Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Radio Shack to the Rescue: Portland OR

For me, to venture out in Portland means sometimes I go east of 82nd Avenue.  Don’t get me wrong – I'm no “close-in” elitist snob. In fact, I believe there are many hidden gems past 82nd. This month I stumbled upon once such find – an unassuming Radio Shack at NE Halsey and 115th Avenue.

My reason for going was to prepare my 1998 Subaru Forester for an end-of-summer road trip. As we know, no decent road trip is complete without a playlist. However, as we also know, playing music is a hi-tech undertaking these days, and I was on a personal mission to dial in the whole iPhone/iPod/iTunes/stream-Pandora-while-driving thing before I hit the road.

Knowing I wanted to keep things simple (and inexpensive), I decided give Radio Shack a try. Best Buy was an option, but I don’t care for Best Buy. It’s the Home Depot of electronics – big, impersonal, and hit-or-miss customer service. Also, I kind of like the old school vibe at Radio Shack. I even like the old school name.  It’s so pre-digital.

Radio Shack tech guru, Mark Ramirez (left) 
and store manager, Kiley Asato (right)

So, I pulled into this particular Radio Shack in the non-descript mini-mall. When I entered, I was immediately greeted by the friendly and helpful store manager, Kiley Asato. I told him what I was trying to achieve, and instead of suggesting something complicated and expensive, he called over the resident tech guru, Mark Ramirez. They proceeded to hook me up.

Kiley and Mark introduced me to a cassette adapter, a handy little device for about $20 that would convert my obsolete cassette player into a power source for my iPhone, which would allow me to use it as my car stereo. The price was right so I purchased it, then excitedly went to my car and tried to get it to work. 

Through the store’s plate glass windows, these guys could see I wasn’t making much progress. That's when Mark the tech guru came to the rescue. He came out, fiddled with it, then took it back into the store. A few minutes later he emerged and popped it into my cassette player and - voila - music! Somehow, he had “tricked” the thing into thinking my iPhone was a never-ending tape so that it would “play” continuously. I’m not sure how he did this – maybe with a paper clip or a ballpoint pen. Regardless, it worked like magic.

For his brilliant on-the-spot troubleshooting, I suggested tipping him. He politely declined, but did say he would take a piece of my gum. I gladly handed him the whole pack.

Overall, it was a superb customer service experience: friendly, unhurried, and efficient. I suggest that next time you need some electronic gadgetry, visit Mark and Kiley at Radio Shack on NE Halsey. They’ll take care of you. 

Just remember to bring some gum.

Radio Shack

11525 NE Halsey Street
Portland, OR 97220
(503) 256-0505

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