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end of the line for Radio Shack

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  • end of the line for Radio Shack

    I went to electrical engineering school in the mid-'80s. In the process, I was unofficially taught to never ever buy any electronics components from Radio Shack. They told me about binning. Manufacturer's test their parts. The ones that pass get sold under the manufacturer's logo. The ones that barely pass get sold off to discounters. The ones that are dead get tossed. The remainder go to Radio Shack.

    I remember vowing to never darken their doors. In the intervening years as all the other local sources for small electronics components - resistors, capacitors, the like - dried up, once or twice I went in to Radio Shack. I remember getting a terrible taste in my mouth every time. They would demand my name and address for their computers in a way that was more in-your-face and intrusive than anyone else. I finally started telling them my name was Johnny Cash. And paying - you guessed it - in cash.

    I certainly haven't been in one of their stores for at least 10 years.

    I read this morning that they have filed for bankruptcy. My words in passing: "Don't let the door hit ya where the dog shoulda bit ya!"


  • #2
    That's a lot of malice. .... apparently based primarily on hearsay.
    Lynn (Huntsville, AL)


    • #3
      Radio Shack was one of the few places you could buy discreet components for any electronic/electrical project. They always had most parts I needed. Over the last few years, discrete components dwindled to next to nothing, about the time the super competitive cell phone industry bloomed. Radio Shack put all their eggs in one basket with the cell phone crap. I, for one hope they survive reorganization and get back to their roots.
      I used to love wandering through their stores seeing what was available to make the projects in my head. Now,
      I'm back to salvaging consumer electronics to build things.
      I did manage to get to one of the local stores for it's closing sale and got a breadboard component kit, a circuit board for etching and an Arduino motor shield at 50% off.



      • #4
        One of the last places to buy electronic components as been said. When they do sell out and close the stores, I'd try and buy the Lista or Vidmar cabinet that they have in the stores to store those components.


        • #5
          Internet has changed everything. Sadly the next thing I see to go might be Sears. Amazon and ebay at least for now will dominate most sales. The only hold back is shipping price. Sometimes item costs more with shipping. Sometimes shipping costs more than the item.


          • #6
            Although I haven't been to a Radio Shack store in a few years, I have previously made many purchases there: complete devices, cables, tools, components, etc. Sorry to see their demise, binning or not.

            I see that Tandy Leather purchased Radio Shack in 1963 ...

            My father's sister went to school with Herb Tandy in Fort Worth, Texas - must have been early to mid-1930s. She told me that Herb was considered to be a bit of a "geek".

            For any HSM'er, a geek-streak is no shame at all.


            • #7
              I only bought one or two things from Radio Shack in my life, and they must have worked because I don't have any ugly memories associated with them.--However---Radio Shack was a big employer in Barrie in the 1970's and 1980's. Then it became "The Source" about 10 or 12 years ago. I don't know if that is a tax dodge by Radio Shack, or another company that bought them outright. I can not speak regarding the quality of what they sold.--But I am sad to see another big North American company closing it's doors. At the rate big companies and manufacturers are closing their doors, us poor fools in Canada will soon be back to fur trapping and cutting pulpwood.----Brian
              Brian Rupnow
              Design engineer
              Barrie, Ontario, Canada


              • #8
                I still have my new purchase Radio Shack TRS-80 computer and it still works. I liked their Arduino section. The bankruptcy probably says more about the displacement of ecommerce on the local brick and mortar stores than anything. Empty store fronts are not good for communities. Main Street in our town is feeling the hurt. We're down to one restaurant, one fast-food joint, no taverns, very little retail. We have several thrift shops (used stuff stores). I have to buy almost everything but food at Amazon and home UPS/Fedex/USPS doesn't screw up the shipment.

                I don't know where the nearest Radio Shack store is - my guess a 6-hour round trip drive from here.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by tlfamm View Post

                  For any HSM'er, a geek-streak is no shame at all.
                  Speak for yourself geek-boy!!
                  "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel"


                  • #10
                    I'm sad about this. As a kid I would look forward to getting my free monthly battery, and playing with the electronics kits they peddled.... I hope they can return to what they once were, but thats a bet I'd never take...


                    • #11
                      I think radio shack used to be unique - they carried a ton of stuff for electronic do-it-yourselfers over the years,

                      I don't know about the other stores but the store in my town is now all about the pre-fab electronic gizmo's that I have zero interest in and we only have 1/2 an isle on just one side dedicated to "raw" electronics,
                      indeed a sign of the times just in who the customers are...

                      I will miss that handy little 1/2 Isle as it's saved my butt more than once but as far as the rest of the store - good riddance, not going to miss anything... and esp. the store clerks without a clue anymore about the electronics - what happened to those guys - you used to show up and ask a semi-technical question and those guys would be all over it, now it's a blank stare unless someone walks in and asks about a smart phone app...


                      • #12
                        I can remember as a kid buying stereo and radio equipment there and all the electronic parts any one could ever need. But that was back when it was Allied radio Shack. Gradually all that stuff went away as they shifted their business to computers, cell phones and games.
                        All the connectors, cables and other related stuff became so low in quality and high in price that I just quit going there. I can remember when a neighbor bought some high end stereo patch cords there with RCA phono plugs and had to replace a plug on one end with a different type connector to fit his application. He asked me if I would do it for him. When I cut the connector off and skinned the insulation back the spiral wrapped shielding consisted of about six fine strands of wire which measured about .003 in dia, about the dia. of a human hair and these were supposed to be 98% shielding, it was more like 10%. He returned them. So this bankruptcy filing comes as no surprise to me, just a sign of the times. Sad !!!



                        • #13
                          Tandy Leather is a seperate entity. I don't see Sears/Kmart going under anytime soon. You wouldn't believe how much the sales of appliances and home services props up their bottom line. Same is true for HomeDee and Lowes.


                          • #14
                            I dunno.... The big Sears in the mall by me folded 2 months ago and the Sears Hardware across town has been operating with reduced inventory, reduced lighting, and no A/C (and sparing heat) for over a year. The Sears Outlet across from the Hardware closed over the summer, IIRC.


                            • #15
                              Agree, have seen the Sears outlets and Sears Hardware close up. Maybe they figure they can just sell the scratch and dent stuff in the regular stores?