Sexism at the Apple Store? Woman claims "Genius" totally ignored her while pitching her husband

Sexism at the Apple Store? Woman claims "Genius" totally ignored her while pitching her husband

Summary: Seems as though when Consumerist reader Arjela and her husband entered an Apple store in Bellevue, Wash. to shop for a MacBook Air last week, she felt as though the Apple Store "genius" concentrated all of his sales efforts on the hubby and not on both.

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Seems as though when Consumerist reader Arjela and her husband entered an Apple store in Bellevue, Wash. to shop for a MacBook Air last week, she felt as though the Apple Store "genius" concentrated all of his sales efforts on the hubby and not on both.

Arjela, who is quite an experienced computer user, seems to be particularly ticked that during the consulation, the "Genius" aggressively pitched the Mr. on Apple Care, still ignoring her.

All this got her so pissed off she wrote Apple a letter and forwarded it to the Consumerist.

She wrote in part:

The Apple Store "genius" -- and I'm offended that he was called that, given the stupendous idiocy he exhibited today -- was named Bill. Bill was called over when my husband and I came into the store; I had told the concierge that I was interested in buying a MacBook Air.

Well, first of all, Bill DID NOT LOOK AT ME. He did not greet me. He greeted my husband, introduced himself, and shook his hand... and completely ignored me. He didn't ask my name, what we were there to buy, or who the new computer was for. He did not make eye contact. He simply behaved as though I were not there, and steered my husband through the crowded store -- ignoring me and leaving me behind.

When I caught up to them, he was commencing the hard-sell of "AppleCare". After being told several times that I was not interested, he asked my husband if he was a Microsoft employee, and pointed out that he could get a 12% discount on it. My husband finally stopped Bill in his tracks and told Bill that the computer was for me. He asked Bill if the education discount, which I qualified for, or the Microsoft employee discount, which my husband qualified for, was a better deal. Bill told my husband that the education discount was better -- but continued talking to my husband as if I were not there. Even after being told the computer was for me and that we'd be using my education discount on it, Bill did not greet me, make eye contact with me, or acknowledge my presence in any way.

After scrolling through a screen of peripherals and asking my husband -- not me -- about each one, and only giving up on selling us the items when my husband -- not me -- confirmed I was not interested, he muttered something I could not make out (I presume because he was, again, talking to my husband and not myself), and wandered off.

I did not wait for him to come back before leaving the Apple Store. As my husband was not interested in anything at the store, he left, too.

I have to tell you that when my girlfriend and I went into my local Apple store to look at iPhones and MacBook Pros, we got equal treatment. Heck, the store geeks talked to her more! I mean, she uses Macs in her school, and knows more about them than I do.

I only wish Arjela and her husband received equal attention as well.

Topics: Laptops, Apple, CXO, Hardware, Mobility

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17 comments
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  • So what?

    The guy was a jerk. So what. The world is full of them. The purpose of the article was clearly to cause trouble for Apple over one individual. A normal person would have called the manager.

    But whatever. Maybe the woman should have asserted herself and "done the talking" instead of standing by her husband's side like a potted plant. I know I'd be talking if the purchase was for me.
    croberts
    • Would not have done any good.

      My Friend and I went look for TV's, she needed a new, and she was paying for it. I was there to load/unload carry and whatever.

      The sales men kept talking to me, after I repeated several times that I am not buying it you to to talk to my friend.

      My friend also told the salesman that I am not buying it she is. After both of us yelling, he finally understood the my a friend was buying it and not me. We also asked to speak the manager.

      So no this is not an apple problem, but it is a huge problem. Sales people need to greet everyone, and answer questions that anyone answers. It does NOT matter who it is for, or who is paying for it.
      BroGnorik
    • I think the article was as much about

      the label "Genius" given to them as opposed to actually earning the right to be called that.
      Obviouslly a real genius wold have understood the laptop was for her (as it was mentioned it was) and included her into the discussion.

      It seems (to me) as though this "genius" thought that only men where smart enough to purchase a laptop
      GuidingLight
  • RE: Sexism at the Apple Store? Woman claims

    croberts, she did talk. she was ignored. blame the victim
    much? also, zdnet posts articles about minutia every day,
    but because this involves sexism you see it as too trivial to
    print (i.e. "so what"?)?
    hypoxia3
    • Typical woman

      Whine and pout because someone was mean to her.
      frgough
    • Sexism? No evidence to support that.

      The person complaining goes on ... at length ... that she was
      ignored, but her husband was not. However, there's no
      information -at all- as to why this may have been the case.

      To label this as sexism is pretty stupid. Perhaps she is merely
      as annoying in person as she is in print.
      TheBreen
  • RE: Sexism at the Apple Store? Woman claims

    this woman is clearly an idiot. If this happened to me I would simply tell that genius that I was doing the buying and if he was interested in the sale then he must deal with me derectly or else get the manager or someone else to take care of me. That simple! this kind of thing happens all the time everywhere in life. hardly news worthy.
    BR999
  • RE: Sexism at the Apple Store? Woman claims

    While unfortunate, this is hardly a news flash.

