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Offline rexxar

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Radio Shack Rant
« on: June 01, 2013, 04:02:18 am »
My latest trip to Radio Shack left me pissed off, as do every one of my trips there. Today I just needed to pick up a transistor. Just a transistor.

After wading through all the TVs and cellphones and consumer crap, I find the component drawers in the very back corner of the store. I thought I'd be in and out in two minutes, but no, of course not. I open the drawer, which says 'TRANSISTORS' on the front in big letters to find...

Lightbulbs.

I spend a few minutes looking through the stupid drawers until I get fed up and ask the guy at the counter. He couldn't find them so he asked someone else. After he spent a few minutes looking, he remarked "maybe they discontinued them, we don't sell a lot".

ARGH.  |O

In the end, I got my transistor and my opinion of this company has reached an all-time low. The disorganization was caused by a retail person who gave up halfway through reorganizing the stock, which isn't really all that bad, it's just bloody annoying.

What pisses me off about Radio Shack is that they still try to sell themselves to hobbyists and DIYers-- trying to use their old reputation. In my experience, however, they've been hostile to hobbyists, and instead want to focus on selling consumer crap. There are two stores in my town, and in both, all the hobby/DIY stuff is literally shoved in the back of the store. A few times I've noticed that when I opened the component drawers, an alarm goes off in the back of the store, and someone comes out and watches me, like I'm going to steal resistors or something. When I walk in, and one of the employees asks if I need help with something, the blank look I get when I ask for an LM357 regulator tells me exactly how much the company emphasizes component sales to their employees.

/rant
 

Offline PeteInTexas

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2013, 04:10:30 am »
My latest trip to Radio Shack left me pissed off, as do every one of my trips there. Today I just needed to pick up a transistor. Just a transistor.

After wading through all the TVs and cellphones and consumer crap, I find the component drawers in the very back corner of the store. I thought I'd be in and out in two minutes, but no, of course not. I open the drawer, which says 'TRANSISTORS' on the front in big letters to find...

Lightbulbs.

I spend a few minutes looking through the stupid drawers until I get fed up and ask the guy at the counter. He couldn't find them so he asked someone else. After he spent a few minutes looking, he remarked "maybe they discontinued them, we don't sell a lot".

ARGH.  |O

In the end, I got my transistor and my opinion of this company has reached an all-time low. The disorganization was caused by a retail person who gave up halfway through reorganizing the stock, which isn't really all that bad, it's just bloody annoying.

What pisses me off about Radio Shack is that they still try to sell themselves to hobbyists and DIYers-- trying to use their old reputation. In my experience, however, they've been hostile to hobbyists, and instead want to focus on selling consumer crap. There are two stores in my town, and in both, all the hobby/DIY stuff is literally shoved in the back of the store. A few times I've noticed that when I opened the component drawers, an alarm goes off in the back of the store, and someone comes out and watches me, like I'm going to steal resistors or something. When I walk in, and one of the employees asks if I need help with something, the blank look I get when I ask for an LM357 regulator tells me exactly how much the company emphasizes component sales to their employees.

/rant

Why are you going to Radio Shack for your transistor needs, was it an emergency?
 

Offline justanothercanuck

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2013, 04:19:54 am »
Radio Shack isn't what it used to be in the 80s(?)...  They're more interested in selling electronics than selling electronics supplies.  Sure, you can buy speaker wire and stuff there, but it's not a proper supplies store anymore.
Maintain your old electronics!  If you don't preserve it, it could be lost forever!
 

Offline MikeK

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2013, 04:25:01 am »
Just get used to it.  Radio Shack is totally changed.  They're not going back.  Some of it isn't their fault, some of it is.  Oh well.  The money you would have spent on their expensive parts can now be spent on faster shipping from real electronics suppliers online.
 

Offline rexxar

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2013, 04:30:01 am »
I'm not lucky enough to live in an area with a brick-and-mortar Mouser or DigiKey, so I have to deal with Radioshack's price hikes. Even with that, I can't justify paying shipping for a single transistor.

