Author Topic: Radio Shack Rant  (Read 34399 times)

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Offline deth502

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #75 on: January 18, 2014, 02:46:55 am »
i never really thought about it before, but since my last post here, i got to thinking. i do believe that radio shack is my reason for NOT being in the electronics hobby.

back when i was a kid there was no internet, and im not in any big city where i had the luxury of going to any number of different retailers. im from a small town, and we had a radio shack. i learned everything from there, through forrest mims books. got all of my tools and supplies form there. the only exception was a small mom and pop store that was about 45 min away, and it was very few and far between that i could get my parents to go there.

around the time radio shack crapped out was probably about the time i just stopped the electronics hobby, there was not much i could do. (in hindsight, i suppose i could have been scavenging parts from products, but i dont think my parents would have been too fond of me hording just appliances either)

now, after many years, im starting to get back into it. its so much different today with the internet, ebay, and alllllllll the info, schematics, and forums for help out there, not to mention youtube. imo, radio shack will NEVER get back to what it was. it screwed itself out of a market that is just to big and simple today for them to be able to compete.
 

Online Monkeh

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Re: Tandy UK: I thought there were gone? :-/
« Reply #76 on: January 18, 2014, 03:22:24 am »
Weird... I'm sure they went in 1999...

http://www.tandyonline.co.uk/

They cropped back up recently.. Selling a load of cheap tat.
 

Offline rexxar

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #77 on: January 18, 2014, 04:44:54 am »
I stopped by Radio Shack a couple weeks ago (I needed lead-free solder NOW), and they've got a new promo going on. You get 10% off most everything if you show college ID. Anyone else see this?

10% really isn't a whole lot, everything's still overpriced, but hey, starving (American) college students need all the help they can get! Between tuition and leaving my job, my hobby budget went down the drain :(

Remember the learning lab kits? 200 in 1 projects? with the springs to connect the wires.

[pic]

35 years ago. Wow.

KT

I had one like that when I was a kid, of course it was made of cardboard...
 

Offline Sigmoid

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #78 on: January 18, 2014, 04:45:46 am »
I think one of the reasons people remember radio shack of yesterday so fondly and are so tweaked at what they have become is because at one point pretty much all electronics, consumer products and components, was once the domain of the nerd.  Your typical high school cheerleader would have been interested in about 0.1% of what a store like radio shack sold.  The way our world works now is that the cheerleader knows more about computers (well certainly cell phones) than her parents.  It doesn't help that even the nerds consider much of consumer electronics as disposable black boxes.  It's not economical to sell components out of a physical store, especially when none of the other things in the store could even use them.  It's not like you are going to fix your cell phone with any resistor you will find in the resistor bin, not unless they also sell stereo microscopes, ultra fine soldering irons, ultra tiny tweezers, etc....

Well, you are just plain wrong.
http://www.conrad.de/ce/ They are still doing exactly what RS was doing 20 years ago. Servicing the market of hobbyists and makers. They have physical stores all over Europe.
Apparently they are quite prosperous.

And no, this isn't about some kind of "nerd pride". Servicing makers and hobbyists, and "consumer electronics", is quite different. They are separate worlds. It's not that the first became outdated or obsolete. In fact, with all the arduinos and 3d printing around, it's a larger and more profitable gig than ever.
Imagine a Radio Shack that carries arduinos (like Conrad does: http://www.conrad.de/ce/de/overview/2420142/Arduino-Boards), application arduino shield kits, 3d printers, etc...

What you've said is like saying that in this day and age of junk food, it's not economical to sell groceries from a physical store, especially since none of the powdered soups contain any actual vegetables. Okay this was a bad example but you see what I mean.
And as far as I know Conrad does carry stereo microscopes and SMD soldering tools. ;) So yea. Oh here they are: http://www.conrad.de/ce/de/overview/0609064/Mikroskope

And it's not like this is in some distant magical land of devoid of consumer electronics. It's in Germany. With lots of physical stores: http://www.conrad.de/ce/de/content/chainstores_page/Unsere-Filialen It's a working business model, one that RS could be successfully following up to today and into the indefinite future. Even in Star Trek, I bet people want to buy dilithium crystals and transporter buffers for their hobby projects.
Radio Shack becoming what it became was not the inevitable passing of ages, but a bad corporate decision.

