Anyone who knows me knows that I was among the biggest Apple Evangelists to ever live.
Apple was in my DNA. I believed in Apple’s products, Apple’s services, and Apple’s mission (or at least what they said their mission was). I was an Apple employee for nearly 13 years, and I loved helping people get the most out of their Apple products. All of that ended about 6 months ago when Apple showed me its true colors.
Speaking from a purely technical viewpoint Apple was within its rights to fire me for going to a customer’s home to help them do a data transfer, and if that is truly why I was fired I accept full responsibility for my dismissal. Here’s what I have an issue with: In the past Managers in my store have sent me to people’s homes (which was definitely against policy) because “it was the right thing to do for the customer”. What I did was really no different than anything I had been asked to do in the past. I believe (though I can’t prove) that the real reason I was fired was that my Managers were upset that I had been on an extended FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act of 1993) protected intermittent absence to take care of my mother, and this was a just convenient excuse for them to get rid of me.
Regardless of their true motivation, I believe that after nearly 13 years of dedicated service I deserved better than to be notified by letter via Fed-Ex that I was terminated. Surely they could have asked me to resign instead of stringing me along with the hope that I’d still have a job.
Heres what happened:
In late January I decided to help an elderly friend (who yes, I did meet at Apple) with a data migration at home, without receiving monetary compensation from him. He had just bought a new iMac and needed to transfer the data from his 10 year old one to his new one. Apple offers free data transfers, but my friend didn’t want to leave both of his machines with Apple for 3 to 5 days in order for them to do it.
On January 30, 2020 I went to my friends house. He introduced me to his wife (I hadn’t met her before) and I started setting up the data migration using the built-in Migration Assistant utility that comes on every Mac and an ethernet cable. I chatted with my friend and his wife while the progress bar went across the screen, and his wife mentions that she called Apple to ask if it was ok that I helped them out before I came over. I asked her why she called and she told me that she just wanted to know if it was ok. I told her I was doing it as a personal favor and that I wasn’t there in any official capacity. She told me that whoever she talked to said it was a grey area and that they’d call her back. She tells me now that they never did return her call (yes we’ve remained in contact).
On February 10, 2020, (the day my intermittent absence ended) I was approached by my boss about my actions. I admitted to him that I had in fact helped a friend with a data transfer (something Apple does for free) and that I had helped him on my own time. He told me that I had just admitted to a major conflict on interest, and that an official investigation in to my actions would now start. Three days later (February 13, 2020) I was suspended. Six days after that (On February 19, 2020) I receive a letter via FedEx informing me that my actions were in violation of Apple’s business conduct policy, specifically their conflict of interest policy, and that my services were no longer required.
Here are my questions: If this was such a problem, why did they wait a week and a half to question me about it? Why did it take three more days after I admitted to it to suspend me? Why did it take six more days after that to fire me? Why string me along all that time? Why not simply ask me to resign?
About 20 minutes after I received certified letter in the mail I received a phone call from my now former bosses. They asked me how I was feeling about the news I just got in the mail and if I was ok. At the time I had nothing relevant to say to them. In all my years of working for Apple I hadn’t ever been given a misconduct warning. Now I had just been fired for helping someone, for doing something that I had been asked by Managers in the past to do. What was it they wanted me to say?
Well, thanks to COVID I’ve had the past 6 months to think about it. Here’s what I have to say:
Apple is a company that holds itself out as a company that cares; that “Thinks Different”.
Their current recruiting video states: “To the constant beginners who sing off key against the beat. To those unfamiliar with convention, unmoved by rules, and reborn with every new discovery. Those open to daydreams and night dreams and visions and mirages. Who can see the millions shades of green in a field of grass. Whose days are filled with mysteries that cannot be solved with facts. You are more powerful than you think… …and you are welcome here.” I can tell you that based on my final experience with Apple that they are anything but open to those with new ideas or those who go against the status quo. If any of that was true they wouldn’t have fired me for helping a customer.
I spent 24 years (3/4 of my life!) learning and knowing and loving Apple. I lived it, I breathed it, I bled it, and I worked for it for almost 13 years. I did everything I could to hold Apple in the highest regard. I’ve collected just about everything Apple has ever made, and I’ve subscribed to every service that they’ve offered. Now it sickens me to think that I built my entire life on the lie that Apple is.
What I’m doing:
I’m starting by telling Apple this: If you don’t want me, I don’t want you. Your services are no longer required.
I’m never buying a new Apple product again. I’m going to unsubscribe from all paid Apple Services. Because I won’t be buying any new Apple devices, I won’t ever need AppleCare or AppleCare+ again. I can easily build my own cloud storage instead of paying for extra iCloud storage. I can listen to music on services other than Apple Music. I can play games that are not on Apple Arcade. I can watch Television shows that aren’t on AppleTV+. I can get news from sources other than Apple News+.
Apple is not the company the same company it was when I first fell in love with them, Apple is now a company that (as of the moment I’m writing this) is worth $1,967,000,000,000.
I was technically wrong and I admitted that from minute one. Apple could have handled this in a very different way. They could have been straight forward with me and and asked me to resign because my career was over, instead they led me on.
In my opinion Apple has become the kind of company that bullies App developers by removing their Apps from its App Store when they don’t want to pay them a significant cut of their profits, sues tiny businesses for copyright infringement because they don’t want them to use a logo that looks nothing like their own, and fires its most loyal employees for daring to help someone in need. These aren’t the actions of a company that cares about its customers, employees, and the communities it serves; they’re the actions of Mobsters shaking down the little guy for protection money and snuffing out anyone they just don’t happen to like.
For these reasons, I no longer want anything to do with them.