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Old Nov 28, 2012, 10:05 PM   #1
Minhimalism
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Thumbs down Why won't Apple properly educate their 'geniuses'?

Making this thread to bring up something I've run into one too many times at the Apple store recently.. a lack of knowledge on the part of the geniuses. I'm honestly incredibly tired of being put down and treated like someone who knows NOTHING about my iPhone.

Case 1 : A woman was asking a guy in the store if they had any unlocked iPhone 5s for sale, and he said no we don't offer any iPhone 5s unlocked, sorry. So I decided to help her out by telling her if she can find a store with Verizon ones in stock or even AT&T ones, and as long as she buys the latter outright, they'll be unlocked. The retail guy cut back into our conversation and said "That's not true, you're severely misinformed. I tested a Verizon phone myself and none of them are unlocked. Don't spread rumors." Of course, the woman believed me and thanked me for my help and went to go see if other stores had devices she could purchase outright.

Case 2 : Every damn time I walk into the Apple store at a certain mall near me, they question my phone SO much. It's an unlocked AT&T one (through unlock_fusion) but of course I don't tell them that. It's not how mine was unlocked- it's that they treat me WORSE because it's unlocked. They don't EVER believe me when I say a device-only AT&T phone is unlocked, and today my genius was even surprised I had a nano sim because she thought T-Mobile had nothing to do with iPhones. After trying to convince her that unlocks are through IMEI and all of that stuff.. she even asked me if I work for Apple and how I knew all of this information.

My question is.. why do Geniuses / retail people have to belittle their customers? Shouldn't you not argue with the customer regardless? In the case of the woman who wanted a phone.. he outright SENT away a potential customer. Not only did he refuse to admit they were unlocked, he recommended she find a DIFFERENT phone even though she want an iPhone 5. I just don't get it sometimes. Something as simple as a memo from Apple saying that Verizon phones are unlocked or AT&T outright ones are unlocked would help SO much because geniuses always tell me unlocks are illegal and only done through jailbreaks. It's ridiculous.

(This goes without saying but yes, I have had some truly pleasant experiences with geniuses, but this is about the ones who think their customers know nothing.. when it turns out they know even less.)
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Old Nov 28, 2012, 10:15 PM   #2
upnorth85
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I had called the Minnetonka Apple stores today to ask if they had "device only" non discounted phones for sale. She told me that Apple does not sell phones to other than those on AT&T and Verizon etc and they are yet to receive unlocked phones. I told her that my understanding is that one can buy a full priced AT&T phone and restore on itunes to unlock the device and then use on T-mobile. She clearly told me that they only sell AT&T phones and Apple has not yet started selling unlocked phones. I should wait until Apple sells such phones. So yes, I found it hard to believe that even after thousands of people having activated iPhone 5s on T-mobile the Apple stores is still unaware of how to unlock the phone and worse that Verizon phones have the GSM part unlocked from Apple itself.
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Old Nov 28, 2012, 10:18 PM   #3
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I know walking into any business and meddling in between the staff and other customers is bad etiquette. If u do this in a third world country the shopkeeper will ask you to leave.

So geniuses dumb, but that's their business. If u are really that concerned, write to Apple. Tell them, Hey, I own 100,000 of your shares and you are doing it all wrong!
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Old Nov 28, 2012, 10:22 PM   #4
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The prob is those workers are taught that there is no factory unlocked iphones right now and that's what they're supposed to tell everyone.
They have to follow the rules given by above. Even though there is workarounds that we all know that in reality you can get an unlocked device. But since Apple is not officially selling a factory unlocked iphone 5 yet that's what they're supposed to say and do while doing their jobs.
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Old Nov 28, 2012, 10:23 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Mrbobb View Post
I know walking into any business and meddling in between the staff and other customers is bad etiquette. If u do this in a third world country the shopkeeper will ask you to leave.

So geniuses dumb, but that's their business. If u are really that concerned, write to Apple. Tell them, Hey, I own 100,000 of your shares and you are doing it all wrong!
That's the beauty of not being in a third world country. We can call the workers out on their BS if they are feeding lies. I for one, would definitely cut in if I heard a store employee anywhere feeding a customer false information.
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Old Nov 28, 2012, 10:24 PM   #6
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The "genius bar" concept & presentation originated from the massive ego of Steve Jobs & the Culture he created within Apple from day one. Long before any Apple stores existed, they freely gave employees big ego inflating titles like "Rocket Scientist" (to an average engineer) printed right on his revered Apple business card.

