RadioShack: Yes, we have no jumpersRadioShack: Yes, we have no jumpers

RadioShack has got to be the most uniformly bad retail store in the country. Their employees are consistently rude, arrogant, and pushy. I must have seen 20 different ’shacks, in five different states, and I have never found a nice employee.

Unfortunately the meanest store in America is also the only one that sells hobbyist computer parts. It’s the nerd hardware store, and by that token the attitude there almost makes sense: nerds often are arrogant and mean. (Still avenging old high-school wounds, perhaps.)

So it was with caution and false cheefulness that I walked into the RadioShack at 626 Broadway this afternoon. I needed a jumper to force my new Maxtor 6V080E0 drive into SATA150 mode for my Via VT8237 bios. (The secrets of that jumper setting are only revealed on page 9 of this PDF for a completely different product, but that’s another story.)

I was immediately approached by one of the five salespeople working. This salesperson had no idea what a “jumper” was, so she asked the others. “Sorry, no, we don’t have those.”

Wow. No jumpers at RadioShack. Things really must have declined. Obviously, with most of their floor space devoted to overpriced blister-wrapped consumer electronics, their priorities have shifted, but no jumpers?

In fact they did have jumpers. It took me five minutes to find the tiny section for tiny computer parts, but there they were. A very basic item in the category that used to define the store.

It’s easy to see why they didn’t know—and didn’t care—that they had this ten pack of jumpers. It costs $1.39. And this is New York City. But lying isn’t necessary. Just say “I don’t know” and go back to pushing cell phones and gold plated audio cables.

The nerds are gone, replaced by know-nothing salespeople. And those jokers somehow maintained their arrogance even as I purchased the wacky jumpers they claimed didn’t exist.

Good thing I knew what I was looking for, RadioShack. Oh, and about those big sales to the big dummies you want to make so badly: there’s a BestBuy next door now and I hear they have a lock on that market.

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