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An end of an era is almost upon us...


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#26 Osgeld OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 13, 2014 6:14 PM

SparkFun sounds like some high-tech porno room they could set up. After hours, you know?

 

might as well be, they rape their customers better than radio shack



#27 RodLightning ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 13, 2014 6:29 PM

My local Radio Shack closed down earlier this year.  I drove by and thought about how the store had degenerated in the years since it opened and the one inside a local shopping mall closed.  The last thing I remember buying was a momentary switch for the Atari Incognito installation.  The girl at the counter had seen me going through a parts drawer and asked what kind of things I could "fix" with electronic parts from their inventory.  This wasn't the first time employees at the Shack had shown genuine curiosity when I came in with a short list of catalog numbers for small electronic components.  I suppose that those of use who still do that are becoming more and more scarce, nationwide.

 

As things stand today, Radio Shack could take a snapshot of their store from say, 1985; and fill their shelves with the exact same new inventory of the day (if such a thing could be possible) and do better in sales than they have done in the last ten years.  I am thinking about the Archer kits, tools, booklets, batteries, Micronta branded items and even some of the later Optimus audio equipment.  Of course, I am kind of joking, but wouldn't you love to shop at the real Radio Shack again, before it all went sour?

 

:)



#28 jaybird3rd ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 13, 2014 6:35 PM

The staff is not knowledgeable enough to offer in-store help on anything. Why should they? They're not paid enough. And even if they were, the advice would be substandard. Furthermore, connecting "stuff" up in a public store would bring all sorts of liabilities in today's litigious society. Not to mention some imaginary security or safety issue. Baghhh!

True, unfortunately. When I was working at Staples around 1995-1996, a customer came in who needed a fax machine and needed it FAST. The only model we had that met his needs was the one that happened to be out of stock, except for the display unit. I suggested that he could simply buy that, and he was willing to pay full price for it, even though it was out of the box and a little beat up from being out on the floor for months. Even so, I had to practically twist the store manager's arm to convince him to let it go. When I pressed him for a reason, he just blurted out excuses about liabilities and service plan eligibility and some problem about "putting it into the system". The fact that this customer would be grateful to us for solving his problem, and would probably come back to us to buy paper and other supplies, seemed to matter less than some nebulous imaginary issues that made no sense to me.

I finally prevailed and the customer got his fax machine, which made both of us happy. But I ended up leaving that job before too long, because "the system" and their own convenience seemed to be more important to the management than delivering good customer service. It seems to happen to all retailers that make their internal processes so "efficient" and "automatic" that they become rigid and inflexible and unable to bend the rules a little bit to meet their customers' needs. I'm sure the same is true of Radio Shack, as evidenced by the fact that the checkout process is longer and more complicated than any other store I've seen (I complained about that in an earlier Radio Shack thread).



#29 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 13, 2014 6:45 PM

I dislike shopping some retail because of "the system". It would appear most corporations like to do things in a way that isolates them from the customer's plight. Things like not selling demo models, or herding the masses around, or playing games with special sales items that have a list of stipulations and caveats a mile long. Things like not having complete specifications of a tech product or being able to find out an answer to an uncommon question.

 

I just feel like there is a hidden entity in big box stores that wants to create its own world and reap the benefits of having customers while providing them with the bare minimum of service. And it creates a barrier between me and the corporation. If that makes sense..

 

Meantime I'm going to update and re-configure my Altirra setup. At least I can get personalized service should I need it!


Edited by Keatah, Wed Aug 13, 2014 6:46 PM.


#30 jaybird3rd ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 13, 2014 7:13 PM

Of course, I am kind of joking, but wouldn't you love to shop at the real Radio Shack again, before it all went sour?

