I’ve Come To Bury Radio Shack, Not Praise It.

This is a post that has been a long time coming. Today, Radio Shack, the store that has been everything from an excellent introduction to electronics and computers to a store that sells cell phones, cell phone accessories, and cell phone plans has declared bankruptcy.

To anyone, this should not be news. For the last decade, the public perception of Radio Shack was one of a shell of its former self. In 2007, The Onion famously published Even CEO Can’t Figure Out How RadioShack Still In Business, an article that like most of The Onion’s work, is a sand dune of grains of truth.

In recent years, Radio Shack has made attempts to appeal to the demographic that holds the ‘shack in such high regard. Just four short years ago, Radio Shack made an appeal to this community and asked for suggestions for what people would actually buy at Radio Shack. The answers ranged from Arduinos and larger component selections to Parallax Propellers. Even with this renewed focus on DIY, repair, electronic tinkering, and even in-house cellphone repair shops in some select locations, this was not enough.

This was a make or break year for Radio Shack. Last fall, Standard General, a hedge fund with an amazing name, attempted to refinance Radio Shack’s debt with specific revenue benchmarks set for the holiday season. These benchmarks were not met, and now Radio Shack has filed for bankruptcy protection after reaching a deal to sell nearly 2,500 stores. Radio Shack now has about 5,000 stores in the U.S.. Half of them will close, and as many as 1,700 will be operated by Sprint. The future of Radio Shack was a cell phone store, it seems.

Right now, there are rumors of Radio Shack employees ‘released from service’, with mass closings of stores very, very soon.

There has always been a love-hate relationship with Radio Shack with the DIY and tinkerer community. It was everything from many programmer’s first introduction to computers, the only place in town you could buy [Forrest Mims]’ excellent books, to a horrible place to work, and an odd store where you need a phone number to buy batteries.

This is not a eulogy; Radio Shack isn’t quite dead just yet, and eulogies are reserved for the loved ones in our lives. Radio Shack is neither. We all have a rich history with Radio Shack, and next time you’re buying some resistors on Mouser or Digikey, just remember we’re living in a different world now.

219 thoughts on “I’ve Come To Bury Radio Shack, Not Praise It.

    1. I would, but had already considered and rejected the notion. Wouldn’t stand a chance against the RS critics who appear to feel the have a handle on pleasing everyone at the same time. Chip Shanty sounds like name for an out house. Not to mention Chip Shanty could lead to a derogatory nick name that would include Chicken Shit. I’m a curmudgeon soon I’d be know as that CS that works at CS. Probably wouldn’t be good for business.

  1. Radio Shack was once a distributor of electronics in Boston, MA. They published a catalog — and stocked everything in the catalog. The `Radio Shack’ of today stocks male connectors but not the mating female connectors, etc., etc., etc. In addition, `Radio Shack’ published a book outlining marketing practices that are now widespread in such places as Home Depo — e.g., stocking some sizes of screws but not others. Of course this new strategy was put in place AFTER putting out of busines small stores that endeavored to have complete stock. Of courst the governments policy of taxing inventory did not help.

    1. I’m not very smart, but is it good business sense for store to stock the gender of connector more people would need most, an not an intentionally nefarious practice? For example if most people want a cigarette lighter socket for a power port, and don’t want the lighter because they don’t use one, why stock the lighter? Most likely before RS published the book you refer store most stores most likely didn’t restock poorly moving merchandise that’s good business sense. Those stores that do will have to charge more for the product, and endure the bitching from, along loosing other sales to ignorant. The loss of other sales can only compound the problem.

  2. The should have vastly upped their parts inventory. How to do that without eating up floor space ??
    Custom vending machines. Parts pre packaged for a machine vend.
    Go in swipe your card and select what you want, or better yet place the order online and walk into the nearest
    shack and collect your order. Lots of parts could be stored that way.
    IF they had enough of a selection of parts they could draw people in and combine that with a new generation of
    project books to fuel the interest they could have made it.

