Apple hourly workers feel helpless under punishing pressure & mistreatment

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2021
Hourly workers in Apple's retail stores and the company's support call centers have revealed how poor conditions have led to struggles to pay rent -- and even to suicide.

Apple Store
Apple Store


Apple employees around the world have already been complaining about pay equity, and the company has now been paying out a $1,000 bonus to some. Now, however, many hourly-paid, frontline workers have revealed how bad conditions are working for Apple.

The Verge spoke with 16 current and former employees of Apple's retail, support and sales teams. Their extensive responses detail an Apple that is allegedly far removed from its public image.

"[Apple says] our soul is our people but it really didn't feel like that to me," said one a former employee.

"Corporate makes decisions based on what they think will work in the stores without talking to people who work in the stores," said another.

"There's never positive intent assumed," said one current employee of how Apple regards the surveys it sends customers about its staff. "It always feels like you're a kid getting in trouble and you're making an excuse."

This reported difference in how customers and frontline staff are regarded is a recurring issue with all of the employees. It extends to how workers say they feel they have no one they can talk or complain to.

In the case of Mark Calivas, an Apple Store employee who ultimately committed suicide, that extended to how his manager treated him. According to The Verge, two former employees say that Calivas was "punished" by this manager, but complaints against her were ignored.

"I filed three, maybe four complaints myself," one said. "I participated in at least six investigations."

There are also reports of how Apple treated such staff over the coronavirus outbreak. At one point, employees were sent Apple shirts as a thank you -- only to find that the shirts were leftovers from Apple's cancelled WWDC 2020.

The recent announcement of a $1,000 bonus has not been universally well received, either.

"I think it feels more like they don't want to get sued for not offering hazard pay after making some of us work in public in the last year," one source told The Verge.

The publication's account is a series of shocking reports, and chief among them is this issue of the suicide of Mark Calivas in September 2021. His friend Jimmy Bailey says that he wants Tim Cook to act.

"Tim, I have emailed you about this issue," he said. "What then, Tim, do you plan on doing? I still see Mark. I see him constantly. But even though I see him, he is gone."

"We were devastated by the death of our colleague and our thoughts are with his loved ones in their time of grief," an Apple spokesperson said to The Verge.

Read on AppleInsider
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 104
    Always remember that 'Genius' you think is doing such a great job repairing your computer, so much better than a third-party repair shop could possibly do, is actually working for about $13/hour.  Apple does not pay store employees a living wage.
    ronnwilliamlondonelijahgdecoderringviclauyyccuriousrun8stevegeeOferhammeroftruthlkrupp
  • Reply 2 of 104
    sully54sully54 Posts: 104member
    As someone who currently works at an apple store, I can confirm that it’s pretty much a sh!t show each shift I work, and I’ve been with apple over 10 years. And it’s not just coming from Apple. Customers are aggressive and rude. So to get it from both sides, it’s demoralizing. 
    ronnmagman1979elijahgdecoderringviclauyyc12Strangerstokyojimucuriousrun8stevegeedarkvader
  • Reply 3 of 104
    The sad thing is the harassment they get on a daily basis. And they’re still good-natured and kind. Every Apple employee I have dealt with either on the phone or in a store have been pleasant, kind, patient and goes over the top to make sure I’m satisfied and actually happy with my product or service. Special shout-out to Fairview Mall in Toronto. 
    williamlondonmagman1979elijahgdecoderringviclauyyc12Strangerscuriousrun8Oferhammeroftruthblastdoor
  • Reply 4 of 104
    KTRKTR Posts: 229member
    darkvader said:
    Always remember that 'Genius' you think is doing such a great job repairing your computer, so much better than a third-party repair shop could possibly do, is actually working for about $13/hour.  Apple does not pay store employees a living wage.
    $13/hr?  What state is that? Here in NYC, the minimum wage is $15/hr.  I just applied to one of the NYC stores.  I doubt they will call me lol