Oh, absolutely. They actually used to carry some good stuff. Their Realistic line of cassette tapes (just like these) were my family's favorite brand: my parents taped some record albums in the late 70s for listening in the car, and those tapes still worked well into the 90s (I know that because I was a teenager by that time and was sick of listening to them).  I had good luck with them as computer cassettes, too, even the 90-minute ones (which, for those who don't remember, were often rolled too thin to be reliably used for data).  My favorite Micronta item was an illuminated pocket microscope with a built-in slide holder.  I didn't have any slides, but I used to sprinkle salt crystals into the carpet and look at them through the microscope; I was amazed at how much they looked like giant ice cubes entangled in multi-colored ropes.  The "Science Fair" electronic project kits were great fun, too; the one I liked the best was the 200-in-1 (just like this one), which had a good selection of built-in components and lots of detailed projects to get you started.  Great stuff!  It's the kind of quiet exploratory fun that most kids today aren't even allowed to have anymore.



#31 5-11under ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 13, 2014 7:43 PM

I guess I'll no longer be a member of the Radio Shack Battery Club. :(


Edited by 5-11under, Wed Aug 13, 2014 7:43 PM.


#32 bkrownd OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 13, 2014 7:44 PM

 Of course, I am kind of joking, but wouldn't you love to shop at the real Radio Shack again, before it all went sour?

 

 

 Good times, indeed.



#33 jmetal88 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 13, 2014 9:43 PM

I hope they don't go out of business because, even though their selection kinda sucks and they're really expensive, they're the only store in town I can go to to get electronic parts and components of any kind if I need them in a hurry.



#34 cimerians OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 13, 2014 10:19 PM

I know this will anger people here so I should keep my mouth shut but I HATED Radio Shack. The nimrods who worked there were beyond tolerable as were the waits in line.

 

It was the ONLY place to get electronics and it sucked because in the 90's I couldn't get anything online and had to go there for anything from resistors to replaceble CMOS batteries. 

 

Sorry guys I wont miss em' other than yeah when you need something on the fly but thankfully its a rarity for me these days to be desperate for a component.

 

(Not sure how it was in the 80's but I got my associates degree in electronics in 89' and visited them in the 90's quite a bit)



#35 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 13, 2014 10:56 PM

I sure as heck will not miss Rip Shock either.  Now days I get most of my parts off of Ebay CHEAP!

Try it yourself, there are THOUSANDS of "Buy It Now" items, many with free shipping no less.  Sometimes you have to wait

10 days or so, but so what.  I'd spend more money in gas alone just driving to a store!  

 

For example: 74LS379

Timer IC      : 555

Diode          : IN4148

 

Heck you can even get a half way decent SOLDERING STATION new on Ebay.



#36 LoTonah OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 14, 2014 2:20 AM

I've worked at the Canadian Radio Shacks twice in my lifetime.

 

First time was 1988-89, in Vancouver.  It was still good then, no extended warranty crap and cell phones were still mostly luggables.  I was right out of high school and barely knew how to figure out the resistance bands on a resistor, but it was fun and I learned a lot.  Good memories, there.  CoCo's and Tandy 1000/2000's, people mostly still programmed their computers and wanted to know how things worked.  Probably the worst thing we had to do was try to capture customer addresses for *every* sale.  I hated it, customers hated it, but it had to be asked.

 

Second time was about 15 years ago, because I suddenly found myself in need of quick employment (due to my boss committing suicide, not fun times).  Boy, what a change.  The parts "wall" was now a single section (with a few other sections for cables, project cases, etc).  Oh, they were "The Source" by then, and your performance was based on Satellite dish installs, cell phone plans, and extended warranties.  Good thing the guys at my store were good, fun people (I subbed at a few other local stores once in awhile and they were morons, mostly).  It was sad to see how fast the company had changed, and not for the better.  Cheap-ass Compaq and AST computers.  Crappy plastic RC cars everywhere.  They tried to get me to buy into the employee stock purchase plan and I laughed out loud--seriously, uncontrolled laughter--because I could see that there was no way I'd invest in that shithole.



#37 Gamemoose OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 14, 2014 8:10 AM

It was quite the shock when the Radio Shack in the local mall closed up. Lots of great memories. A friend of the family worked there forever and my dad and I would visit often. The store even let my dad put his Yahtzee game he wrote in BASIC to show of the CoCo as it looked really sharp with its PMODE 4 graphics and it was so easy to play.