    This kind of thing happens to me constantly. I can recall one occasion when my husband and I went to buy something for our satellite TV system. My husband just isn't a very technical person and is more than happy to let me take the lead in these kinds of situations, but the sales guy kept talking at him and more or less ignoring me. When I asked a question (and it was fairly technical as I recall), the guy had the audacity to say something along the lines of, "Oh, how cute! She's making an effort to understand the satellite system!" At that point my husband just tried to keep himself from cracking up, stepped back and let me tear into the jerk.

    It's sad, but the same thing happens when we go car shopping, look at electronics or even play golf - like the time I stepped up to the first tee after my husband and a male friend had already teed off and the old-fart starter glibly informed me that I'd, "better not slow things down out on the course" (whereupon I proceeded to ignore his comments and crush my drive further than either my husband or my fried - thankfully). I chose not to say anything to the jerk because I probably would have ended up wrapping my driver around his neck. And really, who wants to ruin a good golf club???

    Some people are jerks. It's part of life. Unfortunately, some of them work in the service field.
    StephG72
  • RE: Sexism at the Apple Store? Woman claims

    I've actually seen the reverse... usually more sexist men,
    deal with men and ignore the women, and more sexist
    women deal with women and ignore the men. I've seen
    women salespeople not give men the time of day if their
    wife was there. Sometimes its not intentional, and the
    person doesn't realize they are doing it.

    The genius shouldn't have been trying to sell them
    anything unless they were just too swamped on the sales
    floor... they aren't sales people (as much) and usually just
    aren't as good at it.

    I don't know how this made news. I've learned that letting
    something happen you don't like, then complaining about
    it later, does little good. She should have been assertive
    and took some action to make sure she got what she
    wanted, even maybe yell at him and make a scene and
    leave the store... not just... oh woe is me, hes so mean to
    me... I'm gonna let it bake for awhile then complain later. I
    also have to say she should be mad at her husband.
    Spouses should respect eachother enough to also stop
    things like this from happening, or even if he didn't notice,
    he should have picked up that she was upset about
    something.

    I'm also wondering if this is highly exaggerated...
    doh123
  • no story here she should stop whining and learn to assert her self

    no story here she should stop whining and learn to assert her self. every store i have ever been in has a jerk or to working in them. and if you treat them as such they usually fade into the back ground.

    i do not feel sorry for this woman at all. why because she could have told the guy that she would rather have another sells person or went to the manager or any number of things.

    instead she would rather whine and play the victim give me a break.

    if that guy had of treated my wife that way she would have tore him a new one. as would i

    no story here
    SO.CAL Guy
  • waste of time

    Apple isn't the problem, one salesman/genius is the problem. God knows she couldn't ask for another employee to help, or do a little research herself before going in.

    I hope no one depends on them for "expertise".

    Or she could go to Circuit City, the employees there will be glad to ignore both of you, trust me.
    coffeeshark
  • Oversensitivity at the Apple Store

    Rather than sexism at the Apple store, this sounds like a case of stupidity and oversensitivity. Stupidity because the "genius" lost a potential sale by blatantly ignoring the likely buyer, and oversensitivity that instantly equates poor salesmanship with sexism. Did the salesperson tell your husband that he doesn't bother with women because they are inferior to men? Why do you call this sexism when there is little evidence to recommend it as more than incompetence?

    Do you think guys ever receive poor customer service? Perhaps even because the associate is more eager to wait on the twenty something hottie looking at the same merchandise? Do we whine and throw ourselves in to a tizzy while playing the sex card? More than likely we find someone else, another store, or another company that will help us.

    Complain about the service, even let others know about it, but don't equate it to sexism.
    xnilo
  • Bad assumption

    Seems to me that there have been substantial numbers of female techies for over 30 years and a fair number of wives that are substantially "geekier" than their husbands. That's certainly true of my youngest sister (the one with a math degree) and also true of my daughter.
    John L. Ries
  • Correction on one point and...

    First, the Genuises are ONLY the people who do tech support at the Genius Bar. The rest are salespeople.

    Second, one sexist pig at a store does not make a sexist company. Too bad you didn't complain to the manager at the time though I can understand how your blood boiled after leaving.
    pecosbill
  • Consider it punishment...

    for dragging your spouse out on a shopping trip.

    Honestly, you're walking into a techno-toy store with a male
    in tow; what do you expect the salesperson to think?

    I find her being ignored when shopping with another woman
    quite interesting. Perhaps there's more to our whiner's story
    than meets the eye.
    robmacleay
  • RE: Sexism at the Apple Store? Woman claims

    I've been to this store and spoken with "Bill" before along with a female friend (who, like she, was interested in the Mac) and this is NOT the case. I don't know if Arjela was/is over-reacting to a misinterpreted "sell" or not, but I can say, without any doubt, that my friend (who, again, was the buyer-to-be) got far more attention than did I, which is how it should have been.

    Bill seems to be a good guy and seems to know the product well and I am of the opinion that this, at worst, is a miscommunication.
    khorsia
  • RE: Sexism at the Apple Store? Woman claims

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    it.ragester