Speak Your Mind And Help RadioShack Suck Less


We can all agree that RadioShack isn’t exactly the DIY mecca it once was.

What used to be a haven for amateur radio operators, tinkerers, and builders alike has devolved into a stripmall mainstay full of cell phones and overpriced junk. RadioShack knows that they have fallen out of your good graces, and since you are the demographic that put them on the map, they are appealing to the DIY community for input.

They want to know what is important to you – what you would like to see at your local RadioShack, and what would bring you back through their doors. Obviously price is a huge concern, especially with online outlets like Digikey and Mouser just a few clicks away. At the end of the day however, if you require a component RIGHT NOW, it would be nice to have the ability to grab some parts locally.

We’re well aware of the fact that this is all part of a marketing scheme, but if it helps stock your local store with a few odds and ends that are actually helpful, it won’t hurt to let your voice be heard.

Stick around to watch the video appeal from RadioShack’s brand manager, [Amy Shineman].

[Thanks komradebob]

[via ARRL.org]

351 thoughts on “Speak Your Mind And Help RadioShack Suck Less

  1. I think all the other posts stated everything I wanted to say. But, I will say it again: variety of parts.

    We went to be able to get a crazy assortment of parts from the.

  2. @mike
    I had one of those as a kid. I loved that thing, when adjusting a few wires makes an FM transmitter and such.
    I doubt they can actually compete with on-line stores when theres not enough of a market for the amount of stores they have. Maybe if only a choice few stores became a mega shack that carried a large supply of parts, kits, books, and a well trained staff then they could eventually beef up the mall stores.
    3 products? Make that number 10 and also categories. Do they seriously think that 3 products would even come close to a change. Look, the shack is a joke to anyone thats an electronic hobbyist. Its now like stopping by the grocery store for the hardware/automotive section

  3. @cknopp
    I didn’t see your post because I was still writing mine. I sincerely do want this and if 3000 SKU’s is what they are going to do in all shacks I will definitely take this more seriously. I want a local store to buy parts at because I hate waiting on shipping. If they want very specific items then I can name a few specifically but its hard to say which like resistors or caps to carry of the vast amount but they can get a list of the most common resistors, caps, LED’s, IC’s, etc… The big markup on those things won’t fly with this crowd but I wouldn’t mind paying a little extra to have it now. Last thing would be to give all their employees a little training into at least being able to know where to find a transistor even if they don’t know how one works. The autoparts stores do that, most of the employees don’t know how the parts work but they can give you the one you need

  4. They’re gonna have to pick their market, and stick with it. Do they want the cheap consumer goods area? Or the hobbyist area? Or the HAM radio area? I doubt you can have it all.

    I still drop by from time to time, just to see what they may have that might be of any interest. I hardly ever find anything.

    I’d go with the hobby stuff, a wide selection of goods like wire, enclosures, hardware etc… Stuff that can be applies to most hobby stuff.

    But really, why buy there? Are they planning on beating out Digi-Key or Mouser?

    I don’t know how many people know, but RS used to have a really nice on-line supply of stuff. Some very cool stuff. Tons of parts and kits and tools and stuff. But I’m guessing, most people didn’t even know it. By then, they had stopped going there.

    I stopped going there after I lost a small fortune (to me at the time) in those sound generator chips. They had the wrong part in there and it had a different power supply connection. I must have gone through half a dozen of those chips before I finally got wise, all along, thinking it was my fault they were smoking.

    I wish ’em luck though.

  5. In the UK they were known as Tandy before changing to RadioShack (Definitely not to be confused with Radio Spares). The shops have all but gone and the official online shop has only has a few audio connectors. They had competition from Maplin Electronics in the UK who still have many shops and an online store with a reasonable component selection though it is a bit light on the microcontoller side. If the is no competition in the US for an hobbyist electronics outlet maybe they can survive.

  6. Or – here’s a new idea. Capture both the online buyers and face-to-face customers.

    Run the shopfront as an order capture desk.
    Keep a single inventory at the warehouses, with one of each in store for the ‘expensive’ bits.

