Monday, December 24, 2012

Corrupt Apple Store Employees Come Forward Across America

We thought the crookedest little Apple Store in Texas was an isolated case. We were wrong: confessions from Apple's retail squads around the country (and world) poured in. Apple has a serious naughty behavior problem on its hands, and the Evil Geniuses are speaking out.

The sources we talked to this summer described an Apple Store that wasn't just poorly managed—it was a personal playground. Computers were traded for plastic surgery, iPhones were smashed like party favors, and employees outright stole from the back room for their own pleasure. It was a den of misuse and abuse, all under the gleaming white aegis of Apple Retail. The perfection is a myth.
And now we know the store-gone-crazy is systemic, reaching from Tennessee to Vancouver, and across oceans. Here's what's happening in the stores you trust. The following sources contacted us via email and Skype, ranging from the Southeast, Tennessee, across California, Massachusetts, Canada, Maryland, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, and Texas. There were even more—"I worked in the most corrupt in the UK"—who couldn't be included in time.

The habit of breaking things just because you can ran throughout our Genius Bar confessions. Because sometimes breaking expensive things is fun. For almost everyone who wrote in, the inventory room was a playground—and management was either oblivious or in on the action.

Destroying merchandise is treated as a game.
Managers overlooked Geniuses intentionally ruining iPads, buying drugs from employees and sexually harassing them instead.

Destroying expensive things for fun wasn't just a game—it was a documented game. Destructive Geniuses actually snap evidence of their handiwork. Here we see a shattered iPad, brand new in its box.

After the thrill of breaking wears off, you might as well start taking it for yourself.

The trick of swapping out broken, old, or otherwise unwanted employee gadgets for brand new ones out of store inventory was a regular one. Discount codes were also applied liberally where they didn't belong. In short: Geniuses played the system to get free toys.

Nicole, who contacted me after reading our first Genius Bar report, didn't have much to worry about when she worked back in the inventory room. It was like a bunch of kids in detention.

sambiddle: was management.. not doing much?
nicole: Definitely not in our store
nicole: They were generally in the office texting about their tragic lives, playing angry birds, on the floor texting, or hooking up with each other in the closets

These two employees stole straight from the source—one even flipped Apple components and swapped in cheaper ones he bought online.

But Nicole probably wins for the zaniest heist: the giant display iPhones Apple places in its store windows:

sambiddle: did you ever take things for yourself? since you were right there with ALL the inventroy
sambiddle: inventory
nicole: I took visual items a lot
nicole: and gave them away to other employees a lot.. instead of destroying them like indicated
sambiddle: what are those?
nicole: Like you know the display headphones on the floor? And the acrylics and cables and everything?
nicole: Or the giant ipods in the window displays
sambiddle: yeah
nicole: I'd take things like that a lot
sambiddle: HAHA wait you took the giant ipods!?!
nicole: I have a giant nano, an ipod touch, some popcorn, a giant table from the "GO GREEN" window.. I have a pretty large collection

sambiddle: did you witness any abuse/theft/destruction etc?
nicole: definitely. even within our team although we were the ones responsible for catching and reporting it so obviously when it was within our team it wasn't reported
Whenever any apple branded items are returned (as long as they aren't serialized like ipods/computers/ipads and such) they get thrown in a box called scrap which basically goes back to apple recycling.. and people constantly took things out of there.. we had specialists taking easypays and floater ipod touches home constantly
nicole: They sell REALLY well on ebay
sambiddle: did you guys ever just fuck with inventory?
sambiddle: break things?
nicole: One of the inventory guys with me did
nicole: he was a definite hot head. He broke a few imac screens and would throw things sometimes
sambiddle: just for fun?
nicole: never got in trouble because management thought it was funny. but a genius threw an ipod touch and broke it and got fired immediately
nicole: yeah usually for fun or if he was pissed off

Sex(ual Harassment) and Personal Violation
Our store source say managers and staffers harass each other regularly, with no consequences. Personal information—both staff and customer—is trivial.

nicole: yeah
nicole: she called me in the office once because one of the guys that worked there was struggling with his sexuality (completely NOT my business.. sure he told her that in confidant) and told me that all of us in the store who were bisexual and dating both sexes were just showing him it was a choice and just on and on with the church talk
nicole: management loved to do that. Share incredibly personal conversations with others under the guise of being "caring"
sambiddle: that's sure not good
nicole: Wage information.. sexuality.. medical conditions.. all of it

Geniuses digging through customer hard drives was widely reported.

