Round 21: Time Warner Cable vs Radioshack

This is Round 21 in our Worst Company in America contest, Time Warner Cable vs Radioshack.

Time Warner Cable: Has been known to employ crackheads (figuratively speaking) as their installation technicians, leading to all sorts of hijinx and complaint letters.

Radio Shack: Won’t let you buy batteries unless you give them your zipcode. Their previous CEO resigned after it was found out that he made up the degrees on his resume. They don’t take cash without getting your home address. They were fined by the FCC for selling TVs without warning consumers of their impending obsolescence. Oh, just give up, Radio Shack, they’ve invented the internet.

This is a post in our Worst Company In America 2008 series. The companies nominated for this honor were chosen by you, the readers. Keep track of all the goings on at

STILL OPEN FOR VOTING: Wellpoint vs Charter Cable, Dell vs Home Depot,
Sears vs Citibank, Wal-Mart vs TJMaxx, Mattel vs ATT, Capital One vs Video Professor, eBay/Paypal vs COX, Apple vs SallieMae, Diebold Vs Pfizer, MTV vs TransUnion, CompUSA vs DirecTV
Target vs Best Buy
Allstate vs Verizon,
DeBeers vs 1800 flowers, Starbucks vs United Airlines,
Exxon vs Crocs, Google Vs Sony, Ticketmaster vs Wachovia, Facebook vs The American Arbitration Association, Comcast vs Menu Foods

(Photo: Pingüim na Janela)


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  1. rmz says:

    I only go to Radio Shack for cables when I can’t/don’t want to wait three days for an internet order to arrive. And I occasionally rechargables there. That’s about it.

  2. ARP says:

    There are meaningful choices to R-S. Often with T-W, there are few to none. So, the capitalist theory is stretched (and in my view, broken) when it comes to the shennanigans of companies with quasi-monopolies

  3. LibidinousSlut says:

    I’ve never had a problem with radioshack.

  4. booleyhitt says:

    As a former RadioShack employee/manager, I can say that RS, at one time, was a GREAT company to work for. I was employed from 1999 to 2005. The decline started around 2002 (at least for me). I made a lot of money at RS, but that changed when corporate started changing the pay plans every year. Less money, more hours, and more corporate BS.
    Honestly, I’m surprised they haven’t been bought out yet.

  5. my_imaginary_friends_bore_me says:

    Just tell them no or just tell them that Mars doesn’t have zipcodes

  6. This is a contest? RS is as harmless as a newborn kitten compared to TWC. Don’t get me started.

  7. sgodun says:

    What’s up with this URL? The description for TWC is messed up; Time Warner Cable: Has been known to employ crackheads (figuratively speaking) as their installation technicians, leading to all sorts of hijinx and complaint letters. Plus the Plus the….what?

    And, the URL for the previous round (Wellpoint vs Charter Cable) somehow redirects to this round.

  8. fuzzymuffins says:

    actually i was in the shack two days ago picking up a 1/4″ to 1/8″ converter.

    they never asked for my zip code.

    in cases where a store asks for my phone number or zip code i just say “no thank you”… no one has ever given me a hassle. i remember a few times they’d say “it’s just to know where our customers come from”… which we all know is BS… but i don’t even get that response anymore…

    of course, for inventing the TRS80 computer… well that’s a separate RS offense….

  9. Nighthawke says:

    Oh and don’t forget their infamous firing by email stunt they pulled off back in 2006. They canned 400odd that way. Even the most jaded business reporter was shaking their heads wondering who had the gall to pull that stunt off.

    Also the one of the former CEO’s (Leonard Roberts) was a hotheaded SOB that loved to yell at his subordinates. Once over a satellite conference with his store managers, he cussed them out for “lack of sales”. He’s a overpaid “consultant” with the company now.

    The previous CEO was canned for falsified school records. His claim to fame is that he went to a Christian university in Texas, (TCU I believe) no professors could recall him ever being in any of their classes, nor could their business office could come up with any records of him even attending school there. He was a sop anyway, getting nailed with a DUI shortly after being fired.

    The shack TRIED to take on the Big Boxes and failed miserably, having no guidance or aim, selling poorly designed products with little or no support or lifespan. You bought a given item, it might not even be in the system 6-8 months down the line, with no way possible to get parts or service for it.

