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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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4939 clicks; posted to Business » on 12 Aug 2014 at 11:14 PM (1 year 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.
 
2014-08-13 01:12:46 AM  

jst3p: 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.


Seems like they could have some sort of automated part retrieval system in the stores. Last time I went in a Radio Shack to buy electronic parts was probably ten years ago. They still had them but they were all hidden behind a double layer pegboard to save space. Having them in-stock but out of the way where they could be pulled up by automation when a customer comes in looking for them would be a neat hack. Heck, it could even be driven by a kiosk so the customer who is much more likely to have a clue what they're searching for than the store employees would do the typing.
 
2014-08-13 01:15:55 AM  

P-Money All $tar: 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


You're kidding, right? RadioShack is the LAST place I'd go. Sure they have wire, but I can get better wire cheaper at many stores, including Lowes, Home Depot, and Walmart. Nice thing about Walmart? Open 24 hours.
 
2014-08-13 01:23:50 AM  
I worked at RadioShack for two years, so I'm having a hoot at all you people saying their parts bins suck. RadioShack hasn't cared about those parts bins for the past twenty years - they don't make money. When I was there 2009-2011 - it was all about shoving cell phones down customers throats. Buying a battery? Want a cell phone? Buying XM Radio? Hey, how about a phone. Buying a cell phone? Hey, you want another cell phone? You had strict time limits to greet and engage with customers, and the sales aspect for cell phones were way more high pressure then you could imagine. Within my time I saw no less than five employees fired for failing to meet cell phone targets - despite my store having zero customers come in. Seriously, we'd close some days with $0.00 in sales, sometimes negative if we had a return.

We were also encouraged to lie and deceive, we'd sell you an SD card for your phone while sticking the one that came with the phone in the drawer. And better check you're receipt, because they'd stick that $1 charge for LiceSTRONG despite you saying no and not at least getting the band. The only way the company is surviving is the paltry amount of phones it sells and marketing bundles from collecting your information. I absolutely hated the company, worked with some cool people, but after being told to upsell, upsell, upsell to absolutely nobody I left.
 
2014-08-13 01:57:42 AM  

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...


I had heard the same thing when I worked there. They've been on the decline for quite a long time so they must have had a load of cash to keep themselves afloat.
 
2014-08-13 02:06:35 AM  
Haven't been there in ages, but I did find a pretty good Sandisk player on the cheap while I was there, and worked for a while (more my fault than anything, since I'm pretty brutal on my portable players). I don't even see how they've lasted, with the other stuff being rather overpriced, the byzantine warranty, employees either bugging you over hawking over your every move, and very limited selection of items in store. They're not as awkward, annoying and pushy as Guitar Center sales people, but pretty damn close.
 
2014-08-13 02:16:09 AM  
(Kinda sweet CSB incoming)

I always had a soft-spot for Radio Shack. I was 7 years old the first time I saw a PC, at the Radio Shack in the Hudson Valley Mall. The guy running the place was this old codger who looked at the PC as distainfully as I look at most republicans. But he had this young guy - 20 or so at the time - and he was a perfect salesman.

Note my family was DIRT poor, and i do mean dirt - we had floors open that my father swore he'd fix exposed to the dirt underneath. I went up to this demo Tandy computer, and it was running Battle Chess. If you've never seen it, it was a 4-bit game where you played chess, but the pieces were all animated, so the Bishop was a guy in clerical vestments, and the paws like foot soldiers and so-on. I reached up to press the screen and try to make the pieces move and CRASH, down to the floor a 1500$ PC went.

The old codger pulled my parents in, I was hysterical, and he wanted them to pay for it (350$ for the broken monitor plus 150$ for the display, the 1000$ PC was fine). We had no money for this and my mother did her best to try and shield me, until that young guy got in and asked if he could have his salary taken to pay it off, that we couldn't and he was the one to set up the display so it was really his fault. Well it worked out that his insurance covered it, so no one paid directly, and he insisted on me coming in once a week for several months to learn about the computers, which was my introduction to what became my passion and favorite hobby.

That guy got the old codger to calm down just long enough that a solution could present itself, and not bankrupt my poor family. It was a very big, very meaningful gesture which I always have carried with me, and always lead me to have a really good opinion of the store despite its flaws.
 
2014-08-13 02:24:09 AM  
I worked for The Rat Shack from 1992-1994. I was 18 when I started. Len Roberts was the new CEO. Huge, massive, douchebag.

I worked at a small store on Westheimer, in Houston. My first month I wasn't sure I could hack it- had never done sales. Was scared.

Fortunately my manager was a disgraced former district manager from up North. Slick as shiat. Nice sports car. Way about any normal Rat Shack manager salary. And in his 50's. New all the angles.

Anyway, back in those days we still had catalogs of old stuff from the 70s: Speakers, radios, parts, 8-tracks, CB's, TV's. One week I'm scared I'm not going to make it, never having made commission after 3 weeks, the next I'm selling a black and white TV disco(ntinued) to a blind (no lie) German woman.

