Life and Death at Radio Shack

Short-Circuit-Sheedy-Towatchpile

I’m all for laziness in the work place. I’ve loafed my way through countless jobs, but even I have my limits. A friend asked me to pick up a couple electronic parts at Radio Shack. My only previous experiences at Radio Shack consist of a Superman comic book sponsored by Radio Shack that they gave away at my elementary school. As a child loving comic books and computers I kept wanting to like those comic books, but no matter how many times I tried to read through them, they were still unreadable.

That was 30 years ago. The Radio Shack in my neighborhood had no comic books. Rather it was manned by two fifty year old Hispanic men. I asked if they had two parts for a circuit board. The employee without glasses helped me to a section with ten drawers and twenty compartments in each drawer. “Your parts are somewhere in there.” he told me.

“Could you show me exactly where it is?” I didn’t think that request was so out of line.

He did.”I’m not a tech.”

“But you work here right? Shouldn’t you now where your inventory is?”

“You know how much they pay me to work here? Seven dollars an hour.”

“They’re overpaying for you.”

I called my friend. I asked if he could be more specific about the parts he was looking for. He went on his computer and found a model number and a catalog number. I walked over to the employee wearing glasses if they could check if they had the items I was looking for in stock. “Go check on the internet.” he told me.

Jesus, the first guy was the go-getter. I went back to the guy without the glasses who checked the computer and said he had two in stock. I searched the drawers and found the compartment where they were supposed to be, but it was empty. “Would you have them in the back?” I asked.

“No, somebody probably stole them.”

I’d understand their indifference if the store was packed with customers and they didn’t want to deal with some jerk looking for two items that cost under five dollars. I’d understand their laziness if either of them were reading a book or watching TV or even playing on their phone. I’d get it if they were smack dab in a heated conversation. Hell, it might be ageism, but I’d even understand it if they were teenagers. But these were two middle aged men standing around doing nothing. You’d think they’d jump at a simple quest to find a holy grail. For if there’s no meaning to your work every seven dollars only means you’re one hour closer to death.

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