    1. Problem is the folks who want top fix things are few in number, and stuff ain’t meant to be fixed without some serious surface mount shenanigans

      That being said, I do have to say the D.I.T. bull they were pushing did work. I added LEDs to a santa hat and customers ate that up. If only there were more folks who wanted to build. For every customer that was interested in building stuff, I got at least 10 that said “that’s too complicated/boring/nerdy”

  3. to little to late. if they would have jumped on the wagon just a little earlier it would have been better. Like what better thing for a modest tinkering supplier than hosting a physical makers shop.

  4. All too true and sad. I worked at Radio Shack as a high-school kid in 1979-80 and taught myself to program on the TRS-80 and CoCo. I taught myself basic analog and digital electronics from the 101-projects kit and, later, with discreet parts. I missed that experience for much of my life as the Shack migrated away from that heritage. Fortunately, now I have the Internets and hundreds of Maker sites and blogs.

  5. Gonna kinda miss RS.. I worked for them in one of their “Computer Service Centers” back in 1986-1987. I’d been an electronics tech working for a large defense contractor in San Diego after getting out of the Army in 1979. After about 5 years at the defense contractor I got nailed by a massive layoff, and it worked out that a friend who was the manager of a local RS store pointed me towards an opening at the Computer Service center, which, with my ET experience, and military schooling in electronics repair, got me hired. I worked there, fixing all of the -then current- TRS80 computers. All was good until the tech who quit and made the opening I was hired to fill, decided he wanted to come back, and his good-buddy, the district manager forced my manager to dump me and rehire the previous guy.. I was pissed, and talked to a lawyer, who told me that I could pay a retainer and fight them but odds were not good.. At least that year got me started in my career for the next nearly 30 years, as a network tech/admin/computer “janitor”….

  6. My first 2Meter and 72cm radios were Radio Shack HTX-202 and HTX-404. My first electronics kit was a 1000 in 1. My science fair winning devices were built from parts at Radio Shack. My mother told me I would waste my money buying the parts I needed for special projects at that store…little did she know, I made quite a good chunk of change repairing people’s stereos, computers and telephones. Radio Shack can be lamented, lampooned and laterally eviscerated but one thing is for certain…the little kid in me that spent his first $1 on a 10 pack of Germanium diodes to build AM and Shortwave Radios for his friends to “get into the hobby” is still smiling as the adult in him is crying. 73’s from KC8KVA

  7. I grew up with Radio Shack from the mid 70’s until it began to suck, I haven’t set foot in one in over 16 years thanks to the internet. I did buy a few things from them on the web in 2004. Now I am just waiting to dumpster dive my local one after it closes for good.

  8. We all know how many complaints (and lost customers) RadioShack got because of their cellphone plans and their whole “every customer who walks in the door must be given the hard sell on cellphone plans” BS. So why didn’t RadioShack ditch the cellphones and cellphone plans 4-5 years ago when it was obvious even then that people hated it?

    1. I had never gotten the cell phone pitch, not even at stores where I was stranger and the sale clerks didn’t know not to try. I bought a lot of stuff from the “local” store, but I was never sold anything, as I varied knowing what I going to purchase.

  9. I’m of an age that, when I was young, Radio Shack was the go-to place for electronics, and many of the products were category leaders (geeky or otherwise). The legendary Minimus 7 speakers -mine were stolen. Their early computers – eg Color Computer 2. My den stereo had a Realistic amp for several years. Beside me right now is a Realistic DX-160 shortwave receiver from 35 years ago, something I lusted for as a kid, and finally got from ebay a few years ago. I made countless projects with at least some RS components, not because they were the cheapest but because if I needed something I could wander down to the ‘Shack and it was on the wall. (Yes, we makers existed before ‘Make’ magazine)

    We can point fingers and cook up all sorts of reasons for the demise of Radio Shack, but the truth is – they are simply another victim of a tight North American economy that has gutted retail and countless other local businesses in favour of corporate profits through outsourcing and globalization. In today’s economy, there’s no margin for the small store. Even big-box stores are struggling. The Internet is the new home for niche products. For the moment anyway, you can get insanely cheap parts (with subsidized postage) via ebay or aliexpress, from a former Communist foe that’s come late to capitalism.