Middle Eastern guys came in, we were told that their handler was a regular, lived in Houston, and that these guys he would bring in were all, you know, Saudi Princes. Hell, I was so young, what did I know. Or care. They came in with girly mags out in the open, asking silly questions. Well, they wanted to test out different types of portable (Handheld) CB radios and transceivers. OK. They would buy 1, try it out, come back the next day. After a week of this they dropped $5,500 cash and bought enough handheld CBs, plus 2 Mark IV speakers (yeah, those, the kick ass ones from the 70s). Since they were traveling the next day to Disney in Florida, my District Manager pulled strings so that it came out of their stock- and they had to help the guys hollow out the speakers and pack the CB's for the return flight.

Apparently these devices are or were illegal there, or so I was told afterwards. Thanks guys. Ooops. Didn't know. Probably wasn't supposed to sell them. Didn't know. No one told me.

But hey, we had receivers that could pick up cell phone bands. Nice.

Never had a problem with commish again after that. became #5 in sales in Houston, beating most of the Galleria store employees (they banked on computer and stereo sales to rich Mexicans who wanted to fly in and buy anything perceived as American). Youth+Just enough knowledge to be dangerous+ability to confidently bullshiat and now sound like a car salesman= $$$$.

Back in those days we had to take exams. Real deal scan tron exams. At least one a week, or more. If we failed any of them we were out. They made sure we were current with product knowledge and could sell. Sometimes, rarely, we were retested, especially if folks had problems selling.

Loss prevention was always riding our asses. Not sure why, tills always matched. And for a company that had most of it's stores with wooden cash trays with underside finger locks/slides: derp. Loss prevention and the shifty district manager pissed me off bad.

All old products after the first year I was there, were recalled to a super warehouse in Dallas/Fort Worth. You could still order them, and god awfully cheap. The speakers I had would knock your socks off- for under $50. 6 disk CD changer/Laser Disk combo- $40. Old 80s cell phones, old TRS computers, all of it. I wonder if that place is still up there? I mean, all stores had the master catalogs for that old stuff. Any store could order from it. Always wonder...

Radio Shack had, and probably still does, a core group of whack-jobs that are so pro-USA/Star Spangled Banner/Buy In The USA that they exclusively shopped at Rat Shack. They didn't realize (and for some reason I don't think anyone here mentioned it) that the crap we sold as Optimus, or Radio Shack, was all name brand Sony, Kenwood, Denton, Pioneer, etc. None of it was outright garbage, well, but most of it was marked up because hey- you're "buying an American name" (on your foreign made crap). I mean, the models, the buttons, the displays- all exactly the same, only the Optimus/Radio Shack tag being different.

Who needs a 1200 watt receiver, anyway? What the fark?

We had 10 walls of farking components to cycle through each week. Plus the huge self-service drawers. That's what most folks here are lamenting- all the little bits n' pieces for their engineering needs. We never sold a huge amount of the stuff back then. I mean, daily sales, nothing that would put anyone on commish for the week.

Commish was all about selling ACER computers (Oh man, I was in a wheel chair [fell off the roof of the store, long story] and sold 2 of those the week I came back, such win), ridiculously overpriced TV's, an endless supply of radios and CD players and stereo systems. Oh man, the stereo systems. Hispanic construction guys come in together on Fridays like clockwork. Check burning a hole in their pockets. Oh, si si, I have *just* the budget stereo system for you- $850 please. All cash. Yum.

Families going on vacations over summer: need those AC/DC converters. Fried the shiat out of some ladies portable TV that way once. Oops.

Cops coming in, paying full price for mini pocket color TV's.

We started a new thing in 1994 where we would guarantee repairs in a week, just bring your pos in and we'd send it off. Our local repair center was by the Astrodome, and they couldn't fix shiat.

Big sales, all the time. Really dense people, and Rat Shack was there taking advantage of everyone's tech confusion. Then I got too good at what I did, and the District Manager thought I could boost sales at any store I went to. So he'd send me around, my customer base would follow, sales would go up, a month later I'd be in a new store. Ad nauseam. I couldn't take it any more. Having to scramble, having to constantly one up and stab co-workers in the back to garner sales just to get by. No, I didn't mind the lying, cheating, scamming, which was par for the Radio Shack course- they made me into that, and I didn't have any moral issues (other than when they told me after my first huge sale that the sale is legal, but those guys couldn't bring their CB's legally back to their country, that upset me). I simply didn't like the unpredictable nature of pay: one week I'm high, the next I'm less high (always on commish, but minimum commish was the equivalent of $5/hour then).

And zero farking respect, just deliver deliver deliver. Have to study for your next product exam? Oh, too bad, sell shiat.