I know this as fact, having resided in Los Gatos, a town where lots of Apple employees lived & socialized. Most local merchants rolled their eyes at the sight them, because so many Apple employees were mini Steves that acted pompous, arrogant, rude & difficult. It was Apple culture & they made sure you knew it.

Fast forward to the genius. No matter how they're trained, the underlying attitude is they are better than the customer. That's a fundamental characteristic that sets the tone. If the genius is an intelligent reasonable person, then egos not an issue. But if the person is insecure & wants to play the role, then the customer is in for an unforgettable experience.
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Old Nov 28, 2012, 10:26 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Applejuiced View Post
The prob is those workers are taught that there is no factory unlocked iphones right now and that's what they're supposed to tell everyone.
They have to follow the rules given by above. Even though there is workarounds that we all know that in reality you can get an unlocked device. But since Apple is not officially selling a factory unlocked iphone 5 yet that's what they're supposed to say and do while doing their jobs.
This.

The Apple Store is just that, the Apple Store. It's not an Apple Hobby Store where the employees might be more interested in such things and/ or willing to cooperate on such pursuits.

That's all I've got to say, the iPhone subforum is always seven different kinds of ****ed up.
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Old Nov 28, 2012, 10:26 PM   #8
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"Genius" is not the job title for the employees on the shop floor that sell things and answer general product related questions. Their job title is "Specialist".

They are also not told anything more about the products than what's publicly available on apple.com. And since nothing on apple.com indicates that some phones are actually unlocked, the employees don't "officially" know that. Even if they did know that (from reading forums, first hand experience, etc), since it's not on apple.com, they're not allowed to position it that way.

There's absolutely no reason for them to be rude to you, or argue with a customer. That's not how they're trained, and the management at that store should be doing a better job of watching customer interactions if it's really as bad as you say.
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Old Nov 28, 2012, 10:28 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Minhimalism View Post
Case 2 : Every damn time I walk into the Apple store at a certain mall near me, they question my phone SO much.
Every time I walk into the Apple stores near me, the Apple store staff don't even *care* that my iPhone is unlocked... though it's probably because I don't go waving it in their faces. Why even bring it up? I can understand they might wonder what's up if your iPhone has an issue and you're bringing it in for service, but if that's "every time" you go into an Apple store, and "every time" is more than once, then there's probably other issues here.

Quote:
My question is.. why do Geniuses / retail people have to belittle their customers?
Generally, if you don't go picking a fight with the store staff, they won't pick a fight with you.
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Old Nov 28, 2012, 10:34 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by scaredpoet View Post
Every time I walk into the Apple stores near me, the Apple store staff don't even *care* that my iPhone is unlocked... though it's probably because I don't go waving it in their faces. Why even bring it up? I can understand they might wonder what's up if your iPhone has an issue and you're bringing it in for service, but if that's "every time" you go into an Apple store, and "every time" is more than once, then there's probably other issues here.



Generally, if you don't go picking a fight with the store staff, they won't pick a fight with you.
The thing is I don't wave it in their faces. I was getting my phone swapped for a malfunctioning power button. The first thing she said to me was literally "I can swap it for you but since we haven't authorized unlocks the phone we give you will be locked." She even claimed she had to ask a manager if she is allowed to even swap an unlocked phone and apparently they "made an exception for me."

It's not EVERYTIME, just often enough for me to think it's seriously an issue. This is concentrated to one store around me though- the other one I frequent is super friendly and accommodating in comparison.
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Old Nov 28, 2012, 11:14 PM   #11
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The worst case that you will ever hear of a genius ever playing up came to me about 2 weeks ago. Most of my other experiences of they years had been fine.

Went in due to a uneven backlighting issue with my iphone 5. Genius saw the issue before I even had a chance to point it out (it was that bad), and immediately told me to wait for another genius to organise a replacement. Other genius comes out, also see's the issue immediately, and then, kid you not said:

"Ok, this one is defective and I'll swap it out, but I can't guarantee that the replacement will be free of faults. If you're new one is worse, you're just going to have to live with it, no matter how bad it is".

