Home / Tech News / Inside RadioShack’s Slow-Motion Collapse (Joshua Brustein/Bloomberg Business)

Inside RadioShack’s Slow-Motion Collapse (Joshua Brustein/Bloomberg Business)

Nathan Hill learned a lot about entertaining himself during his time as a RadioShack employee. For 15 months during 2013 and 2014, he worked at two locations in two separate strip malls in suburban Phoenix. It was dull, but Hill, a 19-year old computer science student, didn’t mind getting paid to sit around and play his Nintendo 3DS or browse Reddit on the store computers. “On some nights I would go from 6 to 9, three whole hours, without seeing a single customer,” he says. For each hour of solitude, he was paid $7.80. If someone came in and actually bought something, he made a 2 percent commission: That usually added up to an additional $6 or so before taxes. The few customers who did show up tended to be annoyed. Hill says that a sizable portion were sullen hardware enthusiasts who blamed sales clerks like him for the emptiness of the stores. Others had reached an impasse in their technological lives. “They come in with a problem that Best Buy can’t solve,” says Hill. “They’re on their last straw.” RadioShack is getting there, too. The company’s finances, unstable for years, have finally collapsed. On Monday Bloomberg News reported that the company is preparing to close its doors for good, in a bankruptcy deal by which Sprint would take over half the stores and close the rest. While the negotiations could still break down or the terms could change, the end game seems to have arrived. RadioShack has lost $936 million since the fourth quarter of 2011, the last time it was in the black.

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Inside RadioShack’s Slow-Motion Collapse (Joshua Brustein/Bloomberg Business)

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