Radio Shack and Old Computers

November 12th, 2007. Categories / Portland

“How is Radio Shack still in business?” is one thought that comes to mind after visiting both it and Best Buy in a single trip. Not only the big box sell manyfold more merchandize, but for better prices. It wasn’t that long ago, that you could walk into Radio Shack and buy such and such resistor, some wire splitters, and a voltmeter. The only thing that differentiates them now is there small size, the quirks of their nerdy employees, the high likelihood of hearing a cellphone pitch, and a little something called heart.

On Saturday, J.K. and I were in search of an inverter to plug into his truck’s cigarette lighter to power regular computer speakers for his long drive south to LA. It was unclear whether his lighter still worked, as the connection inside was rusty. The clerk at Radio Shack was cool about it. He grabbed a packaged adapter off the wall and walked outside with us to test it out. It didn’t work, and in the process got a few rusty scratches. The clerk didn’t seem to notice or care. We said thanks and went on our merry way. For all Radio Shack’s failings, I can’t imagine someone from Best Buy would have opened a package and walked outside with us. Everyone in there always seems to be stressed out and greasy. I attribute it to a precise combination of khaki pants, useless gadgets, harsh lighting, sound pollution, and bad management.

The mild addiction: PC games.

This weekend I also decided against getting a new computer. Backstory: I game a lot. Last week, I spent 16 hours playing online in Valve’s Team Fortress 2. I don’t watch TV, so I feel a little better about it, but it’s still time. My aging PC was bought used three years ago in order to play Half-Life 2 and Counter-strike Source. It has served me well, but is a little long in the tooth. I’ve looked around for used computers, priced new and building it myself. It’s just money I don’t want to spend right now. I did buy a new hard drive and RAM to bandage my old system until the time comes. The ultimate in nerdery came Saturday afternoon in the form of a mini LAN party at V.’s apartment. My computer obviously sucked and his router was lagging us, but it was a rare good time.

I wonder how long I’ll be a gamer.

It’s a question best left for another day, for today I’m off to LA!


Jon Klassen:

me: hi, i’d like an inverter for my car?

radio shack: what kind of cell phone plan are you on?

me: uh…at&t. i just need an inverter, though.

radio shack: you like at&t? they treating you right?

…poor radio shack.


gamers ’til death!

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