    Radio Shack would have been a natural home for all the stuff we play with today – components, assemblies, tools and dev boards, computers and infrastructure, 3-d printers and supplies…

    Thanks and R.I.P., Radio Shack

  10. I remember going into a RadioShack in a mall as a youngin back in the day, picking up an LED assortment and a 9V battery and the salesperson actually told me I needed resistors, explained why, and helped me calculate the values… That must’ve been well over 20 years ago. But now I think we’d all be shocked if a RS employee even knew what a resistor does. I was pleasantly-surprised, the last visit, to see Arduinos, though. Thought maybe they were picking up again.

  11. As always when it come to comment discussions about radio shack a lot of comparing apples to oranges. Comparing RS to Frys and micro center is valid when those retatailrs serve the same communities acroos the bordIn rural America local sometimes means about a fifty mile round trip, that’s the closet radio shack in a small city of 2,500 near me, store beyond that where a 100 mile round trip, the big cities 50,000. Mircocenter KCKS or Denver CO both 5 hours away. Frys? Dallas 5+ hours as well. Unless Adafruit has a string of brick and mortar store wh bring them int the comparason? As foolish to compare RS to “mail order ” as always has been F A case can be made there where too many stores. However the most ardent critic of RS is going to complain when their RS is closed.As I said comparing apples to oranges when comparing RS to merchants who are serving an limited more densely populated areas. . Perhaps RS had been mismanaged, but I doubt any of us really know to what degree that is the case.

    Sorry it borders on narcissism to suggest hobbyists buying components could save RS,their probably isn’t a soothsayer good enough to satisfy even half the hobbyist that would shop at RS, if RS this, and didn’t do that.

    Rural mom and pop hardware stores added to their bottom line by selling mobile phone contracts., stands to reason that RS added to their bottom line as well by selling such contracts? Do the critic of RS in regards to mobile phone crirtic do they think RS shouldn’t have earned that income when it was possible to earn it? Sure the landscape changed, both the mom & pops and RS lost a revenue stream. In the event RS handling mobile phone kept hobbyists out of the store that reflects poorly on such hobbyists, more than it does RS.

    Toys Vs. educational merchandise what’s up folks. In the event you where running a business wouldn’t stock more of the toys and try to sell them when it’s the toys the public desires to buy? Man for a group criticizing Benchoff et .al. for not having business sense when they where trying to raise many to purchase Hackaday comment gallery is loosing business sense in a rush to criticize RS, but that’s always been the case in regards to RS.

    Bennhoff’s write up has an oddly bitter tone, pehaps he will be missing something I never had. Where the closest RS is a 40 round trip, it’s was/is more of a destination store when I was in that city and the sale bill contained something I wanted. My RS HiFi is approaching s old and still works fine. As does the DX 160, ditto for the first scanner I bought a programmable portable. On asking the name and phone number that save my mom the hassle of returning an item that she was going to buy for me as a Christmas gift, that I had already purchased for myself. Save Mom some hassle, but cost the clerk a sale. I never felt “jumped on” because that’s the way I was taught to greet a customer that entered the store 50 years ago at my first job while I was still in elementary school at a small town shoe/shoe repair shop. You go greet the customer you don’t make the customer go to you. I guess that’s all a person has to bellyache about life is treating them well, maybe too well.

  12. I can only add to the comments above. Back in the 60’s, 70’s and about the 80’s, RS was about the only place to go for components, once they drove out other chains. In my area at the time that would be Olson’s, Lafayette, and a couple locals. Other alternatives were mail order sites like Digikey, Jamesco, and the like. (This was before internet and it’s sources) Once they took the market share, they tried to reinvent themselves into a consumer electronics store to compete with Circuit City and Best Buy. BAD MOVE. Essentially they abandoned their diy customer base.

  13. I’ve used Radio Shack/tandy (RS is Radio Spares to me/RS components) less and less over the years, i never though it’d be saved by vastly overpriced Make Magazine and Arduino kits. Most of the time i’d just go in looking to see what wire bundles they were selling off, or the odd connector. Most of my work is SMD, even Frys has sold SMD parts for 10 years or more, but that wouldn’t save them either it’d only save me that once in a blue mono where they had the right part, at the right store. Though i did buy a thru hole cap there and fix my sprinkler controller. There are just too many parts and the margins are tiny.