    Order online – or ‘over the counter’ after touch & feel and determining the suitability for your needs.
    No extra unmarked shipping charge, Guaranteed delivery within 24 hours to niminated address. 50% off for second day, free for 3rd day and later. If you don’t like it you can return it to a store counter within 7 days unopened for refund and no obligation.

  7. i kinda like our local radio shack. its a very small town, population ~3k. so they are the only place you can go and get some parts. they also have better manors than some of the more urban radio shacks i’ve visited. most of the time they just leave me to brows the racks. they also throw valuble parts into the bargain bin. 50 cent 5v regulators are always turning up (i buy em as i find em). even when im getting jacked im still saving money, since the cost of shiping to ak is fucking insane. been unable to order from mouser or digikey, they dont like to tell me how much shipping costs. sparkfun has ok shipping, but not the place to go when you need a resistor or capacitor of a certain value. sometimes il order parts from china off of ebay, but usually shipping takes 3 weeks.

    as for what i want rs to stock, mcus, programmers, board etching supplies (ferric chloride, pcb material, etch resist pens, iron on circuit patterns and stencils, scopes and other test equipment, soldering irons that dont suck, kits, larger ic selections, smd parts, etc, etc.

  8. About ten years ago Radio Shack made a “Big Deal” about no longer asking for your name and address every time you buy as little as a resistor, which they had done to me since my first purchase circa 1970, and likely for many years before. Of course what they didn’t say in the ads were they changed to asking for your phone number so they could do a reverse lookup to mail you the same old flyers.

    The three things? Firstly, have THESE thousand parts in stock, secondly, have these OTHER thousand parts in stock, thirdly have ANOTHER thousand parts in stock.

    I must admit, in the mid-late 1990’s there was a wonderful retail outlet, at Buford Highway near 285, where the very first Home Depot store opened (then moved away), was a place named TechAmerica, a quite large space selling electronics parts, test equipment, specialty electronics/hobby magazines (AudioXpress, some SERIOUS Hobby Rocket magazine), and literally a few THOUSAND technical books – not (many of) the usual computer books regular bookstores sold, but electronics and engineering books one would otherwise have to order sight unseen. To browse through so many of these was a delight. The Atlanta Hobby Robot Club held its monthly meeting in the “training room” there, and that’s where I first connected with te club. Sometime during its tenure it changed its name to RadioShack.com (that’s exactly what the sign out front said), then it eventually closed.

    Now there are two Fry’s Electronics stores in the Atlanta area, and they’re several times the size of TechAmerica – even though most of the area is the usual TV computer/washer/dryer stuff, the electronics parts and test equipment section is roughly equal to the old TechAmerica, and they have a moderate range of technical books as well. I don’t have a clue how much of Fry’s parts sales are to business/R&D people needing parts faster than overnight (that could be substantial in Atlanta) and how much is tobbyists/non-commercial interests, but it helps everyone that Fry’s is open pretty longish hours and 7 days a week.

    The maker/hacker movement has certainly grown in recent years, but I don’t see it worth it for Radio Shack to get (back) into the raw parts business. Even if a well-stocked radio shack was closer, I’d rather go to Fry’s and not have the sales pitch.

    But no, I don’t believe Radio Shack will ever be 1/10th as good as Fry’s, as their income is by now 99.5 percent consumer electronics, and I’m surprised they’d even give a nod to or acknowledge their (former) parts customers. I’d rather buy mail-order surplus (All Electronics, Goldmine, etc.) than Radio Shack anyway (as if NEW, “Real Distributor” parts from Digikey and Mouser aren’t low enough cost), as I have a higher confidence those parts will more likely work and be more accurately described. Radio Shack parts have always been known as “floor sweepings” though some of the TechAmerica stuff appeared to be better.

    Last time I was at a Radio Shack the guy tried to sell me MSN dialup service (yes it’s been about ten years). I said I already had an ISP and he said MSN was more reliable. Okay. “Thank You For Sharing.”

  9. Thinking about it some, I wouldn’t go parts so much, except the most used “common” stuff like LED’s etc…. But they did used to carry some tools that I could use.

