1991 Radio Shack commercial for computers

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/02/28/1991-radio-shack-commercial-fo.html


The definition of hell: Once a month inventory at Radio Shack tabulated with paper & pen, believe me when I say it sucked big time.


I actually was working at Tandy during the time of that commercial. I was responsible for the code for the DeskMate Desktop app (that thing with the buttons on the screens). I took it over from someone else, but I did add the code that allowed graphical icons.

So you see that crude-looking white graduation hat in the red icon? That’s my code! :slight_smile:


And yeah, it was pretty sad that Tandy was still selling 286 machines in 1991. I think they were the last ones still selling 'em.


Any time I see screenshots of something I wrote “in the wild” I always feel a certain pride and glee (or shame, if it sucks). There’s something to be said about having your work immortalized in a cheesy low budget daytime TV commercial, though.


Tandy used to have a separate chain of stores, Radio Shack Computer Centers, but I don’t remember seeing one after early 1984. This 1991 commercial would roughly coincide with Tandy’s takeover of Computer City (and predates Incredible Universe).

I bought a used TRS-80 Model I in 1982. 13 years later, I got hold of a Grid 386 (the first computer I had that could run Windows) – Grid had been bought by Tandy, so I called it my second TRS-80.

Were you in Fort Worth? Several of my friends’ parents worked at Tandy Center. I got to go along once for Tandy Day at Six Flags.


Yep, I was in Tower Two and later in the adjoining “Technology Center”. I used to ride “the only privately owned subway in the world” into work every morning.

(The employee parking lot was several blocks away up a steep hill, so Tandy installed a tunnel and a train that went from the parking lot to the building. I have no idea if it was actually the only privately-owned subway in the world, but that was their boast.)


I think the subway and remote lot was left over from when there was (only) a Leonard’s department store on the site. But that predates my life in DFW by a number of years…

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…says the person who clearly has never been to an apple store…

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I miss this so so soooooo much… :’(

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I know your pain, but remember them more like quarterly. Counting loose magnets in the bins and nineteen cent resistor 2-packs was especially mind numbing. All for minimum wage.


Did you have to count the transistors, resistors, etc. in the component drawers?


Everything at Radio Shack was excessively packaged, so that it could be sold by people with no knowledge of electronics. They had three-packs of diodes, especially aggravating when you needed four to make a bridge rectifier.


Yes, and the carpet lint too.


Working at the Shack seemed like a huge con when I was putting myself through school in the late 1980s. Every store in the region of Virginia where I worked had commission and sales quotas. If you failed to meet quota, you weren’t paying your own salary, called “working against the draw”.

So of course the hours spent slaving on inventory counted against draw. And if you were a lowly part timer like I was, you got sent to other stores at the whim of the district manager to help them count their inventories. And help with store remodels. And help move stores to new locations.

Once, I got called to sit in an empty store overnight because someone smashed the front door with a cinder block. I was the only member of their staff dumb enough to answer the phone at 2:30 AM. Fortunately, I got smart enough to bail out before it wrecked my ability to complete my degree (shudder)…


Not a person of color in the whole store. :disappointed:

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Crude-looking white graduation hats off too you!



All the computers are beige, too. What a world.

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I found one!

:17 in