My dad bought his CoCo 1 (loaded with 16K and ECB) and later his CoCo 2 64K machine then I bought my CoCo 3 from there. I did drool over the higher end Tandy 1000's that were beyond my teenage pocketbook.

There's still one in town but like others said, things I need aren't in the store.

Slight tangent but ever notice that it's just not the same walking into the computer section of an electronics store? I don't get that "wow" factor anymore. Maybe because computers are kinda sold like toaster ovens now. I dunno.

#38 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 14, 2014 9:56 AM

Slight tangent but ever notice that it's just not the same walking into the computer section of an electronics store? I don't get that "wow" factor anymore. Maybe because computers are kinda sold like toaster ovens now. I dunno.

 

It was all NEW and exciting back then.  We had computers in science fiction, and the ones that did exist were previously obscenely expensive and large, but now, wow, you could have one in your own home!

 

Back when I was a Computer Marketing Manager at a Radio Shack in the 80's I encouraged a couple of the more well-behaved kids to come in and play on the Model III we had on display.  One kid in particular was a genius, he wrote some fantastic software and went into the programming field after high school.  This kid was smart enough to 'get out of the way' when I was working with a customer, but also did a lot off selling of his own and created a lot of excitement around that model.  Word of mouth back then, computer clubs and the software base is what sold many systems to the hobbyist crowd.  Applications and productivity is what the business and government segments of the market wanted.

 

It all came down to what the customer 'had in mind'.  It was the "expectation to pocket book ratio".  I always tried to guide them into something that gave them some 'extra growing room'.  I mean who wants a dog system that they would outgrow almost over night?

 

But yes, now days the excitement is dead, the average consumer knows whatever they buy will be able to do what they want, probably already have a thousand and one applications available for it already.  Hell, the AVERAGE person will probably never 'push' their machine to it's limits before they junk it.

 

The local computer store is almost gone from the scene too as there is little profit to made anymore in computers, Who can compete against the big box stores that buy tens of thousands of units from China?  And then there is the Internet, where you can research for hours (if you like) and order from a high-volume warehouse center that can even under-cut Walmart.



#39 remowilliams OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 14, 2014 10:13 AM

My favorite modern Radio Shack moment - walking in while talking on my iphone and wearing a blackberry visible on my hip and then being asked if they could interest me in a cell phone.



#40 Gamemoose OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 14, 2014 10:39 AM

 
It was all NEW and exciting back then.  We had computers in science fiction, and the ones that did exist were previously obscenely expensive and large, but now, wow, you could have one in your own home!
 
Back when I was a Computer Marketing Manager at a Radio Shack in the 80's I encouraged a couple of the more well-behaved kids to come in and play on the Model III we had on display.  One kid in particular was a genius, he wrote some fantastic software and went into the programming field after high school.  This kid was smart enough to 'get out of the way' when I was working with a customer, but also did a lot off selling of his own and created a lot of excitement around that model.  Word of mouth back then, computer clubs and the software base is what sold many systems to the hobbyist crowd.  Applications and productivity is what the business and government segments of the market wanted.
 
It all came down to what the customer 'had in mind'.  It was the "expectation to pocket book ratio".  I always tried to guide them into something that gave them some 'extra growing room'.  I mean who wants a dog system that they would outgrow almost over night?
 
But yes, now days the excitement is dead, the average consumer knows whatever they buy will be able to do what they want, probably already have a thousand and one applications available for it already.  Hell, the AVERAGE person will probably never 'push' their machine to it's limits before they junk it.
 
The local computer store is almost gone from the scene too as there is little profit to made anymore in computers, Who can compete against the big box stores that buy tens of thousands of units from China?  And then there is the Internet, where you can research for hours (if you like) and order from a high-volume warehouse center that can even under-cut Walmart.