    I don’t expect them to carry EREM or Lindstrom, but a nice butane torch, with “heat gun” attachment, maybe some off the wall but handy stuff. Nice enclosures with proto-board that fits, that sort of thing. The good part about that is they don’t have to stock a lot because they won’t sell a lot, but it’ll be there, and can be used a “get them in the store item” for other stuff, like the Arduino’s etc… dev Kits etc…

    But dump the phones, the cheap junk. But keep some of the cheap toys, I do buy some of those for parts!

  10. They have ramped up new tech item training modules, and are already leading into condensing areas to bring in more parts drawers and such.

    I agree that the focus over the years has been on high margin, low quality electronics, but I sincerely have seen that change. Quality is something that you can sell, as a product or yourself. I have some lifelong customers because I help them daily in the store, by phone, or by text message. Some managers and staff actually embed into the fabric of their community. Career days at elementary schools and events at the local trade shows.

    Where I work, The Shack is the place for help, guidance, bang for your buck, and most of the time, a hearty laugh.

    I love what I do, and it is my regular “parts” customers that I know the best. They are our backbone, and it is great that upper management is truly catering to them now!

  11. The phones pay for your stuff guys!

    Phones have no margin anywhere, but the accessories are what fun the RS ability to be there for you. IF it wasn’t for cellular revenue, I’m not sure that they would be able to offer as much as they do now.

    Also, did you know that RS’s new recurring Service Plan is the only “insurance” in the industry that covers rooted phones?

    Maybe The Shack has some amazing options for those that are willing to give them a shot.

    I invite anyone to my store. Don’t tell me, just shop it for something, and report back here. It is amazing what happens when you have a staff that truly cares about what their customers needs are.

  12. If they just had a big selection of switches, relays, connectors, resistors, capacitors, wire, enclosures, and prototyping tools I would be happy. There are many times I need a component and have to wait for one to ship to me because I am in a small city with very few resources.

  13. The ones in Canada are even worse. Called “the source” now. They carry nothing. I went to Port Huron, Michigan on a day trip. There was a Radio Shack there that I checked out. They had an entire drawer of parts, vs the single isle that most of our stores have. They had a lot of parts I needed at fairly reasonable prices. Sure it was 4 times more than digikey, but at the same time they were fairly cheap and I was buying in single quantity.
    The sales staff had no clue about electronics, but they tried to help, and never tried to sell me anything I didn’t need.

  14. The best way to tell Radio Shack how to improve is to relate my last experience with them.

    I was working on a project and found I needed a power resistor of approximately 10K 2W. And I didn’t have anything near that value, or anything else I could reasonably string together a few of to make that value.

    I didn’t want to wait for mail-order, so I decided to try Radio Shack. That is, after all, where they’ve always had an advantage and are best used for, getting the small bits and pieces you end up not having at the last minute.

    First, I tried the website to see if they stocked what I needed. The search function works very poorly for electronic components (but great for consumer goods), so it wasn’t clear. And I knew calling the store was futile, so I decided to make the ten minute trip and see for myself.

    Upon walking in the store, it was overstaffed; with zero customers, and three employees standing around talking. One stopped talking long enough to ask “Can I help you”, and I said I needed an electronic component. He pointed vaguely somewhere towards the back of the store and immediately went back to chatting.

    After figuring out exactly where the parts were by myself, I located the appropriate drawer and opened it. It quickly became apparent that nothing was where it was supposed to be. I tried closing the drawer to try another, but it wouldn’t close. After repeated attempts and some wiggling, a few dozen ball bearings fell out of the drawer slide onto the floor, after which I was at least able to close it.

    After searching all the drawers, I found they had no power resistors *at all*. But they did at least have a five-pack of 2.2K 1/2W resistors I could string together better than anything in my parts bins. So I grabbed that, plus a pack of terminals that would come in handy, and headed to the counter.

    The employees were too busy chatting to pay me any attention. One glanced over at me a few times, and after a minute or so, I guess he decided I wasn’t going away, and finally rang up my purchase; with an obvious attitude that I was interrupting them with my measly $3 purchase.

    Radio Shack, are you listening? Try fixing all those basic issues first, before you get any grandiose dreams of becoming a hacker mecca.

  15. Yep, another former Shacker checking in. I started in October of 1986 and worked in stores in NY and PA until “Thirteenth Month” 1996. (and met my wife at the last mall I worked in…

    I remember when market cycle on computers was 18 months. Remember the Tandy 2000? More than twice the computer than the PCjr.

