Author Topic: Radio Shack Rant  (Read 34401 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

duskglow

  • Guest
Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #25 on: June 01, 2013, 05:24:46 pm »
I live in Raleigh Hills, OR.  There is a Radio Shack less than a mile away from me, and the next nearest place I can go to find anything useful (other than the surplus place, which is obviously hit or miss) is Fry's over in Wilsonville, which is 20 miles away down I-5.  I go to neither place with the expectation of getting competent help - meaning I'm on my own - but since that's my expectation, I'm rarely disappointed and am pleasantly surprised when I actually do get competent help, which happens occasionally.

I have been to RS a few times recently.  I got both my arduinos there and a few shields.  I think if I were to get another, now I would find a knockoff on the web for much cheaper, but it was a good place to get my feet wet.  They even had the mega 2560, which I'm using to power my lightboard project.

I consider RS to be exactly what they are, and no more, and as long as that's my expectation and I'm willing to work with it, everything's just fine.

Fry's has a *huge* selection, though recently they've not had things that I needed.  But it's almost always worth a trip.
 

Offline MacAttak

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 682
  • Country: us
Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #26 on: June 01, 2013, 06:35:32 pm »
Tandy *IS* Radio Shack.

I presume most readers are old enough to have used a TRS-80 computer. These were ubiquitous educational computers in the 80's (well, "ubiquitous" among the small percentage of schools wealthy enough to offer any computer science education at all). The "TRS" stands for "Tandy / Radio Shack".

You might have also heard of the venerable Tandy 1000 series, which was one of the original "IBM PC Clone" systems. These were sold at Radio Shack (or Tandy, depending on what part of the world you were in).

Tandy bought Radio Shack before most of us were born (prior to that they had NOTHING to do with electronics), and the company went back and forth about what they wanted their name to be. Stores opened in the US tended to be named "Radio Shack" but stores opened in other regions tended to be named "Tandy". Eventually they just dropped "Tandy" and kept with "Radio Shack".
 

Offline gerrysweeney

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 168
  • Country: gb
  • Electronics hacker and maker and taker aparter
    • gerrysweeney.com
Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #27 on: June 01, 2013, 08:20:15 pm »
@Rasz thank you for the information, I will look it up and be sure to pay a visit.  Gerry

Offline Smokey

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1612
  • Country: us
Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #28 on: June 01, 2013, 09:59:49 pm »
I always wonder about the component isle in Frys.  Some of those packages of resistor bandoleers and random ICs are all yellow and cracked and look like they have been there for 20 years.  It can't possibly be economical for them to dedicate most of an isle of floor space to that stuff when it doesn't sell.  It is probably just there so they can say, "hey look, we are the last place on earth that stocks components".  Our Frys has that isle located right in the prime location space in the middle of the store too, not tucked away in the back or in the basement or something where it probably belongs.  Go figure.  Whenever I buy a BNC T or Molex connector or something like that in those little blue bags, the checkout person always has that "did you find that here in this store?" kind of look on their face.
 

Online Rick Law

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2789
  • Country: us
Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #29 on: June 02, 2013, 01:34:30 am »
With how the internet changed the way we source components even as hobbyist, I doubt very much a brick and mortar component store can exist profitably.

Visiting a store for parts will be more a thing of the past.
 

Offline tom66

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3646
  • Country: gb
  • Electron Fiddler, FPGA Hacker, Embedded Systems EE
Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #30 on: June 02, 2013, 01:41:26 am »
Maplins aren't that useless in the UK. In fact they have found quite the interesting niche as a larger gadget shop but they've kept the components division, even if it is quite small. I've gone there a few times for parts in my repair adventures. They would have regular business from me if:

- they stocked more common diodes in SMPS (have replaced quite a few) e.g. 100V/150V schottkies and 3A through hole types
- they stocked fusible resistors (quite a few replaced)
- they had a decent assortment of low-esr quality capacitors (Panasonic, Nichicon, Rubycon, United Chemicon)

Their components collection is odd, sort of like they had a purchasing manager in charge of it about 10 years ago who upped sticks and left or was fired for embezzling resistors. For example, they stock a low-impedance capacitor marked 1000uF 35V for "computer use", which is one of the least likely uses of such a rated device. They've got plenty of stock of certain thermal fuses -- but not the more common fusible resistors.

