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(STLToday)   Radio Shack's comeback effort in doubt. Radio Shack customers were upset when they got the news on their pagers   (stltoday.com) divider line 114
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4878 clicks; posted to Business » on 12 Aug 2014 at 11:14 PM (5 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-08-12 09:52:59 PM
When Radio Shack became a midget version of Frys/Best Buy/hhgregg, what did they expect their customer base to do?
 
2014-08-12 10:21:37 PM
If I were CEO....

I'd close half the stores.  The other half turn into maker spaces.  Bring in a bunch of 3d printers, load up on beaglebone/arduino/raspberry pi gear.

But I'm not CEO.  The one they had was so bad he's now co-CEO at Market Basket.
 
2014-08-12 11:17:10 PM
They need to go back to their roots: being the place for all the little cheap things you need for hardware hacking.
 
2014-08-12 11:17:29 PM
I have never understood how they have managed to hang on as long as they have.

I suspect in a few years Gamestop is going to be the next "Radio Shack."
 
2014-08-12 11:18:16 PM
Can I still get a free nine volt battery? Because I need one for my Coleco football game
 
2014-08-12 11:18:56 PM
I remember buying a pager there in 96ish
 
2014-08-12 11:19:14 PM
 
2014-08-12 11:19:54 PM
Hi, I'm 12 and what's a Radio?
 
2014-08-12 11:19:59 PM
WTF is a radio?
 
2014-08-12 11:20:59 PM

stirfrybry: Can I still get a free nine volt battery? Because I need one for my Coleco football game


I think I still have some free-battery cards at my parents house. May as well save them as collector's items. Or emitters, or bases...
 
2014-08-12 11:21:18 PM
Mock as you will, but they are one of the last stores I have seen with true customer service for electronics needs. Everything else is a "get online and figure it out yourself" motto.

Maybe they are dying for a lack of customers, fine, but it is not because it is the right thing. There will always be people who just need help and the big box stores do not seem to give a fark.
 
2014-08-12 11:21:39 PM
"Customers", Subby?
 
2014-08-12 11:21:57 PM

enry: If I were CEO....

I'd close half the stores.  The other half turn into maker spaces.  Bring in a bunch of 3d printers, load up on beaglebone/arduino/raspberry pi gear.

But I'm not CEO.  The one they had was so bad he's now co-CEO at Market Basket.



They tried to close their stores, but they needed creditor approval and didn't get it.

It's a shame.  Back in the day they were my go-to place for electronics parts, until Digikey came along and delivered all my goodies.  Still have fond memories of the place.
 
2014-08-12 11:22:00 PM

Glitchwerks: I have never understood how they have managed to hang on as long as they have.

I suspect in a few years Gamestop is going to be the next "Radio Shack."


I worked there for a few years in the 90's... It was often said that the money made during the CB boom of the 70's was what kept the company going for decades... They also had a hit with the Tandy 1000s, at one point it was the most popular computer in America... But without some niche market that requires lots of accessories and return visits they have nothing left to offer, in my opinion... It seems that they banked on cell phones being that market and they were wrongs...
 
2014-08-12 11:22:21 PM
Gramps is going to be so mad.... Where else is he going to get those hearing aid batteries? I feel guilty though... Maybe they're closing because I told them to fark off whenever they asked me to give them my address. I think selling mailing lists was their chief source of income.
 
2014-08-12 11:22:47 PM
I don't much get this "Better to flail like a retard than fade away" thing every struggling business embraces. My chain is cranking out 20% off everything coupons like, monthly now. No dignity man, no dignity.
 
2014-08-12 11:32:20 PM

Karma Curmudgeon: Hi, I'm 12 and what's a Radio?


A radio is what your mobile phone uses to communicate with everyone else.

Seriously, if the marketing at Radio Shack any brains they would have hit upon the connection and used that in their advertising:  "Your mobile phone uses a radio to talk to the world.  At Radio Shack we've sold radios for over 50 years: We know radios. We know mobile phones."
 
2014-08-12 11:33:44 PM
Screw that. I loved my pager in the late 90s.
 
2014-08-12 11:35:57 PM
About 5 years ago they should have introduced TRS-80 3d printer.  But they didn't.

In the 80s their parts inventory was mostly a marketing ploy to look like they were technically competent because non-technical people would never guess than 99% of what is on the wall was either useless or bubble packed surplus that wasn't quite what it claimed to be on the package.  They started out selling radio parts when  tube radios needed parts changed about as often as light bulbs.  Then came the "cheap transistor equipment" days with hand held cheap radios.  Next came the CB days.  After that followed the TRS-80 days when them and Apple were competing for small business computer business that was very profitable until they too too much money away from IBM's expensive computers and they got in the game with a machine just slightly better than the TRS-80 model 4.  Had Radio Shack dropped the price of Model 16 to under the price of the XT, there would be no PC market as we know it today.  After that, they were in to cell phones.  There next market has to be something people have to go to the store for.  Maybe an after hours pickup for Amazon or something because people don't need to go to stores anymore.