    This current CEO gutted a whole floor at their main office, cutting out a ton of excess fluff and unnecessary jobs. Their stock has risen, so there’s hope yet, but I won’t count my pennies until I see their EOY’08 report.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Oh, this is just too hard to choose.

  11. DeepFriar says:

    My hate for TimeWarner burns with the energy of a trillion gas giant suns.

  12. urban_ninjya says:

    I think it’s relatively hard for a mainly retail company to be worse than a service company. You know the service company will screw you over and over again, while a retail you can just stop shopping there.

  13. PsychicPsycho3 says:

    The Time Warner guy in that picture is SUPER cute.

  14. AceKicker says:

    When I used to have Time Warner I actually had good service from them. *shrug* Guess you had to live in the area. I even had friends that worked there.

    However another one of my friends used to work at Radio Shack for a time right after college, and you should hear the horror stories that came out of that place.

    So thanks to my friends, this is an easy vote for me. Radio Shack hands down.

  15. Pac says:

    Being that Time Warner Cable isn’t available in my region, and I recently had a bad experiance with RS (wanted $22.99 for an S-Video cable that Rite Aid had for $6.99); I’m going to have to vote RS on this one… It doesn’t help that I used to work for them and was forced to push Compaq PC’s on our poor, unsuspecting customers…

  16. Pac says:

    Having worked for RS in the past, and a lack of Time Warner Service in my area; my vote has to go to Radioshack for forcing us to push Monster Cables, cell phones, and service plans to everyone who walked through our doors… Need some batteries for your TV remote? Would like some Monster Cables with that?

  17. JiminyChristmas says:

    I was a Time Warner customer for several years, and have no complaints about their service. Of course, it could be that they just seem better in hindsight because they were replaced by Comcast in my market. Dealing with Comcast installers has been a uniformly crappy experience, they don’t deliver on the speeds they claim in their marketing, and their outages are more frequent than I ever experienced with TW.

    As for Radio Shack, who the hell even cares? I buy a watch battery there about once every three years.

  18. aka Cat says:

    @fuzzymuffins: of course, for inventing the TRS80 computer… well that’s a separate RS offense….

    Hey, the trash-80 may have sucked, but it’s thanks to that machine that I now earn a comfy salary while sitting on my ass. Well, and my dad deserves some credit for buying the thing.

    Even though I’ve never had a single problem with TWC, I still voted for them. RS doesn’t have a virtual monopoly on my TV.

  19. aka Cat says:

    Pretend there’s a paragraph break before “Even though I’ve never had a single problem with TWC”. *looks at the commenting system suspiciously*

  20. Xerloq says:

    Just a thought, after seeing rounds and rounds of the “worst” companies in America – when did we start to want to make one company special? When did we start to discriminate against all the other worst companies. We can’t hurt the other companies feelings that are trying to be evil, but can’t through no fault of their own. C’mon, People! I think we need to have a tie between them all. We all need to realize that every company is just as bad as the next, and they all deserve a trophy for it.

    I voted for TWC.

  21. scarysnow says:

    @Xerloq: true, but still can’t feel very good to be 16th most evil company.

  22. Claystil says:

    Radio Shack sucks, sure, but they’re easy as hell to avoid. I have almost no choice but Time Warner, and they fuck me over at every opportunity. Their CS is a huge pain in the ass, too. You can call them up about a busted cable box, wait on hold for 45 minutes, and get a call center person who instructs you through 5 different ways of resetting your box.

  23. rad_matter says:

    I have to go with Time Warner–they wouldn’t let my mother take my father’s name off of our cable bill They inexpicably cut off service whenever they feel like it. If we need help over the phone we’re redirected to people that don’t even live in the city that we have service in. I’m happy that we have DirecTV instead of Time Warner now–DirecTV is truly a lesser evil than Time Warner. That and stores like Bath and Body Works ask for your address for no reason like Radio Shack but they didn’t make the Worst Company in America cut.