What a fun bit of reminiscing; the job I garnered the very day I left home. It was, without any doubt, an education on the ways of the world, of people, that I still hold true today. The whole experience reminds me of the movie Waiting, but sans restaurant. My roommate had a college degree, and was working at the first store where I got my job. I introduced her to her husband. All of us partied together after work- there are nights I don't remember how I got home, much less made it to work the next day. You could, and would, meet equally attractive people in other dead end professions and have unsatisfying drunk sex with them (young lady my age that worked in Men's Shoes at a local Mall comes immediately to mind). Geriatric customers trying to attack you, fists flying, then coming back the next day to be your best friend and spend $8,000 in cash to make it up, and ensuring you had booze money for weeks.

If you didn't know all the specs of a product: bullshiat it. Ask questions, find the chink in their armor, then chisel the sale home. Close close close. People are bad, people are dumb, they love being both, so take their money.

Definite lessons on society. Great times. Sad to see it's not a party/educational experience any longer.
 
2014-08-13 03:01:22 AM  
Are they going to sell electronic components, and have sales people who actually know what each and every one of those components is/does?

/dnrta
 
2014-08-13 03:09:40 AM  
I'm just trying to find a decent service department for my 8-track tape deck. C'mon, people, that's a pretty basic component in any hi-fi system!
 
2014-08-13 03:41:50 AM  

havana_joe: They also had a hit with the Tandy 1000s, at one point it was the most popular computer in America


That was my first computer.  Had the upgrade to 640k of RAM :)
 
2014-08-13 04:26:04 AM  

EngineerAU: 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?


THIS.  Ditto for Sears.  No wonder these are two stores I simply never set foot into any more.

My washing machine just broke down a couple of days ago, for good.  I have to go shopping for a new one, but I won't even consider shopping for one at Sears because there is no such thing as shopping at Sears - there is only allowing yourself to be followed around by an incessant harpy of a commissioned sales person as you attempt to focus on the product you're looking for.  Even a sharp, "Go away - I want to shop alone," doesn't do the trick - they literally will not leave you alone.  So the solution is simple:  never enter.

Why these people think this is good business practice and customer relations in the year 2014 is beyond me.
 
2014-08-13 04:45:33 AM  

saintstryfe: (Kinda sweet CSB incoming)


That's probably the nicest thing I've read all week, on this site or any other. I very much appreciate your sharing it.

trappedspirit: 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!


I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised to find so many electronics geeks in a place like this, but briefly I was. Anyway, you can add me to the list. My town has two Radio Shacks but no actual electronics store so I have to drive 35 miles each way to get anything useful without ordering it.

Computers were supposed to speed things up and make life easier, but giving credit card info to a (by default) insecure website and waiting a week for shipping just isn't better than driving three miles and paying cash.
 
2014-08-13 04:54:15 AM  
I suspect their biggest problem is that most RadioShack customers are moderately knowledgeable. They know what they want, they know how much it *should* cost and they know where to order it online if they have to. So they walk into RadioShack in search of an AV cable or adapter, notice the obscene markup on the item and walk out without buying anything.
 
2014-08-13 06:45:45 AM  

Huck And Molly Ziegler: I'm just trying to find a decent service department for my 8-track tape deck. C'mon, people, that's a pretty basic component in any hi-fi system!


Does it have the TK-421 option?  That's what really makes it high fidelity!
 
2014-08-13 06:58:20 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.


This ^^^    Agreed
 
2014-08-13 07:20:08 AM  
My theory about Radio Shack is that they survive by being the ONLY option in certain locations.  Particularly in rural areas or in the heart of the city where rents are so high to block out any logical competitors like a Best Buy.
 
2014-08-13 07:21:07 AM  
Remember these?  I had one when I was a kid, rubber-banded to my bike!

s17.postimg.org
Well,

s29.postimg.org

Indulge yourselves!

http://www.radioshackcatalogs.com/catalog_directory.html
 
2014-08-13 07:31:03 AM  
Remember when Radio Shack sold stuff you needed/wanted?


http://www.radioshackcatalogs.com/catalog_directory.html


/I could spend hours and hours browsing those catalogs...
 
2014-08-13 07:40:02 AM  

redsquid: 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.


I burned up the Arduino Mega 2560 in my 3D printer (dumb move, don't ask) and ordered replacement off Amazon for $20.  But I wanted it NOW, so I went to Radio Shack.  $60.  Shiat.
 
2014-08-13 07:42:31 AM  
I'm always curious how Radio Shack threads manage to rack up so many posts, then I remember Fark is made up of middle aged computer and ham geeks.
 
2014-08-13 07:48:27 AM  

Day_Old_Dutchie: Remember these?  I had one when I was a kid, rubber-banded to my bike!

[s17.postimg.org image 678x408]
Well,

[s29.postimg.org image 800x485]

Indulge yourselves!

http://www.radioshackcatalogs.com/catalog_directory.html


You're evil.
 
2014-08-13 07:48:28 AM  

Meesterjojo: I worked for The Rat Shack from 1992-1994. I was 18 when I started. Len Roberts was the new CEO. Huge, massive, douchebag...


You could turn this into a Casino type movie.  De Niro would fit perfectly for the part.
 
2014-08-13 08:05:28 AM  
I'll give Radio Shack credit.  