If a woman walked in, her stuff would get digged through, shared, and laughed at. Team bonding. Your iPhone camera roll isn't safe.

A Texan tipster says he and his Genius friends had unrestricted access to customer personal data.

Good looking customers were given whatever they want, says this source.

Particularly—and with zero surprise—targeting attractive women.
We all know what "personal use" means.

nicole: we had an incredibly obnoxious manager who figured since he was gay it would be okay for him to grab girl's breasts and butt constantly
nicole: and he didn't get the hint when people asked him to please not do that lol

nicole: I remember we had a playmate (Is that what they're called?) like one of those college girls who isn't famous but she's naked nonetheless
sambiddle: hahah
nicole: she brought her computer in and I definitely remember a lot of the guys were going through her pics

Bethesda is a tony suburb of Washington, DC—and a plum market for Apple. The store rakes in money, and caters to affluent, powerful business clients in the region. And according to our source, is as crooked as Scott Forstall's jacket tassels.

He detailed a history of manipulation, deception, and borderline fraud.

iPhones ain't the only white thing you can find in an Apple Store.

Geniuses at this store bought and sold drugs to each other while you thought they were fixing your laptop.

There are—and will always be—miscreants in every job. Miners, lawyers, cooks, Geniuses—there's no industry that's immune to misbehavior. But when emails arrived in droves repeating the same naughty phenomena, you have to wonder why a company whose rep is as sterling as Apple's seems to have such a pattern of internal havoc. Employees lamented how the company's "culture has declined significantly," that the former "culture is definitely not there anymore." One former employee who had opened retail stores across North America and Asia claimed "The corruption within Apple goes straight to the top. That is why I left, I couldnt tolerate it anymore. Under Mr. Cook, Apple is fracturing from the inside out."

But there's probably a less theatrical explanation here. Apple Stores mint their own gold. They sell some of the most desirable expensive products in the history of desirable expensive products, without the pressure of commission. The stuff sells itself—and websites like ours sure help—and that's why Apple has the most profitable retail operation per square foot in the entire country. The stores make more money than Tiffany, which literally sells giant diamonds.

So why care? When you're in a fog of money, you can imagine it's easier to lose sight of scruples. This doesn't make stolen phones and smashed computers OK, but it might explain why its's so pervasive. And until Apple realizes that its own massive consumer success might actually be a liability, turning its sales mills into playgrounds, we're going to have ever reason to hesitate before handing over our MacBook to that smiling Genius.


  1. Scraping the barrel again, desperately seeking anything, anything that might tarnish Apple's reputation (as if these types of unprofessional behavior by retail employees are somehow unique to Apple.)

    The implication is because so many came forward with shameful stories of Apple Store shenanigans, there must be something special about Apple, But did anyone bother to solicit non-Apple stories? No? Apparently they wouldn't generate page hits. It would be boring to learn that this shit goes on everywhere.

    Reminds me of the reports of Foxconn's sweat shops (where plenty of other well known companies beside Apple also have their products built, but never seem to be mentioned).

    Enjoy the hater echo chamber where it's only Apple bad all the time.

  2. Are you retarded? You know Apple wants everyone to think that their stores are filled with perfect little angels that are brilliant with technology and are always happy to help. This just shows they are as flawed as anyone else and don't always have the customers best interest in mind. Apple is not magical, special or better than any other brand in any way imaginable. They are just shiny, overpriced, average devices with ridiculous price tags made and used by people that can't be bothered to use real tech. And, btw, this isn't "scraping the barrel" it was top news on several sights.

    I think you need a serious punch in the face. Maybe that'll knock some common sense into you.

  3. Angry, are we, Mister "punch in the face"? Haters like you really don't like when the truth is revealed. Many websites go out of their way to single Apple out for controversy. Of course they do. It has proven to generate page hits. Apple is big. Apple is news.

    A creative person can always find an angle for painting Apple in a bad light. Haters take this as ammo, disregarding the biased nature of the reporting.

