How Apple Turns New Hires Into Emotion-Manipulating Sales Ninjas

Turns out "Genius" is maybe best taken tongue-in-cheek.

A nest of emotional ninjas. (Photo:

Many Mac owners have, at one point or another, found themselves forlornly waiting at the Genius Bar, on the verge of tears, desperate for someone to just fix the problem, as quickly and as cheaply as possible. An hour later, you walk out of the glass doors, wallet a couple hundred dollars lighter but spirits lifted because that dude in the blue shirt was just so understanding.

Well, he ought to be, because it sure sounds like Apple puts a lot of  work into turning new hires into emotional ninjas. Over the course of two weeks, they’re transformed into psychological warriors–bent on extracting your cash from your wallet, using “empathy.”

At least, that’s what we’re left to conclude from this Gizmodo expose of the super-secret training manuel for newly hired Geniuses. The highlights:

Geniuses have no stomach for your lousy HU-MON EMOTIONS.

 If someone walks in sobbing because their hard drive is fried, you’ll receive no immediate consolation. “Do not apologize for the business [or] the technology,” the manual commands. Instead, express regret that the person is expressing emotions. A little mind roundabout: “I’m sorry you’re feeling frustrated,” or “too bad about your soda-spill accident,” the book suggests.

No using the terms “crash,” “eliminate,” or “bug.” 

This is really just an advanced, Apple judo version of the customer is always right. But then there’s the list of words that just straight up aren’t allowed, on page 30. The manual explains that “AppleCare’s legal counsel has defined [these] terms that should be avoided when discussing product issues with customers.”

Are Apple Geniuses unusually good or unusually bad at poker? We can’t decide. 

Page 45 of the manual might’ve been good cargo to send with a deep space probe, as it’d help anyone unfamiliar with our species understand “Emotion Portrayed through Nonverbal Gestures.” Neatly broken into a “Positive” and “Negative” column and then again by categories, someone without any social calibration can easily learn that “blank stare” is a sign of “boredom,” and “smiling” indicates “openness.”

God help us if Apple ever decides to branch out into something really serious, like heroin or 32-ounce sodas.

How Apple Turns New Hires Into Emotion-Manipulating Sales Ninjas