Goodbye Radio Shack

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It's official. Radio Shack is closing their doors. The nearest store to
me (in a big city about 60 miles away), is having a "going out of
business sale". Yesterday it was 80% off almost everything. But there
was little left to choose from. I got a few audio cables, some heat
shrink tubing and a couple 12v 1a transformers. That's about all I could
find.....

This is a sad day..... Radio Shack is the last of the old electronics
stores, and while they have not had much in recent years, I still liked
their stores, and over the years I found their equipment was made fairly
well.  

The guy said they are presently going to keep about 70 stores, which is
about one per state, and they will only be in the very large cities.  

This sucks!!!!  


Re: Goodbye Radio Shack
On 5/23/2017 1:29 PM, snipped-for-privacy@tubes.com wrote:
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Radio Shack was NEVER an old time radio store.
Except maybe back in the '50s before Tandy Leather bought
them.

They sold predominately cheap import stuff.
Middle management was draconian at best. Always grinding
on the store managers to meet constantly changing quotas.
No amount of mismanagement or corporate greed could save
them.


--  
Jeff-1.0
wa6fwi
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Re: Goodbye Radio Shack
On Tue, 23 May 2017, Foxs Mercantile wrote:

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Yes.  They were traditional when they were a s mall chain in the Boston  
area.  But they were going bankrupt, which is why Tandy bought the chain.  
And one reason Radio Shack was successful after that was that it was  
everywhere, at a time when electronics were widening.  The average home in  
1971, the year Radio Shack came to Canada, had a tv or so, some am/fm  
radios, maybe a record player or stereo.  But five years later, there were  
pocket calculators, digital watches, home computers, tv games, endless  
stuff and getting wider, the result of the switch to semiconductors, and  
then especially digital ICs.  And Radio Shack was there on every corner, a  
more familiar place than the old time electronic parts stores that were in  
basements away from the mainstream.  Radio Shack was niche back then, but  
it was a  place when a wider audience could get those metal detectors or  
shortwave receivers or scanners or whatever without having to go to some  
niche store.  There was no competition, the others came later.  Radio  
Shack was there every time something new came along, so you could get that  
Casio music keyboard that would sample, even if you were in some small  
town.

ANd that's how the parts survived, Radio Shack could sell other things and  
carry the parts.  ANd it worked.  I didn't buy parts there much, too  
expensive and limited in selection, but it was convenient.  But since I  
paid attention and got the catalogs, when I started buying "stereo" stuff,  
I bought at Radio Shack, usually when the item was on sale, or better yet,  
a clearance item.  And I bought a bunch of computers there, since they  
were convenient.  The catalog gave all the information, I could just go in  
and get the item off the shelf.

And then at some point, other companies were doing the same thing, and  
Radio Shack stumbled, losing its way.

   Michael

Re: Goodbye Radio Shack

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So there was a bankruptcy even back then..... I did not know that, but
it seems they have gone thru a lot of them. Two recently.  

I never understood the connection with the Tandy leather company. Maybe
there was no "real" connection, just that they bought the business. (Is
Tandy leather still around?).

There was a point when Radio Shack was called Allied Radio Shack. Did
Allied buy R.S. or was it the other way around? I dont know much about
the history, I only recall what I remember over the years. I remember
when they sold Archer brand items too.

However, I was pleased with most if not all of their gear, and I have
quite a bit of their stuff, from a few scanners, a radio, several
multimeters, lots of plugs and connectors, and a video switcher.  

I realize their parts prices were on the high side, but I paid the price
because their stores were nearby and handy. Sure beats paying the
shipping from most places, and before the internet buying by mail was
involved, required mouth to mouth discussions and having a pile of paper
catalogs laying around. Far too complicated just to get a resistor,
capacitor, phono jack or semiconductor. It was easier to drive to R.S.
and just buy it. But I do agree their parts in recent years were very
skimpy and limited.  

Regardless, I liked their stores and will miss them.....

The only reason I even found out that they were closing is because the
9volt battery connector broke on my portable weather radio, so I stopped
at R.S. to buy one. (I did not know they were closing). I had no problem
paying probably about $4 for one of them connectors. Now, I'm stuck
ordering one from ebay (I found a pack of 5 for about $3), but I hate
having to wait a week or more to get small parts like that, and my bench
piles up with projects waiting to be repaired, while I wait for parts.
Lately, when I buy a part, I usually buy 5 or more and keep them on
hand, so I have that stuff here. Its costing me more to stock all that
stuff in the end, but there is no way around it....

What once took a day or two to repair something sometimes takes months
now, because I have to keep waiting for each and every part I need.
Radio Shack provided a good service in that sense, and I was willing to
pay their prices for the convenience. Now they are gone, and I'm not
happy about it....






