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I'm relatively new to retail, working at Apple for just over two years. No, it is not the easiest of jobs, but it could be so much worse.
Maybe I'm really lucky. My management at my store has been great to me and encouraging of others. Sure, there are some people who whine about everything, but I'm convinced they'd do that anywhere. Customers here in NYC come from all over the globe. The overwhelming majority are nice, polite, and appreciative of our efforts.
During the pandemic, the company not only didn't lay anyone off, but they kept on seasonals who were supposed to leave at the end of March 2020. We were paid throughout the shut down and many of us- including myself- had the chance to work at home doing phone support for sales, orders, and trouble shooting.
We've been provided with masks (designed by the company and so popular, customers constantly ask if we sell them), with COVID tests- first it was PCR tests FedEx'ed to our homes. I had results in generally 48-60 hours. Now, it is rapid tests that we do on the first day of our work week and we've been told to add 20 minutes to our clocked in time for that test. We get discounts on merchandise. We get stock at 15% off the market price at the beginning or end of a purchase period- which ever is lower. (On January 31, many employees will be buying shares at about $123 a piece.). I get one sick hour for every 30 hours I work- so around 4 per month. Have good attendance like me, and it piles up pretty quickly.
There are many chances to move within the company. Career experiences let you try other positions. In my short time, I've seen dozens of retail employees move up the at ladder within the store or to business sales or to corporate and development roles.
Is it perfect? No. We are on our feet all day. We are have to deal with survey results that make you want to hunt the customer down and find out what they were thinking. (Like the review a colleague of mine received- a 2 [out of 5] because he didn't smile. Obviously, customer idiot didn't realize we can't see smiles through masks.). We are always conscious of metrics like connected phones, AppleCare+ sales, business intros, etc. In store zoning could be better. Standing "On Point"- welcoming customers into a store and finding out what they are there for- for over two hours at times is mind numbing. I've said several times, that zoning should never be more than 90 minutes, unless someone wants to be there.
But does anyone think that any other large retail company is any different? I may be new to retail but my wife worked in high end retail for over 30 years, I knew exactly what to expect, and overall, I haven't had many issues to gripe about at all.
Finally, to the poster who claims the average Apple store employee is making $13 an hour. I'd like to know where they got that info. Salary does differ by market. Here in NYC, I started at $20 an hour two years ago. A starting Specialist here makes a bit more than that now. I've been told that a neighboring market in New Jersey, the pay is about a dollar an hour less. No idea if that is actually so though. In any event, I really doubt anyone at Apple is making just $13 an hour.
Apple isn't perfect, but if you do your job it is pretty damn good.
Remember, the grass isn't greener on the other side of the fence. The problem is, everyone is looking at a green fence.