I normally use Mouser when I'm ordering enough that shipping isn't 3/4 of the cost.
 

Offline edavid

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2013, 04:55:25 am »
I'm not lucky enough to live in an area with a brick-and-mortar Mouser or DigiKey, so I have to deal with Radioshack's price hikes. Even with that, I can't justify paying shipping for a single transistor.

I normally use Mouser when I'm ordering enough that shipping isn't 3/4 of the cost.

Digikey has free shipping if you mail in a check.  Or, order from eBay.

 

Offline Lightages

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2013, 05:21:38 am »
I remember in the late 90s, they were still selling 4116 memory ICs, 16K x1 bit, for $10 each. That was the correct price in 1980.....

Radio Shack did have a good run until the early 90s when someone decided it should just be another electronics retailer. They dropped all of their in house brands and exclusive products to sell 100s of models of cordless phones. They had a new moto:
"You have questions? We have answers". The joke about Radio Shack and the new useless people staffing their stores was: "You have questions? We have blank stares".

They even had the opportunity to dominate the personal computer market, but blew that away too.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2013, 06:43:41 am by Lightages »
 

Offline Jon Chandler

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2013, 05:34:27 am »
RadioShack does seem to be trying a bit harder to support the maker/ hacker community recently.  They are selling stuff from Seeed Studios, Parallax and other vendors...the price is higher but there's the opportunity for instant gratification.

Of course it will take a lot of improvements to reach good!
 

Offline rexxar

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2013, 06:28:37 am »
I'm not lucky enough to live in an area with a brick-and-mortar Mouser or DigiKey, so I have to deal with Radioshack's price hikes. Even with that, I can't justify paying shipping for a single transistor.

I normally use Mouser when I'm ordering enough that shipping isn't 3/4 of the cost.

Digikey has free shipping if you mail in a check.

That's a handy tip! I will definitely do that next time I just need a few of something.

I don't know where, but I somehow picked up the idea of the 80's Radio Shack before I ever really started with electronics. I always thought it was a place you could go to buy all sorts of electronic goodies. I just like the idea of going to a local store to pick up simple things like resistors, and 555s, and transistors.

I guess if Radio Shack doesn't want hobbyist money, they won't get any more of mine.  >:(
 

Offline Skimask

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2013, 06:35:18 am »
I'll go dumpster diving and take my chances on used pieces/parts pulled from non-working consumer electronics (as well as various diseases), such as transistors, before I'll go to radio shack.

radio shack is nothing more than cell phone and cheap chinese toy R/C car reseller these days.  And while they do RESELL various Ardunio boards, etc, unless you get just the right person, those clowns behind the counter don't know Arduino from anything else.
I bought my Mega2560 board from the local radio shmack, but only because it was priced the same as online and the local tax was less than the shipping cost at the time.  But..that was also only after I saw it listed on dealnews.com.
I didn't take it apart.
I turned it on.

The only stupid question is, well, most of them...

Save a fuse...Blow an electrician.
 

Offline Bored@Work

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2013, 07:01:55 am »
I guess if Radio Shack doesn't want hobbyist money, they won't get any more of mine.  >:(

Oh, they want your money. It is just that they don't want to do anything to get it.

OK, well, they do a little bit. In May 2011 they did put out a press release stating they want to do more for "makers". And just a few days ago they made yet another big announcement that they want to do more. http://ir.radioshackcorporation.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=84525&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1821278&highlight=

So, to get your money they have decided that doing a press release every two years, written and backed by some lying corporate sacks of shit, is all it takes.
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Offline millerb

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2013, 07:03:42 am »
When I was a kid, I used to get my dad to go to Radio Shack to get my free battery every month. I still hit up Radio Shack for common stuff I need right now, instead of waiting days for things to get shipped to me. Stuff like solder, perf board, wire wrap, bread boards, alligator wires, etc.

I think it's kind of unrealistic though to walk in and expect the guy working the counter to know what a 74hct244 is. These guys are average Joes trained to sell you on cell phones, cameras, batteries and help you pick out the right replacement wall wart. If you ask where the electronic parts are, they'll show you to the parts drawers.

