Apple Japan goes the extra mile in earthquake’s aftermath

Kevin Rose blogs, “Wow, this email is from a friend of mine that works for Apple in Japan… makes me happy Apple went the extra mile here.”

A portion:

A quick list of kind things Apple did after we closed:

1. Because the trains and phones were down, almost everyone who worked in Tokyo was stranded deep in the city. All the hotels were booked, the roads were jammed, so hundreds of people were instantly homeless. Apple told all of their staff – Retail AND Corporate – that they could go sleep at the Apple stores. The Senior managers at the stores had been notified earlier and unbeknownst to us, had gone out to stock up on food and drinks after the very first quake hit.

This was a godsend because by 11pm (118 aftershocks later) all food and drinks were sold out at every store within walking distance. And when I say walking distance, I mean 3-4 hours of walking distance. (Tokyo is a big city.)

Letting not just Retail but corporate staff sleep at the Apple stores was genius because:

1a. The corporate offices are in skyscrapers with over 50 flights of stairs. With all elevators in Japan shutdown, this was a nightmare.

1b. The Retail stores were the only areas where WE controlled the buildings, from top to bottom, so we could monitor, fix, and maintain the back-up power, networks, and heating ourselves.

1c. Ubiquitous wifi and Facetime devices gave us a lifeline to our families and the rest of the world. Facetime turned out to be MUCH more stable than Skype (And I’m a Skype fanboy!)

1d. With theater rooms and breakrooms designed for 150+ people, the Apple stores were the most comfortable places to be and to sleep. Much more comfortable than sleeping on the street on a cold March night.

2. Once staff let their families know that they were not only safe but how comfortable we were (break room refridgerators stocked with food and drink, etc), family members began asking if they could stay at the Apple stores as well. Of course Apple said yes. One business team member’s stranded mother walked 3.5 hours to be with her daughter at the store. When she arrived, the Apple store staff gave her a standing ovation (“Warm Welcome”) like they do for customers during a new launch.

3. The head of Apple International HR and of Japan Retail happened to be in Japan that week. Both came and spent the night with us in the stores and told everyone that if anyone wanted to try their luck getting home on their own, Apple would pay for any food, drink, or transportation fees that that person incurred on the way. “Your safety is most important.”

If, on their way home the staff member realized they couldn’t make it, but they found an open hotel, Apple would pay for it. Since many people lived 2-3 hours away [by transport], this ended up meaning 11 hour walks home, [or] $300 taxi fares, and $800 hotel rooms (only the luxury hotels had vacancies). Executives from Cupertino and London Facetimed with us, letting us know not to worry, they supported us, and that they would write off on it all.

4. We continued to open our doors to stranded people on the street fixing iphones, selling battery packs, or simply teaching people how to get streaming news on their smart-phones until 3am in the morning. 😉

There’s much more in Rose’s full blog post – highly recommended – here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “MacRadDoc” for the heads up.]

31 Comments

  1. Former Apple Genius, Current repair tech, and Part time Gunma, Japan resident. I wish I ws there. I would have biked into tokyo to help people in front of the store until my finger went numb. Trapped ont h other side of the Pacific, let alone trapped out of Iwate and Miyagi – the only thing I could have done is helped people with their Macs.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.