PART 2. (You can read part 1 here)
So as a recap I began selling cell phones and scamming them with an add on. The scheme took me a while to figure out, but here is what I can remember.
Dexter’s scheme on the FRONT END worked like this, you bought a Sprint PCS cell phone for 100$. You then were sold the “Insurance Plan” which cost an extra 89$. With the insurance plan you were covered on any defects, repairs or batteries for three years. PLUS(and here’s the scam) in 3 to 6 months you could come back in and trade the newly purchased phone for a new one, paying only the difference in price. Generally the phone you’d trade in would depreciate in value by 50% in 3 months.
So you can see, some people would always want the latest and greatest so they purchased the “Insurance Plan.” Walking out with a brand new phone for 50$ every three months. I’m sure you’re thinking well of course there was written into the service contract, the ability to trade in your used phone. WRONG!
Dexter made the scam on RadioShack’s BACK END work like this.
Nokia, LG, and many other cell companies had a retail manufacturer repair center, where you could send returned phones and store managers could get credit for sending these phones, this process was called RMAC. This 3rd party center was only intended for people who bought cell phones and then hated the service, thereby returning the phone to get their full refund. (On a side note, Sprint PCS service was complete shit back then and this did happen from time to time.) Many of these returned phones would end up becoming “Refurbished” phones.
Here’s the math, RadioShack sells insurance 89$ (Pure profit) plus exchanges a new phone every 3 months at around 40-60$, on top of that, the new phone would need a car charger and new case so that’s maybe 100$ profit per trade in, PLUS the credit from RMAC on the back end, which is why it was lucrative to do this scam.
Everyone I worked with did this until the unthinkable happened. RMAC Closed. RadioShack took full charge of refurbished phones, and since RadioShack had their own repair service, they weren’t about to give a monetary credit for phones to the managers. Which meant, NO more swapping phones. After RMAC closed, managers didn’t get credit for returning phones. Instead you had to send a piece of junk phone to RadioShack to get repaired (which took weeks) and then it would show back up at your store refurbished, and still a piece of junk, and then you had to sell it… Store managers actually lost money on their bottom line because RadioShack would bill the Store for the repair.
That’s when all the cards started falling down. All these people coming in to exchange their old crappy phones only to be told, “No sorry we can’t do that.”
Luckily for me, I had quit RadioShack a month before RMAC closed to go to school, full time. (I win)
I heard from my fellow coworkers about people coming in years after the fact trying to exchange a phone only to get pissed off when they were told that they couldn’t do that. Other people sued and others called regional headquarters complaining when they couldn’t exchange their old piece of junk cell phone.
I really felt sorry for my fellow coworkers pushing this scam only to see it backfire and get yelled at by irate customers. Although, for the record what we did was wrong.
Of course, Dexter got fired. Apparently he had a really bad gambling problem, his wife left him and the last I heard about him he was dealing black jack at an Indian casino. He even once tried stealing merchandise from another RadioShack. Short term profits for long term embarrassment. (I wish this applied to Wall Street by the way)
I haven’t spoken of this in over 10 years.
It was right around this time that the movie Fight club came out. Of course since we were scamming people left and right it was only fair that we start our own RadioShack fight club.(we were all young) It was a wussy fight Club though; more like Wrestle Club. There weren’t any punches thrown, just dudes grabbing each other and throwing down in the middle of a RadioShack.
I’m seriously not making this up.
One time during regular business hours Pete (the Mexican) grabbed Andy by the throat and put a sleeper hold on him. Andy got his throat hurt and sued the company for workman’s comp. A lot of us had to give testimony about the late night sweating matches and I thought it was a good idea to quit at this point; which meant I didn’t have to deal with all of the irate cell phone customers.
I could go on and on and on about the different stuff that happened but I think I’m done purging my soul.
PS. When stuff happens in movies, don’t copy it. Please.