maybe I'm broken..

      I like your style, Sir! I radically upset salespeople in a shop once by going in ad buying an Acer Aspire One without so much as looking at the display model or chatting about the pros and cons, hey, it's a netbook, I already know exactly what is inside, not so complex!

  36. Naughtyhorse

    of course it helps if your victims/targets/prey/customers are all fuckwits.

    which, as has been pointed out in these hallowed columns time and time again, is indeed the case

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't this count as "abuse of the mentally vulnerable"? ;)

  38. Majid

    Your Jedi mind tricks don't work on me.

    You got to give me something of REAL value.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I was dragged into an Apple store at the weekend. When demonstrating a retina display compared to the old ipad, *they zoomed in* to a pic on the apple site to show how much higher detail the screen had!

  40. zen1
    Thumb Down

    but at the end of the day...

    it's just an Apple iWhatever and it's fetching 30% more than a comperable competitive product.

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