    williamlondondamankasrepressthis
  • Reply 5 of 104
    sully54 said:
    As someone who currently works at an apple store, I can confirm that it’s pretty much a sh!t show each shift I work, and I’ve been with apple over 10 years. And it’s not just coming from Apple. Customers are aggressive and rude. So to get it from both sides, it’s demoralizing. 
    Thank you for your kindness and patience. I experience it every time I go to an Apple Store and if I call Apple Support. I’m so sorry there are assholes in this world. I hope you also get good people to deal with.  :'(
    edited December 2021 magman1979sully54decoderringviclauyycOferhammeroftruthmuthuk_vanalingamuraharabala1234Detnator
  • Reply 6 of 104
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 1,156member
    I have been seeing this for quite a while on Twitter.  There are a whole lot of fruit stand employees who are very unhappy.  Morale is low.  Anyone who has worked in retail knows it’s not always a pleasant environment.  Some customers can be so obnoxious and rude it’s unbelievable.  But these problems seem to extend far beyond rude customers.  There’s something really wrong with the management.  Tim Cook needs to reassess retail leader ship right now.
    curiousrun8darkvaderOferhammeroftruthuraharaMacsWithPenguinsrobabarepressthis
  • Reply 7 of 104
    This attitude of ‘I deserve better’ is literally ruining our societies. I’m not saying they do or don’t deserve better, I don’t know. What I do know is that ungratefulness, jealousy, and entitled attitudes lead to things falling apart. Not building things up.

    It’s not even that long ago that people were grateful for their jobs, even if they weren’t ideal. Working is a privilege, but our culture looks at how other people have it better or just that we think we deserve better. Most people don’t understand that attitude breaks down the culture. A lack of appreciation ruins everything.
    magman1979mike1chaickatoddzrxradarthekatgenovellepatchythepirateget seriousapplguysdw2001
  • Reply 8 of 104
    magman1979magman1979 Posts: 1,253member
    Having worked in retail 12 years ago, I can tell you it's always been a royal shit show of disrespectful, self-important, self-absorbed assholes who come in on an HOURLY basis sometimes, and working retail requires a VERY thick skin, of which MANY people these days just don't have for various reasons, and the pandemic just amplified this 1000x over, as people are routinely losing their shit every day more and more.

    As for management, this doesn't surprise me one bit, and in fact is expected. This is NOT a defence of Apple in any way, shape, or form, but rather trying to point out that bad managers have become a pandemic in and of themselves. I now work for a university, and the managers here are even worse than those on sales floors. Think of them as the asshole customers on the other side of the counter.

    Yes, Apple being the most valuable company on the planet should definitely be paying their employee more...
    Yes, Apple should be doing everything they can to reign in bad actors in management at ALL levels of the company...

    However, throwing money at this, and censuring "bad apples" won't solve the greater issue, and that's the public behaviour. Until people learn those long-lost social attributes like respect, calmness, and understanding, retail will continue to be one of the most brutal occupations you can be in. And things won't remotely get better until this pandemic is behind us, and the shipping crisis is resolved, both of which now look like they'll be with us a LONG time.

    This will also continue to be an issue until the social axiom of profit at all costs of all modern companies is excised in favour of more ethical business models, and people who are the quintessential BMW-driving douchebags who always keep getting promoted to management because they rake in the dough, is stopped.
    sully54h4y3s12Strangerstokyojimuscstrrfp-dogchaickaOferththammeroftruth
  • Reply 9 of 104
    sully54sully54 Posts: 104member
    georgie01 said:
    This attitude of ‘I deserve better’ is literally ruining our societies. I’m not saying they do or don’t deserve better, I don’t know. What I do know is that ungratefulness, jealousy, and entitled attitudes lead to things falling apart. Not building things up.

    It’s not even that long ago that people were grateful for their jobs, even if they weren’t ideal. Working is a privilege, but our culture looks at how other people have it better or just that we think we deserve better. Most people don’t understand that attitude breaks down the culture. A lack of appreciation ruins everything.
    I’m grateful that I have a job to go to. But when a customer berates me because I can’t do a return on an Apple Pencil that has clearly been damaged, or when a customer spits in my coworker’s face simply because he was reminded to keep his mask on in the store, then it becomes a bit harder to wake up in the morning to go to a job where those things are in the realm of possibility. 

