I’m a Mac user. I’m a Mac fan. I’m not, as far as I’m concerned, a Mac fanboy. I do however, read some Mac centric and Mac fanatic blogs. TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog is one. I often scan the feed, as it tends to be subject matter I’m not interested in. I’ve ranted before about some of the fanaticism and over the top coverage before.
So this evening, I was scanning some feeds, and the see the headline Putting the Apple Store Geniuses to the Test and was immediately intrigued. Several years ago, I worked in a retail Apple store. It was quite enlightening in many, many ways, but for me, not really a good experience. However, I did meet some very nice people, some very smart people, and learned a lot.
That said, to call all employees of an Apple Store Geniuses, is ignorant, as the Geniuses, as pointed out in the comments of the post, are trained techs who do not do sales. Of course, they can do sales for customers who come into the Genius Bar for issues, and wind up needing something, but it’s not their primary job description. And as pointed out, Mac Specialists (the sales team) are generally knowledgeable in niché areas. I worked with some extremely knowledgeable people who specialized in graphics, music, networking, you name it. Everyone generally knew each persons strengths, and when they ran into a question they didn’t know, they knew who to ask, or as also pointed out, were savvy enough to Google search to help the customer. I’m sure it’s possible during the holidays that temporary seasonal employees might not be as versed or familiar with everyone, and a customer might not get the technical answers from such an employee. But my experience was that those types of employees also were quick to explain their unfamiliarity with technical issues, and still sought out more experienced Specialists to assist the customer.
All of that said, it’s very disappointing that the author of this post on TUAW didn’t know what he was talking about, and as the post title states, certainly gives me pause to the credibility of the site, and makes me wonder if there’s a certain quota of posts they need to write, and was at a loss to find a relevant topic that he could bust out. Which again, gives me pause to the site’s credibility of a reliable source of pertinent Apple related news.
Also, one thing that I hadn’t seen mentioned in the comments, as everyone was coming to the defense of the Specialists, and pointing out that there was no commission based sales, is that isn’t entirely true. This might have changed, but when I worked for an Apple Store, there were quarterly bonuses for full-time employees based on store sales goals. Generally speaking however, the commenters are right, there isn’t any emphasis on over selling equipment. Meaning, don’t push a Mac Book Pro on a family looking for a laptop for their kid heading to college who’ll only be doing email, word processing, and web surfing, along with the obvious music stuff. However, one of the biggest turn-offs that I dealt with, was the huge emphasis on pushing .Mac on all customers, even if you knew they didn’t need it, or understand it. Certainly since then, .Mac has grown in it’s uses, and I can see how maybe it’s slightly more attractive for users, but then it was crap, and I felt dirty pushing it on everyone.
Anyway, this wasn’t meant to be a post slagging Apple retail, rather as a response to the post and comments in the aforementioned post. Also note, this post was started late last night, and finished today without re-visiting the post to see if the author has amended or commented about his perspective, though my feed reader does pick up edited posts, and it hasn’t come through. Ultimately though, there should be some level of responsibility and editing in a “pro” blog such as that one, part of a bigger network of blogs whom make a pretty penny I’m sure in advertising. Shame on you Blogsmith and TUAW for shoddy writing and editing.