End of Radio Shack


Thank goodness we now have the internet to fall back on. It’s going to suck to pay shipping on a single capacitor or something, but you can’t keep a specialty store around if they don’t even know what they want to sell or who to cater to.


Radio Shack could have been the company supplying the burgeoning DIY market, as it once was long ago. Instead it’s curious decades-long focus on RC toys and cell phones while shrinking parts offerings drove away the DIY crowd. Musta been thirty years ago since I went to Radio shack for a crucial part.


They probably could have survived as quality a niche store if they had stayed true to their DIY roots, maybe not with so many stores but one or two well stocked facilities per city would certainly have worked… especially now with the whole Maker movement getting real traction.

But nope, they chased after consumer electronics and reduced their electronic components section to a dust-encrusted toolbox in the back corner. I for one won’t be attending the funeral.


Oh no!
Where will my parents go to get a 60’ long headphone cable?


Yeah, the weird thing about businesses is they don’t like coming down from up high to the ground. I’ve always loved the name, if not the store, so here’s hoping we get a nationwide Mom and Pop mini-store.

In their defense, they HAVE been selling Arduino stuff for at least two years or so, including shields and “get started” kits. They also have free brochures in the store on how to build stuff. They have tried to capture some DIY money.

I, for one, will miss them. I remember going over their catalogs back in the 80’s and drooling over some of their kits and computers.

For a SERIOUS nostalgia trip, try this page:



Is RS still going, though? (and Farnell?)


Used them all the time at uni…

They’ve sucked since at least the early 1980’s:

Radio Shack You Suck

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It didn’t help that they seemed to stop staffing people who were knowledgeable about the remaining parts offerings they had left. At least in my area, it turned into “You’ve got questions - we’ve got blank stares, unless you’d like to buy a cellphone or some batteries.”


I think the last time I went into a Radio Shack was 20 years ago, when my folks asked me to run and grab them a headphone splitter so they could listen to their portable CD player on the plane. A $4.99 part, perhaps, but the guy wouldn’t sell me the thing until I gave him a bunch of information. It was an insane hassle.


The last time I stepped into one, they tried to sell me a $2 extended warranty on a $4 set of patch cords. Ten years later, I’m surprised they survived this long.


Yep, Radio Shack died decades ago, when they went from stocking every E-24 value 5% resistor from 10 Ohms to 4.7 Meg to maybe 10 different values.


I’d best pop in and say “good-bye and thank you” to the gentleman who operates the one good RS in town. Pick up a new switch for my ancient coffee maker while I’m at it. :frowning:

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Hands-up: when pestered, who else used 90210 / 867-5309?


They had that terrible policy of not letting you buy something with cash unless you gave information for their marketing people. I remember when they stopped that policy. It was a long time ago.

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For the beginnings of this business failure, look at former K-Mart CEO Julian C. Day, and his tactics… his tenure at RS demolished everything of value within Radio Shack.


Why the hell doesn’t somebody step up and start some kind of maker-mart? That way, you can get religion and forbid things!

Oops. I’m not sure if there’s a big enough market or not. I read an article long ago - like around Windows 1.1 - saying younger people had “black box syndrome.” Instead of building or programming it yourself, we now just plug stuff in and, when it doesn’t work, throw it out. So maybe the market really has shrunk that much. Although I have an EE degree, the last time I bought a resistor was in college.

I’m really surprised that they didn’t jump on the hackerspace/makerspace trend. Why not sponsor makerspaces in regions where they have stores? They could help the movement grow and stay at the forefront.

Radio Shack could hire young, knowledgeable members of the hackerspaces to staff the stores and refer their own customers to the hackerspaces.

I tried to suggest that idea to them a year or two ago and never heard back.

It’s baffling that a large chain of electronics stores is going out of business right at the beginning of an age of open-hardware.


The one I used to pop in to once a year or so closed down faster than any business I had ever seen. One week the shelves were stocked and there were two people working the counter (one of whom looked to have just been hired) and the next week the space was completely empty. No notice, no closing-sale, nothing. It was kind of spooky, actually.