EDIT: Okay here's the coup de grace. http://www.conrad.de/ce/de/category/SHOP_AREA_17618/Experimentierkaesten Educational maker kits for children. And may I direct your attention to the working fuel cell powered diy toy car. All this is not unlike the 100-in-1 kit, only XXI. century.
Nerd pride and flow of the times, huh?
« Last Edit: January 18, 2014, 05:16:30 am by Sigmoid »
 

Offline rexxar

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #79 on: January 18, 2014, 04:51:21 am »
And no, this isn't about some kind of "nerd pride". Servicing makers and hobbyists, and "consumer electronics", is quite different. They are separate worlds.

I agree with what people have said earlier in this thread: Radio Shack has become a watered-down Best Buy, and only sells "junk food" disposable consumer crap. In the Radio Shack in the mall here, all of the electronics stuff is on a six foot section of wall, in the very back of the store, it's pathetic. From what I've heard, the entire store used to be like that section of wall; stuffed with electronics. (Of course, I wasn't alive then...)
 

Online rdl

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #80 on: January 18, 2014, 04:57:57 am »
Radio Shack pretty much lost their way back in the 90s, I doubt there's much chance they'll survive. The new guy in charge pretty much had a going out of business sale during the last part of 2013. He seems to think he can turn them into some kind of high-end version of Best Buy or something. Not gonna work.
 

Offline Falcon69

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #81 on: January 18, 2014, 05:38:28 am »
didn't Radio Shack report a record breaking DOUBLE LOSS last quarter?

I don't think they will be around too much longer.
 

Offline Smokey

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #82 on: January 18, 2014, 09:17:53 am »
I wasn't talking exclusively about nerd pride, although that is a part of it.  My point was that if you were buying radio gear or something you probably were a nerd and you probably knew how that gear works (or wanted to know at least) and you had a good chance of being able to work on the gear you just bought since things had big components and schematics available...  that is just not the case any more..  cheer leaders are a major market for electronics and they could care less what a resistor is as long as they can get on facebook.  Its no longer the domain of nerds.   You can't count on sales of components to go along with sales of consumer electronics.
 

Offline Smokey

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #83 on: January 18, 2014, 09:39:29 am »
One of the great things about capitalism is that if you see a demand for something that is not being filled, you can fill it yourself.  If confidence is so high that there is a market for a physical store that sells components then open the store and get rich.  You will surely get plenty of investor money if you can actually prove the demand is as high as you think. 
Sorry to kill the party.  There is a local store that does exactly what radio shack used to.  Its all hard core electronics.  Isles and isles of components.   Some test equipment.  Lots of cables.   It sure isn't a national chain and they sure don't look like they make a lot of money.  And its on the edge of a huge city surrounded by major aerospace industry, not in the woods somewhere. 
 

Offline oldrose

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #84 on: January 18, 2014, 10:18:36 am »
I also miss the old days of Radio Shack/Tandy and Dick Smith selling components. Even though they were expensive if you needed resistors/capacitors in small quantities they were available. I also remember the battery club and getting a battery for free every month. In Australia, my local Jaycar has less and less individual components and you have to buy packs which are very expensive if you are lucky. Altronics is too far away ($20 in petrol for a $2 resistor I don't think). Both sell a lot of overpriced junk you can buy off the 'net for significantly less and have you seen how much they want for 80's tech oscilloscopes and the like?
 

Offline rr100

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #85 on: January 18, 2014, 03:49:35 pm »
Lol. I arrived in NYC from Europe about a year ago, and well, my experience with Radio Shack here is pretty bad. It's essentially a low-end Best Buy, selling shitty devices for unreasonable prices in Apple-inspired store interiors.

Well THAT was my impression as well from my one and only visit to a RS.
The guy came immediately to pester me trying to find out my mobile provider and trying to sell me plans even if I assured him he doesn't have any from the right continent.
I now find it funny that I've been helping remotely a friend with some small projects and I've been sending him always to RS to get parts like micros and couldn't believe him that he can't find anything.
 

Offline edavid

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #86 on: January 18, 2014, 03:57:23 pm »
Imagine a Radio Shack that carries arduinos (like Conrad does: http://www.conrad.de/ce/de/overview/2420142/Arduino-Boards), application arduino shield kits, 3d printers, etc...

Well, they do:

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=12272877
http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=23160006

Somehow it's not enough...
 