Sure enough the refurbished one I received had a home button that felt like it was about to fall off, a screen that was popped of its enclosure in the top right corner to the point where you can actually lift it and see inside the phone, and a screen that consisted of a mix of yellow, green or blue depending what part of the screen you were looking at.

I got the impression that the genius has some sort of personal issue and so did not want to deal with him again and this time I went home and called Apple customer service, described the issues with the replacement and told him that the genius won't allow another replacement no matter how bad the issue was.

The customer service representative was PISSED, and immediately arranged a replacement, and also apologised for the genius telling me that in the first place.

Not only was it a breach of their own policies, but it was quite obviously a breach of statutory requirement under law to honor the 1 warranty. the were clear faults, not OCD pet peeves. I wonder how many other people that douche told that "they can't change it again, no matter how defective it is, because its already been changed once", and the poor person lived the faulty replacement.

When a store front is packed all day long with customers tripping over to buy every product on the floor, the arrogance begins to get to you after a while I guess.
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Old Nov 28, 2012, 11:40 PM   #12
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As a Russian born in the early 1980's we always make fun of America. You CAN buy a gun but you can't buy alcohol unless you're 21 LOL. We used to buy alcohol and cigarettes @ 13 back in the USSR. But what is really funny is how you get treated in the "land of the free home of the debt" when you mention unlocked phone.
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Old Nov 28, 2012, 11:41 PM   #13
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Thumbs up

My experience has been pretty good with geniuses thus far.

I consider myself to be pretty well-educated when it comes to the technical aspect of my devices. Not once have I shown the tech's something they didn't know, but I would never say they belittled me. To the contrary, they are usually really excited about it and then show me something I didn't know. If it matters my experience is with a Macbook pro.

Anyways I always felt they knew what they were doing and did a good job diagnosing/fixing issues.

It doesn't make sense to me that they would know how to take apart and put together an Iphone but not know that you can buy them unlocked, so I agree with the previous theory of plausible deniability.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 01:57 AM   #14
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I play really 'dumb' when I am with the 'genius', it makes them want to show off more, give more, do more, and help me more. and i can dig that.

heheheheeehehe.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 02:13 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ixodes View Post
The "genius bar" concept & presentation originated from the massive ego of Steve Jobs & the Culture he created within Apple from day one. Long before any Apple stores existed, they freely gave employees big ego inflating titles like "Rocket Scientist" (to an average engineer) printed right on his revered Apple business card.

I know this as fact, having resided in Los Gatos, a town where lots of Apple employees lived & socialized. Most local merchants rolled their eyes at the sight them, because so many Apple employees were mini Steves that acted pompous, arrogant, rude & difficult. It was Apple culture & they made sure you knew it.

Fast forward to the genius. No matter how they're trained, the underlying attitude is they are better than the customer. That's a fundamental characteristic that sets the tone. If the genius is an intelligent reasonable person, then egos not an issue. But if the person is insecure & wants to play the role, then the customer is in for an unforgettable experience.
I always thought it would be funny if they all wore black turtlenecks. Regarding the geniuses, I've had hit and miss experiences with them. If it's anything hardware related, all they can really do is take it in. Most of the time I've already checked every possible or at least obvious software problem prior to going in there. The rocket scientist title really is funny. If it was me, I'd go with abusive titles. They can be douchebags and jackasses. I claim either prick or psycho.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 03:04 AM   #16
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Based on your OP (meddling with customers and taking a defensive position when being inquired about your iPhone's unlocked status), I'd say you're drawing too much attention to yourself. Keeping quieter will serve you better in the long run.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 03:11 AM   #17
Minhimalism
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Based on your OP (meddling with customers and taking a defensive position when being inquired about your iPhone's unlocked status), I'd say you're drawing too much attention to yourself. Keeping quieter will serve you better in the long run.
I didn't even make a scene about it.. I just had to sit there and get lectured on the fact that there are no unlocked phones and that my phone required manager approval to be swapped. That seems a bit absurd to me.