Office Depot and ask a question: 60 percent of the time the response will be "I think this will work. Well.. why don't you try it and see."

Radio Shack: "This will do this, and this. It may do this.  Keep your receipt and bring it back"

Future reference. Office Depot doesn't know how to do tech support on anything including the basics of trying to find a cable to replace one that used to connect the dvd player to the tv.  Go to Best Buy, and you may luck out.
 
2014-08-13 08:12:45 AM  

italie: 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~


So Mrs. Zroop decided she wanted to get a Raspberry Pi to mess with. She didn't want to wait around. The only place in town that we thought might have one was Radio Shack, so she called.

Mrs Z: "Do you carry Raspberry Pi"
Clerk: "No, this is a Radio Shack"
Mrs Z: "Right. So do you know what a raspery Pi is?"
Clerk: "It's a pie, with raspberries."
Mrs Z: "Well, sort of, but it's also a little tiny computer for projects and stuff"
Clerk: "No, we don't have one."

We didn't believe him since he sounded stupid, so we drove down to look. There was an entire shelf section right in the middle of the store, floor to nipple height, dedicated to Raspberry Pi and Arduino, with kits, books, expansion bits, etc.

It really seems like this is exactly the kind of market that Radio Shack should expand on. That, and come on, if you are a sales person at a store, pay attention to what you have in the store, you know, so you can sell it.
 
2014-08-13 08:31:34 AM  

Kredal: Does it have the TK-421 option?  That's what really makes it high fidelity!


Get back to your post, slacker.
 
2014-08-13 08:43:05 AM  

Zroop: We didn't believe him since he sounded stupid, so we drove down to look. There was an entire shelf section right in the middle of the store, floor to nipple height, dedicated to Raspberry Pi and Arduino, with kits, books, expansion bits, etc.

It really seems like this is exactly the kind of market that Radio Shack should expand on. That, and come on, if you are a sales person at a store, pay attention to what you have in the store, you know, so you can sell it.


It's sad that RS started as a company that catered to hobbists, then almost entirely turned their back on that market for at least two or three decades.  For about a decade ('70s), they (Tandy) even owned Allied Electronics.

Now that there is a resurgence in the electronics and computer hobby market in the form of the maker movement, their entire corporate structure from boardroom to retail locations is out of phase with it.  They are trying re-join the modern day version of a market that they used to have a good grip on in N. America, but they don't have a finger on its pulse now.  Hell, they don't even have a non-contact thermometer to measure the temperature of the market.
 
2014-08-13 08:47:01 AM  
Remember these?
img.fark.net
 
2014-08-13 08:51:27 AM  

redsquid: 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.


They've got an ultrasonic range finder sensor for Arduino, etc that's priced at $30.  I bought a pack of 10 for $15 from a Chinese distributor on Ebay.
 
2014-08-13 08:53:49 AM  
Another former RS slave checking in with a few CSBs.

I worked at 3 different stores over 3 years, 1993-1996. Never really had a problem with management until we got sent an Alec-Baldwin-From-Glengarry Glen Ross type. He caused three associates to walk out mid-shift, all threatening to come back and kill him. I got the last laugh when I gave him my two weeks' notice, letting him know I'd be working at Kennedy Space Center. I could have just walked out, but I decided to enjoy the last few days as he killed himself being nice to me (because if I'd walked out, he'd have been running the store 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, by himself).

The customers were the worst part of it. They were mostly retired engineers who would biatch for what seemed like hours because resistors were 35 cents a pack, when they used to be 7 cents back before World War One. We also had literal boatloads of tourists coming in from the local cruise line terminal, mostly from Central Europe and Russia (you could smell them a mile away) buying up cordless phones by the truckload to take back to Minsk or wherever.

I also had a great under-the-counter profit going by selling the plastic display model dummy pagers to the middle-school kids who just wanted to have one hanging from their belt loops.

I'll say one thing for working at the Shack -- I hated the fact that after I left, I had to start actually buying batteries again.

The last time I went to a Rat Shack, I needed a splitter for an automotive power outlet. The kid didn't even say a word, he just shook his head at me the whole time I was describing it.
 
2014-08-13 08:55:38 AM  
A couple of weeks ago I went into a RS for the first time in twenty years. I needed a 1 turn, 10k pot to repair a down machine in my work. They didn't have any, and the counter people had no idea what I was talking about.
 
2014-08-13 08:57:04 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.


Every time I go in, it is less Radio and more Crap Shack.  Can't even get DIY kits to get people interested in learning more electronics. They forgot who their customers were and deserve to go out of business
 
2014-08-13 08:57:48 AM  

burton160w: We were also encouraged to lie and deceive, we'd sell you an SD card for your phone while sticking the one that came with the phone in the drawer. And better check you're receipt, because they'd stick that $1 charge for LiceSTRONG despite you saying no and not at least getting the band.


Bullshiat.  My wife is a DM for RS and she's managers for far less than this.
 