    I remember selling my first 17-1000, fully loaded it had to weigh about 20 pounds, or at least it felt that way (go ahead an name that product)

    I helped set up the satellite dish in the front window of the Westbury Store, and then took it down when I sold it.

    I worked in 01- stores, 11- stores and 01+ stores. I managed V stores.

    So, now having introduced myself, here’s my $.02 The core RS customer first went in with their parent to pick up some “Force Feed” to solve a problem. Maybe it was a light bulb for a flash light, or an F81 connector. Perhaps it was a wire from the 15 series. They did not go in to get their arm twisted to get things they didn’t need. Anyone else remember “30/3/2”? My customers came in to get problems solved, I learned to write and draw upside-down so that I could make diagrams for my customers across the counter. Please, now-a-days it’s more like “You’ve got questions, they’ve got blank stares.” I go in, and they ask if they can help me, trust me kiddy, I’ve put up more peg-hooks than you’ve ever seen. I (still) have all my Mimms books.

    So, here it is, your core customer and the person who will keep the company going will be looking for a hobbyist behind the counter who shares their passion for do-it-yourself electronics. And going forward will understand the pros and cons of different dev boards, has built their own computers, can solder, and enjoys passing their knowledge on to others.

    And doesn’t indulge high pressure sales techniques.

  16. Microcenter is several miles away and is more of an electronics store than RS ever has been (they stock Sparkfun goodies w00t!) And RS is two blocks away from my house, yet I will never walk through those doors again. I’m heavily stocked with electronic parts thanks to ebay.

  17. I’ll take BS for 600 ..

    The only thing RS could do to stand out would be to break with the pack. Instead of emphasizing the sales and the marketing, it would help if they had a real vision. Not one of these corporate committee visions, to be revised every year as a way to update to market positioning. Get some dedicated to something, and make it work! Don’t ditch YOUR customer base just because someone else has a bigger customer base this year! If they could demonstrate real support for the DIY set by stocking kits, parts and tools, ditch the phones and cheap toys, and terminate the hard-sell techniques, some of us might venture back.

    IDK, maybe they can’t make enough money from parts, kits and tools to keep paying the rent for the stores, in which case the sad fact would be that the DIY’er friendly store concept from 1978 just won’t fly in 2011. Actually, I think that’s pretty much the case, and what we have here is marketing execs trying to think of new ways to trick people into coming in the door .. so that they can continue to practice the iCrap hard sell. If they want to do that, they should go with free coffee and fresh cookies.

  18. Restock all the Forrest Mims III books that I grew up with as a kid, then stock the parts needed to build those projects.

    Oh, and start selling those old-fashioned 200-in-one project boxes again. I had to find an antique off of eBay to give to my kid when he hit the 2nd grade, because the current models are just plastic junk.

  19. I’d like to see many of the same things as others here would, There is a real explosion of creativity going on right now with the emergence of open source hardware, and I think RS could immediately pick up a lot of long-lost cred by leveraging their thousands of stores to help introduce people to that world – say by using their buying power to purchase innovative products that emerge out of all this activity.

    Its great that they are asking for input. Perhaps they could do this, have an ongoing contest where each month they pick some cool homebrew electronics project that really stands out in usefulness, and then they offer it as a kit in their stores until stocks run out. They could set up an economic framework that would also help the inventor/designers get a bit of a start independently as businesses with that. The most popular ones could remain on sale in their stores. Some of them might become classic items of geek desire.

    That could support new companies and inventors and drop costs down substantially.

    What would I personally like to see them do that with?

    1.) To be true to their roots, I’d like to see them offer an inexpensive HF band (1-30 MHz or even up to low VHF) SDR (software defined radio) receiver kit. Say for under $150.. (I think that could be possible, in volume)

    2.) I’d like to see them offer a comprehensive collection of 1-wire sensors, temperature, humidity, relative air pressure, non-contact IR thermometer, USB adaptor for same, etc. as well as powered air registers, solenoid valves, for use in a sophisticated home energy savings/home automation environment.

