Ugh, the Rat Shack really bites

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Tim Hoover, Dec 5, 2001.

  1. Tim Hoover

    Tim Hoover Screenwriter

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    This is just a little anecdote about my day:

    I went to the local Rat Shack to pick up a new SPL meter (the loss of the old one is a whole 'nother story!) and had an, ummm, enlightening conversation with the drone working at the counter. When asking about the meter, he casually asked how I would use this. I replied "To calibrate my HT." He said how that was a little odd, since they can be set by ear. Now, before my brain could intercede, my mouth blurted out "Well, that's fine for the gear that you sell here, but for REAL home theater it needs to be properly calibrated." Then I went off on a long rant about how the mixing studio is calibrated, the mastering facility is calibrated, and the movie theater is (hopefully) calibrated, and we should expect the same when viewing a film in our homes. Anyways, you guys know the reasons...

    His jaw dropped and he just looked at me dumbfounded, mumbling little fragments about how people here don't do that. I said that that was their problem, paid for the meter, and left.

    The employment sign at the register says it all. It reads "You don't have to be an electronics wizard to work here." Hmmm... I guess not.
     
  2. RicP

    RicP Screenwriter

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    Yea, I mean nothing like stereotyping the entire corporation based on one employee in "The Middle of Nowhere Kentucky" [​IMG]
    Was this person aware that he was representing the entire corporation?
    I've had numerous positive experiences in Radio Shack. Do I expect their employees to have EE degrees? No. Are they helpful and somewhat knowledgeable? Yes.
     
  3. Sean Conklin

    Sean Conklin Screenwriter

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    I have also found that MOST, NOT ALL the Radio Shack guys/gals do not know very much about cables and other HT related items.That does not bother me because if I can't find it on the racks I can usually find it in their catalog.
    But they are pretty good with the Remote controlled cars.[​IMG]
     
  4. Adam Barratt

    Adam Barratt Cinematographer

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    I bought some batteries from Radio Shack last year. When I went to pay for them, they actually wanted my name, phone number and address.
    I was a little surprised, but graciously declined their generous offer to send me personalised junkmail. [​IMG]
    Adam
     
  5. Dan Hine

    Dan Hine Screenwriter

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    They ask you your name and address only to send out their own flyer. The info does not get sold. And they only send the flyer out to those who spend X amount of money in the store each month. So if all you were buying was a battery, you probably won't get anything. I know it can be a pain to give them your name and address but unfortunately it IS their job, and YES they can be fired if their Name/Address percentage is too low. Yes it sucks but that's the was Radio Shack works.
    As for their lack of knowledge, I would wager that NO ONE knows everything about their job. Those that do are probably the genius type or the extremely anal type that just has to know everything at the expense of their own sanity. Believe it or not, cables and SPL meters are NOT a big money item for RS employees. However, cell phones are. I would wager that most RS employees (not all, of course) know a hell of a lot more about cell phones (the actual phones, the plans, the calling areas, the pros and cons of each service provider, etc...) than most people around.
    They are "known" for all their connectors and doo-dads, but that is just to get people in the store. You have to know the kind of store RadioShack is turning into and that is a connectivity store. It's not a hometheater shop and shouldn't be treated as one.
    I wouldn't go to my mechanic and ask him to re-upholster my seats.
    OK, I'm done. Sorry for my rant everyone. [​IMG]
    Dan Hine
     
  6. Tim Hoover

    Tim Hoover Screenwriter

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    RicP, I'm glad you've had good experiences at Radio Shack. I wish I could say the same. Every time I go there is an exercise in Jedi calming techniques!
     
  7. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    The Radio Shack near my home is not too bad. While the employees are not that knowledgable, they are quite helpful. One of the staff was curious as to why I was purchasing a double bowtie UHF-only indoor antenna (they probably don't sell very many). I explained about HDTV, and that in the Detroit area all digital TV signals are in the UHF band. He seemed interested in the discussion.

    I do politely decline to give my name/address when buying stuff there. I just tell the salesperson I already receive their flyers in the Sunday newspaper.
     
  8. Andy Hardin

    Andy Hardin Stunt Coordinator

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    Dan is absolutely right. I was a RS employee for a long time during HS and college (father still owns a franchise store, those are the ones in the country). When you have everything from computers, to phones, to HT, to RC toys, to molex connectors, to cabling, to car stereo, to pro sound, to capacitors...well, you get the point. Mix in the fact it is probably some guy or girl just trying to get through college or start out in life, you don't know about everything. Now, add to the mix people coming in and bitching because you don't know everything about their specific electronic hobby and it is not as easy as it seems. So go easy on them.

    Now, there is no excuse for a salesman to talk out of his ass like he knows about something, but a guy that didn't know about using an SPL meter to calibrate HT? What do you expect? If you are looking for salesman that have that sort of knowledge, go to a specialty store and expect to pay for it. Do you think that salesman can afford gear that needs to be calibrated off his crappy salary and piss poor commission?

