From San Francisco, CA — 10/03/2010
A little background... I've been with the company for almost 3 years (2007 - 2010). After working for a year and a half, I was promoted to a assistant manager (which that position no longer exists) and got offered to become a manager later along the road. I turned it down due to the commute from where I lived was too far, and I was planning move anywho. I've worked with 3 different managers overtime (2 from one store, 1 from a different store).
Your first week (and likely your second) be prepared to do alot of training on the computer, initially starting off with 3 workbooks to do. It'll teach you everything from how to use the POS system to knowing about the cell phone companies we sell and the process how to setup the service.
Pay: It's hourly + commission for a sales associate. I've worked for 2 different states and you're likely going to make an hourly minimum wage + commission.
The commission mainly consists of selling warranties, batteries, certain products that are eligible for partial commission (like accessories that you add onto main products such as a Mp3, cell phone, computer), and MOST importantly, cell phones (which you make the most commission). Since it is hourly + commission, you'd want to make sure you're not working at a, "slow" store. Prepare for fluctuating paychecks, as the best time to work at (any) retail that makes commission is really during the, "golden" quarter (Thanksgiving/Christmas/holiday season).
To sum it up, if you think you're good enough at selling and like the idea of working based off commission, save yourself the hassle and work for a regular cell phone company (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, etc.). You're more than likely to earn a higher income, without all the other hassle of knowing other electronic products and additional tasks that are involved doing here. The reason I mention to work at a cell phone company instead, it's because Radio Shack is making a BIG push with all their associates to sell phones. It was like this back in 2007, but it's even a bigger deal now.
Respect: My first and second manager were great. My first manager didn't train me properly along with other associates and spent alot of time in the backroom, but was always encouraging to do better in a positive manner and kept our team in a positive vibe. My first manager was also a great seller and knew the ropes to selling. Unfortunately the manager was let go later on and that's when my second manager came in. My second manager had a good balance of both being able to do the backroom tasks and having floor presence, and just like my first manager, kept the team in a positive vibe while using positive ways to encourage us to sell better.
My third manager though... well led me to finally disliking the job for good. Always discouraging, making it a competition for my other co-workers. Always praising the co-worker who had done better than the other with selling, and then using negative encouragement on the one who didn't sell well by threatening that we'd lose our job. Even screaming and yelling at us for making a mistake (ie: putting a item back where it didn't belong, or not knowing exactly where the item was). My third manager eventually led to 3 of us quitting and we couldn't have been any more happier. My co-workers and myself could tell that the manager was under alot of pressure from the higher up people to always beat LY's sales and push selling phones, by taking out the frustration on us.
The district managers I've come across, were very kind and nice to me. Though I've gone through 3 district managers with the first one quitting, second one getting fired, and my last one who's probably still working here. I've been fortunate enough to have nothing but a positive experience with them when I did see them (you likely only see them once every few months).
Benefits: It was so long ago when I got my benefits (2007)... but if my memory serves me right, we got benefits right away upon being hired. Though it could have very well changed now, it was quite nice not having to wait 3 months to become eligible.
Job Security: If you do bad at selling for a month you'll likely get a warning (usually your first month I'm sure there's some leeway). If you consistently under preform by your managers expectations or don't show some kind of improvement, don't be surprised if they'll let you go right away. Keep in mind that they have goals for every category. Before I left, you'd had to succeed in meeting your warranties (RSSP), selling a certain amount of phones per. month, meeting your SPH (sales per hour), attaching accessories to main items (Mp3, cell phones, cameras, computers). At the time those were the 3 main things. There's also little things like selling a certain amount of battery packs per day, doing trade-ins for cell phones, and obtaining customer emails.
Work/Life Balance: With all 3 managers I was able to get a schedule to my liking. While in the VERY beginning I just had a random inconsistent schedule. Overtime it became more consistent where I got to have certain days off every week and get mainly opening shifts. The only issue I had, and this applied to mainly my first and third manager was that I kept getting my schedule a few days before it the upcoming week. The schedules are printed out a week at a time in advance, and the reason behind a week in advance is because they wait for sales to enter in to the computer, if you do good in sales, you'd get more hours... if not then well you get less or regular hours that you're able to (part or full time).