    3.) I’d like to see them sell a basic single board computer that could boot off of flash memory, and display to commodity hardware – as well as use USB peripherals, WITH built in Ethernet, that supported ipv6, that could run a complete Linux, and at least 128MB RAM, preferably more, for less than $75. Kind of like the innovative computer in a HDMI plug that was written about here last month. ( http://hackaday.com/2011/05/06/miniature-pc-packs-a-big-punch/ )

    Or they could charge a bit more, and for each one that was bought at retail, they could GIVE one to a school *here in the US* that needed one to use in designing some cool project around it. Or to give to some kid who could use it and not break it.

    But, also I think we need to understand the economic realities of the retail store these days.

    Money is tight and we don’t want a resource like RS to vanish, sure they could be better but my guess is that they probably need to sell a lot of the stuff they do to stay open.

  20. My suggestion would be to take the advice of everyone here, realize that this stuff doesn’t sell well in a retail setting, then discount everything to 5% of its original value.

    That’s the only reason I go there. Picked up a few RC car battery packs for 47 cents each. Picked up a hobby grade RC with four batteries for $50. Oh and a parallax PING was $30, which is on par with online.

  21. Not many young boys and girls are interested in electronics anymore. Everything is buy and throw away … no serviceable parts, no taking things apart … you can’t even get schematics or parts for most things.

    There are so many posts here, I didn’t get to read them all, but did anyone mention that there used to be “corporate RS stores” and “privately owned RS stores”? They were very different. The private stores could do more things, and sell things that the corporate stores could not.

  22. I honestly don’t see what the problem with Radio Shack is (except the whole ‘The Shack’ thing). If I absolutely need a component right now, and I can’t wait a few days for a Digi-Key or Mouser order, I will go to Radio Shack. They haven’t let me down yet (resistors, caps, leds, switches, etc).

    They have a great selection of starter electronic kits and instructional books at my local shop as well. Beyond just the ###-in-One project kits, they have BasicSTAMP II, Propeller, and even PIC starter kits.

    The only thing that would be as useful to me would be 4 conveniently-located brick-and-mortar Sparkfun stores in my hometown.

  23. RS is great for quick-build things.

    1) Stock Arduinos and Propeller boards. I see the very rare Basic Stamp but that’s it. On that side — don’t bother with the printed manual, or have some without and at a lower price: the URL is usually silkscreened on the PCBs anyway.

    2) Rather than putting each individual 7805 or terminal block in a little plastic package, just put them in bins. This allows you guys to charge a bit less and probably make a bit more off each part, cuts waste, and increases effective available space.

    3) Carry some thin wire, in different colors, for proto board interconnects!

    4) You sell a very nice electronically controlled soldering station. Why do you never have the tips for it?

  24. First. If you want to get people in the door, stop selling cables and commodity electronics at outrageous prices. I will rarely go to RS because their prices are 400% what things should cost. $20 for a USB cable? Insane…
    Secondly, to make money you need to take a lesson from Think Geek and Sharper Image. Start selling cool stuff! Your RC cars and toys used to seem cool, but these days they’re just lame compared to your competition.
    Thirdly, I doubt very much you have the creativity and talent to innovate in electronics sales. Partner with Sparkfun to start selling kits and cool things. An Arduino selling for $30 probably has a healthy profit built in. You want some of this business.
    Honestly, I want RS to succeed. I want electronics and DIY engineering to be a part of America. So come on guys, get a clue.

  25. There is not enough money in components to support retail. Perhaps if they had a website with price & selection to compete with Digikey/Mouser they might pull in more business to the retail stores with add-on services, but I sure wouldn’t want to be writing the business plan.

  26. Radio Shack was where I got my first kit in 1980. From there into Ham Radio, even commercial radio. I had many a kits from there. I don’t have a EE degree, but know a lot more than a few of our Electrical Engineers at work. They don’t even know about JTAG ports or how to use them. These are Engineers who got their degrees in the last 5 years. I had to bring in my JTAG cable from home to revive a piece they bricked with the wrong firmware.

    Radio Shack’s kits, and books is how I started. I wish my son was as interested in electronics as I was, instead of just playing Xbox. I started with an Atari 2800.

