Radio Shack

In my estimation, there are two glaring casualties of the “digital revolution”. The first, of course, is San Francisco. The second big loss, however, is Radio Shack. It’s still here, of course, but it just won’t ever be quite the same again.

What a wonderful thing Radio Shack used to be. You could wander in with the most obscure request and be helped pretty quickly by a rumpled-looking, slightly overweight guy with a pocket protector who really knew his shit. His customer service skills may have been lacking, but he could carry it off. He probably knew more tan you did.

There was an art to it, of course. If you knew exactly what you wanted and how to ask for it, you were all set. He’d walk over to the left rear wall, pull it off a hook, make out a handwritten sales slip for 89 cents, and send you on your way.

If you were less sure of yourself and didn’t know the jargon (e.g. you called your turntable a “record player”), things were a little trickier. You’d still get what you wanted, but not until you’d learned a little about electronics, and maybe joined the Battery of the Month Club.

Now, of course, these rumpled guys have well-paying jobs which don’t involve discussing the superior performance of Realistic™ audio components or helping teenagers steal HBO. Their replacements at Radio Shack are, ummm, not exactly brain surgeons. Hell, they don’t even know what brain surgery IS. And they sure don’t know what you mean when you ask for an RJ-45 female to DB-25 male adapter.

Nor do they make up for this lack of knowlege with superior customer service skills. But what can you expect for nine bucks an hour? Been to Kinko’s lately?