    So now i just buy in bulk off alibaba/ebay and instead of a pack of caps, i buy a refill of common sizes and just try to build up a library ahead of time. Most stuff arrives in a week, and i can next day anything i need in a hurry.

    Shame though, there was always hope when you went in they’d have the right thing, but mostly the drawers will full of 100 of one type of the thing you needed, and then empty drawers (or misplaced) on the ones you needed, i’ve never understood that about stores, they seem to work on refilling on a batch buy vs what sells, lowes/HD seems to do the same in their nuts and bolts i’ve noticed..

  14. They are following in the footsteps of the old Lafayette Radio stores, just many years later.
    Most of the ‘sales persons’ knew dreck about electronics and it seemed that was a corporate policy. I remember the CueCat blitz years ago, and how that fizzed. Personally knowing several store managers that were pushed from their profitable stores to low achievers to build them up. When that was done, they got moved again until they finally left, Then the 20 something year old experts moved in. My standard answer to “Can I help you” was…”Please, go help someone else”…..
    The online shopping was spotty, and expensive at best, and often not used since others had better quality or selection than the RS line offered.

  15. I think a lot of people are seriosuly over estimating the market of hobby electronics, both in terms of size and in terms of product density. There is a niche market certainly, but not really a market in the much for something the size of radio shack to be profitable from it. Farnell and digikey etc stock manufacturing companies so have the selling power that makes a 0.01p profit per IC into an actually profitable business model. Anyone saying radio shaks poor inventory of maker based products was the reason for their downfall lives in cloud cuckoo land. They failed because we’re in the age of online retail, and then over expanded massively. That is it.

    1. I think you’re right about the profit to be made from selling components. You can’t be profitable selling individual ICs and 5 packs of resistors, the markup would have to be too high. But I think a business model like that of craft stores with classes and selling not project components but the project idea (for which they just happened to have the components) could have made a difference.

      1. I always wondered why they didn’t use Forrest Mims books and build kits of parts. (Yes, Forrest had the catalog numbers in his books, but usually a couple of parts were missing from the local stock.)

  16. Friends,,,,

    We are gathered here to give respect to the passing of a long known business, Radio Shack. Beloved by many, lamented by some, used by more, and popular beyond most, as can be seen by the plethora of posts concerning this passing. Nary a soul reading these proceedings can claim they’ve not visited a store or browsed the website. Radio Shack has granted aid to us all, albeit for a price just as any other business. And as such we all shall miss our friend.

    This passing was no surprise as poor health was widely known for many years. But our friend did rise again and show new life in a final vigorous rally for a time that gave joy to our hands and their pockets, showing the spirit of our friend. And to our friend’s credit are many memories of their dalliance with Allied, the proffering of springs to hold experimenter’s wires, Mims and 555 and 741 books galore, plus free battery of the month club memberships to boot! We all benefited as did our friend.

    This passing is no surprise. Let it go. We lose, so do they, but it was ok while it lasted.

  17. I have fond memories of Tandy in Great Britain, I bought my first LCD tv in the 80s. It was always overpriced, but still useful if you needed a resistor on a Saturday. Radio Shack was my goto shop in USA after i landed, if there was no Fry’s. It was a bit like books on tape, it hadn’t noticed the world had changed until too late.

  18. I spent the early 90’s at radio shack, I met my wife there, so you know we’re both geeks. I won’t say it was bad, it wasn’t, I have good memories from there. I was in my mid 20’s then so I guess you could say I didn’t know any better. But I had fun and I enjoyed myself, I liked helping people and I did that well. I will miss them even though I rarely buy anything from them (I’m sure everyone here knows their parts selection is abysmal). I DO own a cue cat because it is a decent enough bar code reader and it helps maintain the inventory were I work. I still have my name tag from there, it sits in a drawer.

