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Apple putting the squeeze on retail employees as some stores see traffic double

post #1 of 74
Thread Starter 
With sales booming in line with a rapid rate of innovative product introductions, Apple's international retail chain has come under heavy pressure from a striking increase in customer traffic, prompting the company to initiate tighter scheduling restrictions for employees who'll now be required to spend more of their weekend downtime on the job.

Demand for Apple's products has resulted in a steep uptick in visitor traffic among the company's retail stores, with some locations reporting a doubling of their traffic over the past four years, according to a report by IFOAppleStore.

Following the appointment of a new retail head, Apple's stores are reportedly "changing weekend work requirements, and increasing the mandatory minimum hours for part-timers," a new policy that hasn't gone over well with some retail workers.

Current full-time workers are reportedly now "required to work at least one weekend day each week." However, due to the increased store traffic Apple is said to be gearing up to start counting Friday as a "weekend day," and is stipulating that even full timers, including Family Room and Red Zone Specialists, Creatives and Geniuses, must work two of the three weekend days, when visitors peak.

The report notes, "full-time employees must already accommodate Apple by being available to work every hour their store is open, up to 40 hours per week. Part-timers must also offer wide availability, but only for a certain 40-hour window determined by management."

Under the revised rules, which are said to become effective April 15, part-time workers' minimum weekly hours are being boosted from 16 hours to 24 hours. Apple reportedly said it would "try to accommodate time-off requests (made three weeks in advance)," but the new rules are causing some employees to consider whether or not to quit their employment with Apple.

Apple's retail workers in the US and in other affluent areas face the opposite criticisms of its contract manufacturing partners located largely in China. There, worker advocates are fighting to reduce the number of hours, particularly overtime hours, that individuals are asked to work.

After winning concessions from Foxconn management to limit the numbers of overtime hours workers can perform in a month, some workers have complained that they want to work long hours where they are paid more for overtime.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 74
Sounds reasonable to me. People should be glad that they have jobs.

If anybody doesn't like it, then quit.
post #3 of 74
FWIW - Apple, time to rethink CHANNEL partner relationships. You're dinky stores are nice, but weren't designed to handle the traffic...
post #4 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Sounds reasonable to me. People should be glad that they have jobs.

If anybody doesn't like it, then quit.

Dude, you ever work retail during Christmas? Imagine that 24 x7 at Apple. It's some crazy stress.
post #5 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Sounds reasonable to me. People should be glad that they have jobs.

If anybody doesn't like it, then quit.

This^

Not news. This is how retail works.
post #6 of 74
Hmmm...

First, Apple's problem with having too much money.

Second, now its stores are too small.

Boy, I wonder how many companies and retailers out there would love to have these kind problems.

I guess Ron Johnson left Apple a bit too early.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LuxoM3 View Post

FWIW - Apple, time to rethink CHANNEL partner relationships. You're dinky stores are nice, but weren't designed to handle the traffic...
Originally Posted by Granmastak: Labor unions managed to kill manufacturing a long time ago with their unreasonable demands. Now the people they were trying to protect, are out of a job.
Reply
Originally Posted by Granmastak: Labor unions managed to kill manufacturing a long time ago with their unreasonable demands. Now the people they were trying to protect, are out of a job.
Reply
post #7 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by LuxoM3 View Post

Dude, you ever work retail during Christmas? Imagine that 24 x7 at Apple. It's some crazy stress.

Sure, I've had a few crappy jobs before. Luckily for me, that was a long time ago.

I've more than paid my dues and I've put in some crazy hours in the past and I don't feel sorry for anybody stuck with a crappy job today. Like I said, they can quit if they don't like it.

Somebody shouldn't get into retail, if they are fussy about their own hours or if they're looking for lots of weekend time.
post #8 of 74
You are correct. I've worked in retail in my college years. I remember working the late nights into 2 a.m. and giving up my weekends.

It's a dog eat dog environment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tarfungo View Post

This^

Not news. This is how retail works.
Originally Posted by Granmastak: Labor unions managed to kill manufacturing a long time ago with their unreasonable demands. Now the people they were trying to protect, are out of a job.
Reply
Originally Posted by Granmastak: Labor unions managed to kill manufacturing a long time ago with their unreasonable demands. Now the people they were trying to protect, are out of a job.
Reply
post #9 of 74
I've worked retail in my college days, mostly at stores pitching products I didn't personally really like. Yes Christmas time is busy and you spend a lot of time on your feet.

Too bad Apple wasn't in the 90s what they are today. If I'm going to work retail, an Apple store would be my first pick. There is a certain intrinsic gratification helping someone purchase something they will enjoy. And, that only comes with selling products you like.
post #10 of 74
We need an investigation into unfair labor practices in Apple retail.

