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End Of An Era...

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middle.road

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#1
Impulse buy at a Radio Shack that was closing up.
Figured to get a couple of items that had their name on 'em.
Even at 60% off they were not a bargain. The calipers were $15, Nippers were $4.
I remember my first trip to a Radio Shack with my Dad in ~1970 in Denver...

rs_01.jpg

rs_01.jpg
 
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#2
I've been getting electronic odds and ends at RS for a long time also. Gonna miss them!!
 

jim18655

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#3
I also bought a lot of parts at Radio Shack over the years. The local store became more of a cell phone store and I stopped shopping there because they usually didn't have what I needed or didn't know what I was talking about. I miss the old store but I won't miss the store they've become.
 

pdentrem

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#4
My Dad's youngest brother built many Heath kits back in the 60s and this made me get into electronics as well. I was basically living at the local Shack in the 70s and early 80s. Sad to see them go. Here in Canada, Radio Shack had changed hands 3 times and the last owner, Bell Canada, could not care less about project builders and repair parts. Now a days, it is mail order or a 30 mile hike to a well stock store, that I try to support as much as possible.
Pierre
 

RJSakowski

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#5
I remember the pre-Tandy days when it was Allied-Radio Shack. I bought my first electronic kit from them; a Knight Kit Star Roamer 2 tube regenerative multi-band radio. When Tandy acquired them, I thought at the time they were going to Hades in a handbasket. Fortunately James Electronics, now Jameco, and Digi-key came on the scene to satisfy my need to build things electronic.
 

bpratl

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#6
The Radio Shack in my area is not one of the stores slated for closure, so we will see what happens.
As they have been catering less and less to the DIY's I have been purchasing a lot from Jameco and Digi-key.
 

CluelessNewB

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#7
I've seen RS in a long decline lasting since the early 1980's. When I was a in my teens playing with electronics the RS stores had loads of components, books and knowledgeable staff. By the early 80's packaging got flashier, prices went up and quality went way down. I NOT so fondly remember buying bonding posts with solder terminals but the plastic was a soft waxy plastic that could not handle any heat at all so they were useless. Chips I purchased in that era like 7400 series TTL and OP amps had about 1 in 3 chance of actually working. The last time I went to RS I needed some 22 gauge stranded hookup wire. The "knowledgeable staff" consisted of a pimple faced kid who when I asked for 22 gauge stranded wire asked me "how many watts yah pushin?", I guess he was trying to impress me by knowing an electrical term.
 

Mark in Indiana

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#8
When I was in high school, they sold items for the electronics hobbiest, cb/ham radio and stereos. It was a pleasure to go in there since I tinkered with electronics then. I went into one a couple of years ago and it had nothing but cell phones (which don't interest me). I asked where I could find a dpdt 220v/10a toggle switch and it was like I was speaking a foreign language to the clerk. He pointed to a tiny shelf that had a handful of supplies. They had none. I miss the old days.

At least we have a local electronics supply house and Digikey.
 
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#9
I see that I am not alone, as I too remember the days when RS stores had tons of components and the store staff were usually well versed in electronics tinkering. Sad to see those days no longer exist, my last few visits to RS have been exercises in frustration due to lack of components.

I'll have to sent a vase of flowers to their corporate office, along with a card saying 'My condolences'.
 

GK1918

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#10
And then the help. Went there for a simple diode, seems to be a teenage girl that dont
know a diode from a light bulb.!!
 

Navy Chief

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#11
Radio Shack lost their way a long time ago and seems to have spent the last 20 years or so unsuccessfully chasing various markets, radio control, stereo equipment, cell phones, etc. The store in my area is not on the closing list yet, and fortunately there is still a small cabinet of components in the back, if you know what you need and have no questions they may have it. Most of the time it is easier and cheaper to mail order the parts from Jameco or Digikey (even with shipping added).
 

GA Gyro

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#12
In my area, Fry's has more or less taken the parts business away from RS. And then there is the internet... If you do not need it now... there is no way local stores can compete.
 

JimDawson

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#13
A couple of weeks ago my son bought the entire contents of all of the component cabinets for $60 at a closing store. The pullout drawer cabinets themselves sold to another guy for $25 each, my son got there just a bit late to get those. I really hate to see RS close, they have been my go to place for a lot of projects for many years.
 

w9jbc

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#14
I remember the pre-Tandy days when it was Allied-Radio Shack. I bought my first electronic kit from them; a Knight Kit Star Roamer 2 tube regenerative multi-band radio. When Tandy acquired them, I thought at the time they were going to Hades in a handbasket. Fortunately James Electronics, now Jameco, and Digi-key came on the scene to satisfy my need to build things electronic.
wow knight star roamer does that bring back memories !
 

Franko

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#15
I'd mourn their passing too, but it would be a bit late. Radio Shack croaked more than a decade ago. It is a sad day for tinkerers. Hardware stores are swirling around the same drain.
 

