The Agony and Ecstasy of Radio Shack

If there is one place that should be an enjoyable experience to shop, it's Radio Shack. Where else can you go and find Arduino boards, wire, solder, and light bulbs (and sockets) for every occasion? Damn few places, that's for sure. Unfortunately heading into a Radio Shack is always more painful than it should be.

Yesterday JoDee and I braved the local Radio Shack to find some flashlight bulbs. We tried Home Depot, but they didn't have exactly what we wanted. But, nearby was a Radio Shack. JoDee gruntled "they look like they have more phones than bulbs", but we persisted.

We walked in, past the advertising for new phones, phone service, and iPads, over to the parts area to look for the bulbs. We were surrounded by wire, solder, and parts, and intently looking at things not-phone related, when suddenly one of the associates popped into the hallway. "Let me ask you about your phone service".

"And this is why we hate coming to Radio Shack" is what went through my mind, but JoDee quickly retorted "We'd rather you didn't".

He persisted, but JoDee deftly let him know that this line of questioning would prove futile.

One of my big pet peeves with shopping at Radio Shack is that I can't get in and or out of the store without being pestered about a phone, or some stupid battery bullshit. It's like going to Game Stop and being asked if I want a warranty on a Nintendo DS cartridge. I get really tired of the up-sell bullshit in these stores.

And inevitably, Radio Shack always has some stupid battery club, or other battery-related nonsense going on that they try really, really hard to sucker you into. It's like the ebb and flow of the tides.

And lo, when we proceeded to the check-out: "We've got some batteries here that..."

God Dammit, NO! No, I don't want your batteries. No, I don't need a fucking phone. NO, I don't need a warranty, NO, I DON'T WANT TO SAVE 10 FUCKING PERCENT BY OPENING A GOD DAMN CREDIT CARD!

I just want the items that I came into your store to purchase. I'm perfectly capable of looking at your counter and seeing the packs of AA batteries carefully laid out, looking for a home. I can see quite clearly that you sell cell phones.

Every time I go to Radio Shack I hope things will change, and they don't try to sell me a phone, or batteries, and every single time I leave Radio Shack, I vow that until they cut out this bullshit, I'll never go back.

I want to love Radio Shack. I want to learn to solder, and wire up all sorts of bizarre little contraptions, and put them in blue boxes to show off to my friends.

Maybe it shouldn't bother me as much as it does, and maybe I should just "get over it". But, as the adage goes: "the customer is always right".

And right now, I'm dreading the next time I go to Radio Shack.