What's interesting with today's computer age is that, in a way, we are kinda going back to the concepts of computers of old: tablets. Not as powerful as the "business machines" but has the programs people can use easily. Like a Commodore or a CoCo-it has apps that you can be productive with but typically without the sheer scope and complexity of a "business" application. And they play games :)

#41 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 14, 2014 10:53 AM

What's interesting with today's computer age is that, in a way, we are kinda going back to the concepts of computers of old: tablets. Not as powerful as the "business machines" but has the programs people can use easily. Like a Commodore or a CoCo-it has apps that you can be productive with but typically without the sheer scope and complexity of a "business" application. And they play games :)

 

Yeah, we've kind of reached the level where the hardware exceeds the requirements of the AVERAGE user.  To keep profits up, the manufactures have actually been able to cut back.  

 

There is one small segment of the hobby that still has some of the old 'feel' and that is the high-end gaming crowd.  Those people buy some pretty expensive parts and put them all together in some interesting configurations and get some mind-blowing performance.  Of course being on the cutting edge is NOT cheap. 



#42 bobotech OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 28, 2014 2:45 PM

I miss old RS.   One of my old fond memories was being a kid back in the seventies and my mom taking me and leaving me at Radio Shack so she could go next door to work out at jenny craig or whatever it was called back then.  I used to hang out there for an hour or so.  This was back around 1977 when the Model 1 first came out.  I don't think it was called the model one at the time?   The store fascinated me to no end.  I had a fair amount of radio shack electronics kits.  Being 10 years old in 1977 meant you got to see the birth of the personal computer as we know it and grew up with it.  I loved radio shack in the early eighties and to a somewhat lesser extent, the late eighties.  By the early nineties, they were moving away from the hobbyist clientele to being a major audio/cell phone/etc electronics provider.  That was when I stopped being fascinated by them.  



#43 bkrownd OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 28, 2014 4:00 PM

I went in the mall Radio Shack a couple days ago after the failed search for Flashbacks in ToysRUs.  I bought a couple of very overpriced buttons for my arcade console - ouch.  It looked like they were clearing a lot of stock out.



#44 atarian63 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 28, 2014 8:06 PM

we used to call them jap shack because of all the japanese components they sold,after they got out of that business never went in again. They never had anything I wanted even way back when.



#45 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 28, 2014 8:15 PM

So many (if not all) things were "custom manufactured" for RS at the time. I've seen their exact same products sometimes sold under non-RS brands.



#46 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 28, 2014 9:26 PM

I miss old RS. 

 

Oh I know what you mean.  Back in the day they had all kinds of stuff a kid could buy and actually LEARN something with.  Remember the old P-Box kits?  Point to point soldering!  Radio and transmitter kits... all kinds of goodies.  I fondly remember my Radio Shack 'Globe Patrol' short wave radio kit too.  Fun times.

 

One of the things that blew my allowance was that book of projects... oh gawd all the crap a guy could do with a 555 timer IC and some discrete components!  It was the computer though that finally got me away from building stuff, well that and the fact that I could never etch a PCB worth a damn!  I was always forgetting a trace or something and ended up always having to redo my boards, it just got too expensive.  I could make all kinds of mistakes programming in BASIC, but debugging never cost me a dime!



#47 Mxyzptlk OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 28, 2014 9:28 PM

Old news.

#48 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 29, 2014 1:02 AM

True. So much could be learned by messing with paraphernalia acquired at RS. I also agree that the advent of computing and programming put the kabosh on many peoples' electronics experimenting.

 

And yet, electronic's knowledge is a requirement if you're getting into the hardware side and backbone of the internet and all things electric today. Someone has got to design and build this stuff. yeh?


Edited by Keatah, Fri Aug 29, 2014 1:22 AM.


#49 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 29, 2014 12:23 PM

My local Radio Shack pretty much sucks but I know a few that carry all sorts of Arduino boards and similar gadgets.
I guess I need to make a run before they close their doors.

#50 FujiSkunk OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 29, 2014 1:15 PM

Once upon a time I really needed a job, and Radio Shack was hiring.  I didn't get the job because their psych profile decided I wouldn't be pushy enough to sell enough cell phones.

 

To the whole shebang I say...

 






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