In the New York Times' latest installment of their ongoing series, "Snapping America Out Of The Idea That Apple Isn't A Ruthless Corporation," we learn that the vast majority of Apple's employees in the U.S. (30,000!) are retail workers, and they bring in an average of $473K per person every year for the company. Yet at an average hourly wage of $11.91, they make less than workers at Best Buy, Tiffany's, and Lululemon Athletica. So why do people want to keep working for them? “When you’re working for Apple you feel like you’re working for this greater good,” a former salesman says. Indeed, if you're lucky, Tim Cook will name a yacht after you.

And those "geniuses" aren't happy either, as you'd expect given they spend hours listening to people bitch about their iPhones. It turns out they have "no actual career path" and surprisingly get sick of spending their days in the peaceful confines of an Apple store. MIT professor Paul Osterman attempts to explain how we somehow tolerate low wages at Apple but start seething when someone utters "Wal-Mart."

“It’s interesting to ask why we find it offensive that Wal-Mart pays a single mother $9 an hour, but we don’t find it offensive that Apple pays a young man $12 an hour,” Mr. Osterman said. “For each company, the logic is the same—there is a line of people eager to take the job. In effect, we’re saying that our value judgments depend on the circumstances of the employee, not just supply and demand of the labor market.”

As was the case after the paper began researching the working conditions of its supplier companies in China, Apple started walking back their previous positions, giving large raises to some employees when the Times started researching for the piece a few months ago. Raises are great and all, but how about some iPads to undo the shame of a two-taco pat on the back?

[Ron Johnson, Apple's retail chief] made a videotaped appearance and referred to a wonderful surprise that managers were about to spring on everyone in the room. Free iPads for everyone was the expectation.“Then the lights went down, and we had a party in the store, with games and dancing,” Mr. Zarate said. “And we all got two tacos from a taco truck. That was our surprise. Two tacos.”