    If “deserving better” means being treated with a modicum of human decency, then yeah, we deserve better.  
    edited December 2021 h4y3s12Strangerstokyojimuscstrrfp-dogdarkvaderchaickaOferdamankashammeroftruth
  • Reply 10 of 104
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 2,066member
    sully54 said:
    As someone who currently works at an apple store, I can confirm that it’s pretty much a sh!t show each shift I work, and I’ve been with apple over 10 years. And it’s not just coming from Apple. Customers are aggressive and rude. So to get it from both sides, it’s demoralizing. 
    I heard Amazon is offering $3,000 bonuses.   Probably better to go there.   Probably will get treated better.   Apple will leak and blame it on Angela A.
    get serious
  • Reply 11 of 104
    M68000M68000 Posts: 443member
    I think the layout of the stores can make it a challenging time to concentrate sometimes on what you are doing.  It just seems like everybody is standing around bunched together and looking at what everybody else is doing and constant interruptions.   The layout seems tight in the aisles for example at many stores I’ve been too.  
    darkvader
  • Reply 12 of 104
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,965member
    sully54 said:
    As someone who currently works at an apple store, I can confirm that it’s pretty much a sh!t show each shift I work, and I’ve been with apple over 10 years. And it’s not just coming from Apple. Customers are aggressive and rude. So to get it from both sides, it’s demoralizing. 

    So, you've stayed at a "shit show" for ten years?! Speaks more to you than Apple.

    sully54 said:
    georgie01 said:
    This attitude of ‘I deserve better’ is literally ruining our societies. I’m not saying they do or don’t deserve better, I don’t know. What I do know is that ungratefulness, jealousy, and entitled attitudes lead to things falling apart. Not building things up.

    It’s not even that long ago that people were grateful for their jobs, even if they weren’t ideal. Working is a privilege, but our culture looks at how other people have it better or just that we think we deserve better. Most people don’t understand that attitude breaks down the culture. A lack of appreciation ruins everything.
    I’m grateful that I have a job to go to. But when a customer berates me because I can’t do a return on an Apple Pencil that has clearly been damaged, or when a customer spits in my coworker’s face simply because he was reminded to keep his mask on in the store, then it becomes a bit harder to wake up in the morning to go to a job where those things are in the realm of possibility. 

    If “deserving better” means being treated with a modicum of human decency, then yeah, we deserve better.  

    We get it. Retail sucks. Did it myself for 15 years. Was glad to get out. But I learned invaluable lessons about people that I probably never wold have learned otherwise or certainly not as quickly. Sounds like the issue is more with customers and retail environment in general.

    chaickaradarthekatdewmepatchythepiraterandominternetpersonsteven n.
  • Reply 13 of 104
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,965member


    "[Apple says] our soul is our people but it really didn't feel like that to me," said one a former employee.

    "Corporate makes decisions based on what they think will work in the stores without talking to people who work in the stores," said another.

    "There's never positive intent assumed," said one current employee of how Apple regards the surveys it sends customers about its staff. "It always feels like you're a kid getting in trouble and you're making an excuse."

    There are also reports of how Apple treated such staff over the coronavirus outbreak. At one point, employees were sent Apple shirts as a thank you -- only to find that the shirts were leftovers from Apple's cancelled WWDC 2020.

    "I think it feels more like they don't want to get sued for not offering hazard pay after making some of us work in public in the last year," one source told The Verge.



    These are the ramblings of every employee survey, ever. Low-level employees feel that they are smarter than their bosses or know secrets that management does not.
    Retail is tough and not everyone has the personality to deal with difficult customers in a busy store environment every day. The solution is simple. Find another job!
    chaickaradarthekatdewmeuraharapatchythepirateOctoMonkeyrandominternetpersonthe1maximussteven n.
  • Reply 14 of 104
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,948member
    sully54 said:
    georgie01 said:
    This attitude of ‘I deserve better’ is literally ruining our societies. I’m not saying they do or don’t deserve better, I don’t know. What I do know is that ungratefulness, jealousy, and entitled attitudes lead to things falling apart. Not building things up.