2014-08-13 09:02:01 AM  
They gave these away for free...software tracked your internet use.  Hardware Hacked by geeks.  Legal battles...etc.
img.fark.net

/not a dilder
 
2014-08-13 09:15:30 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.


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


EngineerAU: 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.


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.


This.  So much this.  Radio Shack used to be a "hardware geek" place to go.  You could buy interesting electronics kits in the 80s.  They abandoned that model when they decided they needed to go mainstream.  I really like these ideas about focusing on 3d printing, embedded computing, microcontrollers.  Create a space where people can collaborate and work together.
 
2014-08-13 09:22:29 AM  

Jamieboy: Remember when Radio Shack sold stuff you needed/wanted?


http://www.radioshackcatalogs.com/catalog_directory.html


/I could spend hours and hours browsing those catalogs...


I remember back when these would come in the mail and I would stick my head in for hours.  The electronics kits, the radio equipment, it all looked so cool.  It was the perfect place to get stuff to hack and build pretty much anything.

Pretty sure the last time I went to one of those places was to buy an antenna amp about 6-7 years ago.  There are better places online to buy parts no.
 
2014-08-13 09:24:52 AM  
There is a pager repair shop in my city I shiat you not. I have no idea what they are a front for but it can't be profitable as an actual pager repair shop.
 
2014-08-13 09:25:56 AM  

Mudboy: 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.

Every time I go in, it is less Radio and more Crap Shack.  Can't even get DIY kits to get people interested in learning more electronics. They forgot who their customers were and deserve to go out of business


They carry some good Arduino gear now.  It's overpriced but if you need something now and don't want to wait for the slow boat from China, it's a good alternative.
 
2014-08-13 09:27:00 AM  
Radio Shack's catch phrase: "You've got questions? We've got blank looks!"

I was in a local parts house (surplus and new parts, the way Radio Shack and Crabtrees used to be) and a customer mentioned to his daughter that this is what Radio Shack used to be. His daughter, in the 10 to 12 year old range, asked "What's Radio Shack?" They were there buying parts for her robotics project.
 
2014-08-13 09:29:43 AM  

Adolf Oliver Nipples: 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.


There's a brick n' mortar PhilipsECG store in town that has all the stuff you used to find at Radio Shack and more. I found it back when RS went through one of its first shifts.
 
2014-08-13 10:18:09 AM  

jst3p: wagnerism: ...I respectfully disagree.  Their employees are hired based on cost, not on electronics expertise.  It has been that way for a long time...

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.


I never wondered why.  I wasn't blaming or even complaining.  I was simply responding to someone that showed concern about losing Radio Shack because it would also be a loss of a local capable/knowledgeable electronics resource.  I was probably being trolled, but I responded in case they were honest.

I will blame and complain, like many others, that they didn't change with the times.  If they would have done it right, they would be BestBuy or Fry's today.  They stuck with small numerous stores and are likely one of the biggest casualties of the big box stores.
 
2014-08-13 10:18:36 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.


And look at the swell job he is doing there!
 
2014-08-13 10:22:55 AM  
"Why does Radio Shack ask for  your phone number when you buy batteries?"

img.fark.net


img.fark.net
 
2014-08-13 10:27:15 AM  
When they asked for my phone number, I gave them # for the local police.  They were satisfied with that.

Some restaurants would ask for "a phone number" so I gave it to them too.  That's who they should call if there's a problem, right?
 
2014-08-13 10:29:27 AM  
Went to the shack recently for a capacitor to fix my DVD player.    A sad little storefront room between a Kohl's and a Dick's Sporting Goods, with two fairly attractive women just standing around doing nothing.  Wouldn't be surprised if I was the only person they saw all day.     Fairly convinced that they are basically just a front for "franchisees" to money launder now.
 
2014-08-13 11:03:41 AM  
Radio Shack customers....all two of them.
 
2014-08-13 11:03:57 AM  
I am a bit of a gadget nut, and technology/electronics have always been a huge part of my life.

Things that contributed to Radio Shack's struggles:
* Electronic Component sales
   I miss the days of being able to go in to get an IC, Relay, sensor or switch without wait.
   But a larger contributor to selling those parts in store was that in the 70s and 80s, and
   even through most of the 90s, a lot of devices were still made with parts that were easily
   replacable by a good technician. I actually have a TV made in 2010 that had a power supply
   board fail, and it was only a few solder joints to replace a transformer. That used to be
   the case most times. Today, it's rare. This TV also had a failing inverter, which instead
   of replacing the one inverter that died, the manufacturer sells an inverter board already
   pre-assembled for about $30. Cheaper than the cost of the inverter itself off-board.
  
   You also don't have kids getting into building circuits like you used to. Mostly because
   the days of manually building circuits is over, and kids are more often more fascinated
   by smartphones.
  