  24. milk says:

    In ’99 when I started to drive, my Papaw and I fixed up my mom’s ’89 Pontiac LeMans Hatchback (and man did a 15-year-old me love it). We put in a CD player and had some considerable problems finding the right adapter for the wiring. Being a dumb girl I don’t remember the specifics, but my car required something out of the norm. I called RS because we lived in a small town (by my standards, at least, ~74k), and I didn’t have a lot of options. They said they had what I needed, and I made them repeat it to me. I verified with them three times before we went up there to get it. When we walk in, the same guy I spoke with on the phone (Chris) said, “We don’t have that.” And I f’ing lost it. He even admitted he remembered talking to me 15 minutes prior. My grandfather ended up dragging me out of there before I decked him, adding his own, much more respectable disapproval.

  25. mac-phisto says:

    @Nighthawke: len roberts pretty much owns radioshack, so that would explain why he’s retained as an “overpaid consultant”.

    from the outside, radioshack seems like a failing company, but they are far from it. do you know why they linger when it seems they should have gone the way of rex, crazy eddie & the hundreds of other electronics retailers that have been born & failed since?

    two words: cash reserves.

    there’s a lot that radioshack does wrong, but making tons of money & rolling in it is their specialty. when best buy & circuit city store fronts sit vacant all across america, radioshack stores will still be selling dusty cb radios & len roberts will still be swimming in a lake of cash.

  26. Munsoned says:

    Every day this is like a test to see if I choose the “right” one (i.e., the one that the majority has chosen at the time of my vote.) So far, I’m 21 out of 21. It’s kind of amazing. I wish I had done this well in my NCAA pool…

  27. AaronZ says:

    Hysterical article at The Onion:

    “Even CEO Can’t Figure Out How RadioShack Still In Business”


  28. Um, I had like 5 different (cracked out) Time Warner “employees” come door to door in during dinner hours and ask me if I wanted to “upgrade” from FiOS to Roadrunner.

  29. b612markt says:

    I hate Radio Shack with the burning passion of a thousand suns.

  30. TWC is the most obnoxious company I have ever dealt with in my life.

    Even better, they know it’s either not have cable, or deal with their shit. So they win.

  31. JRock says:

    Radio Shack, but just because I’m a bitter ex-employee from many years ago. I couldn’t stand that place by the time I got out. Having to push sales of long distance plans on people is one of the most unpleasant things in the retail world.

  32. Jigen says:

    Time warner installed my cable and internet a couple months back. Afterwards, the internet wouldn’t work. For over a week they kept asking me to try all sorts of stupid things trying to figure out why it wasn’t working. I had just moved and had Time Warner at old place and internet worked fine, but somehow they still insisted the problem was somehow my fault. Well finally after much hassle I basically got a “oops, we forgot to turn it on.” Thanks Time Warner, for the week of no service and blaming your stupidity on me.

  33. darundal says:

    Why are telcos/cable companies being pitted against other types of companies? Every telco/cable company ends up beating the other companies. Those other companies are being tossed out way too early. Hell, if you guys put up a [insert telco/cable company] VS. The Nazis, the Nazis would lose.

  34. gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

    @darundal: look at the way the march madness brackets work.
    strongest against weakest at th beginning.

  35. peggyhill says:

    @Gstein: CBS and NCAA want to make dang sure that Farleigh Dickinson will NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS MAKE IT TO THE FINAL FOUR.

  36. failurate says:

    Time Warner won’t answer the damn phone!!!

  37. katyggls says:

    I’ve had Time Warner Cable several times and never had anything but good service from them. Unfortunately, now I live in an area where my only options for high-speed internet are Charter Cable and Bell South/AT&T. God how I miss TWC.

  38. provolone says:

    Employs crackheads (figuratively speaking)? Is this the best we can come up with for a company as terrible as Time Warner? Come on now, TW is my one of my favorites to win this whole thing.

    If I ever had a bad experience at Radio Shack I don’t remember. I would have just gone to a different store anyway. There are lots of places that sell batteries. On the other hand, Time Warner has been periodically screwing me for years, but they are practically a monopoly, so I’m stuck with them if I want cable television.

  39. JustaConsumer says:


  40. frogman31680 says:

    honestly, I feel that radio shack got a bad shake on the main page there. Time warner has been terrible for a long time.

  41. @Steaming Pile: No kidding.