mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

You've got questions. We've got even more...

I've been having fun with Radio Shack this week.

Now, there are three reasons you go to Radio Shack. The first is you need some fairly obscure part, like a connector or extension cable for your stereo, that you know they will probably have and you may have troble finding elsewhere. The second is that they have something you want/need on sale. The third is that you are a moron.

I on occasion will go for the first, but lately it's been for the second (though I'm starting to wonder about the third). They have had a bunch of stuff on clearance, including some useful computer stuff.

I first went to the Rotunda Radio Shack. The Rotunda is an interesting place - a mall and office complex built into what used to be a factory in the 1900's. However, it suffers from a rather dated "not touched since the 70's" look (there is something about wood paneling and low ceilings that makes you feel like you are in someone's basement) and a lack of good stores.

There were a couple things I was looking for. I picked up a couple DVD-RAM disks (they sometimes go for a bit on eBay) and the guy asked me what the difference between DVD-RAM and DVD-R was. (I thought Radio Shack's motto was "You've got questions, we've got answers, not "You've got questions. We've got questions too.".

I was also looking for a Ximeta Netdisk - a USB hard drive with a network adapter on it that you can plug into a network and share. Here's my experiences with that, copied from my post on FatWallet.

Yesterday I stopped by another Radio Shack (rotunda) that was listed as having the netdisk. I forgot to write down the sku. Ask the guy if they have any more of the ximeta netdisk drives and he goes "no, we don't sell zip drives". He then looks in the back, then asks me what the item is and I tell him it's a usb and networked hard drive. He then looks at the shelves, picks up an item, and asks me "is this it"? He was holding a Belkin pci USB card.

I was also interested in the Haupauge Media MVP, a device that lets you stream video from your PC to a TV. FW post exerpt, again:

They also had an empty Haupauge Media MVP box on the shelf. Asked the guy if they had any more. Checked in the back, none, checked the computer, showed 1. He told me someone probably stole it. Why someone would steal a media MVP I don't know, especially taking EVERYTHING out of the box including inside packaging. And how do you steal something in a store the size of a large closet where the employees ask you every 30 seconds if you need help?

I went to the York Road Radio Shack the next day, and found 2 Netdisks on the shelf (I bought one, the other one was still there as of today) and a $3 SVideo to RCA converter that was originally a $40 SVideo to RCA adapter (display model, but they had the box and power adapter).

I noticed today that they had the Media MVP listed as in stock on their website. Went today armed with the SKU (I needed a haircut anyone, and also ended up having to get my tire patched). Went around and around over what the item was, that it wasn't on the shelf, ect. Computer showed as having 2 in stock. Guy could not find it. Guy even called his manager at home. Came out with a similar item from another manufacturer - that was $95 instead of $39. Nope. Tried to convince him to let me in the stockroom to look for it, since I knew what I was looking for and he didn't. Said his manager would not allow that, and I didn't press it (as I use that line 10 times a day at my own job...)

How the heck do you lose not one but TWO devices in a store that small?

And why would anyone shop at Radio Shack for anything other than, say, a 1/8" to 1/4" phono plug adapter? I can't imagine buying a TV or PDA or the like there.


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