I also appreciate their cheaper speaker cable options. While not the cheapest you can get at some 50p a meter, it's pretty handy if you're in a pinch and want to avoid buying the extremely expensive "Monster" cable. And, because it's all copper wire, there is no audible difference.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2013, 01:43:40 am by tom66 »
 

Online xrunner

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 4695
  • Country: us
  • hp>Agilent>Keysight>?
Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #31 on: June 02, 2013, 01:42:12 am »
I always wonder about the component isle in Frys.  Some of those packages of resistor bandoleers and random ICs are all yellow and cracked and look like they have been there for 20 years.  It can't possibly be economical for them to dedicate most of an isle of floor space to that stuff when it doesn't sell.  It is probably just there so they can say, "hey look, we are the last place on earth that stocks components".  Our Frys has that isle located right in the prime location space in the middle of the store too, not tucked away in the back or in the basement or something where it probably belongs.

I LOL'ed at that! You might live in the same city where I do, because it's the same way at the Fry's here.  :-DD

I'm 55, and back in the day Radio Shack had all sorts of neat stuff, like CB radios (yea it taught me a lot about RF), communications receivers, scanners, they even had an in-store repair guy!  :wtf: Unheard of now!

Reminds me of the intro to the movie "Gone With the Wind", a society really gone with the wind.
I am a Test Equipment Addict (TEA) - by virtue of this forum signature, I have now faced my addiction
 

Offline vk6zgo

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5334
  • Country: au
Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #32 on: June 02, 2013, 03:22:37 am »
With how the internet changed the way we source components even as hobbyist, I doubt very much a brick and mortar component store can exist profitably.

Visiting a store for parts will be more a thing of the past.

Jaycar seems to manage----but they do online as well!

Quite often firms under order from their normal supplier & run out--on those occasions it's good to be able to go over to the local components shop & pick up what you need,rather than waiting a week for the wrong bits to come from China! ;D
 

Offline GeoffS

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 1267
  • Country: au
Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #33 on: June 02, 2013, 06:25:18 am »
I don't think I ever bought components from Tandy despite being, at one time,an employee. Way over priced.
Audio equipment used to sometimes be a good buy as Tandy used to source well known brands and have them re-badged.

These days, I get basic stuff from Jaycar - the only store in town ( 60kms away)

If I'm ordering a bit of stuff, I get it from Farnell/Element 14. Free overnight shipping. order by 6:00PM and I have it by 3:00PM the next day. Not bad considering my location.
 

Telequipment

  • Guest
Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #34 on: June 02, 2013, 10:57:00 am »
Maplins aren't that useless in the UK. In fact they have found quite the interesting niche as a larger gadget shop but they've kept the components division, even if it is quite small. I've gone there a few times for parts in my repair adventures. They would have regular business from me if:

- they stocked more common diodes in SMPS (have replaced quite a few) e.g. 100V/150V schottkies and 3A through hole types
- they stocked fusible resistors (quite a few replaced)
- they had a decent assortment of low-esr quality capacitors (Panasonic, Nichicon, Rubycon, United Chemicon)

Their components collection is odd, sort of like they had a purchasing manager in charge of it about 10 years ago who upped sticks and left or was fired for embezzling resistors. For example, they stock a low-impedance capacitor marked 1000uF 35V for "computer use", which is one of the least likely uses of such a rated device. They've got plenty of stock of certain thermal fuses -- but not the more common fusible resistors.

I also appreciate their cheaper speaker cable options. While not the cheapest you can get at some 50p a meter, it's pretty handy if you're in a pinch and want to avoid buying the extremely expensive "Monster" cable. And, because it's all copper wire, there is no audible difference.

I like Maplins myself, I suppose they are a bit more expensive, that said I like them and their products, help is always available, the guy in the parts dept is also a hobbyist, at the one I use, and always up to date with the lastest stuff, I often use them instead of the internet :-+
 

Offline tom66

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3646
  • Country: gb
  • Electron Fiddler, FPGA Hacker, Embedded Systems EE
Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #35 on: June 02, 2013, 11:17:28 am »
Same at the one I go to. Well, he does know his stuff. He knows about soldering irons, solder wick and asked what I was buying some particular parts for. If only they could improve their components range a little more I'd go there a lot more. I'm quite happy to pay a small premium if I don't have to make up the £5 minimum trade counter order for Farnell.
 

Offline saturation

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 4788
  • Country: us
  • Doveryai, no proveryai
    • NIST
Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #36 on: June 02, 2013, 12:10:19 pm »
For the USA, I haven't been to an RS in a while, but the OP original approach is not efficient since components isn't a key for them  for a long time now; but its favor waxes and wanes over the past 10 years.  Solid hook up wire seems to be reasonably priced, and since its retail it saves me time to pick up a roll or two.  Also solder when you are really in a pinch.