One other odd point about Radio Shack is they convinced lots of malls to give them long term discounts on rent as a way to encourage couples to visit the mall.  They even provided reports showing that women spend more at malls when their husbands got to buy something too.  I've heard that some were paying $1/month rent or no cut on sales that clothing stores often paid.  For a while they also ended up buying many strip malls.
 
2014-08-12 11:36:16 PM
Radio Shack long ago put their employees in adversarial positions with their customers. It started when they demanded your telephone number to buy anything, even a single battery. And while the stores have long operated on commission, it was only in the last ten or fifteen years that they went bat shait crazy with it which lead to customer harassment. That started around the time they got into the extended warranty game. Going into Radio Shack became an experience not all that unlike walking down a dark alleyway filled with hobos while carrying a case of Night Train. Is it any surprise that people only go to Radio Shack as a last resort?
 
2014-08-12 11:40:46 PM

DON.MAC: For a while they also ended up buying many strip malls.


So that explains why a while back I saw several Radio Shacks converted into Tandy Leather stores. If they owned the shopping center and couldn't find a new tenant, might as well fill it with one of their other retail lines.
 
2014-08-12 11:42:36 PM
I kind of miss them up in Canada since they were bought out and shut down.  The store that replaced them all sells a lot of overpriced junk,  but I guess it's overpriced junk that people want.

/I prefer cheap junk myself
/Really prefer buying quality once so I don't have to buy the same thing again in two years
 
2014-08-12 11:44:13 PM
Dominant CE sales by decade and impact on legacy retailers:

1980s: VCRs, CD boom :)
1990s: DVD, camcorder, PC, portable audio boom :)
2000s: Ultra powerful gaming consoles, digital imaging, GPS, digital flat TV and dumb cell phone boom (Blu-ray sorta flops) :)
2010: Smart phones wipe out standalone MP3, digital imaging, portable DVD, handheld gaming, e-readers and GPS and are basically de facto cash registers for the companies that build the OS, other software or subsidize the device. :(
 
2014-08-12 11:47:22 PM

EngineerAU: Going into Radio Shack became an experience not all that unlike walking down a dark alleyway filled with hobos while carrying a case of Night Train.


I'm going to have to call BS. You don't get anything half as cool as Night Train or evil hobos from Radio Shack.
 
2014-08-12 11:49:01 PM

havana_joe: Glitchwerks: I have never understood how they have managed to hang on as long as they have.

I suspect in a few years Gamestop is going to be the next "Radio Shack."

I worked there for a few years in the 90's... It was often said that the money made during the CB boom of the 70's was what kept the company going for decades... They also had a hit with the Tandy 1000s, at one point it was the most popular computer in America... But without some niche market that requires lots of accessories and return visits they have nothing left to offer, in my opinion... It seems that they banked on cell phones being that market and they were wrongs...


They also were one of the earliest retailers dealing in mobile phones. Tandy actually helped Nokia get its start in the US.
 
2014-08-12 11:49:39 PM
Radio Shack is an institution.  no mall should be without one.
 
2014-08-12 11:50:14 PM
Sounds like Tandy idea!

3.bp.blogspot.com
 
2014-08-12 11:52:32 PM

jsmilky: Radio Shack is an institution.  no mall should be without one.


Problem is, malls are also dying off.
 
2014-08-13 12:00:20 AM

Boo_Guy: I kind of miss them up in Canada since they were bought out and shut down.  The store that replaced them all sells a lot of overpriced junk,  but I guess it's overpriced junk that people want.

/I prefer cheap junk myself
/Really prefer buying quality once so I don't have to buy the same thing again in two years


I'm terrified to go into a "Source". It seems the only people who work there are socially awkward aspies. Now that wouldn't be so bad if they were the introverted ones... But these are the extroverts that will follow you around the store incessantly and awkwardly try to talk to you about Game of Thrones.
 
2014-08-13 12:00:28 AM

bibli0phile: Mock as you will, but they are one of the last stores I have seen with true customer service for electronics needs. Everything else is a "get online and figure it out yourself" motto.

Maybe they are dying for a lack of customers, fine, but it is not because it is the right thing. There will always be people who just need help and the big box stores do not seem to give a fark.