RJSakowski

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#17
And then the help. Went there for a simple diode, seems to be a teenage girl that dont
know a diode from a light bulb.!!
And when you look for a reason for their downfall, there you have it. With less and less technical support available, or worse yet, given wrong advice by someone who doesn't know anything but is afraid to admit it, why would anyone choose to favor their business?
The same thing happened decades ago with Sears. there was a time when you could get virtually anything you wanted at your local Sears store. I stopped shopping there when I asked a clerk for a star drill and was shown a pipe reamer. I had the impression that they staffed their hardware department with people from women's wear.
 

Billh50

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#18
the good old days of the real hardware stores. where you could go in and find just about anything you needed. and the guy behind the counter new exactly what you were looking for when asked and brought you right to it. on slow days you hung around just to chat with them.
 

Mark in Indiana

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#19
Be sure to add auto parts stores to what's becoming extinct. Back in the day there were family owned shops that had guys that knew about parts. Now we have chain stores that hire pimple faced kids who only know how to look for a part on a computer.
 

Billh50

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#20
I hate going in parts stores now. We used to have one in town that had a guy behind the counter who always knew exactly what part you needed. He even knew the part number in his head and if that part was for say a cadilac he would tell you to buy this buick part because it was the same part with a different number and costs less. I miss that place.
 

GA Gyro

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#21
Be sure to add auto parts stores to what's becoming extinct. Back in the day there were family owned shops that had guys that knew about parts. Now we have chain stores that hire pimple faced kids who only know how to look for a part on a computer.
In my area... they hire attractive young ladies... who try repeatedly to 'sell up'...
Would you like this also?

Truly SAD... the art of building a business based on customer service... seems to have died in favor of watching the profit charts... by the minute.

Oh well... those that fight progress... will be run over by it.
 

Navy Chief

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#22
I still have one good parts store near my office where you can go in and the counter guys know what they are doing, nice to go in with random parts from projects and have them know what it is and what would be a good replacement. Last time I needed some u joints for a friends mowing deck, took the mangled piece in and they knew how to measure it to cross reference a replacement, try that at autozone....
 

Downwindtracker2

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#23
Here in Canada,Radio Shack never had much. I was in Arizona and needed a set of shocks for my truck, at AutoZone , I had to take over the computer from the cute young thing.
 

GA Gyro

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#24
Here in Canada,Radio Shack never had much. I was in Arizona and needed a set of shocks for my truck, at AutoZone , I had to take over the computer from the cute young thing.
Yeah...

At the local auto parts stores (AutoZone, AdvanceAuto, O'Rileys)... the computer screen is sideways so both the counter person and the customer can see it. I generally let them lead and just suggest when they get stumped. I find when I get to leading too much... they get nervous and screw up worse.
SAD the counter folks are both non-knowledgeable... and insecure. Not a good combination for customer service... however some of them are cute... LOL
 

Ulma Doctor

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#25
i mess with the "knowledgeable" :bs:staff at the box car parts depots all the time, just for fun.
i had a gal looking for a few minutes for a muffler bearing before she asked a co-worker how to find it.
the manager was an older guy at the time, it made his day. he got the biggest laugh from the stunt!
i was getting other stuff so he didn't get too sore for me messin with the help.
 

brino

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#26
I agree with Franko....Radio Shack was dead to me over a decade ago.

They used to have parts and books that were useful.
(Remember the battery club? When I was a kid, often that was the only real reason I had to go to the mall.)

Then they started following the fads. They sold CD players, but could not explain anything about them.
Meanwhile the parts selection kept shrinking and shrinking.....

I remember one old stamp collector that was returning one of their magnifiers because the provided image was upside-down.
The guy behind the counter actually reversed the batteries that powered the little light bulb to see if that would fix it.
I was young at the time, but even I knew:
1) it was cheap and only used simple lenses -the batteries had nothing to do with it
2) even if it did have a camera and display then reversing the batteries would only kill it!

I lost any remaining respect for them that day.
 

Mark in Indiana

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#27
Wow. The battery club. I was a member also. Thanks for the memory.
 

GA Gyro

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#28
I was in Fry's earlier today... it seems they have done to electronics, what HD and Lowes have done to the local hardware store.

Was looking for specific capacitors, diodes and resistors.... they had lots of them. Each was individually wrapped and hanging on racks... for anywhere from $0.79 to $3.99.

Interesting how the big box store model has taken over the local store.
 

jim18655

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#29
Remember the 5 cell flashlight they gave away? I'm sure they counted on you buying their batteries to fill it. I can't tell you how many I had around the house.
 

juiceclone

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#30
I remember Olson electronics, Heathkits , Knight, and a few others that RS ran mostly out of business . Ironic now they are the only one left to go to locally and they don't behave like the old "ham" stores.....You're right ...can't find what you want, only what they want to sell you... They will "order" most things, but you can do that yourself..eBay etc..
 
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