O, how the mighty have fallen.

Radio Shack. Once a hot-spot for radio and electronics-related parts for the hobbyist, now a great place to get free phones and maybe somewhat harassed. Story time!

I am an Amateur Radio Operator, for those who don’t know. Recently I got a new toy (a Terminal Node Controller for operating packet radio) and I needed to make a cable to hook it up to one or more of my radios. So, after finding out that I would need a special connector, I went to Radio Shack to find it. Usually, if you need a strange connector that you are going to solder some wires onto, Radio Shack is the place to go. There, or perhaps the Internet. Now, I like the Internet and all, but I am impatient, and I wanted that connector the day before last, you catch what I’m saying?

Radio Shack did not have the connector I wanted a la carte, but they did have a cable that had one at each end, so my idea was to get the cables, chop them in half, and solder some different connectors on the other ends, making a pair of custom cables to suit my needs. Voila! So, my plan was to check the cables to see if they had all of the necessary wires in them (by checking for circuits from one end to the other with a multimeter before cutting them up) and if they were usable I would use them, otherwise I would return them. Like a wise consumer, I decided to ask about the return policy on opened items before making my purchase.

I approached the register, where a portly mid-teens girl was talking to an overdressed young man who appeared to be the most senior member of staff on-site, despite appearing to be nineteen.

Me: What is your return policy on opened items?
Guy: Whatraoutyintorenfromsrsomthn?

Clearly I was dealing with a straight shooter, one with upper management written all over him.

Me: I’m sorry, what?
Guy: Whatareyoutringtorunfromusorsomething?
Me: Come again?
Guy: What,areyoutryingtorentfromusorsomething?

At this point, what I should have said was “Oh, like it’s going to affect your $7.50/hr, jackass!”

Me: Am I trying to rent from you? No, I need this cable for a project but I need to perform a continuity test to see if all of the pins are connected to leads. If they aren’t, I will return it. But, if they are, I will chop the cable in half and use it.
Guy: Oh.

Then, I bought the cable.

Miss: Will that be all?
Me: Yes.
Miss: Would you like to donate a dollar to [insert children’s hospital here]?
Me: No.
Miss: You just killed a child.
[Awkward silence while I try to figure out if she just said that for reals, yo]
Miss: Just kidding [giggles]

Then I was Audi 5000.

I probably did kill a child, though.