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Apple geniuses mess with your mind

by on29 August 2012

Training manual shows cultish behaviour

Apple is running its stores like a bizarre mind control cult with its staff trained to use words which are designed to make customers forget what an expensive hunk of junk they have just bought.

A training manual which could have come from the mind of L. Ron Hubbard, if it had a few aliens thrown in, has been leaked to the press. Over two-weeks Geniuses are programmed how to handle customer service issues across a broad variety of scenarios. According to the manual sales take a backseat to good vibes—almost the entire volume is dedicated to empathising, consoling, cheering up, and correcting various Genius Bar confrontations.

Apple works on the basis that a happy customer is a customer who will buy things. So the more they are faced with a grinning idiot who looks like they will be happy peddling flowers for a love commune, the better. The report highlights several topics from the manual, including training on how to empathise with customers to build a relationship, recognising body language. Of course it is a cover for manipulation, but that is normal in any sales sphere. Where Apple goes that step further is providing lists of magic works which should not be used.

Geniuses should avoid using the word “freeze.” Apple screens do not freeze, they “unexpectady quit” or “do not respond.” If a customer thinks their screen is freezing, they see it as cold, unloving, just like their mother was to them when she would not let them have an iPod, and reminds them that an axe is nice and sharp and that it makes a nice sound when it plunges into a skull. Apparently you can't use the word “bug” either. Apple, being perfect, does not have bugs. Bugs are what Windows has. If an Apple machine appears to have a bug, then the customer is told they have an “issue” or a “condition” or, in worst cases “a situation.” None of these words indicate that the software has any real design problems.

The danger of all this is that they encounter a member of the public who tells them something which is not from the Apple liturgy. For example if a customer tells them that their Mac is just too expensive. The genus is supposed to agree with them but to dismiss their concerns as just feelings and say something like:

“I can see how you'd feel this way. I felt the price was a little high, but I foundit's a real value because of all the built-in software and capabilities.”

Under no circumstances should the Genius say:

“Oh my god you are completely right, why am I lowering the standards of the world by selling this over priced hunk of junk and trying to convince, normal people that somehow it is a better machine. I am sorry I am going to have to leave the company now so that I can evaluate how I ended up being such a smug low-life scum who peddles Chinese made goods to rich people with more money than sense.” Even if it were true.

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