I have never been in a radio shack that had anything approaching ok customer service. Stopped in one a few years because I was in the market for a new phone and it was on my way to the train. After looking at their phones a sales person approaches me asking what I am looking for and pushing me toward expensive  models that I could get a great deal on if I sign a service contract. When I told him that I was not interested in signing a contract he looked at me blankly and said 'well then there is nothing else I can help you with' and walked away. fark them!
 
2014-08-13 12:00:41 AM
Oh, and Apple has $150B in cash running on 37% margins because fark yeah selfie and Amazon hasn't had to be profitable or collect sales tax for 15 years because fark yeah free shipping. Creative destruction at its finest.
 
2014-08-13 12:08:59 AM
I hate Radio Shack with a passion. They completely turned their back on their customer base to jump into the cell phone market and now that they can no longer compete they're trying desperately to court the 'maker' market. They added some Arduinos and kits from Make magazine but it's all overpriced and the sales staff has no idea what any of it does. I go there in emergencies but I buy most everything direct from Chinese distributors. Rat Shack gets $2 for 5 resistors. The Chinese sell a couple of hundred for the same price with free shipping.
fark Radio Shack.
 
2014-08-13 12:09:37 AM

InterruptingQuirk: When Radio Shack became a midget version of Frys/Best Buy/hhgregg, what did they expect their customer base to do?


To be fair, they didn't have any choice. They were a company selling analog in a digital world. If you go and look at their old-school circuit-tinkering stuff you'll occasionally see stuff from the '80s. You can't stay in business selling stuff that maybe one person will need once a decade (that guy usually being me anymore, because I'm a Luddite). I'll miss it when it's gone, but I suspect I'll survive.
 
2014-08-13 12:10:40 AM

Fark like a Barsoomian: They need to go back to their roots: being the place for all the little cheap things you need for hardware hacking.


I agree, it's tough to find a local place that carries parts for electronics I plan to build. Lately RadioShack is like CompUSA in the 90's... The "Sorry, we don't carry that anymore" store.
 
2014-08-13 12:16:33 AM

chitownmike: bibli0phile: Mock as you will, but they are one of the last stores I have seen with true customer service for electronics needs. Everything else is a "get online and figure it out yourself" motto.

Maybe they are dying for a lack of customers, fine, but it is not because it is the right thing. There will always be people who just need help and the big box stores do not seem to give a fark.

I have never been in a radio shack that had anything approaching ok customer service. Stopped in one a few years because I was in the market for a new phone and it was on my way to the train. After looking at their phones a sales person approaches me asking what I am looking for and pushing me toward expensive  models that I could get a great deal on if I sign a service contract. When I told him that I was not interested in signing a contract he looked at me blankly and said 'well then there is nothing else I can help you with' and walked away. fark them!


I was in a pinch one Sunday, needed IC sockets and flux remover for a PCB repair. Didn't have time to make it all the way to Frys, so I gave them a try.

Clerk: "Can I help you?"
Me: "I need IC Sockets and flux remover, can't seem to find them."
Clerk: "I'm not familiar with either of those. Can you describe them?"
Me: "Sockets...for ICs, and remover...for flux."
Clerk: "Yeah, not ringing a bell. Want me to check the computer?"
Me: ~walks out~
 
2014-08-13 12:23:49 AM

People_are_Idiots: Fark like a Barsoomian: They need to go back to their roots: being the place for all the little cheap things you need for hardware hacking.

I agree, it's tough to find a local place that carries parts for electronics I plan to build. Lately RadioShack is like CompUSA in the 90's... The "Sorry, we don't carry that anymore" store.


Check your area for a hacker space or maker space or whatever. Our local has a small collection of components for sale and they're always adding to it. Thy carry resistors, caps, a small collection of ICs and Sparkfun Arduino compatible microcontrollers. Many spaces are starting to offer buying clubs where they pool their orders for bulk discounts. You can also go buy a $10 heat gun from Harbor Freight and recover all the components you need from discarded electronics. I still pull things from old boards pretty regularly. In an emergency you can always call your local radio repair shop and see if they'll sell you a few odds and ends.
 
2014-08-13 12:27:47 AM
Sure,many of the parts you may need for projects are relegated to the small cabinets located in the back part of the store.  I was reying to explain, fairly easily what an SCR was for. You could almost see the eyes glze over. But a Hello Kitty cell phone case? We can get that for you right now! I thought I was the dumb one, building things myself these last 30 years.
/Where's my battery club card?
// My lawn, motherfarkers...
 
2014-08-13 12:30:33 AM
they need to go back to carrying all the hard- to find electronic parts like they used to.
 
