Why does(did) Radio Shack always take your phone number?

I know Cecil answered this question, but I searched for Radio Shack and couldn’t find the thread. So what is the answer?

I don’t know if Cecil wrote on it, but I think I know the answer.

They have a database of their customers, and they want to add your latest purchase to your profile. They can then extract statistics on purchasing trends, with the helpful added facet of knowing the kind of things repeat customers buy.

If you are on their catalog mailing list, they can match your phone number to your name and address, among all the other things.

They also sell it to telemarketers who want to target those type of folks who shop at Radio Shack. They are not the only business that does this. Sports Authority does it at well. You do not have to give it out; it’s voluntary which they take to mean that you won’t mind that they sell your phone number as well. Also be careful about having your phone number on your checks.

It’s so they can follow up with sales calls in the future. In my local Radio Shack, they asked for my zip code (I assume they would have followed with requests for more personal information) but I just told them to take my cash. My name appeared on the receipt as “Mickey Mouse”, LOL! How’s that for customer relations?

As an ex- Radio Shack manager the answer is simply that the telephone number is referenced to your address in their data base. We used to ask for the entire address which made for some interesting conversations with people who were not so inclined. We were graded on our percentage of addresses. The RS flyer is without peer as a powerful and directed piece of direct mail advertising.

It always annoyed me. I had a few clerks give an attitude when i said i didn’t want to give my phone number or address (probably because they were graded on collection percentages as astro said).
I make a point of not going to radio shack anymore. I found an electronics supply store not too far out of my way (with much better selections) and i give them my money now.

They’re still asking for addresses here in Northern Virginia, as of January. A tip to future Radio Shack employees: don’t ask me if you “may” have my address. I thought that last guy was gonna swallow his shorts when I gave him the one-word answer.

By the way, they have notices posted that state that they won’t give your address or telephone number to any other sources. I found the wording of the disclaimer to be admirably Clintonian, leaving no room for “give,” but plenty for “sell.” That might just be my perception. Have you any observations on that point, Astro?

I wouldn’t give out my phone number if they asked, but I often have stores ask for my zip code. I asked why once and the clerk said it was how they determined where to build new stores. Lots of customers from a certain zip code = let’s build a store there!

Around my way, they always ask for the zip code, even if you are buying a $.39 item. I assumed it was how they determined where to send the direct mail flyers.

Not really, I got out of RS/Tandy in 86 and am not familar with current disclaimers. It always surprised how many people readily gave me their address after I explained it was for the direct mail flyer. We were given numerous drills on how to “get the address” including bribing people with battery cards (which they could have gotten even without the address). My percentages always suffered badly because my handwriting is so bad.

They were not bad as companies go although it seems (probably just my errant memories) the caliber of the typical RS store employee has fallen a bit over the last 20 years. Not that the current people aren’t helpful, it just seems we knew more about the product line and applications. It amazes me, lately, that when I go into my local store that there are always few people milling around the front desk buying more cellular time for their PCS phones. Usually with cash. It must be a huge business catering to people who don’t have the credit to get a regular cellular account.

I did quite well and won numerous awards and contests (trips etc… which were then billed to your store by accounting!) but don’t let anyone kid you, being a successful retail store manager is a meat grinder life. Four years of retail was enough.

Radio Shack never takes my phone number. They take Dominoes Pizza’s phone number. And if they ask for the Address, they get Dominoes Address too. Sometimes I give them thier own address. MOST of the store employees didn’t know thier own address, although some would say "Wow, thats not too far from here, isn’t it?

I was a RadioShack employee for a whopping 4 months, and basically, it’s used for the mailing of the weekly/monthly flyers. It’s a HUGE source of advertising and revenue for the company, and that’s why they do it. I always hated asking for it, but I got used to it. My manager never said anything about them selling the lists to anyone else, just that they were used for our own marketing purposes. We only ever took a phone number if they bought the TSP (extended warranty) or they were bringing the stuff in for repair.

I must say that RS pays their employees crap for what you have to know to do well there. Of course, I was in a dinky store, so I never was able to make commission…big stores can yield big profits for the employees. Also, even though RS products tend to be overpriced, I must say that they do have the best service of any store available. If the damn thing breaks and it’s under warranty, you just bring it in and have it fixed. No spending $20 to send your phone to the manufacturer.

bdgr, that’s the funniest thing I’ve seen in days!

God, my pet-peeves are so minor, but this Radio Shack deal is one of them. Why? Because they take your address and phone number to barrage you with junk mail, and if you don’t want to be on the list, they give you a (non-800) long-distance number you can call to request to be taken off it. So you’re put on it without your consent (since they don’t tell you why they want it, they just ask for it), and if you don’t want to receive their crappola, it’s your dime and your time to get yourself removed. IMO, if it’s free to become a member of that dubious club, it ought to be free to get out of it.

I have pretty good reasons to refrain from giving out personal information to strangers. I mean, my address and phone number aren’t a secret, but I don’t hand them out like breath mints, either. I refuse to give them at Radio Shack and the guy said “We’re required to ask.” I said, “Then you’ve done your job; you’ve asked.” And the bottom line is they still take my money; they’re just not used to people saying “no.” People can be such sheep.

The clothing store I worked for over the summer had a similar sort of deal- we were required to ask customers for their phone numbers. A lot of stores do this now- some of them sell the numbers to telemarketers, some don’t. I was reprimanded a few times for not going along with it… anyway. It’s become increasingly common practice.

Man, I hate how Radio Shack does this. Just one of the many things I hate about Tandy, Inc. (or whatever the parent company is). Anyway, it seems to me that they just use the implication that you must give them this information to complete the transaction in order to comply a mailing list. Basically, forcing you to make them some extra money. Tell them you don’t want to give them your address. While giving them a fake address might seem funny, if everyone flatly refuses, maybe they’ll get the message. Plus, its fun to see the cashier awkwardly pause when you refuse to give them your information, wondering what they should do. Heh.

People have been complaining about this practice for many years - here’s one good way to fight it, if you’ve got some time:


The other popular action is to give them Radio Shack’s corporate HQ address, which you can find here:


I used to get three or four flyers every time they mailed them.


I don’t know, them getting thier own junk mail makes a point too, and its less time consumeing than to argue with the guy.

Wow, you guys make me feel like a real geek. I actually asked to be put on Radio Shacks’s mailing list and made sure they got my new address when I moved. To me Radio Shack fliers aren’t junk mail… I love 'em. I like the fliers from Circuit City, Best Buy, CompUSA, Office Max, and Home Depot, too! The Walgreens and JC Penney’s fliers… now those are junk…

I guess junk is in the eye of the beholder.
I’m really surprised at the paranoid ramblings and extreme efforts that some of you go to to “protect your privacy”. It’s all rather misguided. What Radio Shack (and other businesses who keep these statistics) are up to is no more nefarious than trying to provide you with better service. Their lists are not particularly valuable to general telemarketers. In fact, most telemarketing outfits use reverse directories to target people who live in specific areas. Also, businesses can obtain a list of recent additions from your phone company. These are often the first targets of telemarketers - figuring that if you’ve just moved, you’re going to need new furniture, home and garden supplies, new insurance, new long distance service, alarm systems, etc., etc…

I just give them the first seven numbers off the top of my head–it’s not worth the hassle you face when you refuse to be a sheep.