How to be an utter, err, genius

05 Sep 2012

Retail sales manuals have always been a triumph of hope over reality. The trainers seek to imbue the putative new staff at, say, Dixons with a friendly, customer-focused, sales-oriented method, turning them into smart, sleek sales machines. But the result is an army of dense, slightly scruffy Herberts.

Not at the super-groovy Apple Store, though, which only employs smart, stylish, good-looking and unbelievably clever people – Apple Geniuses, no less.

The shops even have built-in riff-raff detectors on the doors to keep the seriously unstylish out, or so we’re told.
But now Apple’s secret has been leaked, with the publication online of Apple Store’s “Genius Training Student Workbook”. And the secret, it would seem, is to employ the kind of gullible people who might be attracted to Scientology, if only they had Tom Cruise’s money.

The Student Workbook includes an Orwellian language guide because, of course, Apple products never “crash” or “freeze”, they merely “stop responding”. And staff are encouraged to give each other “fearless feedback”, ie to criticise each other in a passive-aggressive manner.

The manual also includes a guide for reading customers’ body language. Or as one blogger put it, “you’ll find psychological profiling, banned words and lessons on how to capitalise on human emotion, with sales being maximised via crowbarred ambience and cod-empathy”.

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