Apple hires 3,500 new retail zombies

Apple's retail staff increased 44 percent from September 2007 to December 2007. Over the past two years, the retail division's staff numbers have risen between 2 and 15 percent per quarter. The company now has 11,400 "equivalent" full-time retail positions. At this year's shareholder meeting, head of Apple Retail Ron Johnson pegged the number of retail employees at 15,000, indicating that a huge percentage of them are considered "part-time."

As a former Apple Retail employee, this jibes with what I experienced. At my store, there were only a few full-time employees and most of us were part-time — mostly so Apple wouldn't have to pay us any benefits. That's right: Steve Jobs is a cheapskate. Even Starbucks gives part-time baristas health insurance. At least I got a discount — and a free iPod. Who needs healthcare?

(Photo by AP/Elise Amendola)