  27. My wife just bought a USB to mini adaptor cable there, and it was over $30. I saw something similar at a local Dollarama, for $3.00. We buy this kind of product from Asia so we know the markups, and at RS (and others, eg Best Buy) it’s extortionate.

    You can build a business around parts (see Creatron in Toronto), but you have to know the business and electronics.

  28. I work between two of the biggest research facilities in the world. My everyday customers seriously are rocket scientists and particle physicists.

    If I had a complete robotics asile with several thousand components, my store would be standing room only.

    Oh, and I would comission HTC to create the CoCo4 to forward thing specs, like AMD C50 processor running Android x86….

    Oh, and the remark about being run by a hobbyist. That is the perfect example of what a store manager needs to be. If I didnt buy it for my wife and kids already, I dont feel comfortable selling it to you till I know for sure that it is good.

    I want to buy the goodies too!

    Buy cell phones at Radio Shack if you want larger assortments of slower moving merchandise.

    Oh, and parts bins (without packaging) can be counted by weight, instead of individual scanner zaps… BRILLIANT!

  29. Step 1 –
    Yes it’s been mentioned before but remove every item that Best Buy and Walmart sell – as it seems that they are in the same parking lot around here (CA)

    Step 2-
    Carry kits from Parallax, sparks fun, entry level soldering kits, things for a 5th grade science experiment, decent electronic tools and meters.

    Step 3- If your only going to employ high school kids, don’t have them croud you when you shop. I don’t care if you have to but stuff behind glass, but let me see it.

    Step 4- Use the lego store model of having big projects on display, have it appeal to kids. Imagine walking in there and seing a cool robitic arm or a 3-D printer making something. I have spent $400 on lego kits last year because the kid want them. If lego can have a store at the mall and only sell lego, I think Radio shack could sell electronic componets once again.

    Step 5 – Have a nice selection of new and vintage DIY books. The Forest Mims was mention (I have one out right now for the kids science project this week). The robot building books, battlebot books, the make magazine books. You need the books and the product lists from the books to get regular people into the electronics.

    It might already be a lost cause of a franchise.

  30. Man, if you could come in and pre-order a custom spec cell phone for your carrier of choice, (Sprint, ATT, T-Mobile), and have it delivered in 7 days, that would be truly EPIC!

    That is what the Color Computer 4 should be!


  31. I can agree that a lot of the “Parts Drawer” and similar products at Radioshack are overpriced when you don’t work there. Though, I can tell you Radioshack is taking this seriously. I work there as a sales associate and recently they’ve started doing training on component parts. The first of which was basic electricity terms like what Volts, Amps, and Ohms are and what they mean. We’ve also got some nice literature in that had some good info for discrete circuits. There’s also a DIY newsletter that they’re going to start sending out via email. I think it’ll be interesting. Also, if you’re in the Va Beach area, feel free to stop by Radioshack store 01-1795. If I’m there I like chatting with fellow techies.

  32. Forget about discrete ICs, components.. no one designs hardware like that anymore these days.. Provide low cost MCU kits or PLD/FPGA kits that provide great educational as well as hobby needs. Those 100 in 1 science kits were great.. that’s how i got started in electronics.

  33. I was disappointed when TV antennas were no longer a standard item. I’d like to see more Antenna hardware along with rotators etc…

    More effort on scanners. I have a few but the ability to load from my computer was very difficult and actually deactivated some of the preset functions. The 3rd party usb interface vendor told me he had reported this error but no one bothered to fix it with an update tc…

    Little mixers like the behringer variety would be something I’d like to see.

  34. My local radio shack has components but they don’t know shit about them. They are too concerned with what kind of cellphone they want to sell you and don’t give a shit about their other merchandise.

  35. There are always going to be people that can bring products to the consumer cheaper, and with greater selection, but what I think would be really amazing would be to help people learn about those projects. Use the shack as a way to foster the creativity in young kids and adults the way it used to. I would gladly pay more to be able to go to a Radioshack with my son and have a workbench (and helpful employees) that could help us make something that would blow his mind! Please give this some thought, Radioshack. The personal touch is what’s missing now, and what the online retailers can’t provide.