Offline Sigmoid

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #87 on: January 21, 2014, 04:22:46 pm »
I wasn't talking exclusively about nerd pride, although that is a part of it.  My point was that if you were buying radio gear or something you probably were a nerd and you probably knew how that gear works (or wanted to know at least) and you had a good chance of being able to work on the gear you just bought since things had big components and schematics available...  that is just not the case any more..  cheer leaders are a major market for electronics and they could care less what a resistor is as long as they can get on facebook.  Its no longer the domain of nerds.   You can't count on sales of components to go along with sales of consumer electronics.
One of the great things about capitalism is that if you see a demand for something that is not being filled, you can fill it yourself.  If confidence is so high that there is a market for a physical store that sells components then open the store and get rich.  You will surely get plenty of investor money if you can actually prove the demand is as high as you think. 
Sorry to kill the party.  There is a local store that does exactly what radio shack used to.  Its all hard core electronics.  Isles and isles of components.   Some test equipment.  Lots of cables.   It sure isn't a national chain and they sure don't look like they make a lot of money.  And its on the edge of a huge city surrounded by major aerospace industry, not in the woods somewhere.

Well, you are of course fundamentally right, but I doubt that component sales ever "went along" with consumer electronics. Consumer electronics didn't always exist, but from its inception, it just means what it says. Electronics for consumers (ie. cheerleaders, quarterbacks, cowboys, old ladies, etc.) I doubt that even in 1960 when someone bought a radio or a television, they were necessarily electronics nerds.
My point is, components and test equipment sales have, and have never had anything to do with consumer electronics.

As for financial feasibility of physical stores, this has more to do with the e-commerce revolution than with consumer electronics becoming ubiquitious or being de-nerdified. True, if all hobbyists go to Digikey and order everything on-line, a small store in a small town may have to close down.

That said, back in Budapest (Hungary), which is a moderately sized city by US standards, with a heavily atrophied industrial sector, I know of at least three physical stores that carry electronics components and tools. One is the Conrad store I mentioned, aimed almost exclusively at makers, DIYers and hobbyists, and there are two electronics stores aimed mostly at industrial buyers, repair shops and other professional consumers of components, but with storefronts catering to individual hobbyists as well.
None of them look particularly strapped for cash. I'm sure they aren't cash cows, but are good, self-sufficient businesses - every time I've been to any of these shops, there was always a healthy amount of clientele hanging around shopping.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2014, 05:26:21 pm by Sigmoid »
 

Offline denelec

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #88 on: January 21, 2014, 10:59:25 pm »
Radio-Shack sold a little of everything in relatively small surface stores.

They sold stereos and TVs but they were not a real audio-video store.
They sold toys but they were not a real toy store.
They sold computers but they were not a real computer store.
They sold telephones but they were not a real telephone store.
They sold electronic components but they were not a real component store.

Like they said: "Jack of all trades, master of none".

In today's market where you can buy anything via the Internet, I don't now how a brick and mortar store can survive without specialyzing.
 

Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #89 on: January 22, 2014, 02:00:23 am »
I think one of the reasons people remember radio shack of yesterday so fondly and are so tweaked at what they have become is because at one point pretty much all electronics, consumer products and components, was once the domain of the nerd.  Your typical high school cheerleader would have been interested in about 0.1% of what a store like radio shack sold.  The way our world works now is that the cheerleader knows more about computers (well certainly cell phones) than her parents.  It doesn't help that even the nerds consider much of consumer electronics as disposable black boxes.  It's not economical to sell components out of a physical store, especially when none of the other things in the store could even use them.  It's not like you are going to fix your cell phone with any resistor you will find in the resistor bin, not unless they also sell stereo microscopes, ultra fine soldering irons, ultra tiny tweezers, etc....

The Oz version,(Tandy's),was never a "hardcore" Electronics Store.

It always sold consumer stuff as well,particularly in the late '70s,when,like almost every other type of shop,it became "CB crazy"!

The 1970s Oz equivalent of your "cheerleader" may well have bought her CB radio from there,to join in the constant roar & heterodyne squealing on the AM calling channel.

This sounds a bit sexist,but she would be more likely to buy from Tandy's,Dick smith,or perhaps K-Mart,than any of the "hardcore" CB Stores the blokes frequented to increase their "street cred".

Consumer Products?

TV's,Broadcast radios,medium-fi audio systems were not really objects of "Nerd affection".
After all,they were sold in shops alongside Fridges,Washing machines,etc.