    It’s not even that long ago that people were grateful for their jobs, even if they weren’t ideal. Working is a privilege, but our culture looks at how other people have it better or just that we think we deserve better. Most people don’t understand that attitude breaks down the culture. A lack of appreciation ruins everything.
    I’m grateful that I have a job to go to. But when a customer berates me because I can’t do a return on an Apple Pencil that has clearly been damaged, or when a customer spits in my coworker’s face simply because he was reminded to keep his mask on in the store, then it becomes a bit harder to wake up in the morning to go to a job where those things are in the realm of possibility. 

    If “deserving better” means being treated with a modicum of human decency, then yeah, we deserve better.  
    Spitting on someone is the same as assaulting someone.  I hope management at least supports you and arrests any "customer" for doing such a barbaric thing.  Many Apple stores I patronize have actual police officers guarding the stores.  I would think an arrest is only moments away for some POS that degenerates an employee.  Disgusting.

    12StrangersscstrrfdarkvaderchaickaOferhammeroftruthradarthekaturaharaget seriousmagman1979
  • Reply 15 of 104
    They should have reached out to the Apple vendors too, they’re doing worse than the Apple employees. They deal with the same, with even more demands. 
    12Strangersdarkvader
  • Reply 16 of 104
    There are literally two Apple stores in my area
    serving over 3 million people.  It’s nuts!!!  Every time I get a survey, I put in that they need to open more stores in our area.   They are doing the employee and customers a total disservice.  Lines are out the door and forget getting a repair without an appointment. 
    radarthekatBeatsmagman1979Dogperson
  • Reply 17 of 104
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,269member
    darkvader said:
    Always remember that 'Genius' you think is doing such a great job repairing your computer, so much better than a third-party repair shop could possibly do, is actually working for about $13/hour.  Apple does not pay store employees a living wage.
    In the end, it's still a retail store. What retail store pays "an honest living wage"? Unless the pay was reduced, I don't think the "genius" is being paid that low. They were some of the highest paid individuals in the store outside of managers and such. 
    edited December 2021 patchythepirateBeatsmike1magman1979randominternetperson
  • Reply 18 of 104
    former Apple Genius here. the hours are very long, the pay is mediocre, the stress is high and the environment is chaotic. while that’s true all over retail, Apple is special and it’s pretty heartbreaking to know that the situation I lived through 15+ years ago is still happening.   
    darkvaderOferhammeroftruthmagman1979curiousrun8Dogperson
  • Reply 19 of 104
    KTR said:
    darkvader said:
    Always remember that 'Genius' you think is doing such a great job repairing your computer, so much better than a third-party repair shop could possibly do, is actually working for about $13/hour.  Apple does not pay store employees a living wage.
    $13/hr?  What state is that? Here in NYC, the minimum wage is $15/hr.  I just applied to one of the NYC stores.  I doubt they will call me lol


    I'm sure they'll pay more in NYC.  I doubt it'll be a living wage.

    TN minimum wage is $7.25/hour.  A living wage here is around $25/hour.
    Oferkurai_kagekirashi
  • Reply 20 of 104
    sully54 said:
    As someone who currently works at an apple store, I can confirm that it’s pretty much a sh!t show each shift I work, and I’ve been with apple over 10 years. And it’s not just coming from Apple. Customers are aggressive and rude. So to get it from both sides, it’s demoralizing. 
    This isn’t a flippant comment so please don’t take it the wrong way. If you feel like this, why don’t you leave? You vote with your feet and walk out the door. If you’re outside of NY or CA demand for just about every type of job, especially retail, is huge right now. 
    radarthekatlkruppget seriouscharlesn9secondkox2ikir
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