A good way to buy from RS is to use their website.  It checks inventory real time, better than the salesperson.  Hopefully its still accurate, but its always worked for me, before I even get to the store.  For e.g. transistors, but its heavy price to pay:

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062609&znt_campaign=Category_CMS&znt_source=CAT&znt_medium=RSCOM&znt_content=CT2032230

$1.50 for a $0.05 item; its the only logical way to keep them stocked in retail; the packaging cost more than the transistor.

It will either be stocked at the store you wish, or you can have it shipped there for free for local pickup from another store that does have it.

« Last Edit: June 02, 2013, 12:12:39 pm by saturation »
Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Online xrunner

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 4695
  • Country: us
  • hp>Agilent>Keysight>?
Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #37 on: June 02, 2013, 12:22:20 pm »
They have some horribly priced parts selection packs. Here we have 60 resistors - yes folks - 60! - in a plastic box - for the low price of ...

$19.97  :--



http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=17085906&retainProdsInSession=1#
I am a Test Equipment Addict (TEA) - by virtue of this forum signature, I have now faced my addiction
 

duskglow

  • Guest
Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #38 on: June 02, 2013, 03:22:18 pm »
I called the RS guy out on the price of the resistors.  His response?  "Well, this is just for people who are just starting out and may not know what to get, and besides, it's a really nice box".

It was hard to argue with that, honestly.  One could argue that they're just gouging the beginner, but one could also argue they're making it accessible, and once the beginner gets deeper into it, they'll learn where to find the parts they need without paying the RS tax.

I think what a lot of people on this forum are going to forget is that when people are just starting out, they have no clue where to find what they need, and while RS is horribly overpriced, they do have kits, etc., that can be a good place for a beginner to start.  I think there is some value to that.  I also think that if someone who does know what they're doing buys those kits, there's something wrong. :)
 

Online xrunner

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 4695
  • Country: us
  • hp>Agilent>Keysight>?
Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #39 on: June 02, 2013, 03:34:07 pm »
... but one could also argue they're making it accessible, and once the beginner gets deeper into it, they'll learn where to find the parts they need without paying the RS tax.

Overcharging for parts that should cost mere pennies each and a plastic box that's worth about a dollar is making the hobby accessible:wtf:
I am a Test Equipment Addict (TEA) - by virtue of this forum signature, I have now faced my addiction
 

duskglow

  • Guest
Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #40 on: June 02, 2013, 03:36:06 pm »
Well, there are RS *everywhere*, and finding the parts anywhere else that doesn't involve going online, especially when you don't even know what parts to get is a challenge, so yeah, I stand by that.

If you have any inkling that the parts can be found elsewhere, then yeah, it's a better idea to go elsewhere.  But people with money to burn will walk into a radio shack and say "what do I need for this project", and for basic stuff, they might even have it.  I think there is value to that.

Remember, I am not talking about beginners who have some inking about what's going on.  I'm talking about utter, rank beginners who think "I need a part" and head right for RS because it's close and what they've always done.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2013, 03:38:04 pm by duskglow »
 

Offline Bored@Work

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3932
  • Country: 00
Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #41 on: June 02, 2013, 03:37:14 pm »
I called the RS guy out on the price of the resistors.  His response?  "Well, this is just for people who are just starting out and may not know what to get, and besides, it's a really nice box".

It was hard to argue with that, honestly.  One could argue that they're just gouging the beginner, but one could also argue they're making it accessible, and once the beginner gets deeper into it, they'll learn where to find the parts they need without paying the RS tax.

Lets say it is against conventional marketing wisdom. It is hard and expensive (marketing etc.) to acquire a new customer. It is therefore good to have regular customers. But the moment a customer recognizes he's ripped of he is unlikely to become a regular customer. So it is a rather clever idea to price stuff significantly below the ripoff level.

Sure, they have a lot of additional cost compared to ebay sellers and can't match their prices, but 0.33 cent/resistor?
I delete PMs unread. If you have something to say, say it in public.
For all else: Profile->[Modify Profile]Buddies/Ignore List->Edit Ignore List
 

duskglow

  • Guest
Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #42 on: June 02, 2013, 03:42:53 pm »
Lets say it is against conventional marketing wisdom. It is hard and expensive (marketing etc.) to acquire a new customer. It is therefore good to have regular customers. But the moment a customer recognizes he's ripped of he is unlikely to become a regular customer. So it is a rather clever idea to price stuff significantly below the ripoff level.

I can't argue with that.  They are definitely not making any effort to keep customers that actually know what they're doing.  But then, I suspect that anyone who knows what they're doing is not a customer that RS really wants to keep, and that's the real shame.
 

