FORTUNE — If you’ve ever wondered what kind of training is required to get Apple employees to behave the way they do at the opening of a new retail outlet or the launch of a new iPhone — whooping, hollering and tearing around the shopping mall — David Segal’s front-page story in Sunday’s New York Times offers some clues.
The piece, Part 4 in the paper’s puzzling series about the company, begins like the others — setting Apple up as the exemplar of all that is wrong with the companies that make up the “iEconomy”: avoiding taxes, exporting jobs, exploiting Chinese workers and, in this piece, creating dead-end jobs in retail sales.
Like the others, the story is well reported and relatively balanced. But it suffers from the same basic flaw: Having chosen to focus on Apple (AAPL) because the company is so high profile and sure to draw page views, the reporting leads readers to the conclusion that Apple’s policies are not as evil as the set-up implies and in fact are better than most of Apple’s competitors’.
In this case, the $11.25 an hour entry-level Apple Store employees make (not counting the raises Apple handed out just before the Times‘ story appeared) is considerably higher than minimum wage ($7.25), better than the Gap, and nearly as high as the best-paying retail outlet Segal was able to find: Lululemon, a yoga and athletic apparel chain where sales staff earn about $12 an hour.
“Nickel and Dimed” — Barbara Ehrenreich’s 2001 undercover expose about the life of Wal-Mart’s working poor — this is not.
But it does take readers deeper inside the Apple retail indoctrination process than anything I’ve read before, including this key section:
For anyone who has wondered how Apple Stores do what they do, or considered applying for a job at one, Segal’s piece is a must-read. You can get it here.