Even CEO Can't Figure Out How RadioShack Still In Business

Top Headlines

Business

Tips For Cheaper Airfare

Whether the busy travel season, fuel prices, or airline collusion is to blame, airfare is currently very pricey, making traveling more difficult. The Onion walks you through some ways to reduce the cost of flying

Online University Allows Students To Amass Crippling Debt At Own Pace

SAN DIEGO—Touting its wide range of financially ruinous academic programs that can be tailored to meet anyone’s scheduling needs, officials at Enterprise College announced Monday that the online institution is committed to letting students amass a crippling amount of debt at their own individual pace.

Invasive Restaurant Franchise Spreads To Third State

WASHINGTON—Noting that it had already disrupted several natural communities in Kansas and Iowa, officials from the Bureau of Consumer Protection revealed Tuesday that Bonito’s, a highly invasive strain of casual dining restaurant, had recently been spotted in parts of eastern Nebraska.

Listerine Introduces New Mouth Styling Gel

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Announcing that consumers no longer need to settle for plain, drab dental features, Johnson & Johnson unveiled its new line of Listerine mouth styling gels Wednesday.

Executive On Hot Streak With 2 Straight Logical Decisions

CHICAGO—Saying the impressive display of business sense came entirely out of nowhere, employees of public relations agency Davidson Communications confirmed Wednesday that CEO Donald Marshall was on an absolute hot streak after making two straight logical decisions.

McDonald’s Turns 75

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the McDonald’s restaurant chain, which was founded in 1940 as a Southern California barbecue joint and has since expanded to more than 35,000 locations across the globe. Here are some highlights from the company’s history

Corporate Wellness Programs

Following in the footsteps of Google’s new employee meditation program, companies across the country are introducing more wellness initiatives aimed at keeping health care costs down and boosting worker productivity.

The Pros And Cons Of Open-Plan Offices

More companies are remodeling offices to incorporate open-plan layouts in an effort to save money and encourage collaboration, though many employees complain that the setup eliminates privacy and makes it hard to concentrate.

Walmart Vows To Defend Whichever Gays Buy Their Cheap Shit

BENTONVILLE, AR—Despite Governor Asa Hutchinson’s refusal to sign a controversial religious freedom bill that seemed to permit businesses to discriminate against homosexuals, officials from Arkansas-based retailer Walmart announced Wednesday t...

How Cable Companies Plan To Fight Cord Cutting

More consumers than ever are “cord cutting,” or getting rid of their cable service in favor of watching shows online, challenging the cable industry to launch new initiatives in order to keep customers.

Fast Food Customers Less Appealing Than In Commercial

GREENVILLE, SC—Expressing his disappointment shortly after sitting down for lunch at a local franchise location Wednesday, area man Peter Strauss told reporters that the customers at Burger King were actually far less appealing in real life than the...

Pfizer Mercifully Puts Down Another Batch Of Trial Patients

NEW YORK—Following unforeseen complications during a trial of the company’s new cholesterol medication Lipodrin, researchers at pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer said they were forced to put down another batch of test patients out of mercy Fr...

Benadryl Introduces New Non-Drowsy Allergy Dart

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Promising consumers rapid relief from seasonal allergies without any drowsiness, Johnson & Johnson announced the release Friday of Benadryl Pierce, a new blowgun-administered antihistamine dart that will soon be available in dr...

Timeline: The Collapse Of RadioShack

Electronics retailer RadioShack filed for bankruptcy after 94 years in business, ultimately unable to keep up with consumers’ shift to the wireless and digital technologies of the internet age.

Company To Experiment With Valuing Employees

SAN DIEGO—Cautioning that the initiative was being instituted on a trial basis only, Forrest Logistics CEO Wayne Gartner announced Thursday that the company had recently begun experimenting with valuing its employees.

Most Controversial Super Bowl Commercials

The commercials airing during the Super Bowl each year have become incredibly popular in their own right, and nearly every broadcast seems to include at least one ad met with criticism from audiences, media critics, and others.

The Pros And Cons Of Fracking

Gas prices are plummeting across America thanks in part to the country doubling its daily oil exports, which is made possible by chemical fracturing technology that scientists have said wreaks havoc on the environment.

KFC, Midas Team Up For Much-Anticipated Crossover Meal

LOUISVILLE, KY—Saying the new product brings together the best that two of America’s most trusted brands have to offer, fast food giant KFC and automotive service chain Midas introduced their long-awaited crossover meal, the Road Bucket, this ...