For electronic parts, it's mostly a bag of fail. Limited selection, and for what's there, the qty is small and the price high. Still, if you need some dumbass 780 whatever reg or a zener or something... Then again, if you're a proper electronics geek your closet should be packed waist high with electronic crap boards you've been ripping out of stuff you've pulled out of the dumpster or found out on the curb. Once you've built a sizeable crap pile, you'll have little need for visiting Radio Shack for parts and for everything else, if you can wait three weeks you can get bulk stuff for next to nothing from Chinese eBayers.

It's nice to see that Radio Shack is boning up on their microcontroller stuff. Last time I visited my tiny little Radio Shack in Salisbury, MD, they had a wide assortment of various little kits.
 

Online digsys

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2013, 07:04:49 am »
We have a similar store here in OZ, Dick Smith Electronics ... used to have a great range of stuff.
Then .. Dickie got rich and sold it to a grocery store .. he himself having a ball spending his $$s (And I don't blame him).
Now it's just another crappy consumer goods store, STILL using the original "name" to (hopefully) draw people in.
Same skunk, different name
Hello <tap> <tap> .. is this thing on?
 

Offline Rasz

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2013, 08:49:00 am »
This almost makes me feel good about living in a post communist country :) We have a long tradition of fixing everything and there are plenty of Electronics shops selling electronic components and test equipment. People working there are real engineers. I should probably do a photo tour sometime to make you all feel bad :D
Not to mention Electronic market every weekend that rivals Ham markets you get once a year :P
http://www.wolumen.com.pl/index.php?sh=0&page=infogielda
I would wager a guess this is the only place in Europe that could rival Shenzhen/Akihabara.
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Offline gerrysweeney

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2013, 09:20:57 am »
@Rasz - where is the market?  I want to go visit :) Is it held every weekend, are there good or bad times to go?  Gerry

Offline GeoffS

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #15 on: June 01, 2013, 09:34:52 am »
We have a similar store here in OZ, Dick Smith Electronics ... used to have a great range of stuff.
Then .. Dickie got rich and sold it to a grocery store .. he himself having a ball spending his $$s (And I don't blame him).
Now it's just another crappy consumer goods store, STILL using the original "name" to (hopefully) draw people in.
Same skunk, different name
The same people also bought the local radio Shack (Tandy) operation and re-branded them as Dick Smith stores.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2013, 11:23:57 am by GeoffS »
 

Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2013, 09:53:36 am »
We have a similar store here in OZ, Dick Smith Electronics ... used to have a great range of stuff.
Then .. Dickie got rich and sold it to a grocery store .. he himself having a ball spending his $$s (And I don't blame him).
Now it's just another crappy consumer goods store, STILL using the original "name" to (hopefully) draw people in.
Same skunk, different name

In more ways than one! ;D

We used to have "Tandy's",which was the Australian version of Radio Shack.
I'm not sure why it had a different name,but it had all the same stuff that the US stores had--same in house "Archer" brand,part numbers,etc.
It was always expensive,but if you just needed one item,or were looking for a strange IC,they were the place to go.

Eventually,they became pretty useless for other than consumer stuff,where they couldn't compete with the big retailers,anyway,so they were bought out & merged with Dick Smith.

Luckily for us,we still have such "brick & mortar" shops as Jaycar & Altronics,& if you want to buy more expensive stuff,RS Components who are the Oz version of the UK company of the same name

 :-[ OOPS---I should have waited & read the last post!
« Last Edit: June 01, 2013, 09:55:19 am by vk6zgo »
 

Offline GeoffS

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #17 on: June 01, 2013, 10:02:04 am »

We used to have "Tandy's",which was the Australian version of Radio Shack.
I'm not sure why it had a different name,but it had all the same stuff that the US stores had--same in house "Archer" brand,part numbers,etc.

'Radio Shack' was already a registered business name when Tandy started in Australia in 1973.
 