/s

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #11 of 74
I wonder if Mike Daisey will incorporate this into his next show?
post #12 of 74
Hire more people. Don't need an MBA to figure this out. Duh!

With Apple's global market share, it should not be difficult to find people who are already somewhat familiar with Apple's products. Some training needed.

Don't be cheap. Spend some of that $100 billion. Clearly unhappy workers make for bad customer experience.
post #13 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by easy288 View Post

Hire more people. Don't need an MBA to figure this out. Duh!

With Apple's global market share, it should not be difficult to find people who are already somewhat familiar with Apple's products. Some training needed.

Don't be cheap. Spend some of that $100 billion. Clearly unhappy workers make for bad customer experience.

And be bombarded with 20 more bodies inside the already canned fish environment?

Not.
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post #14 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Sounds reasonable to me. People should be glad that they have jobs.

If anybody doesn't like it, then quit.

This isn't china. There are labor laws in this country.

Forty hours a week is enough. People need weekends off to spend time with their families and remember why we do what we do.

You'll find out what I mean when you're old enough to go to work someday.
post #15 of 74
As such I can see Apple spending billions this year on replacement stores.

Honestly the last time I went to an Apple store just finding room to stand was an issue. This is not a good customer experience. So yeah the stores are to small, frankly they don't even have all of Apples products properly displayed. Items like AppleTV, Mac Pro, and even the Mini are hidden away out of sight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by uguysrnuts View Post

Hmmm...

First, Apple's problem with having too much money.

Second, now its stores are too small.

Boy, I wonder how many companies and retailers out there would love to have these kind problems.

I guess Ron Johnson left Apple a bit too early.

Maybe he was the problem! Really it does look like very poor planning on Apples part.
post #16 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by easy288 View Post

Hire more people. Don't need an MBA to figure this out. Duh!

With Apple's global market share, it should not be difficult to find people who are already somewhat familiar with Apple's products. Some training needed.

Don't be cheap. Spend some of that $100 billion. Clearly unhappy workers make for bad customer experience.

That's not how businesses work here in America. You are supposed to squeeze employees for every penny possible. Then divide up all the profits at the top to executives and shareholders, duh!
post #17 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Sounds reasonable to me. People should be glad that they have jobs.

If anybody doesn't like it, then quit.

If Apple cares about customer experience, that's the stupidest formulation they could possibly work under. A poorly treated workforce cannot magically result in good customer service:

1. Those who stay will be stressed out.
2. Those who leave will be the best ones, by definition, since they are the ones who can most easily find a job with better conditions.
3. Poor working conditions leads to high turnover. High turnover means lots of new staff who don't know the products as well.

Let's recall that John Browett headed Dixons, and Dixons has a terrible reputation for customer service. If his formula for treating workers is the idiotic "take it or leave it" approach you advocate, now we know why.
post #18 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by easy288 View Post

Hire more people.


Filling already stuffed stores with more people working perhaps 10 hours a week isn't really all that great a solution. Especially for employees that would like to have more hours (same complaint as the Foxconn workers)

And if you look at the comments on the original article there's a guy (girl?) claiming to be an employee that says that some of these changes aren't changes at all, they have been around for years. Or are just wrong. Like the part timers having 16 hours of availability a week. This guy claims that's been that way for several years and it's not hours at all. It's actually days. they have to have 3 days of totally open time to work as needed. And apparently in at least some areas (I'm guessing big ones like LA and NYC) even part timers have to have one day on the weekend they can work. I suppose to be fair to everyone. I mean it would suck to be a full timer and having to work all weekend while the part timers get to party or vice versa

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #19 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by tarfungo View Post

This^

Not news. This is how retail works.

Yes, but when Apple does it, it's a SCANDAL!

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #20 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by easy288 View Post

Hire more people. Don't need an MBA to figure this out. Duh!

With Apple's global market share, it should not be difficult to find people who are already somewhat familiar with Apple's products. Some training needed.

Don't be cheap. Spend some of that $100 billion. Clearly unhappy workers make for bad customer experience.



Apple will do whatever yields them the highest total profits.

Hiring more workers is not the correct strategy. Unhappy workers can be fired instantly and replaced. Redundant reserves of workers cost money for things like benefits and accounting costs. While either strategy has costs, Apple chose the former as the most likely path to maximum profits. My guess is that Apple knows what it is doing. Most retail works this way.
post #21 of 74
I worked at an apple store... they work you to death... like the user said you can quite...I would say stay and become a union... Then the entire squeeze will stop... That's how retail workers, change Apple
post #22 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by LuxoM3 View Post

FWIW - Apple, time to rethink CHANNEL partner relationships. You're dinky stores are nice, but weren't designed to handle the traffic...

Good luck with that. Apple couldn't careless about partner relationships besides maybe countries where they have no presence and that will only last until they open a store in that place.

/Worked at an Apple Specialist for 10 years.
post #23 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Obama View Post

This isn't china. There are labor laws in this country.