    As you can see this frosts my ass a little bit (mainly because I saw just about everything during my tenure). If you would have talked to him about the hobby and explained it in a non-condescending manner, he could have passed that knowledge on to his co-workers and maybe even a customer or two. Instead, you were just another in a long line of dickhead customers retail workers see every day, looking down your nose at him because he 1). doesn't share your hobby, or 2). can't afford your hobby.

    Who knows, maybe this guys was an idiot, or maybe he was the top rated seller in another area. If you want to go to RS and get an EE, HT guru, A+ certified computer salesman, or certified car auto installer, then expect to pay more than $2.79 for your all important wire splicers.
     
  9. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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  10. Steve Owen

    Steve Owen Second Unit

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    Knowledgeable employees are the exception, not the rule, at most electronic store chains... and that includes Radio Shack. I frequent there to pick up little connectors and misc things I need for projects. At my local store the sales people I've dealt with are either know-it-alls (who actually know very little) or those who know just enough to get by but really aren't electronic knowledgable by any stretch.

    The other day I was in Tweeter. They're another chain, but they sell stuff that's generally a step or two above that which is available at Best Buy or Circuit City. While I was standing there admiring Toy Story being played on a huge HDTV, another guy was looking at the Bose all-in-one systems (his mistake, but that's his problem, not mine). They sell two models. So the sales person came over and the shopper asked him the difference between the two models (one was $2999 and the other $2499). The sales person proceeded to do the thing that I loathe the most... he picked up the little info card and read it to find out the answer. This is in the high end room at a reasonably decent store. The sales people there should know. While skimming through their catalog later that night, I found the answer to the question. It was plainly obvious (that extra $500 makes the little cubes a wee bit smaller... yet another Bose rip off, but that's a discussion for another time). The point being that there's absolutely NO excuse for the sales person not knowing that bit of information. Are they so busy at every point in the day that they can't take a few minutes to educate themselves on the products that they sell?

    -Steve
     
  11. Bobby T

    Bobby T Supporting Actor

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    When my wife went to the Rat Shack last year to get my spl meter for christmass the guy asked her what it was for. He then proceeded to sell her a volt meter which he claimed would work better for calibrating our home theater. So the day after Xmass I went back and asked the employee to show me how to meaure test tones on the volt meter before I exchanged it. I dunno maybe we just hava the creme of the crop Rat Shack employees here in good ole KY.
     
  12. Dan Hine

    Dan Hine Screenwriter

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    Bobby,
    I'm sorry but that's just too funny to not laugh at! [​IMG] I wasn't trying to say all RS employees are geniuses. I was just saying that since one didn't know what an SPL meter was used for that doesn't mean he's an idiot. I'm an ex-RS employee and I've worked with my share of bozo's. I've also worked with some brilliant people. Win some, lose some.
    Dan Hine
     
  13. Craig Chatterton

    Craig Chatterton Stunt Coordinator

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    Thank the MAKER they aren't required to try to sell you a satellite or a cell phone anymore. I'd go in to pick up an automobile resister and the guy would say "That will be $0.98. Would you like to buy our satellite system today? That'll only be another $99. Are you sure? It's such a deal. I can't believe you're passing up on this deal. Well, I hate to let you go, but if you insist. Last chance! Hey, what are you doing with that gun?" [​IMG]
    The 'Shack near me isn't that bad, and I never ask the salespeople any questions anyway. I always know what I want ahead of time. Saves me problems, saves them problems. [​IMG]
     
  14. Ray R

    Ray R Stunt Coordinator

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    As a matter of fact if an employee is responsible for dealing with the public as part of his job, he is representing the whole company.
    Radio Shack has made a concisous decision about it's sales practices. They have positioned their employees as customer service/sales people. With this approach Radio Shack should make every effort to train its employees on the products they are selling and provide resources for them to refer to when answering customer questions. Other wise they should remodel all their stores so that the registers are at the exit and higher cashiers not "sales people". [​IMG]
    Maybe I'm reading too much into the statement "can I help you". I always assumed they were offering help with the products they sell. Maybe they're help is limited to checking the backroom for an item and pointing me in the direction of the bathroom.
     
  15. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    eh they're just trying to do their job.

    they probably don't lilke it any more than you do. Personally I HATE radioshack.. but I go like once every 6 months when I need something..
     
  16. Darren Davis

    Darren Davis Stunt Coordinator

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    how convenient this thread pops up. My Mom went out today to get an SPL meter for me but she called RS first to make sure they had them and they had no idea what she was talking about and told her that they don't sell anything like that there. So she went to Sound Advice (high-end HT store) and they told her that they get all of their SPL meters from RS. Finally, one of the guys at Sound Advice had to call RS to get a real person on the phone to tell him that they had the meters. My Mom finally got one but every incident I've had with RS has been a "you better know what you want b/c those employees have no clue."
     

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