    Is there a problem with kids cranking up their MP3 players too loud. The headline shouts "iPods Destroy Hearing".

    Are mobile phone thefts up? The headline hawks "iPhones Spur Crime Wave".

    Pundits come up with unrealistic wish lists and ideas for the next Apple iPhone. Then when the thing is released. The headline scolds "Phone 5 a disappointment" (But apparently not to the millions who are snapping them up)

    Did you know that Apple has been declared "late" delivering products for which they never promised a ship date? How does that work exactly?

    Did the new product's screen stay the same size? : "Apple's designs are stale"...
    Or did it change? : "Apple copies competitors".

    As far as what Apple wants people to think about their stores, they want customers to know that its a great place to explore Apple's products, get their questions answered, and problems resolved. And for the vast majority of people, that's exactly what happens.

    Apple can be imperfect yet still be better than the competition. Pointing out Apple's flaws doesn't change the fact that most of its customers love their products and the service Apple provides.

  4. Apple does blow. What's your idea of an unrealistic wish list? Components and functions given in increments, that should have been native to the first iCrap models? That gadgetry other companies provided in their own devices years before the first iPhone? No, to an Apple fan, adding a camera and Copy/Paste to an overpriced pile of dog shit is "innovation." Spare me.

    Steve Jobs openly advocated stealing from the work of others, then gets pissed when it happens to him. Sounds like a real visionary.

    Anytime a competitor releases a new product, Apple itself scrapes the bottom of the barrel to sue them for petty details like shape. You do realize that anyone who gets their panties in a wad enough to sue over a shape isn't all that original or innovative to begin with, right? Instead of trying to legitimately beat competitors with a better product, Apple hires lawyers and screws the pooch with their own operating aystem/apps. Innovative!

    Lastly, what kind of Internet-accessible device is restricted from processing Flash? Do you even realize how much content people miss out on over this childish little tantrum your dead idol threw? What's worse is people shell out hundreds and hundreds of dollars for something that can't play videos that aren't YouTube - something else Apple products have a hard time doing. People pay out the nose for what amounts to the Kansas City Chiefs of computing devices.

    What Apple lacks in substance, they do make up for in style. And blatant lies. They're not that darn good; just because people are only now waking up to this since the Jobs Curse was broken, doesn't mean it was any different when he was alive.

  5. Apple is often the first company to recognize when a particular combination of technologies is mature enough to incorporate in such a way as to be wildly successful. They may not invent every technology in-house, but they sure know how to combine things in compelling ways before others do.

    They usually don't add features until they can do them right. The first iPhone, even initially without copy and paste or downloadable apps, did so many other things better that the competition that it set the standard for what a smart phone could be.

    The Steve Jobs quote about stealing (paraphrased form one attributed to Pablo Picasso) is widely misunderstood. Jobs was saying that Apple doesn't copy other's products (as in forging a painting), but they are willing use good ideas wherever they may be found. As a result, Apple products have a unique look and feel which they rightfully attempt to guard (hence the Samsung lawsuit).

    Apple is also often the first to abandon technologies that are past their prime. Flash is a good example. You ask what kind of Internet-accessible device is restricted from processing Flash?

    Seeing as Adobe had abandoned development of mobile Flash back in 2011, I'd say just about ALL mobile devices going forward will be relying on the increased capability of native browsers to support HTML5/CSS.

  6. None of that accounts for Apple refusing Flash compatibility for years and years, nevermind that other devices still in use and newly manufactured today are by a vast majority Flash-capable. Saying they were just ahead of a trend is a bullshit excuse. It's tantamount to charging the same price as an AM/FM radio with a tape deck for ones without them, for the duration of their relevance, until their obsoletion decades later, claiming the whole time they were "just staying ahead of the game." By that logic, they could sell empty casings for the same prices, or units without keyboards. Don't be such a sucker. It's widely known that Jobs just had it out for Adobe, and that his personal hang-ups were key hallmarks in all his products.

    This, compounded with a lack of other pre-existing and distinctive capabilities in very recent products (cameras, copy/paste, mouse units with more than a single button - for people who aren't too technologically incompetent to use two) is nothing short of glaring hypocrisy and ineptitude. Paying double, or even triple, for half of what competitors put out is not good consumer sense. Nevermind the extortion fees they charge for upgrades with minimal performance, as opposed to less expensive alternatives which exponentially multiply the powers of other units.