* Radio Sales
   I am not talking stereos, but radios. Radio Shack used to be the one-stop two-way radio
   shop. Yes, there is still a market for these type devices, but it's not the booming
   business it used to be. Truck drivers, OHV drivers in more remote areas, and hunters,
   all still make up a large portion of the two-way radio market today. I being one who
   goes off-roading in my Jeep in an area where no cell towers are around, it has come
   in handy having a cheap CB Radio more times than not where my phone was useless. Today,
   most of those individuals can find radios in specialty shops like a sporting goods or
   offroading store. They don't go to Radio Shack anymore for them if they go to a store
   at all.
  
* Audiophile Radio
   This is where they messed up. As another poster noted, most of what RS sold was actually
   someone else's device, rebranded, and then marked up. A lot of people caught on to this
   a long time ago. I noticed it back in the 80s. When you see the same shape, sound, etc,.
   where only the name and sticker on the back is different, you tend to go for the cheaper
   of the two if you don't care about having an "American" name on the front of your product.
  
* Toys/Holiday Sales
    This was also a stupid move on RS's part: Holidays would come around, and they would
 sell RC cars, video games, etc., but none of them really wholly fit into the Radio
 Shack image. It was more of a 'lets buy the cheap stuff from Toys R Us, and resell
 it.
 
* Add to it all the pushing for commission sales, questionable practices, and even
  some really bad marketing, and it has really cost them their image all around.
 
 
So after thinking about today's market, and how Radio Shack could not only survive, but
be a leader to regain some headway, here are my suggestions:
Shortest Path from where they are today:
Today, Radio Shack is more centered around the mobile device market. Phones and accesories.
The problem is that they are conforming to the established model. in the US, you generally have only a few cell phone options: Contract/Subsidized, and pay-as-you-go limited to a single carrier. in both models, the phone selection is ridiculously limited as well.
Anyone who has gone overseas has seen actual Nokia, Motorola and even Sony retail stores that sell unlocked, unmodified, and carrier-independent phones. in the US however, carriers offer phones 'off contract', but it's only a few select phones. To go outside the menial offerings in carrier stores, you are limited to online, and for some phones, having to  order them from outside the US.
Radio Shack could take this to the next level and be the brick-and-mortar showroom  for all the phones carriers do not make available here, and be a prime reseller for the prepaid/pay-as-you-go service plans. They have enough locations today that with little change to their structure today, they could EASILY pull this  off. They would have an instant preference over the local mom & pop shops that try to do this since they are already national and established as well.
Second Hardest Path: Moving from Mobile to Personal Devices One of the most interesting things I see is how Apple stores sell their phones, cases, some speaker boxes, and even some fitness bands and such. However,  when you step outside the iOS world into devices that are not as limited, you don't find a one-stop shop for everything. Radio Shack could be a game changer here. Move beyond the audio/video and toys accessories and move into the more useful stuff like home automation, home security, and limit it to those that are mobile device integrated (like Insteon).
Third Hardest Path: Expand into the Professional Devices Model Most phones are classified as 'consumer' devices. However, there are ruggedized phones, and a long list of accessories for smartphones that cater to the DIY and professional groups beyond simple music and toys. Auto Mechanics, HVAC techs, construction, and more have devices out there to extend mobile devices to be useful in their trades, but finding them can sometimes be a pain. RS could pull these together and not only make those more apparent, but also be the one-stop shop for those professionals.
Ideally, Radio shack should work on one of the above, but also maybe have a single "master store" in each market with all the other devices, components, etc. They could push being the go-to stop for Pi/Arduino projects, educational resources, and be an entirely different company from the 'just another mobile phone store' model they seem to be in today.
 
2014-08-13 11:18:04 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.


I can see why you're not CEO. You don't even understand RadioShack at it's core.

RS has always been an electronic COMPONENT reseller.

And you expect them to save the day with cellular contracts and 3-D printing (which unless they have sintering-capable printers they're SOL.)

Go back to your crap business admin class and let the real business owners talk.
 
2014-08-13 11:19:57 AM  

overthinker: I am a bit of a gadget nut, and technology/electronics have always been a huge part of my life.

Things that contributed to Radio Shack's struggles:

Hey, look, someone that actually gets it.

 
2014-08-13 11:28:36 AM  

khyberkitsune: 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.

I can see why you're not CEO. You don't even understand RadioShack at it's core.

RS has always been an electronic COMPONENT reseller.

And you expect them to save the day with cellular contracts and 3-D printing (which unless they have sintering-capable printers they're SOL.)

Go back to your crap business admin class and let the real business owners talk.


So you completely missed the rest of my statement and what that implies. Good jorb!
 
2014-08-13 12:11:14 PM  

enry: Mudboy: 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.

Every time I go in, it is less Radio and more Crap Shack.  Can't even get DIY kits to get people interested in learning more electronics. They forgot who their customers were and deserve to go out of business

They carry some good Arduino gear now.  It's overpriced but if you need something now and don't want to wait for the slow boat from China, it's a good alternative.


Hint the word: Overpriced. If you need wire, any wire will do.

/don't buy name brands
//The More You Know
 
2014-08-13 12:42:36 PM  

EngineerAU: 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?