Offline justanothercanuck

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #18 on: June 01, 2013, 10:43:15 am »
I thought Tandy was just a line of computers made by Radio Shack...  You learn something new every day I suppose.  :P
Maintain your old electronics!  If you don't preserve it, it could be lost forever!
 

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #19 on: June 01, 2013, 11:11:09 am »
Radio shack , isn't that called Maplins in the UK, actually my local Maplins in Peterborough UK is really helpful, and if they don't have a part they get it within 24 hours, and ship it to you , no thinking about it we used to have a Tandy's here, maybe Maplins is a completely different company, it's an age thing.:-+ :-+
« Last Edit: June 01, 2013, 07:29:48 pm by Telequipment »
 

Offline Rasz

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #20 on: June 01, 2013, 11:16:19 am »
@Rasz - where is the market?  I want to go visit :) Is it held every weekend, are there good or bad times to go?  Gerry

https://maps.google.pl/maps?hl=en&ll=52.285563,20.938874&spn=0.001708,0.00327&t=h&z=19&iwloc=lyrftr:h,3532761238348028316,52.285625,20.939215

There is about 40-70 permanent shops open all week (small components, speakers, service parts, small/car/ups batteries, tools). Saturday is Farmers' market :-). Sunday is Electronics market, Starts around 6 am, ends around 12-13.
Just be aware that this is more Shenzhen than Akihabara, no fancy Icom shops with $20K radios, but plenty stalls/tents with transistors/resistors/transformers/screws/electronic junk/fixed  appliances/appliances to be fixed/fake sdcards/stolen car radios :o.

junk:
http://bi.gazeta.pl/im/fb/82/d4/z13927163Q,Wolumen.jpg
bulbs:
http://arbiter.pl/files/g/2_958258435_449_4960_.jpg
one of the permanent shops located there (list of goodies they sell on the left, pretty impressive for mom&pop store):
http://rcs-elektronik.com.pl/index.php?i2,kontakt
another store:
http://members.chello.pl/k.wesolowski/
another shop
http://elektronikab2b.pl/images/stories/Jnc9NDI4Jmg9MzQz/67885:piekarz.jpg
http://elektronikab2b.pl/images/stories/Jnc9NDI5Jmg9MzQz/67886:piekarz.jpg

If you are going to visit Warsaw/Poland just to see electronics you should also see
http://wge.com.pl/
example shop from WGE:
http://elektronika-sklep.pl/sklep/index.php?d=katalog
WGE is mostly computers, but there are few electronic component shops there. Its closed on Sunday.

Additionally there is about 10-15 other shops scattered around the city dedicated to selling electronic components.
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Online xrunner

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #21 on: June 01, 2013, 12:10:55 pm »
I left a comment on their website last year, said to change the name from "Radio Shack" to "Cell Phone Shack"
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Offline 4to20Milliamps

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #22 on: June 01, 2013, 02:56:27 pm »
Radioshack has always been lame, I was surprised when they started selling  arduinos and propellers.


patience and resourcefulness rule in  this hobby.....especially when it comes to obtaining parts.
 

Offline jancumps

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #23 on: June 01, 2013, 04:53:14 pm »
I thought Tandy was just a line of computers made by Radio Shack...  You learn something new every day I suppose.  :P

They were called Tandy in Belgium too. Below a small collage of things I own(ed) from there.



I see that I forgot to add the long free torch that ate batteries like...



However hard you rant, they will have a special place in my heart forever  :-*
« Last Edit: June 01, 2013, 04:56:22 pm by jancumps »
 

Online rdl

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #24 on: June 01, 2013, 05:11:19 pm »
Back in the late 80s/early 90s I spent tons of money at Radio Shack. I haven't been in one in almost 10 years, even though the local store is practically right next door to where I get my hair cut.

I'm lucky enough to live less than 400 miles from Mouser, so that's were I buy most stuff.  USPS shipping, less than $7, usually gets here in 2 days. No sales tax goes along way toward offsetting the shipping charge. They also have an "Economy" method for around $4, takes a about a week though.
 


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