Re: Goodbye Radio Shack
On Tue, 23 May 2017 15:52:31 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@tubes.com wrote:

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Re: Goodbye Radio Shack

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It's crazy how businesses merge and re-merge, and unmerge. The only
connection that Tandy had with Radio Shack was that both were for
hobbiests. (Entirely different hobbies).  

Allied Radio is gone, but Allied Electronics remains today (their
commercial business).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allied_Electronics

Since I was on Wiki, I looked up Radio Shack.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RadioShack

It's a long article and quite interesting. As technology changed, so did
R.S. (This article is worth reading).

In that article it says that May 31, 2017 is the official closing date
for most stores (except private ones_.

That confirms it.



Re: Goodbye Radio Shack
On 5/28/2017 4:07 PM, Neon John wrote:
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I used to do side jobs in construction.
The plumber that worked with us ALWAYS had to make several
trips to Home Depot for more fittings, and other things.

Finally, Jack, our foreman, asked him, "Are you going out
of business? How come you don't have any inventory on your
truck?"

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McMaster Carr is almost over night. If I order before 9AM.
Same with Mouser.

With a shipping charge of $8 for USPS, I ALWAYS order enough
bits and pieces and extras quantities so I don't have to
immediately re-order the same things.



--  
Jeff-1.0
wa6fwi
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Re: Goodbye Radio Shack
Foxs Mercantile wrote:
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    Hello, Jeff.

    I used to run into so called electricians like that, at the  
wholesaler's warehouse. I bought by the spool, bundle, bag or box for my  
commercial sound work. One guy wanted eight feet of Romex, one handybox,  
and outlet and a cover. He was complaining that they walked away from  
him, to wait on me. My order was around %400, his was about $3.50.



--  
Never piss off an Engineer!

They don't get mad.

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Re: Goodbye Radio Shack
On 7/17/17 16:43 , Michael A. Terrell wrote:
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  There is nothing that says to the client: "I'm not ready for this  
level of work," like running out of supplies in the middle of a job. On  
the other hand, there is nothing that says 'I came to play in the big  
leagues.' like letting the client see a depth of supplies.

  For my commercial sound work, I buy wire in 1000' spools, connectors  
in 100 piece lots, and screws, nuts and washers by the bucket load.  I  
standardize on specific hardware types to application, and I buy  
connectors and other hardware with an eye to standardized pieces, so  
that once installed, everything is not only neat and organized, but all  
the connectors are uniform, the wiring is uniform, and the  
installation/routing/management hardware is uniform.

  As in most things, people shop with their eyes first, and looking like  
you're prepared is often more important than BEING prepared when  
servicing the needs of a client. Because a client that sees you're  
prepared will often recognize that you need little supervision, and will  
stay out of your way. And, an orderly, uniform finished installation  
will engender more confidence in your work, and the reliablity of the  
finished project.

  Similarly, when I do live sound, everything is in the truck. Cables,  
amps, speakers, DI's, of course, but also the right type of cable, with  
the right terminations for the application. A almost never use an  
adaptor. So, that when I set up, there is never a question that not only  
myself, but the band/talent/corporate presenters are prepared.

  That appearance of preparedness is essential for the appearance of  
professionalism.

  It also doesn't help that you have everything on-hand, for a job, so  
you can get the job done faster, smoother and without stops or delays.

  Clients dig that.


   p



Re: Goodbye Radio Shack
D. Peter Maus wrote:
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    A lot of my work was when no wholesaler was open, so you carried it,  
or stretched a job out over several days. As far as rentals, I did carry  
a lot of adapters, since we would have to connect to existing wiring, or  
give a feed to a radio station. We also carried tools and spare parts to  
make equipment repairs, on site if needed.

    My customers were school boards, local governments and factories who  
rarely saw what I carried.  All they saw was that I could get a job done  
on time, and at a fair price.

    Work at schools often meant evening hours, or getting there at six  
AM when their intercom was down.

    Factories was almost always noisy and sometimes dangerous work  
around running machinery.

    Churches were always looking for the cheapest jobs they could find,  
so some got no bids because of the cobbled together messes left by  
whatever was there before you.

    Amusement parks were often scheduled for after they closed for the  
night. Like installing new dual 12VDC electrical and sound systems in a  
pair of paddle boats J.I.T. for an after Prom party.


--  
Never piss off an Engineer!

They don't get mad.

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Re: Goodbye Radio Shack
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Most of the components seemed to be low quality.

The manager of the local store 40 years ago had a major complaint with  
the company.  Whatever was on sale, the company would ship him many of  
the items.  He had an alotment of so many dollars.  He may wind up with  
half of that in antennas that he could not sell, but could not order  
many of the items he could sell.

Even back in the 1970's I almost never bought anything from them in the  
parts line.  They did sell a few nice large items.  Bought one of the  
Model 3 TRS 80 computers from them, and a nice police scanner.