Ha, last year, my 7 year old Sansa Clip bit the dust, and I wanted another one, didn't want to wait on shipping. Radio Shack had it for $30, cool. The guy ringing me out recommends the 2 year warranty for -get this- $25! I politely declined, and didn't laugh in his face. I understand they have to offer this stuff, and they get a little extra, so that's ok.

He then spent the next 3 minutes trying to convince me what a great idea this was! I was sorta entertained for the first minute, but it got irritating quick. I finally said, "Dude, quit wasting your time, we both know that's a stupid deal."

"No, it really isn't, because..." I left the store.
 
2014-08-13 01:11:48 PM  

People_are_Idiots: enry: Mudboy: 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.

Every time I go in, it is less Radio and more Crap Shack.  Can't even get DIY kits to get people interested in learning more electronics. They forgot who their customers were and deserve to go out of business

They carry some good Arduino gear now.  It's overpriced but if you need something now and don't want to wait for the slow boat from China, it's a good alternative.

Hint the word: Overpriced. If you need wire, any wire will do.

/don't buy name brands
//The More You Know


Wire I have.  Toggle switches?  Specific resistor?  Potentiometer?  Diode?  Relay?  If I'm building something now I'm not going to wait two weeks to get it from dx or pay more for shipping than the item costs if I get it domestically.  I'll go to Radio Shack and pay the premium to get it now.

/or drive to You Do It, but that's at least an hour trip.  Radio Shack is a mile away.
 
2014-08-13 01:24:28 PM  

enry: khyberkitsune: 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.

I can see why you're not CEO. You don't even understand RadioShack at it's core.

RS has always been an electronic COMPONENT reseller.

And you expect them to save the day with cellular contracts and 3-D printing (which unless they have sintering-capable printers they're SOL.)

Go back to your crap business admin class and let the real business owners talk.

So you completely missed the rest of my statement and what that implies. Good jorb!


No, I caught the entirety of your statement, you have no implication beyond what I addressed. If you do, you place yourself firmly BELOW the Market Basket guy.

Think harder.
 
2014-08-13 01:32:23 PM  
suitupscene.com
 
2014-08-13 01:39:36 PM  

khyberkitsune: enry: khyberkitsune: 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.

I can see why you're not CEO. You don't even understand RadioShack at it's core.

RS has always been an electronic COMPONENT reseller.

And you expect them to save the day with cellular contracts and 3-D printing (which unless they have sintering-capable printers they're SOL.)

Go back to your crap business admin class and let the real business owners talk.

So you completely missed the rest of my statement and what that implies. Good jorb!

No, I caught the entirety of your statement, you have no implication beyond what I addressed. If you do, you place yourself firmly BELOW the Market Basket guy.

Think harder.


No, you didn't catch what I said or meant.  If you only want to focus on the 3D printing part (which I'd consider a loss leader to get people back in) and cell phone contracts (WTF did that come from?) then so be it.  Selling components alone is a losing proposition, because parts in quantity can be had for cheaper online.  There's no way that Radio Shack can compete with the likes of DX or digikey and be able to have enough of a profit to keep stores open.  They need to change their model but keep the strengths they have/had.  The obvious direction for that is making people want to build their own items and have a place they can do that.  There are maker spaces around, but RS has the floor space in a lot of convenient places to take advantage of that.  They may not have the profits that they had before, but they'd still be around and be able to use that to stay with the maker community as their needs change.
 
2014-08-13 01:47:39 PM  
They just need to bring back the "Shackwave" off-brand Transformer with the trigger penis.

www.tfw2005.com
 
2014-08-13 02:51:53 PM  

slorge: They gave these away for free...software tracked your internet use.  Hardware Hacked by geeks.  Legal battles...etc.
[img.fark.net image 602x400]

/not a dilder


Ahhh...who could forget Belo Corp's attempt to jump on the Internet bandwagon.
 
2014-08-13 03:00:49 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.


Yep, pretty much-ish.

I went to Radio Shack the other day for a DPST pushbutton switch for a guitar pedal.
... They don't farking carry them at all.
/fail
They do, however, have two drawers full of different colored 120v relays!  That's farking useful!
/mega-fail

The employee was very helpful trying to sell me a new cell phone though!
 
2014-08-13 03:10:50 PM  
That's what (eventually) happens when you go against Bianca, biatches!
 
2014-08-13 03:52:58 PM  
I didn't think they were called Radio Shack any more. In a super business-savvy-like move didn't they re-brand themselves as "The Shack" a while ago? lol

What they need to do is go back to what made them great in the past. Use highly skilled engineers to design quality shiat that can be built cheaply and to their specifications in China (or wherever). Nowadays all they do is sell the same rebranded or otherwise poorly designed shiat that you can get off eBay for half the price... and cell phones... ya, good business plan morons
 
2014-08-13 04:02:29 PM  
For me, the reason I don't consider shopping there is from back when they wanted my full bio to buy something with cash. It was way too annoying to get them to just take my money. It sounds like they don't do that anymore, but I'd guess I'm not the only one who wrote them off because of it.