    Jobs was nobody to be admired. There's no split decision about it, no layers of depth to his methods. He ran the most commercially successful company in the world, in a country that badly needed native economical support. Instead of conducting himself with ethics, he sent manufacturing jobs to China and held no reservations about suckering Americans out of amounts of cash obviously disproportionate to the products they bought from him. The same nation that allowed him the commercial freedom to capitalize so plentifully, he shit on left and right, unapologetically. The man couldn't even honestly call himself an American. To Obama: "Those jobs aren't coming home."


    Lastly: I'll be damned if I pay what Apple charges for a device I have to JAILBREAK just to get what I paid for. (That the term "jailbreak" even need apply to a brand so primarily is a red flag that someone's blowing smoke up your ass.) Especially not when cheaper, better-functioning devices do the same thing out of the box. Not all of us are incapable of handling machines that can play cartoons on Newgrounds. Anyone who adheres to Apple's warranty policies regarding jailbreaking is a willing subject to draconian law.

  7. Steve jobs may have had other issues with Adobe, but the problem with Flash can stand on its merits. Apple prohibited Flash on its mobile devices because it was a slow, buggy, memory hogging, insecure pile of crap. It was an embarrassment, It barely worked well on the Mac. Adobe wouldn't or couldn't provide a user experience commensurate with Apple's standards. Mobile Flash was simply not ready for prime time. Even if it had performed flawlessly, its presence would have encouraged lazy developers to avoid writing native iOS Apps, instead presenting users a secondary nonstandard user experience that would be limited, confusing and annoying. Apple would rather take the criticism for omitting Flash altogether, than to deal with the complaints and problems that would ensue if they had included it.

    Apple often lets its competitors go first. For example, they didn't include LTE in the iPhone until low power radio chips were available, and LTE was more widely deployed by carriers. This meant that for a few years, Apple was portrayed as being behind the curve. Having that bullet point simply wasn't as important than providing long battery life and maintaining a small lightweight from factor They will also routinely leave out "power user" features that add complexity. Apple is all about simplicity and meeting the needs of a large user base of unsophisticated consumers.

    If the features of Apple products don't meet your needs, no one is forcing you to buy them. As far as Apple products costing double or triple, I'd say you are exaggerating. Sure you can cobble together a computer out of parts for significantly less than buying a Mac, but that is not for everyone. Some people want to just take their computer out of the box, plug it in and go. No one provides that experience better than Apple, and it is one of the reasons that people pay a premium for the brand.

    Dustin, If you are such a patriot, which computer and phone do you use that is manufactured with expensive labor in the USA? It is unfair to hold Apple to a higher standard than its competitors who you have no problem subsidizing with your consumer dollars.

    I too would like to see manufacturing return to the USA. But Apple has a fiduciary duty to maximize its profit by all legal means. If you don't like US companies offshoring their labor, then vote for a protectionist government. The jobs will come home when the incentives are in place for it.

    And by the way, it's time to update your tired speaking points. Apple has supported aftermarket two-button mice for well over a decade, and for years Apple's own mice and track pads have been capable of detecting individual right and left clicks. These features are user preferences.