Re: Goodbye Radio Shack
On Tue, 23 May 2017 17:04:56 -0400, Ralph Mowery

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One part I seem to find that is more often than not, the correct size,
are those stereo 1/8th inch plugs that plug into a computer or MP3
player. They almost always seem to be a sloppy fit and get noisy because
of loose fitting.  

I bought several cheap ones on ebay and they were all crappy (from
several sellers). I bought a Radio Shack one on Ebay for 3 times the
price of those cheap ones and it fit perfectly. The seller had 3 left. I
bought all of them, even at $6 a piece. I dont know why no one else can
make them things to fit properly, but I was happy to find some that did
fit and not annoy me with crappy sound.  


Re: Goodbye Radio Shack
On Tue, 23 May 2017 16:15:39 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@tubes.com wrote:

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 Back in the day, when we had Radio Shack in Canada, MOST of their
product was middle of the road or better. A lot of their stuff was
REALLy good stuff.

Re: Goodbye Radio Shack
On 5/23/2017 3:47 PM, Foxs Mercantile wrote:

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Yup, had a GREAT manager at the local RS -- helpful, knowledgeable, a  
really nice guy. Sadly, they fired him because of the bogus quotas.


Re: Goodbye Radio Shack

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 Here in Canada a LOT of the stores were franchises - locally owned
businesses that HQ could not fire - - -  

Re: Goodbye Radio Shack

They're long gone in central Virginia.

There is nowhere else to get a connector or other small part locally.  Big box home improvement stores don't have anything close, and the specialty hardware stores were driven out of business long ago.  

Yeah, you can get cheaper and better stuff online, but you can't have it when you need it.  

Re: Goodbye Radio Shack
On Tue, 23 May 2017, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

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That was the case in the US too.

But in the US, their Franchise stores often were hybrid, selling Radio  
Shack items, but also other things.  I remember going to one, I guess in  
Maine, in the seventies, able to get some interesting books because they  
carried more than Radio Shack items.

   Michael


Re: Goodbye Radio Shack
On Tue, 23 May 2017, Carter wrote:

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That's some of the mythology of the place.

People complain about "Got questions? We've got answers", because they  
took it literally.  When in reality it wasn't that they'd be a source of  
information, but having that adapter fo solve a problem.

I don't think the chain ever deliberately hired "technical people".  But,  
lots of people need jobs, and retail often means flexible schedules.  So  
the teenager interested in electronics would apply for jobs at Radio  
Shack, since it was in line with the hobby.  And I seem to recall  
something about an employee discount, which had to be good.

So in the seventies I certainly had friends who worked there.

But I think with time, it became a less interesting place to work, more  
about consumer electronics than hobby type things, so the hobbyist was  
less likely to apply.  Or maybe it's that "electronics" became mainstream,  
so any kid with a cellphone applied, fancying himself as a "stereo whiz"  
or something, so the hobbyist had competition.

   Michael


Re: Goodbye Radio Shack
wrote:

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 The manager of one of our local Radio Shacks was a HAM radio
operator.
The manager of another was a former military elecronics engineer.  
Both could tell you anything you needed to know about CB radios,
Stereo sytems etc and knew their components inside out. Sadly, that
all ended when Circuit City closed the last Canadian Radio Shacks in
2007 -

Re: Goodbye Radio Shack
On 5/24/17 12:22 PM, Michael Black wrote:
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  At one time, yes they did. My first encounter with Radio Shack was a  
very pleasant experience. But, they were much different times. Olson,  
Lafayette, Allied, Burstein-Applebee, even Zalytron, and numerous brick  
and mortar stores in an area provided incentive for Radio Shack to be a  
better Radio Shack.

  And, since Radio Shack catered to an amateur radio crowd, their sales  
persons had to be knowledgable, to explain the equipment, as well as  
licensed to demostrate it. In my area, all the RS stores, at the time,  
had working ham stations on site, to demostrate their best and newest  
toys.

  When I applied for a job there, I was woefully, at the time,  
unprepared for the technical requirements of the job, and was told to  
come back, they'd be glad to have me, but I needed to get more  
comfortable with the technical aspects of the inventory.

  When I told them I was more of an audio guy, and my expertise was in  
that vein, the GM's eyes perked up, and we had a great conversation. He  
had been looking for audio people, because the market was moving toward  
components, as opposed to furniture consoles, and away from the amateur  
market. And, the licensing requirements for CB were already being  
discussed as obsolete.

  So, yes, at one time, they did require technical knowledge to work at  
Radio Shack. But that was long ago, in a galaxy far away.

  Oh, and, I never did work there. I had also applied at a number of  
other places, but decided, instead to open my first repair shop, an  
offshoot of which was designing and building custom audio equipment for  
the well-heeled in Clayton and LaDue. Great fun.

  Good coin, too.

  p

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