Tao of Steve

The Vocabulary of Working at an Apple Store: The Word ‘Unfortunately’ Should Not Pass Your Lips

photo fifthavenue The Vocabulary of Working at an Apple Store: The Word Unfortunately Should Not Pass Your Lips

Gleaming, the cube.

In light of reprinted press release an article about Apple store culture in a recent issue of Wall Street Journal, Gawker decided to solicited a more candid take on life behind the Genius Bar by asking from current and former Apple store employees.

According to the testimony they posted Apple frowns upon complaining about customers in the break room and even has a “team of lawyers, data miners” and “forensic internetters” who scan web forums for employee complaints and take action on non-disclosure agreements. Plus, Apple heavily polices what words can be said while working.

At classes on what not to say “stop words” include: “unfortunately” which should be spun into the sunnier “as it turns out.” If a customer comes in telling you they took their iPhone for a bath or thought it could use a cup of coffee, the urge to say “That’s stupid” or “That wasn’t smart” should quickly be replaced with “That’s not recommended.” There are also some classics, like translating”problems” into “issues.” Lest you think these are mainly guidelines, one employee reported a 90-day probation period for the crime of saying “unfortunately” too much.

But that doesn’t mean Apple isn’t an equal-opportunity language cop. As one employee told Gawker:

“Managers were instructed to use specific buzz words and phrases when speaking to us. For example, “I’ll reach out to you” was a good one. I would often get “reached out to” to attend mandatory store meetings. Even better was the phrase “what questions do you have,” instead of “do you have any questions.” They use the former because it’s supposed to sound more open and welcome to questions. I just thought it sounded scripted. They used it a lot in the training program- I called them out on it and got a lecture on how to communicate with others.”

 

Follow Nitasha Tiku on Twitter or via RSS. ntiku@observer.com

Comments

  1. Mingusahum says:

    There ‘no scone policy’ is brutal.

  2. Mingusahum says:

    *their

  3. Ophelia1999 says:

    I’m going to try this with a coworker:

    “As it turns out, you are still working with this company.  I can’t say that your continued presence here is recommended, in fact, I think it is one of the team’s largest issues.  I’ll reach out to you at the end of the day, and see if we can’t resolve your issue.  Put down that scone.”

    1. Mingusahum says:

      The list at your job of appendages that MUST cross your lips is a little longer.

      1. Ophelia1999 says:

        Stop sharing our company’s secrets, the Mistress won’t like it.

  4. Anonymous says:

    <3 all around.   I hate having these feelings in any vicinity to any Apple product, but the heart wants what it wants.