Three Apple Geniuses Share Their Best Retail Horror Tales

Illustration for article titled Three Apple Geniuses Share Their Best Retail Horror Tales

Last month, I invited Apple employees to send me funny stories, and they did not disappoint. (The invitation still stands, so please drop me a line!) Here are three of my favorites so far.


This isn't brick and mortar, it's glass and steel. Pseudonymous Apple Store employeeJ. K. Appleseed takes you backstage at Apple Retail, the supercollider of human expectations and consumer technology.

The Pickup Artist

submitted by 007

I gave a One-to-One lesson to a young man I'll call Jonah. He dressed like a prep. I don't think he looked old enough to be in college. So, while his laptop is booting up, he asks me how my love life is. I say none of his business and flash my wedding ring. He tells me he's a pickup artist. He wants to build a website to advertise his pickup artist lessons. He didn't have any clients yet.


Jonah looks around at my co-workers. Most are geeks. He tells me he could teach any one of them to pick up any "fox" they wanted. Jonah never calls women anything but "foxes." I didn't have the heart to tell him the guy he was pointing to? Gay.

Jonah wants to put a photograph on his website's front page. I think, good idea. Like one of those testimonials, "This is me. If I can get the foxes, so can you!" Instead, what he's got is a cheesy screenshot of a woman he tells me is a Playboy Playmate he took out on a date.

Illustration for article titled Three Apple Geniuses Share Their Best Retail Horror Tales

Once Jonah slept with her, which he said he "hoped to accomplish soon," he would be in a position to advise others how to do the same. I thought, this guy needs more help than I know how to give in a one-to-one.


The next week Jonah got my co-worker, Fred. I made sure to situate my own appointment nearby because I wanted to hear how things went. A minute later, Fred busts out laughing, and we all turn to look. Fred waves that it's all right and regains his composure.

"Listen, kid." Fred says. "Thanks, but no thanks. I've forgotten more about dating than you will ever know!"


Happy New Year

submitted by Qwerty

Five minutes before midnight on New Year's Eve, a few blocks from Times Square, a homeless man with a dazed look in his eyes wandered into our Apple Store. The Geniuses on overnight duty eyed him warily as he zigzagged his way to the person checking-in customers. When a genius called out the next appointment's name, that man stumbled toward the bar. Waves of odor washed over so hard that neighboring Geniuses had to hold their breath. You could smell a decade of the city on the man. He pulled out a brand new iPod touch and set it on the bar. We relaxed a bit. It all seemed legit. Then, he pulled out a jar of his own urine and set that on the bar beside the iPod.



submitted by Asdfg

A customer came up to me and put a MacBook, an iPod, and aUSB cable on the table.


"I need your help," he said.

"Sure," I said. "How can I help you?"

"I was copying a song from my computer to my iPod," he said.


"But it never got there."

"Do you want to try it again?"

"We can't, because the song's not on the computer anymore."


"It's not on my iPod, either."

He hands me the USB cable and says, "It must be stuck in here. Can you get it out for me?'

Illustration for article titled Three Apple Geniuses Share Their Best Retail Horror Tales

This post has been excerpted from pseudonymous Apple Store employee J.K. Appleseed's McSweeney's column, Retail Therapy. To read the article in its entirety, head on over to McSweeney's here.


Image: Shutterstock/1000 Words

This article was republished with permission from McSweeney's and is the fourth in an ongoing column series.


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I have my own horror story about the Apple Genius bar (although it turned out ok in the end). I had a late 2009 iMac that I was trying to sell but it had dust between cover of the LCD panel and actual LCD panel itself (it is a MAJOR pain in the ass to fix). Somehow during my attempted self-fix, I had done something which completely messed up the monitor (lines across the screen) so I had to go to Apple to get it fixed, figuring I'd at least break even.

Got an estimate, left it for repair and a few days later got a call to come in to pick it up. When I got there, the Genius that came out talked to me and said "uh, we had a small problem—when the tech connected the new LCD panel, he didn't screw it in and left it on the counter. It then proceeded to tip, ripping the panel out and destroying your motherboard and a couple of other parts in the process."

At that point he handed me a repair bill for something like $1300 (vs. the $500 or so it should have been). I was just about to lose it when he must've seen my face and said "oh, but don't worry dude, we're not charging you for the stuff we broke—you basically have a new computer now for the price of the LCD panel."

I did end up selling it for a few hundred more than I'd expected because 75% of the computer was again under Apple Care for 90 days (all the new parts) so in the end it all worked out. But man was I stunned when I saw that initial repair bill.