Also, I wasn't meddling .. she was done talking to the Specialist and so I decided to help out. I don't think the Specialist jumping back in and calling me 'severely misinformed' is how ANYONE in retail should act. I'm honestly not trying to just defend myself, I really do think the way some of these employees act is a bit condescending..
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 04:06 AM   #18
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Apple has no intention of properly training Apple Store geniuses. They are human interface elements between customers and Apple corporation: answer some questions, do some repairs, and handle the financial transactions.

The way they train the store staff reminds me of iOs: friendly, simple, predictable. Except for an occasional show of individually, it is as if their individual personalities have been wiped away.

Silly as it may sound, I sometimes think that Apple will gladly replace their Apple Store staff with androids who would do the same job but Apple will not have to pay salaries or medical benefits.

May be within 10, 20, or 50 years, I think that it's inevitable that these geniuses will be replaced with robots or androids.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 10:04 AM   #19
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I think youre all getting confused between lack of knowledge, and towing the official line.

They're all regurgitating what theyre told to tell you for fear of losing their jobs.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 02:36 PM   #20
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Something as simple as a memo from Apple saying that Verizon phones are unlocked or AT&T outright ones are unlocked would help SO much
9to5Mac Apple to start selling unlocked iPhone 5 through online store as soon as tonight, retail stores soon

Looks like the store employees will be receiving a memo regarding officially unlocked phones soon enough...
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 02:38 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aristobrat View Post
9to5Mac Apple to start selling unlocked iPhone 5 through online store as soon as tonight, retail stores soon

Looks like the store employees will be receiving a memo regarding officially unlocked phones soon enough...
Great news.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 02:44 PM   #22
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I play really 'dumb' when I am with the 'genius', it makes them want to show off more, give more, do more, and help me more. and i can dig that.

heheheheeehehe.
This... The more polite you are with them (even if that means you have to play dumb) the better for you. The more you show off, the less they're going to help you = loss for you. People who don't get this provide me with a lot of amusement as they fight pointlessly with "geniuses" while the same geniuses will go out of their way to do tons of extra stuff for me.

I've had an Apple Genius tell me that he had this job because he needed it and that he didn't know anything about Apple and even used a Windows Mobile phone as his main cellphone.

I had an Apple Genius tell me that iCloud Photostream backs up my videos (silent </facepalm>) when I was buying my iPhone 5 a few days ago. Just let it go... you can't fix the world.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 04:54 PM   #23
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If you are going to the Apple store looking for a replacement, I agree, it's better to "play dumb", at least from the offset. "Play dumb" to me means have a calm, agreeable, polite demeanor. If you are going into the store and are having an issue you feel would be best served with a replacement phone, I personally think it is better to tell/show them the issue(s) you are having with the phone and see what sort of solution they offer. If you go in telling them what's wrong with the phone and that you want a replacement, you're in effect telling them what to do, and that's off to a bad start. Let them offer the solution of a replacement. If they do not offer or refuse a replacement, that's the time to turn the screws a bit more. Don't throw a fit, just say unfortunately you're not happy with the quality of the phone, and politely but firmly communicate that you would like a replacement -- or if you are within the 30 day return window -- just completely return the phone. I had to return 2 phones before getting one I'm happy with, and on this last return she insinuated it would be the last one she could exchange no matter what we might find on that new phone. I just agreed with her knowing I have the right to do another return at their store or another store, or just flat out return the phone and buy again, so long as I'm in the 30 day window. There is no foundation to an employee or manager telling you that you cannot swap or return the phone within that 30 day window. Call Applecare if you hit a wall.

And I agree -- don't interject yourself into customer - salesperson conversations. No salesperson likes to be corrected or showed up in front of a customer. If you really feel compelled, wait until the customer leaves the store and talk to her at that point.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 05:05 PM   #24
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This is good news! I am going to now purchase a new iPhone 5!
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Originally Posted by aristobrat View Post
9to5Mac Apple to start selling unlocked iPhone 5 through online store as soon as tonight, retail stores soon

Looks like the store employees will be receiving a memo regarding officially unlocked phones soon enough...
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 05:11 PM   #25
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I'm sure they're just following protocol. I remember reading an article where Apple had strict guidelines on what to say and when
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