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  8. (Comment reposted for hilarious reasons you'll read all about below.)
    Dear Brett,
    I decided to give Apple the benefit of a doubt and use one of their products for a trial period, namely, the iPod Touch 4G. Predictably enough, I was left with a shitty taste in my mouth from the experience that can only be described as "ripped off," even though I got it from a pawn shop. Here's what I found:
    It has all the WiFi range of your garden variety potato. When you are in range, the Safari browser has a nasty tendency to crash at inopportune moments; for the sake of argument, I've tried posting this same comment four times, only to be refreshed and redirected spontaneously mid-sentence as I wrote it out. Instead, I used the Notepad app and copy/pasted the content here. Every time I switch windows, Safari refreshes the page, losing my spot and making me scroll all the way back to where I was before. This is not limited to Safari, however; it goes for Adobe Reader, Notes, iTunes, and any other program that has a scrollbar. Hard to read ebooks when your device keeps sending you back to the table of contents.
    While running Skype, I noticed if I dare commit the crime of switching between task windows, the iPod signs me out. Not only that, but the whole app crashes constantly - so much, that when I disappear and sign back in, my friends ask me: "iCrash?" Just so you know, the answer is always a resounding "yes."
    The browser also crashes when I use the Google Maps app. Constantly. Even with this in mind, Google Maps is still worlds superior to Apple's half-baked imitation. Nobody can dispute this with a straight face and you know it. Let them play catch-up while their stock falls.
    No Flash. Content inaccessible. Nothing new here.
    Shake-to-Shuffle option for Music is faulty, at best. There are times while jogging when I've shaken it enough to give an infant brain damage and it does nothing. But crossing a street with mild haste, hardly shaking the unit at all, causes it to skip three tracks at a time. Go figure.
    Pandora crashes about as often as you blink.
    The touchscreen has this nasty tendency to mistake typing for "SCROLL TO THE TOP OF THE PAGE AND EXIT THE KEYBOARD." Intuitive.
    Before you go on about how the iPod doesn't have the hardware for this shit or whatever, allow me to make it clear that Apple made these apps available for the iPod by their own volition. In doing so, they openly vouch for the iPod's capability of running these programs competently - in the same way they released their Maps app, I guess. If you've got any issue with these instances happening on an iPod, take it up with Apple. They're the ones selling the shit.
    On patriotism: Not about me and you know it. Nice try. Find one other American computer mogul who verbalized such disdain for the country that made them, to the President himself, and I'll buy an iPad. Can't? That's because Jobs was the only one. If my patriotism is in question, that means yours is too. Did you miss that when you said so, or were you just hoping I would? The world is better off without Jobs. Some icons come with ethics. He stands in their shadows, left wanting, because he was a corrupt son of a bitch with stolen ideas and a pocketful of hypocrisy backed by an admirable team of lying marketers. He regularly screwed Woz over in his petty little bid to look brilliant in a bow tie before as many cameras as he could fit in a single room. Woz is the visionary - Woz is a saint for putting up with Jobs' constant backstabbing bullshit. History will yield this stain whether you like it or not.

    PS -- How's this for an update?: iPhones don't support SD cards. In 2013. Did you happen to pay the price they asked for an iPhone to get a device that doesn't have a port for the most widely-used and practical memory peripheral for mobile devices the world over? More innovation, I guess!
    Feel free to start kissing my ass anytime you've got a break from kissing Apple's.

  9. Some of your problems with your pawn shop iPod could be due to faulty hardware. Did you ever have it checked out by Apple? If your experience was representative, it would be hard to reconcile that with all the glowing reviews, and positive user satisfaction stats. (Maybe your used lemon gave you the hater karma you deserve.)

    Steve Jobs wasn't a saint or infallible, but he did have strong ideas about what kind of products to produce, and motivated his people to excel. His vision was validated by Apple's success under his leadership.

    Telling Obama that "those jobs aren't coming home" was not a statement of disdain, it was a fact of hard cold reality. As a publicly owned company, Apple has a fiduciary duty maximize their profit. Aside from the lower cost of overseas labor, there are other benefits to being close to component manufacturers, including quick turnaround for late engineering changes, and efficient supply chain management. Nothing in the US can match that now or any time soon. With the right government incentives, it might be turned around, but I don't see it happening. Our government (both parties) has shifted away from working class interests.

    Wozniak is a buffoon. He's a nice guy and a brilliant geek engineer, but certainly not a visionary. After leaving Apple he designed an expensive universal remote control called CORE that had a hexadecimal keyboard which could only be mastered by other engineers. It was spectacular flop. He hasn't had a technical success since the Apple II. A man who can write assembly language in his head is not necessarily the best judge of consumer electronics. His opinions about Apple and the competitive marketplace these days should be taken with a grain of salt.

    As far as Apple not supporting SD cards of its phones, I suspect one reason they don't is that it would create a an unacceptable level of complexity. With removable memory, you need to worry about file management. Bits and pieces of your data can reside on one or more SD cards. Backing up is no longer an integral process. Apple is all about tradeoffs --usually in the interest of simplicity. If you don't like it, buy something else. Apple doesn't try to please everyone, and that is one of the reasons their products are successful.

  10. I don't like Apple and i agree with your blog......Case Closed!!!