2014-08-13 12:32:13 AM
There is a Radioshack a couple doors down from my store. I have no clue how they stay in business, their phones cost the same as the phones at provider wireless stores, yet take an extra step to activate, their other stuff is overpriced garbage. It really is sad to go in.
 
2014-08-13 12:35:42 AM
where else can u find everything u need to build an atomic bomb?  just flash the secret symbol and they'll show u their stash

gotta keep that urban legend alive.
 
2014-08-13 12:41:12 AM

enry: If I were CEO....

I'd close half the stores.  The other half turn into maker spaces.  Bring in a bunch of 3d printers, load up on beaglebone/arduino/raspberry pi gear.

But I'm not CEO.  The one they had was so bad he's now co-CEO at Market Basket.


The company's lenders are blocking the closures.  Radio Shack tried closing 1100 stores (20%) in March, but their credit agreement gives lenders the right to prevent stores from closing.
 
2014-08-13 12:41:31 AM
wac.450f.edgecastcdn.net

Technology is cyclical.
 
2014-08-13 12:44:56 AM
Where's the car audio section? The home security section? Speakers?
/Feel free to add to this list.....
 
2014-08-13 12:46:38 AM

bibli0phile: Mock as you will, but they are one of the last stores I have seen with true customer service for electronics needs. Everything else is a "get online and figure it out yourself" motto.

Maybe they are dying for a lack of customers, fine, but it is not because it is the right thing. There will always be people who just need help and the big box stores do not seem to give a fark.


I respectfully disagree.  Their employees are hired based on cost, not on electronics expertise.  It has been that way for a long time.

I'm not saying that you can't find a unique/niche store with a tube tester hidden in the back (gawd, I'm old) - but many years ago Radio Shack fell off of my list of viable sources of parts OR information.

They fell off after several sad visits where they didn't have basic parts and their employees didn't know anything.  I'm not talking about some random IC or transisitor.  I'm talking about basics like relays and audio cables.

People who need help aren't just stuck with "get online and figure it out" - forums are a great source of help.  Someone that would be helpful at Radio Shack is probably doling out help online in a forum somewhere.

monoprice.com for cables, mouser electronics for parts, forums for help, and google for diagrams.
 
2014-08-13 12:47:53 AM

RocketCarHead: Where's the car audio section? The home security section? Speakers?
/Feel free to add to this list.....


alarm clock section..
 
2014-08-13 12:58:22 AM

wagnerism: bibli0phile: Mock as you will, but they are one of the last stores I have seen with true customer service for electronics needs. Everything else is a "get online and figure it out yourself" motto.

Maybe they are dying for a lack of customers, fine, but it is not because it is the right thing. There will always be people who just need help and the big box stores do not seem to give a fark.

I respectfully disagree.  Their employees are hired based on cost, not on electronics expertise.  It has been that way for a long time.

I'm not saying that you can't find a unique/niche store with a tube tester hidden in the back (gawd, I'm old) - but many years ago Radio Shack fell off of my list of viable sources of parts OR information.

They fell off after several sad visits where they didn't have basic parts and their employees didn't know anything.  I'm not talking about some random IC or transisitor.  I'm talking about basics like relays and audio cables.

People who need help aren't just stuck with "get online and figure it out" - forums are a great source of help.  Someone that would be helpful at Radio Shack is probably doling out help online in a forum somewhere.

monoprice.com for cables, mouser electronics for parts, forums for help, and google for diagrams.


You know why? Because retaining employees that know stuff costs money. But over time people buying relays have faded away and died off. Those that still do find cheaper ways to do it. Radio Shack didn't want to change, the world did and they tried to survive. Blame them all you want but if doing exactly what they always did turned a profit they would still be doing it.
 
2014-08-13 01:02:06 AM

Fark like a Barsoomian: They need to go back to their roots: being the place for all the little cheap things you need for hardware hacking.


That's just it.  The customer base knowledgeable enough and interested enough to market to is constantly shrinking. Solderers unite!
 
2014-08-13 01:04:12 AM
As a DJ, the shack is the only place to find wires or whatever at last minute. Asking for personal information during purchases really made me sick. I always give them a delaware zip code. frkkers
 
2014-08-13 01:12:18 AM
I am old enough to remember radio shack in better days before they became a shell of their former self.
 
2014-08-13 01:12:40 AM

People_are_Idiots: Fark like a Barsoomian: They need to go back to their roots: being the place for all the little cheap things you need for hardware hacking.

I agree, it's tough to find a local place that carries parts for electronics I plan to build. Lately RadioShack is like CompUSA in the 90's... The "Sorry, we don't carry that anymore" store.


sad to say that's what i got told too. that and too much of what they do have is monster cable type crap with corresponding prices.
 
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