Offline MikeK

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 577
  • Country: us
Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #43 on: June 02, 2013, 04:11:15 pm »
Overcharging for parts that should cost mere pennies each and a plastic box that's worth about a dollar is making the hobby accessible:wtf:

So don't buy from them.  I really don't understand the gripes about Radio Shack.  They can only afford to sell those parts for pennies, in the THOUSANDS of stores they have, if people are constantly buying them.  Well guess what?...People aren't.

You're expecting the impossible.  You want every single little thing you could possibly want, right around the corner, and for the same price that online suppliers offer.

The OP complained about wanting just one transistor.  Well I want to be able to get buy one mint, instead of an entire roll/package.  It doesn't work that way.  Buy a bunch of items from an online supplier and pay the shipping.
 

Offline Jon Chandler

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 545
    • Throw Away PIC
Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #44 on: June 02, 2013, 04:26:01 pm »
Sure, they have a lot of additional cost compared to ebay sellers and can't match their prices, but 0.33 cent/resistor?

0.33 cents per resistor is a good price. 0.33 dollars per resistor is outrageous!
 

Offline MikeK

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 577
  • Country: us
Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #45 on: June 02, 2013, 04:36:26 pm »
0.33 cents per resistor is a good price. 0.33 dollars per resistor is outrageous!

Not at all.  Radio Shack doesn't sell a lot of resistors.  Go inside a store and see what fraction of it is devoted to selling resistors.  0.33 dollars per resistor is just fine from a place that's a) local, b) has thousands of stores, c) has to play employee wages and benefits and rent and taxes...

If you want a 1/3 cent resistor get it online.
 

duskglow

  • Guest
Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #46 on: June 02, 2013, 04:40:47 pm »
Not at all.  Radio Shack doesn't sell a lot of resistors.  Go inside a store and see what fraction of it is devoted to selling resistors.  0.33 dollars per resistor is just fine from a place that's a) local, b) has thousands of stores, c) has to play employee wages and benefits and rent and taxes...

If you want a 1/3 cent resistor get it online.

I would argue though that they are missing out on an opportunity - if they would just think about it.  Maybe if they partnered with digikey and were able to get parts shipped to their local stores within a half a day or a day, at just above online prices (they have to account for the convenience, shipping, etc) I bet people would snap it up.  I know that there's an RS within a mile of me, and if I could get parts shipped there for a reasonable price where I could pick them up the next day, I'd be all over that.

In general, though, I agree with you.  You're paying for convenience.
 

Offline MikeK

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 577
  • Country: us
Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #47 on: June 02, 2013, 04:49:01 pm »
I would argue though that they are missing out on an opportunity.

Why would Radio Shack care about making a few pennies - or likely a fraction of a cent - on something that few people are going to buy from them?  This sounds like sour grapes reasoning.

Yes, it would be nice to be able to go into RS and get that specific thing I need at the last minute, and for a really good price.  But there really - and I can't stress this enough - there really are NOT enough people needing that for RS to be concerned about it.  They're going to spend time and money setting up a system with DigiKey, so they can make a few cents from a handful of hobbyists?

Two things that changed RS forever: 1) too few hobbyists anymore and 2) so many cheap online suppliers with so much less overhead than RS has.
 

Online xrunner

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 4695
  • Country: us
  • hp>Agilent>Keysight>?
Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #48 on: June 02, 2013, 05:26:10 pm »
So don't buy from them.

Simmer down now, I never said don't buy from them did I? I buy things there quite often. I buy solder, I've bought an Arduino shield, and various other odds and ends.

Quote
I really don't understand the gripes about Radio Shack.  They can only afford to sell those parts for pennies, in the THOUSANDS of stores they have, if people are constantly buying them.  Well guess what?...People aren't.

Oh, but they can sell for more reasonable prices in the stores if they want to, just look at this -

500-Piece 1/4-Watt Carbon-Film Resistor Assortment $14.49.

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062306

Oh crap - well it doesn't have that all-important plastic box, but hey ...

The box is a cheap gimmick and I hope new hobbyists don't think they need a plastic box to get started with resistors.  :-//

Quote
You're expecting the impossible. 

Apparenty, I'm not.

I am a Test Equipment Addict (TEA) - by virtue of this forum signature, I have now faced my addiction
 

Offline G7PSK

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3693
  • Country: gb
  • It is hot until proved not.
Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #49 on: June 02, 2013, 09:08:22 pm »
We had Tandy's in the UK for a short while but they packed up in the early 90's, I still have some bits that I picked up when their local store closed down, one I acme across the other day, some form of voice recognition chip from the late 80's still in its blister pack with instruction/data sheet also a jumbo red led, never get used I guess but I cannot bring myself to dump them in the rubbish bin.
 


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf