An Apple store salesman questioned my intelligence, says customer

Can it be that certain Apple store employees are a little pushy when it comes to selling Apple's services? One customer says yes. I thought I'd try to find out.
Written by Chris Matyszczyk, Contributing Writer on

Selling a little too hard?

(Image: ZDNet)

In general, I've found Apple store salespeople to be relatively reasonable sorts.

Also: Hands-on with Apple's new iPad Pro and MacBook Air 

They do occasionally assume you've bathed in the Cupertino Kool-Aid as often as they have.

Mostly, though, they seem relatively honest.

Why, last year an Apple store saleswoman told me not to buy an iPhone XS until the XR came out, so that I could compare the two. (I bought the XR.)

Then again, you'll find one or two who simply feel they know better than you. When I went to buy the new MacBook Air, the salesman told me very clearly that I was making a terrible mistake -- and was possibly a myopic idiot -- and should buy the MacBook Pro. (I bought the Air.)

A customer in Sydney, Australia says that in a visit to his local Apple store, an Apple store salesman questioned his intelligence.

Speaking to Australia's News.com, the man said he went to the store to buy a cover for his son's iPad.

A routine transaction, surely. 

He says he went to one of the highly motivated salespeople in order to pay.

"They got super awkward with me standing in front of them, so they asked, 'Do you have an iPhone?,' he said. "I said 'Yes, but how is that relevant?' That's when they started trying to sell me on this Apple Pay thing. He gave me the impression I had to use the app to buy the product."

Ah, the Apple Pay thing.

One can imagine Apple is enthusiastic about pushing it, as it's part of a significant growth area for the company -- the services business.

The customer continued: "Even though I told the guy that I wasn't interested, he kept going on. I asked him at least three times if he was going to take my money or my credit card, and he just kept deflecting back to Apple Pay."

Oh, dear. That's not salesmanship. That's badgering.

"I felt frustrated and I felt like my intelligence was being questioned," said the customer. " I'm not really concerned by the legalities [of whether a store can force you to use a certain payment method] as much as I am the stupidity that transpired."

Apple store staff are always telling me they're not on commission. Why might this particular salesman have been so insistent?

Sometimes, salespeople merely feel they know better and believe they're actually helping you by telling you how retrograde, ignorant, half-witted, and asinine you are.

It could be, though, that these two people simply didn't get on. In sales relationships -- as in all human relationships -- you take one look at someone and sometimes think: "Ugh."

Then again, there's always been the lingering suspicion that some Apple stores do try and pressure their staff to push one particular product or service or another.

So I went to a couple of Bay Area Apple stores to ask whether there might be some secret incentives being paid to those who sell a slow-moving item. Or, perhaps, an item that especially excites their regional bosses.

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"Nah," one Apple store employee told me. "Most of us around here are pretty honest."

Surely, I wondered, there must be some sort of pressure just once in a while.

"Never," he said. "It's a pretty relaxed company."

"Wait, we're talking about Apple, right? Relaxed?"

"It is around here."

"No one's ever told you to push, say, Apple Pay?"


So there it is. The unhappy Australian customer may have simply run into the wrong salesperson.

Then again, he did the very sensible thing. He put the iPad cover down, walked out of the Apple store, and bought a cover at a store across the road.

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