It's not that I want to hold a grudge forever, but I never did have a huge need for what they sell.

They've got questions. I've got options.
 
2014-08-13 04:36:45 PM  
late to the party, former radio shack employee 2000-2002.

i needed a job desperately, walked into a "radio shack.com" store and was hired that day.  the "radioshack.com" name was odd.  basically we were a test store; one of three in the country.  it was ten times the size of a regular radio shack.  why it was called .com, i will never know.  but we had a much larger parts department than most and sold to corporate buyers as well.  as sales people, we were not on commission like most radio shack employees.  we also didn't ring people up; we had cashiers.

i was the first female sales person in the store.  like someone else mentioned, we had the manuals for training.  i completed two a week instead of one because i knew i had no idea what i was talking about.  i got a LOT of crap about being a woman.  some people refused to talk to me.  the best feeling was one they would ask a male in the store the same question they asked me, and the male wouldn't know and would have to come to me for the answer while the customer looked down sheepishly.  i may not be an electronics expert, i but i worked lighting and sound in high school and studied our products well.

i worked in a/v.  we could see the mark-up on some of the cables.  fiber optic cables that sold for $30 were bought for pennies.  the big thing for us was to push satellite sales.  i still managed to always be number 1 or 2 in sales without pushing them, so they didn't give me too hard a time about it.  i don't mind up-selling to a certain point.  "oh, i see you're buying a cable to hook up your camcorder to the TV, do you need any camcorder tapes while you are here?".  but i wasn't going to ask someone coming in for an eighth inch mini to buy a freaking satellite subscription.

even though we didn't ring up sales, our computer keyboards had the keyboards that scanned credit cards.  i found out the guy with the lowest sales in the store (like $50 a day) would pull up an MS word document, scan the credit cards into the keyboard, and pull customer information.  classy.

i was lucky to work with a lot of older vets who were knowledgeable.  my favorite was a world war 2 vet who was just working part-time to stay busy.  he didn't take any lip from anyone and would always say his name was the CEO "len roberts" when some pissed off customer asked his name.  he also stood up for me when men would be giant douchebags and either scream that i am a biatch because someone told them we had an on-site repair center and we didn't or hit on me inappropriately.

we had a lot of the old tandy products on clearance for years.  random equipment.  i worked in kind of a ghetto area and the big seller at christmas were the low-rider RC cars that had hydrolics.  our back store room was a mess and you had to climb the racks to pull down inventory.  i'm amazed no one was injured. we had a weird policy where people could return ANYTHING under $50 so long as it didn't escalate above store level.  you could come in with tires and we would give you $45 if it meant you didn't call our district manager.

the one thing i liked about radio shack was that when i worked there, the benefit to shopping there was you got more hands-on help and conversation than you would at fry's.  one guy couldn't understand how to hook up his VCR, so i hooked up all the cables for him and labeled each one so he knew where they went.  it was also fun to research the massive catalog of mail-order goodies for people.  and help kids with science projects.  i once helped a kid get just the amount of solar power panels he needed based on our limited inventory of weird amounts of power.

i worked there during 9/11.  we had this new schmarmy store manager that was practically giddy at all the business for antennas we got.  immediately he had us pulling out stacks of antennas as many of the local businesses had TVs and VCRs for training videos, but no antennas.  he also used to do weird shiat like drop things on the ground and see if anyone picked it up (thankfully i was usually the only one to pick the item up).  he was also shorter than the gondolas and would hide and listen to your conversations.

i learned a lot about people working their.  i would never work a retail sales job like that again unless i absolutely had to.

/csb
 
2014-08-13 06:11:00 PM  

chairmenmeow47: i needed a job desperately, walked into a "radio shack.com" store and was hired that day.  the "radioshack.com" name was odd.  basically we were a test store; one of three in the country.


The radioshack.com store in Atlanta was pretty nice. I happened to see it passing by one day and stopped in out of curiosity. It's too bad it got killed off. I wonder if that was because of the dot com bust rather than a poor business model. As a bonus, there was a huge international grocery store next door that I still shop at. If it hasn't been for the radioshack.com store, I would have never noticed. Now if I need cactus leaves, chicken hearts, freshly fried pork rinds, or Coca-Cola from Ghana, I know where to go.
 
2014-08-14 01:00:12 AM  

saintstryfe: Well it worked out that his insurance covered it, so no one paid directly, and he insisted on me coming in once a week for several months to learn about the computers, which was my introduction to what became my passion and favorite hobby.

That guy got the old codger to calm down just long enough that a solution could present itself, and not bankrupt my poor family. It was a very big, very meaningful gesture which I always have carried with me, and always lead me to have a really good opinion of the store despite its flaws.


That's a really cool story.  I think we probably (hopefully) all have a handful of adults that we fondly remember for paying attention to us when we were kids, and it's always fun to reminisce about them and think what we might have missed out on if it weren't for their intervention.
 
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