Final Word

Posted March 12, 2009 in News

Great American companies such as Ford and GE are slumping, some like Circuit City and CompUSA have already gone under, still one gutty little franchise continues to inexplicably chug on: 


Seriously, how is RadioShack still in business?


Almost everyone reading this has been to a RadioShack, but it was probably late one forgettable night, and the only reason you reluctantly went inside was because Target and Best Buy were already closed.


I’ll bet you walked into their rinky dinky little store (no kidding, it’s about the size of a U-haul trailer) and three sales men immediately pounced on you like hungry dogs to a juicy steak. And why wouldn’t they? You were probably the first potential customer they’d seen since Christmas Eve, not counting that one time a guy accidently walked in because he mistook it for a Kinko’s.


Does RadioShack really need three sales people in the store at the same time? I’m pretty certain one guy in a clip-on tie can man the register and simultaneously point me toward the extension cords.


You won’t find many recognizable brands inside a RadioShack. That’s because RadioShack carries its own “special” brands. Need batteries? RadioShack will be happy to sell you one with a giant red RadioShack logo on it.  


Will it last as long as an Energizer or Duracell battery? Who can say, but RadioShack stands by its guarantee that should the battery fail for any reason you can always come back and buy another one.


And why does everything inside a RadioShack look like it was built at Santa’s Work Shop? Who other than a gumdrop-addled elf would even consider making a robot attached to a microphone that distorts your voice?


You can get an iPod the size of a packet of Juicy Fruit but apparently news of this technology has yet to reach RadioShack, because their boom boxes weigh about 40 pounds and look like something LL Cool J would be carrying on his shoulder in 1987.


RadioShack also sells an assortment of remote-control airplanes, helicopters, cars, trucks and boats that retail for literally hundreds of dollars each. Or you can buy one at Toys “R” Us for about $20. Both kinds will smash into a million pieces when you accidentally drive them into a wall.


And how come everything inside a RadioShack comes in inconvenient sizes? Let’s see, I can get a six-inch phone cord, the 2-foot variety or the 50-foot one, which is handy if I ever want to continue my phone call while climbing to the roof of my house.


But by far, my favorite part of the RadioShack experience is when I finally find that 98-cent cable box adaptor I’m not sure I even need and the sales guy refuses to ring me up until I tell him my address and phone number.  


Me: Um, why?


Sales Guy: Because it’s for our records.


Me: What records?


Sales Guy: Just give me your address, all right? It’s no big deal.


Me: Then what’s your address?


Sales Guy: I asked you first.


Hey sales guys, here’s an address for you: 123 Fake Street, Fakertown, USA. 


And my phone number is 7. Just keep pushing it until I pick up and say “Hello?”


I don’t know what part of the RadioShack training manual includes interrogating its customers. You’d think RadioShack might be a little nicer to someone trying to lob it a mercy sale, especially when it happens about as often as a solar eclipse.


And please don’t misunderstand. This is by no means an attack on RadioShack. During these trying financial times, I’m rooting for all business, big and small. And if RadioShack can turn a buck by selling me a roll of electrical tape every other Winter Olympics, more power to them. 


I’m simply saying that I have no idea how RadioShack earns a profit, which means we have to consider the only other rational alternative: That either RadioShack is run by a gang of nerdy wizards or that’s it’s nothing more than a phony front for something more nefarious, perhaps black-market organ harvesting, Lithuanian wife-trading or high-stakes, to-the-death midget wrestling.


Someone should really look into it. 


Just not me. (RadioShack already has my address and phone number.)



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