    I guess my point is that I put myself in the category of what made my radio shack successful because of the time and caring I put into it. It was a family, My manager Edd Waldo Jr (God rest his soul) was god father to my first born, He was the heart of that store and I count that part of my life as a well remembered one.

  19. Here in Greece we didn’t had Tandy srores but we did had RadioShack. They closed shop around 2007-2008. They never actually made it too the components market though. They where most of them based in malls and one was just around the corner from a tech bookstore that the 2600 meetings where taking place. Their products mostly RadioShack branded gadgets and phones.

  20. Reblogged this on ircole and commented:
    OK, If we’re so dang smart why aren’t we out on our own island basking int the sun surrounded by beautiful women? Yes they had overpriced parts and eventually very few of them, and what they did have hid them in drawers, but they tried. They once upon a time filled a void (for you folks under the age of 100 you may not remember). I applaud RS for attempting to survive. In recent times I’ve made most of my RS purchases at small city stores which had super clearance prices on certain items. Maybe my choices contribute to the demise of a onetime great contributor to the electronic hobbyist! I do thank RS for being there before the GREAT revolution of the internet! There really was a time and place when RS served us ‘geeks’ royally! Before the internet obtaining the basic electronic parts was difficult for us folks that grew up in the more remote areas of America. I for one thank Tandy/RS for their contribution to the electronics age. I for one hate to see them fade off into the sunset!

  21. A woman goes into a radio shack and says to the clerk “I would like to purchase some batteries”

    The clerk waves his finger in the air and says “come this way”

    The woman responds “If I could come that way I wouldn’t be here buying batteries”

  22. I don’t think stores like radio shack or anything like that are able to exist now A days.
    When I was young we had similar stores here in the Netherlands like Conrad and Display but they all went to online sales and closed there shops. I remember coming to Display once A month when my paycheck came in to buy for 20 gulden (about 10 dollar) on components. Mostly when I summed up the components they already new what A wanted to build and even gave tips on how to improve the design I found.
    When I think back I have taken up an half hour of that guy’s time for only 10 dollar so the store earns 20 dollar an hour for A good day of selling parts.
    When I think of expenses to have someone in the store who nows what your talking about, pay rent, have decent prices and make A profit. Stores like this are not possible anymore.

  23. Ok, so what’s different about the world we’re living in now? Is it that nobody does’ real world’ electronics anymore? What are DIY’ers? Why couldn’t RS have fulfilled their needs as well as sold cell phones and batteries? How is that Fry’s seems to be doing it? Obviously, there are indeed still electronic hobbyists and radio enthusiasts that still do it. If RS really had wanted to, they could’ve done far better. Did they really listen to the needs of the consumers? It’s as if they were too embarrassed to do it. What RS did, is like a hobby store deciding to stop carrying hobby parts and start carrying cell phones – believing that ‘nobody does hobbies anymore.’ That’s simply ludicrous! No wonder RS is going/gone out of business.

    Cory Johnson of Bloomberg TV reported that radio shack made “…bonheaded decisions and/or bad bets.” It’s obvious that the RS corporate execs did not care about the consumer’s needs, or what made RS what it was in the first place. It’s evident that these corporate execs were the folks that ran RS into the ground.

    I don’t mourn the loss of RS dying; I mourn what it once was…and what it could have been.

  24. Radio Shack started to fail when they decided to bring in other brands. They ultimately shot themselves in the foot when they stopped printing their yearly catalog. Any company that stops printing a catalog is doing the worst thing they possibly can do to their business. Catalogs are their front line sales tool.People are able to look through it at their leisure and see if they have what they are looking for. I worked for Rat Shack back in the 80’s and the catalog was also a big help to the sales staff. It was our reference tool as well. They need to get back to their roots in order to rebuild.

  25. Radio Shack really doesn’t remember the age group that has supported them in there heyday….Its baby boomers!…with 76.4 Million baby boomers still alive, we still use electronic components (which they don’t have), CB radios, a multi million dollar business still today, (which they don’t have), and as an electronic engineer, we breadboard everything, and always relied on there electronic components like resistors and transistors ect…(which they don’t have, or very little)…We have enough cell phone stores , and don’t need another,,,,besides, to me selling cell phones at radio shack is like selling hotdogs at an Italian restaurant…In today’s world business’s always try to appeal to 18 – 28, that’s OK, but it doesn’t work for all….I think there is a time when a company has to realize that they need to go back to basics, and to the beginning to what made them great in the first place…Unfortunately Radio Shack Gurus won’t because they think they are some kind of geniuses and can’t comprehend that concept….Sooo It is inevitable that Radio Shack is on its way to RIP. Just my two cents……..