Forty hours a week is enough. People need weekends off to spend time with their families and remember why we do what we do.

You'll find out what I mean when you're old enough to go to work someday.

Says the guy with the name "Obama"
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post #24 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Yes, but when Apple does it, it's a SCANDAL!

Apple is held to a higher standard because it's supposed to be better. You can't have it both ways. Either Apple pursues excellence or mediocrity.

You can't pursue excellence in customer experience if you are a mediocre employer, because only mediocre people will be willing to work for you.

I am not surprised at the news. Browett has an operations background, he's a squeezer. He started squeezing.
post #25 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by sorryrider View Post

I worked at an apple store... they work you to death... like the user said you can quite...I would say stay and become a union... Then the entire squeeze will stop... That's how retail workers, change Apple

Unionizing is the worst thing to do..Why add a middle man who also has a fee?
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post #26 of 74
OH GAWD NO! SAY IT AIN'T SO! Down with Capitalism! Storm the Cupertino campuses! Find Tim Cook and put him on trial!

Won't somebody please think of the children! (With a quick homage to "The Simpsons.")
post #27 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

We need an investigation into unfair labor practices in Apple retail.

/s

Investigation? Nah, just have NPR and Mike Daisey make up a bunch of lies about this, and feed it to the "blame America first" crowd and the "Apple is all powerful and therefore corrupt" crowd, who are predisposed to believing it.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #28 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Obama View Post

This isn't china. There are labor laws in this country.

Yeah and most of those laws are why so much production has gone to China.
Quote:

Forty hours a week is enough. People need weekends off to spend time with their families and remember why we do what we do.

Are you kidding? Fourth hours a week isn't enough for anybody, I see guys busting their asses making far more than retail clerks to make ends meet. Beyond that they weren't saying that 40 hours per week is mandatory OT just that workers would have to accept being scheduled on the weekends. Now this being retail you should realize why they need help on the weekends.

So unless you want to see all the malls, stores and shops shut down on the weekends get a grip. This isn't much different than the restaurant business where such are often closed on Mondays or Tuesdays. Sure people need time off, however it isn't very smart to close shop on the days when you can make your money.
Quote:

You'll find out what I mean when you're old enough to go to work someday.

Let's cut the BS here. It would indeed be a different world if everybody worked 9to5, Monday thru Friday, but reality pops up it's ugly head here. From the standpoint of retail nobody would get any shopping done at at all. Going out on the town after work wouldn't be a possibility either. Important facilities like hospitals could not function either. I'm sorry that you have to have your wishful thinking challenged but considering your handle "Obama" it needs to be.
post #29 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alonso Perez View Post

Apple is held to a higher standard because it's supposed to be better. You can't have it both ways. Either Apple pursues excellence or mediocrity.

You can't pursue excellence in customer experience if you are a mediocre employer, because only mediocre people will be willing to work for you.

I am not surprised at the news. Browett has an operations background, he's a squeezer. He started squeezing.

Apple could double everyone's pay and ask for half the hours, and it would still be a scandal. And if DED wrote the piece, he would tie in some comment about Android or patents somehow.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #30 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Obama View Post

This isn't china. There are labor laws in this country.

Forty hours a week is enough. People need weekends off to spend time with their families and remember why we do what we do.

You'll find out what I mean when you're old enough to go to work someday.

You're mostly at the golf course. I am a much harder worker than you and also a more productive member of society in general than you will ever be.
post #31 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by LuxoM3 View Post

Dude, you ever work retail during Christmas? Imagine that 24 x7 at Apple. It's some crazy stress.

Exactly! The San Francisco Bay Area could double the size of virtually every store (especially in the South Bay) and double the number of stores.

I remember visiting the Valley Fair Mall Apple Store to purchase a G4 iMac. Fantastic shopping experience. The Valley Fair Mall Apple Store is now one of the worst shopping experiences imaginable. Every hour of every day of every week looks like last minute shopping for Christmas and can take 5 minutes just to walk to the Genius Bar.
post #32 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by sorryrider View Post

I worked at an apple store... they work you to death... like the user said you can quite...I would say stay and become a union... Then the entire squeeze will stop... That's how retail workers, change Apple

Or just go work at the Microsoft Store across the street... It's just like the Apple Store, only it's never busy in there, so you can take off every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #33 of 74
Apple Store jobs are highly coveted and are often filled by long-time Apple faithful who happen to use Apple's products on a daily basis as freelancers in graphic arts, video, etc. I interviewed with a local Apple Store and thought it would a great place to work and have a small income base to pad the low times in my freelance work, and possibly be a source of health insurance, not to mention the discounts and freebies. Of course, freelance is fickle and by the time they called me about an opening as a Genius, I was a bit too busy too take it.

