Go and see “King Kong,” Radio Shack Still Has Problems, and I Really Wanted to Like “The Family Stone.”


The Dude on the Right

First off, and I’m hoping word of mouth will propel this movie, but for goodness
sake if you are a fan of movies, or if you just like an entertaining movie, or
you just want to spend about three hours immersed in a time of wonder, or if you
might want to get weepy, or you are curious to see how movie-making has changed
from the 1933 version to this version, go see "King Kong" at a theater near you. 
It did okay at the box office this weekend, around $50 million, but not nearly
the numbers the film studio was hoping for I’m sure.  But as movies come
and go, I’m hoping "King Kong" has some staying power, kind of like "Titanic,"
because it deserves it.  I was this close to changing my mind and seeing it
again today, instead of "Syriana,"  and between the two, "King Kong" is a
million times more entertaining (although "Syriana" does challenge your mind a
little more).  Fine, it’s not for those under, probably 10 or 11 or so, but
for everyone else, the dudes will love the action, the dudettes will love the
sentimentality, and sure, you know how it ends, but you knew the Titanic sank
and you still went to see that one.  "King Kong" in 2005 does not deserve
to be a box office miss-step.  Enough preaching, now to Radio Shack, and
this story will probably make this blog a little too long, but I’ve got to write
what I’ve got to write, so let’s get to it.

My podcast a few days spoke about
my disappointment in visiting a couple of Radio Shack stores, and the lack of
really getting me the items I needed.  I have to say that my experience
yesterday was better, but at one store, still lacking, not because of the sales
dudette not wanting to help me, but because of poor training in my eyes, and
that’s not a good thing as we come upon Christmas.  You see I’ve been
working on this "not so high tech nor super high quality" portable podcast
studio.  My goal is to be able to make a multiple person podcast on the
road, and even get it posted, and all of it fitting in a nice case.  First
necessity a laptop, and since it’s the holiday season, I had that licked and at
little bit of a break.  Other than the nice case, the rest of the parts
should have been easily available at one or two of my local Radio Shack stores. 
They sell basic microphones and a portable mixing board capable of either four
microphones or two microphones and one line input.  They also sell the
patch cables, wind screens for the microphones, and 9 volt batteries.  So
last week I started my hunt, and at the first store I went to they had nothing I
needed on display, nor the tags where the item might have been so I could
inquire if they might have had it in the back room.  That and they didn’t
greet me.  Next stop the mall.  Not too busy, a couple of salespeople
talking amongst themselves, and I give every indication I’m looking to buy
something.  Yup, I found the mixer, but oddly enough the basic microphones
were nowhere to be seen, and even though I picked up the mixer, was making sure
it had all of the ports, plugs, outputs, that I needed, narry a sale-dude came
over to ask me if I was interested in buying anything.  I don’t play that
game, especially since I know how the sales game should at least be played. 
At the third store, I have to admit that the dude was nice enough, but upon
telling him what I was looking for, and not checking in the back, or at least on
the computer, he announced they didn’t have any, but he could order them for me. 
I wanted to buy, if I wanted to order I would do so on the web.

So yesterday I
was on a mission, to finally get all of the damn things I needed.  I did
some initial investigative work the day before, where at least the Radio Shack
web site said a different store had, in stock as of Friday, the items I were
looking for, and after seeing "The Family Stone," I headed the dude-mobile in
the direction of that store.  Upon entering the store I was greeted by who
seemed to be a newbie, mostly because she was younger and asked me a taught
sales line of "Hello, what brings you into Radio Shack today?"  It’s
actually a good sales line, but most sales-folk forget it after a while, when
they have become disgruntled as sales-folk, and just say something really
generic like "Is there something I can help you find?"  Anyway, enough of
my knowing sales technics.  Being a previous Manager of a Radio Shack, and
knowing all of the things they used to look for in a saleperson at the end of
the day at the corporate level, I figured, hoped, wanted this to be her easiest,
sort of high ticket, multiple line item especially since it included a battery,
and I might even spend the extra couple of bucks on the service plan to help her
out, sale of the day.  I was her perfect customer, knowing exactly what I
needed, knowing the Radio Shack product line, knowing she didn’t know the add-on
items like the wind screens and the battery needed for the mixer, and knowing
that if I bought the couple of buck service plan on the microphones I could
pretty much walk into a Radio Shack a couple of years from now, say the
microphone wasn’t working, and be given a new one on the spot.  But, sadly,
her training was nowhere to be found, and I really felt bad for her.  She
wasn’t really sure of the mixer I was looking for, but there was one, in the
box, on the shelf, so I nicely told her it was the first thing I was looking
for.  Next, there weren’t any microphones on the shelf, out of the box, nor
the boxes for the microphones, so I nicely asked if that meant they were out of
stock.  She didn’t think they were, but they might be in the back, so she
went to her manager, with the tag from the shelf that clearly said
"Unidirectional Microphone," stating that I wanted two of them, and her manager
said there were two microphone stands in the back room, somewhere on a top
shelf.  The girl came back with the microphone stands and I had to crush
her the first time by informing her I was looking for microphones, not mic
stands, and I could hear the nervousness in her voice as she went back to her
manager, who somewhat scolded her, then sent her back in the back room, where
she came out with two microphones, and we proceeded to head to the counter,
where I forgot all about the wind screens.  The girl starts ringing up the
sale, finishes clicking on everything, and comes up with a total of a little
over twenty bucks.  I’m too honest, and felt bad at this time because I
also noticed she grabbed two different microphones that weren’t even the mic’s I
was looking for, and nicely said "Something must be wrong."  Alright,
enough rambling.  Still rattled, the girl went into the back room, turns
out they only had one of the microphones I was looking for, and as I kept trying
to be up-beat with her, that mistakes happen and all, I couldn’t help but wonder
what happened to at least the simple training that should be necessary in a
store such as Radio Shack.  All the manager did, without doing it, was set
up this girl, who seemed nice enough, and eager enough, to fail.  Finally I
got smart, called another store saying I needed X number of these, X number of
these, and one of these.  The dude, Alex, plugged the numbers into his
computer, said the computer showed he had all of them but wanted to quickly
check the back room to make sure the microphones were back there.  He came
back on the line, said they were in stock, I told him I would be there soon, he
nicely asked "Please ask for Alex when you come in," and he had the easiest sale
of the day.  I still feel a little bad for the younger dudette from the
earlier store, because she at least tried, much more than I can say for the
stores before hers, and Alex either had a manager who really taught him the
ropes getting into the holiday season, or at least just knew an easy sale when
he saw it.

Look, I’m still a fan of the Shack, still know that when I need
certain things I know where I can go, but from now on, I suppose if I’m really
looking for something I should call first, doing all of the selling to myself,
and just be bummed I’m not getting the commission or perks they used to give
when I was there.

Well, that’s enough lamenting about my Radio Shack struggles
these days.  I’ve got a podcast yet to do on my mobile podcast studio and a
Chicago Bears game to watch.  That and still get this blog, the podcast,
and my review of "The Family Stone" posted.  There’s never enough hours in
a Sunday sometimes.

That’s it for this one!  I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!