  26. I remember Radio Shack in the late 60s and early 70s, they had bare resisters in a plastic multi drawer case, no paying for those funky blister packs, and some of the people working there were into electronics. One time I went in and the guy took me behind the counter and showed me a gas laser set up with a home made power supply, quite a treat in those days!! To bad as the years went by there were less and less of the cool parts assortments (like the first leds I ever owned from a blister pack assortment) and those cool little red plastic electronic kits like sound activated relay, crystal radio, etc. I guess I am showing my age!

  27. Well, see, this is where I have a few different opinions. I guess it depends on which side of the storefront window you were on.

    Radio Shack was more than most people even realized. I just wished they hyped that more and more. But what I feel was the reason for their demise was they stopped making their own equipment. They outsourced to others for them and they lost their uniqueness and quality.

    I was a Radio Shack Computer Specialist for well over a decade. I lost my job when Tandy decided to sell their computer manufacturing plants. We were all handed a pink slip out of the blue and completely blindsided most of us. That’s when you started to see TANDY machines disappear.

    Tandy kept so many things from the public eye that should have been screamed about from the mountaintops. They gained the name “Trash-80” not because their computers died or were poorly manufactured, but because they were out at a time before the simplicity of Windows or IOS where only people who were hardcore computer nerds were the only ones who could truly understand what to do with a computer that said “OK” on the screen when you turned it on. Just about the time that Tandy designed their Deskmate software and this little-known company called Microsoft was trying to get their MS-DOS operating system on as many computers as possible, Tandy decided to sell their computer manufacturing plant and get out of the game out of fear. They felt the heyday of computing was over. To most of us, that truly was the beginning of the end.

    (Side note, Tandy employees back at that time was offered stock for Microsoft for about $1.40 a share to try to help get this new company off the ground with revenue. And Tandy would double any share your purchased, share for share. to boot. I still want to kick myself for not taking the chance back then but startups like Microsoft were all over the place so it was hard to know who was worth it)

    Where most like me feel Tandy went wrong was not realizing we were quickly barreling into a throwaway society. Why go through the horrible ordeal of getting something fixed when you can just throw it away and get a new one. Radio Shack had a top-notch repair service for every single piece of equipment they sold. Computer, audio, video, tv, car, even high-end toys! It was cheap and the turn around was normally 3-4 days if the local store did their job and sent out daily repairs. (Some stores hated the task so if you got a repair that too a few weeks, it was the local lazy employees of the store!) Yet they hardly ever hyped that until much later when they were in survival mode and already too late.

    They also had a National Parts warehouse. If you were someone who could or wanted to fix something yourself, they had a warehouse that stocked every single screw or gear or belt or cover or ANYTHING for every piece of equipment they ever designed and built and sold, and they stocked those components for up to ten years after the item was no longer sold. That alone added extra value to their equipment knowing the repair was easy, and even finding the parts was easy for DIY’ers. No one in the industry did that at the time. Yet almost nobody outside of employees knew about that. So yea, that item they sold might have been about 5-10% higher priced than others, but the level of support for it years down the road was out of this world.

