After reading "Apple in 1998: Retreat or Focus?" in TidBITS 416, Scott Coats offers some background on how Apple hired people to maintain Macs in at least some major retail stores: "Apple for years subcontracted responsibility for maintaining the Performa line (Sears, CompUSA, etc.) to AAPRs (Apple Authorized Product Reps) who were hired and trained by ADIA, a temp agency. Hiring was done over the phone by asking such minimal questions as 'How do you check to see how much RAM a Mac has?' The training consisted of a three-ring binder of outdated sales materials and a subscription to the Apple MailBox program. With absolutely no incentive to keep up to date, there was little reason to believe that the field reps were doing so. As a participant in the program, I can assure you that the training received and level of supervision were dismal at best. AAPRs were paid a flat $15 per stop, regardless of the time spent at the store. For Apple to farm out the representation of their product was negligent and no doubt contributed to the hard feelings between retailers and Apple."
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- Apple in 1998: Retreat or Focus? (09 Feb 98)