Is This Texas Store a Bad Apple?

The 2006 Grand Opening of the NorthPark Center Apple Store, in 2006. (Photo by Scott Hughes)

NorthPark Center in Dallas Texas is home to what was once “the most corrupt Apple Store in America,” according to a scathing exposé by Gizmodo and confirmed by The Dallas Morning News. Could it be true?

Gizmodo’s extensive article, which you can read here in its entirety, is built on the claims of two former employees of “a busy Southwestern Store,” which the Morning News later confirmed as the NorthPark Center. The two employees, who requested anonymity for obvious reasons, allege that employees of the store, as well as one notorious regional manager, engaged in all sorts of outrageous behavior, including the destruction of Apple products and gross abuse of power.

The described activities include:

  • A regional manager who sold heavily discounted Macs to “a local plastic surgeon in exchange for a stomach stapling procedure,” along with a number of other incidents where she broke Apple’s rules to get personal favors from local businesses.
  • That same regional manager is said to have been involved in a scheme where she and store managers eliminated employee bonuses so they could keep that money for themselves.
  • Most of the allegations surround store “Geniuses,” the Apple Store staff members who work at the Genius Bar and fix Apple devices. One example: Geniuses would frequently use fake transactions to get their hands on store merchandise.
  • Geniuses would sometimes exploit “an inventory loophole” to get extra iPhones and then destroy them for fun. It became a game the Geniuses played to see who could acquire and destroy the most iPhones.
  • Apple Geniuses traded gadgets for heavy discounts on alcohol at local bars.
  • Those same drinks were often consumed while employees were on the clock, leading to drunken Geniuses becoming commonplace.
  • One particularly hard-to-swallow claim says that employees at the local Apple Call Center would “drink whiskey and do coke all night.”
  • One Genius came up with a way to scam the store out of new products and then sell them online. He got away with it for more than a year before being discovered and fired.
  • It was very common for Geniuses to destroy a customer’s Mac, iPod, or iPhone if the customer gave them a hard time. Their favorite methods of destruction: erasing hard drives, pouring whiskey into Macs, or using MacBooks as skateboards.
  • One Genius was outed as gay to all of the store’s employees by his manager — just days after being hired.

The Genius Bar at the NorthPark Center Apple Store, circa 2006. (Photo by Scott Hughes)

Two important things I want to point out. One: this is entirely based on the claims of two anonymous tipsters that can’t be corroborated (though The Dallas Morning News backed up Gizmodo’s article with some anonymous sources of their own, while claiming that some of what was in the original report was exaggerated). At least one blogger has already cried fowl, and there are no doubt others out there thinking the same thing. And two: if Gizmodo’s report of “Evil Genius” behavior is accurate, then it’s the exception, not the rule. There’s no way this is status quo at every Apple Store around the world. Apple’s corporate oversight is said to have been significantly strengthened in the last few years, and the activities reported by Gizmodo’s anonymous sources admit that everything they describe happened years ago, before Apple cracked down on employee behavior.

But here’s a provocative thought… Is it possible Apple HQ found out about these activities at the NorthPark store? Might they have enacted their major retail changes because of NorthPark? The regional manager who abused her position was fired because she was found out, so Apple corporate knew at least that much.

Apple hasn’t responded to Gizmodo’s article yet, but unless this story is proven false, they won’t be able to stay silent forever.

[Grand opening photo credit]
[Genius Bar photo credit]

About Robin Parrish

Unathletic, uncoordinated tall man with endless creativity stampeding through his overactive brain. Comes with beard, wife, and two miniature humans. Novelist. General blogger and main Gaming Geek for ForeverGeek. Lead Blogger, Apple Gazette.

Comments

  1. “Apple hasn’t responded to Gizmodo’s article yet, but unless this story is proven false, they won’t be able to stay silent forever.”

    Of course they can, and why wouldn’t they stay silent, especially if as claimed this happened years ago.

  2. You’re the bad apple!

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