    And the brands they made themselves like Realistic, Optimus, Archer, and others were built like tanks. Just look on eBay for Realistic equipment and it’s nothing to find stuff from the 70’s still in excellent working condition. It’s because their R and D was insane and they didn’t cut corners. Maybe that was another reason they were on the road to disaster. Everyone else was taking the cheap route to manufacture while they held steady and never honked their own horn about better product manufacturing. I always believe they should have been shouting that from the rooftops to let consumers know when they bought a piece of their equipment, they were purchasing something with a long useful life behind it. But like I said, we were entering the “Throw away” time of history. They were building and designing things for Sony and RCA and a host of other companies in the background, but none of this was known. They were even the first to develop CD recording technology called THOR, Tandy Home Optical Recorder. It just never made it to market because at the time, 1988, it was expensive and consumers were not ready for it. (http://www.proaudiodesignforum.com/images/pdf/Tandy_Thor_CD_Brochure.pdf)

    There was so much more behind the name Radio Shack other than that .99 resistor, but they never tooted their own horn. Most people HATED the fact that they would ask for your phone number for every purchase. Why? Mailings. They held such a tight reign on advertisements and mail so as to not flood everyone with junk mail. People HATE junk mail, but they still griped when a company tried their best to only target mail to people who wanted it or visited their store. They could not win. They would always send out a major mailing to everyone at Christmas time, and unless you entered their stores, you saw little else from them. So that was the reason for asking for your information. Direct advertising even before it became a common everyday thing as we have on Facebook and others. It saved them millions that they could put back into their stores.

    Being an employee could go one of two ways. Just like every other company I guess. You REALLY REALLY hated it, or you REALLY REALLY loved it. It all depended on you. It all depended on how lazy you were. It also was the first company I ever worked for that paid for health insurance while most others didn’t even bother! If you were a go-getter, you loved it. If you just wanted to clock in and do very little, you hated it. You had the ability to write your own paychecks with commission based sales or straight hourly wages. Not both. And if you remain an hourly wage earner for to many weeks in a row, it meant you were poor salesmen and didn’t even put forth the slightest effort. It wasn’t hard to sell and be a commission based salesmen at all. But that was the reason why some employees were aggressive with sales. And sales perks were all over the place called spiffs. If you sold last years stock to make room for new models you got a kickback each and every time, and on big ticket items like a computer or satellite dish, WOW, the kickbacks were nuts! It’s why old stuff didn’t linger in stores all that much. But it was your JOB to acknowledge everyone who entered the store and to help them find what they wanted, maybe help sell a little bit more, and then send you on your way as fast as possible. It was like each person would have their own personal shopper in the store to help you out, carry your stuff and check you out from beginning to end. People BEG for that level of support today but was weird back in the ’80s and 90’s I guess, but it truly meant the difference between keeping or losing your job. If you were not a good seller, you were fired. Simple as that. But name a company that wants poor producers? As a computer specialist in a high volume computer center, it was nothing for me to have $3,000, $5,000, and even one time a $10,000 commission check. Almost every week I had close to $2000 or more and NEVER was a regular hourly wage. It was job security. It was all in how you performed. The day I lost my job there was really a sad day for me.

    I always felt that Tandy should have held on and become a Dell or Gateway of its time. Even if it turned into a Gigabyte or Asus that made and manufacturer components, it would have still allowed them to stay relevant. But they sold it all on a worry that computers were starting to become a passing fad. One of the many many bad decisions that sunk the company completely.

    As an employee in the 80’s and 90’s I purchased a lot of equipment from them. Here I am today in 2019 and only now some of my components are wearing out. There is no way to stop the passage of time on crumbling plastic gears or specialty rubber belts and so on. I’ve more than got my money’s worth out of them over and over again but if they were still in business today before they started to sell everything off, they would still be in use because they would have been repaired.

    So, like I said, depending on which side of the store glass you were on, it really depended on your level of knowledge about what the company truly had to offer to the public. And most of that was NEVER touted or even mentioned to the consumer. In this case, tooting their own horn might have been the one thing that could have saved them. I might not be like most, but I truly want the best bang for my buck. And in all honesty, they had that n spades. The 30+-year-old equipment that’s still running today is a constant reminder of that. New is not always better. Sometimes the older better quality components make for the best components around. Thank God for eBay!

    Now, I recently went to their website and ordered an old TRS-80 Logo T-Shirt for nostalgic reasons. They didn’t even get that right. The Radio Shack of yesterday would have NEVER allowed that to happen. It was just a sad bunch of wrong decisions at almost every turn… If it could go wrong, it did go wrong and those in charge at the time have only themselves to blame for the loss of a once great empire.

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