Corporate America Shaken By Death Of Longtime Consumer

CHARLESTON, SC—Expressing shock and an immense sense of grief, numerous high-ranking figures across corporate America were reportedly left shaken Friday after learning of the sudden death of longtime consumer Arthur Henderson. Executives within the ...

Boston Cruise Line Introduces New Whale Ramming Tour

BOSTON—Offering what they describe as an “unforgettable” opportunity to get “up close and personal” with the region’s marine life, sources confirmed this week that Boston-based cruise line Harbor Excursions has begun op...

Moronic Mailroom Worker Worked Way Down From CEO

NEW YORK—Marveling at just how far he has plummeted since taking charge of the company 18 years ago, moronic former CEO Douglas Kellerman regaled reporters Tuesday with the discouraging story of how he worked his way down to the mailroom of MetroCom...
End Of Section
  • More News
Up Next
TV Listings
Just Like Everything Else!: Fox 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. ABC Pete's wife is still on him about building that darn shed, these kids are going to be the death of Sheila and Dave, and the hot next-door neighbor is up in EVERYBODY'S business! Sunday nights on ABC couldn't be any more familiar!

Special Coverage

Good Times

Satisfaction

Even CEO Can't Figure Out How RadioShack Still In Business

FORT WORTH, TX—Despite having been on the job for nine months, RadioShack CEO Julian Day said Monday that he still has "no idea" how the home electronics store manages to stay open.

CEO Julian Day

"There must be some sort of business model that enables this company to make money, but I'll be damned if I know what it is," Day said. "You wouldn't think that people still buy enough strobe lights and extension cords to support an entire nationwide chain, but I guess they must, or I wouldn't have this desk to sit behind all day."

The retail outlet boasts more than 6,000 locations in the United States, and is known best for its wall-sized displays of obscure-looking analog electronics components and its notoriously desperate, high-pressure sales staff. Nevertheless, it ranks as a Fortune 500 company, with gross revenues of over $4.5 billion and fiscal quarter earnings averaging tens of millions of dollars.

"Have you even been inside of a RadioShack recently?" Day asked. "Just walking into the place makes you feel vaguely depressed and alienated. Maybe our customers are at the mall anyway and don't feel like driving to Best Buy? I suppose that's possible, but still, it's just...weird."

A RadioShack store that somehow manages to bring in enough paying customers to turn a profit.

After taking over as CEO, Day ordered a comprehensive, top-down review of RadioShack's administrative operations, inventory and purchasing, suppliers, demographics, and marketing strategies. He has also diligently pored over weekly budget reports, met with investors, taken numerous conference calls with regional managers about "circulars or flyers or something," and even spent hours playing with the company's "baffling" 200-In-One electronics kit. Yet so far none of these things have helped Day understand the moribund company's apparent allure. 

"Even the name 'RadioShack'—can you imagine two less appealing words placed next to one another?" Day said. "What is that, some kind of World War II terminology? Are ham radio operators still around, even? Aren't we in the digital age?"

"Well, our customers are out there somewhere, and thank God they are," Day added.

One of Day's theories about RadioShack's continued solvency involves wedding DJs, emergency cord replacement, and off-brand wireless telephones. Another theory entails countless RadioShack gift cards that sit unredeemed in their recipients' wallets. Day has even conjectured that the store is "still coasting on" an enormous fortune made from remote-control toy cars in the mid-1970s.

Day admitted, however, that none of these theories seems particularly plausible.

"I once went into a RadioShack location incognito in order to gauge customer service," Day said. "It was about as inviting as a visit to the DMV. For the life of me, I couldn't see anything I wanted to buy. Finally, I figured I'd pick up some Enercell AA batteries, though truthfully they're not appreciably cheaper than the name brands."

"I know one thing," Day continued. "If Sony and JVC start including gold-tipped cable cords with their products, we're screwed."

In the cover letter to his December 2006 report to investors, "Radio Shack: Still Here In The 21st Century," Day wrote that he had no reason to believe that the coming year would not be every bit as good as years past, provided that people kept on doing things much the same way they always had.

Despite this cheerful boosterism, Day admitted that nothing has changed during his tenure and he doesn't exactly know what he can do to improve the chain.

"I'd like to capitalize on the store's strong points, but I honestly don't know what they are," Day said. "Every location is full of bizarre adapters, random chargers, and old boom boxes, and some sales guy is constantly hovering over you. It's like walking into your grandpa's basement. You always expect to see something cool, but it never delivers."

Added Day: "I may never know the answer. No matter how many times I punch the sales figures into this crappy Tandy desk calculator, it just doesn't add up."