Waaayyy back,Audio HIFI was definitely a Nerd (might I say,Geek?) thing.

Guys that looked like Gyro Gearloose used to sidle up to the Electronics Parts counters & put down their
hard earned cash for such delights as 12AX7s,EL34As,Ultra-Linear output transformers & the like.

Getting back to "hardcore" Electronics,many of us from the slightly earlier  generation considered Dick Smith & the like,a little "effete".

In Perth,we were brought up on the likes of Atkins (WA),Carlyle & Co,A.J Wyle,etc,where you went to the "Radio" counter & waited to be served,like God intended! ;D
Their Kits were great big things for making serious stuff like TVs & Amplifiers,

One of the next generation was "General Accessories" which was a self-service store,& had some kiddy kits but wasn't bad otherwise.

They had a big "lolly"(candy) jar of unmarked NPN transistors,& a bunch of "lolly" bags.
You could buy as many as you could fit in the bag for a dollar.

We jokingly knew them as "BC10-?"s as they could be used in most circuits where BC series small signal NPNs were specified.
 

Offline Smokey

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #90 on: March 04, 2014, 08:24:58 pm »
 

Online xrunner

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #91 on: March 05, 2014, 12:11:36 am »
I thought this was funny - " analysts say it has not done enough to transform itself into a destination for mobile phone shoppers ..."

Hasn't done enough to transform itself into a destination for mobile phone shoppers! Huh? That's all I see when I walk in the door LOL.  :-//
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Offline Stonent

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #92 on: March 05, 2014, 12:12:55 am »
I thought this was funny - " analysts say it has not done enough to transform itself into a destination for mobile phone shoppers ..."

Hasn't done enough to transform itself into a destination for mobile phone shoppers! Huh? That's all I see when I walk in the door LOL.  :-//

Yes, but despite that, you most likely didn't go there for that reason.
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Offline Stonent

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #93 on: March 05, 2014, 12:23:11 am »
Radio Shack posted today on their facebook page that they did cell phone and tablet repairs in store. So I commented "existence of store subject to change"
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Offline N2IXK

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #94 on: March 05, 2014, 12:52:36 am »
I thought this was funny - " analysts say it has not done enough to transform itself into a destination for mobile phone shoppers ..."

Hasn't done enough to transform itself into a destination for mobile phone shoppers! Huh? That's all I see when I walk in the door LOL.  :-//

Yes, but despite that, you most likely didn't go there for that reason.

Exactly.. Do you know anyone who goes to Radio Shack to buy a cellphone?  Why would you choose RS over the local AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, or Apple store? You know, the people who will actually be providing the customer service after the purchase? If you want a prepaid or "burner" phone, RS is always going to charge more than Mall-Wart or the local bodega.

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Online xrunner

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #95 on: March 05, 2014, 12:56:49 am »
Radio Shack posted today on their facebook page that they did cell phone and tablet repairs in store. So I commented "existence of store subject to change"

LOL.
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Offline Rigby

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #96 on: March 05, 2014, 04:22:58 am »
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#

couple months back I got 5 of these on clearance for $10 after tax.  I'm pretty happy with how that turned out.
 

Offline mtdoc

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #97 on: March 05, 2014, 04:33:34 am »

Exactly.. Do you know anyone who goes to Radio Shack to buy a cellphone?  Why would you choose RS over the local AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, or Apple store?

To be fair, there are a lot of Radio Shacks in small towns with no cellphone provider stores. My town has one Verizon store (no other provider stores) and pretty much the only customers I see when I go into the local RS are  cellphone shoppers. Never more than a few though so I wonder if our store is on the chopping block...
 

Offline Tinkerer

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #98 on: March 05, 2014, 05:12:08 am »
Seems like Radio Shack has more of an identity crisis than anything else.
They are trying to keep up with what everyone else is doing but arnt really sure where to go.
 

Offline edm68

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Re: Radio Shack Rant
« Reply #99 on: March 05, 2014, 05:26:22 am »

"Do you know anyone who goes to Radio Shack to buy a cellphone?"    - I bought both of my smartphones there cheap.

"Why would you choose RS over the local AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, or Apple store?"    - Because they were cheaper, I didn't want to sign a contract, they were in stock, and I didn't have to change providers.

I think it will be a sad day if Radio Shack ends the same as Montgomery Wards, Circuit City, Woolworths, etc. Just another piece of American history gone.  :'(
 


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