As a cool-aid drinking member of the cult of mac since 1987, I'm always helping my friends and family with their iOS devices and MacBooks. And I enjoy it. Sure, doing it 8 hours a day 5 days a week might get tedious. Also, as a freelancer, weekends don't hold much meaning as they did when I worked at a company on salary. If there's work, I work. If there's no work, I do something else. I could work all weekend if I had the work, and often do. Sometimes I do my best work from 9 p.m - midnight. So I don't feel the weekend requirement, especially in retail, is odd or burdensome at all.

As for the crowded stores - I love them! I think it's fantastic to go into a Mac store and see if full of people shopping, playing or getting help. The Apple retail experience is fantastic. Even in a packed store, if I need to buy something, I can usually ask any one of a half dozen associates who can orchestrate my transaction from anywhere in the store. They'll either go get what I need and bring it to me, or have someone else bring it out. With Applecare, I make appointments if I have a problem (a serious one if I can't fix it myself), and rarely have to wait more than a few minutes for help when I arrive. So don't confuse a busy store with poor customer service. To the contrary, that just means more people are shopping and enjoying the process. Sure, some are upset because they don't know USB from their... well anyway...

Our local Apple Store should be enlarged though. It's definitely got to be one of the smaller stores - one level, maybe 25-30 feet wide and 3 of those display tables deep, plus the genius bar. It's not even 1/4th the size of the massive Magnificent Mile store in Chicago. I was hoping when the gelato store next door closed that they expand out into that space. Alas, not yet...

While I can see the benefit of being in Target, Best Buy, and Walmart, I question whether their staff are as knowledgeable and helpful as those in Apple stores.
post #34 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alonso Perez View Post

If Apple cares about customer experience, that's the stupidest formulation they could possibly work under. A poorly treated workforce cannot magically result in good customer service:

Nothing stupid at all about it, it is a method of covering the needs of the store when traffic is highest.
Quote:

1. Those who stay will be stressed out.

Give me a break, I've been in enough Apple sotres to realize nobody there needs to be stressed out. If they are they are in the wrong business.
Quote:

2. Those who leave will be the best ones, by definition, since they are the ones who can most easily find a job with better conditions.

Hey buddy, it is retail not a career! The best ones always go on to something bigger and better.
Quote:

3. Poor working conditions leads to high turnover. High turnover means lots of new staff who don't know the products as well.

What is poor about an Apple Retail Store? Let me suggest something try opening up your own store of whatever type and see how much time it takes from you.
Quote:

Let's recall that John Browett headed Dixons, and Dixons has a terrible reputation for customer service. If his formula for treating workers is the idiotic "take it or leave it" approach you advocate, now we know why.

It is doubtful he has had a big influence upon this decision. Most likely it is regional manager pushing up from below driving this change. Why, because the coverage is needed.

Again this really amounts to nothing, anybody not willing to work a gravy job like this needs to go find work elsewhere.
post #35 of 74
+1

5 chars.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Or just go work at the Microsoft Store across the street... It's just like the Apple Store, only it's never busy in there, so you can take off every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Originally Posted by Granmastak: Labor unions managed to kill manufacturing a long time ago with their unreasonable demands. Now the people they were trying to protect, are out of a job.
Reply
Originally Posted by Granmastak: Labor unions managed to kill manufacturing a long time ago with their unreasonable demands. Now the people they were trying to protect, are out of a job.
Reply
post #36 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flash_beezy View Post

Unionizing is the worst thing to do..Why add a middle man who also has a fee?

Because the fee is small compared to the benefit received?
post #37 of 74

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #38 of 74
I'm an RPN and every full timer works two weekends a month. New hires are all hired on a part-time or casual basis which means no one ever gets the opportunity to complain about too many work hours let alone over time.
post #39 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alonso Perez View Post

If Apple cares about customer experience, that's the stupidest formulation they could possibly work under. A poorly treated workforce cannot magically result in good customer service:

1. Those who stay will be stressed out.
2. Those who leave will be the best ones, by definition, since they are the ones who can most easily find a job with better conditions.
3. Poor working conditions leads to high turnover. High turnover means lots of new staff who don't know the products as well.

Let's recall that John Browett headed Dixons, and Dixons has a terrible reputation for customer service. If his formula for treating workers is the idiotic "take it or leave it" approach you advocate, now we know why.

I agree! This is an unfortunate reality for people at many large corporations\
post #40 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by beakernx01 View Post

While I can see the benefit of being in Target, Best Buy, and Walmart, I question whether their staff are as knowledgeable and helpful as those in Apple stores.

The iPhones at the local Target are non-functioning.

I was at the local Sam's Club yesterday. Someone had purposely sabotaged the iPhones which I fixed. I returned ten minutes later to find someone had sabotaged the iPhones again. The salespeople had quizzical expressions which led me to believe they had sabotaged the devices.
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