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Apple Retail employees comment on holiday success, bonus issues

Each fiscal quarter, Apple-owned Retail locations are assigned a number of CPU-based sales, which ultimately become the outlet's target goal for the quarter. While Apple Retail employees don't work on commission, all sales (and almost every detail of every sale) is tracked thoroughly, sources said. The data from these sales logs is then used to generate daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly reports.

Despite a lack of commission-based opportunities, if a location meets or exceed its quarterly CPU sales goal, each full-time employee is to receive a bonus of $1,000. Likewise, part time workers are eligible to receive up to a $500 incentive, though this rate is based on total hours worked and not total sales generated. In other words, employees who work 20 hours a week and sell 5 Macintoshes receive a $500 kick-back, while employees who work only 10 hours a week and sell the same number of computers are rewarded with only $250.

Prior to the outset of the past holiday quarter, Apple Retail also set an iPod sales goal with a bonus of $500 for full timers (part timers were to receive up to $250). Additionally, if the store surpassed both the CPU and iPod targets, an internal memo stated that a double bonus would be in order. But the memo's wording was cloudy and many employees questioned the terms, sources said. "Some [of us] thought Apple would just double the CPU bonus, some thought they would just double the iPod bonus, while some thought they would double the entire amount."

Following the close of the quarter, it became apparent that only iPod bonus was to be doubled. "Those who thought they would get $3,000 bonus were very upset to learn they were only getting $2,000," one employee said. "No apology was made officially, no admission, just the removal of the original memo from the website that hosted it, despite many stores having read the memo differently, and having received clarifications that misled them further."

However, interpretations of the memo varied and proved to be rewarding for some part-time employees. "A friend on mine that works in an Apple store in south Florida was told that he would get a bonus on CPU's of $500 and $250 for iPods. He was surprised when he got a bonus of $1000 for going over both."

In all, 43 Apple stores made the original CPU goal and an additional seven stores made a further revised bonus. 33 stores made the original iPod goal and an additional 17 stores made the revised goal.

A complete Apple compiled listing of retail stores which surpassed their goals for the holiday quarter can be seen here.