    Clauson Atkin

  36. Start stocking the 350-in-one kids’ beginners kits again. They’re undoubtedly responsible for getting people into electronics. Better yet, make some new kits with simple robotics and USB connected “my first program” development software (sort of like Lego Mindstorms, but built around a PIC or BASIC stamp). Later on, move them up to the stock of Arduino-compatible hardware. This isn’t 1988 anymore, microcontrollers are inexpensive and are relatively simple to play with.

    Stock higher quality tools. It’s pretty bad when the tools on sale for half the price at Harbor Freight are made better.

    Also brand all the DIY stuff with the old logo. I miss it. :c

  37. They need to keep the components, move up to PLC’s and component systems maybe even like the arduino. But, as electronics ‘SPECIALISTS’ I would see myself purchasing educational materials (books and such, electronic or otherwise) from them if they could supply a consistent view with broad resources. They can loose their ‘proprietary’ part numbering system and hitch up with legit numbers from the manufacturers themselves (and really sell those brands.

  38. since most of the truly helpful comments are from people who remember those bygone ‘back in the’ days with far more electronics knowledge than myself, your only hope is to put all your resources into developing a time machine that will transport us all back to the time when you were relevant, and knew what people wanted instead of chasing a quick buck on trash we can get at Walmart.

    Even if you found another niche, you have wasted any good will you had by doing exactly what is described in these posts. I haven’t been in a ‘Shack’ in decades, you have nothing I need or want. I sincerely doubt you have a clue on how to change that. Maybe you should pursue the sport-tuner market, that’s obviously booming.

  39. (Did she say dipsh*ts?)…Do the masses care about DIY? Probably not. In SoCal, Frys killed most of the other DIY stores. How about 1 *really* complete DIY store in a region, instead of trying to make every store work for every Geek? The opposite of the “Incredible Universe” flop that RS did years ago. Also consider engaging Makers with DIY events. Partner with the FabLabs out there.

  40. They let down the hobbyist community, had ridiculous prices for parts, and stocked less and less parts to put more cheap rebranded goods on the shelves.

    In many radio shacks I would always find unpacked boxes or store utility stuff blocking all access to the corner where the put all the electronics.

    It really sucks when the first ‘real’ electronics store is 120 km from you.

    Now they’ve seen that they missed the boat, and that they underestimated the scale and profit to be made with the diy community.

    I salute the opportunistic effort, but you don’t fuck me over twice.

  41. Radio Shack will always be 20 years out of date to me. The world of electronics moved on without them. It’s too bad since with all the suggestions here, it could be better. How about supply parts for people who want to setup a DIY MAME cabinet? Or pinball machine parts?

  42. The U.S. public education system intentionally suppresses the development of skills in science, engineering, and mathematics. So there’s no market for “Geek” or “Nerd” stuff. Give up on this Radio Shack. You’re better off stocking iPhones and anything else that Tweets or does Facebook. That’s where the money is for the foreseeable future.

  43. Hey..maybe we are going about it the wrong way…i know what radio shack can’t do..but what about all of you people (including you Caleb) direct me to your sources other than online..if someone lives in area X and someone may know a place to send people to…i live outside of Toronto, Canada and it is well known that we have a silicon valley North about two blocks of companies in electronics..the list is long..so tell people where you go for stuff, let Radio Shack die like the endangered species it is..

  44. When I was a young kid, we had the 350-in-one electronics project kits – little spring loaded connectors w/ components and wires, not really sophisticated, but good for learning. I see lots of places with simple robotics kits that probably young teens could build, and the new microcontrollers. Sadly I see less kids interested in electronics (and I grew up with a TV-repairman grandfather working on old tube sets, so I’m biased), and more interested in playing on their Xbox or texting on their phones. My first computer was the trs-80 model-I, and I built a stepper motor driver for it, and various other little things – nowadays you’d want PIC or arudino and USB interface or something, but I think the challenge is to show things that would interest kids into it… a robotic arm “kit” (like the old armatrons) that could be controlled via their laptop-pc?

    Part of the problem I see is they’ve over the years alienated those of us that *are* “DIY’ers”, I rarely go to RS, not because I can get what I need online cheaper, but because quite honestly they carry almost nothing I need anymore. And if you’re going to ‘groom’ a new generation, you have to start young – they’ll be the “DIY” business of the future if you can get their interest.

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