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Old 01-15-2015, 09:33 AM   #21
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An impossible business model that has no room in today's marketplace.
4000 stores... 20,000 SKU's (individual items-stock keeping units)
In stock stores = 4000 x 20,000 replenishment.
It doesn't work.
That's why Amazon is successful.
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Old 01-15-2015, 09:46 AM   #22
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Darn! And I was about to build a crystal set.
those were the days weren't they!
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Old 01-15-2015, 09:47 AM   #23
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They mentioned this on a cable channel this morning....

Said that it would not 'go away', but get downsized significantly....


We will see....

But I have not be to a RS in many years... as some have said, there was nothing in there I was interested in.... and the phone battery that I bought cost as much as a new phone... and did not work!!!
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Old 01-15-2015, 09:48 AM   #24
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Yep, the Arduino et al are natural follow-ons to much of the stuff RS sold in past decades. But, it's hard to see why customers would go there when no in-store salesperson is likely to be as smart as a group of online users. And available 24-7. With videos.
I wouldn't even think of visiting a RS for something like an arduino or raspberry pi type of device. There are probably a thousand different kits with those boards in them available from Amazon, ebay, and other online retailers. Pick and choose the variety you want. And you can read tons of reviews from actual users. With videos. Our kids play with these things all the time at school (engineering elementary school!) and I've never heard "hey can we run down to Radio Shack to get a component?". I've taught them to go to amazon/ebay first.

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Still, with the gripes we all have with our laptops and software, with our smart phones, with our tablets--and much of it demands a hands-on and face-to-face help, it's hard to believe they can't find some way to make a buck. "Here's my Android. Let's talk about what I'd like to do with it. Show me how to . . ."
Our neighborhood RS was replaced with a lowercase radio shack of a different sort. Cricket Wireless. It may have been 10 years ago.

That's where you could theoretically take your phone and ask them to show you how it works. If that doesn't work, take the phone to the Gamestop store nearest you. Virtually guaranteed to find a techy nerd making min wage at one of those.

Come to think of it, the last time I visited RS was to buy a Virgin Mobile prepaid phone with a hefty discount. Customer service was confusing (confused?) and I barely escaped with what I sought.
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Old 01-15-2015, 09:58 AM   #25
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Most of the Shacks I've been to quit carrying much in the way of components. If/when I need something like that, I go to Fry's.
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Old 01-15-2015, 10:05 AM   #26
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We have a local RS and, while our business isn't exactly enough to keep them profitable, I'd miss them for the occasional widget they always have when we needed something on short notice (adapters, converters, replacements when a FitBit died, etc.) Last year we were in Ketchikan, due to board a ship in 3 hours, and DH dropped his camera and it refused to work. I had an iPhone camera and a good SLR that had always held a charge for months- except now. It was dead and I didn't have the charger. We were about to do a 7-day cruise in a spectacularly beautiful area with an iPhone camera.


I found that there was a RS within walking distance of the port (thanks, iPhone!). They sold us a charger that was similar to the demo model that they said would work with my camera, and a Nikon Coolpix camera. (I'd owned one before- small, portable, much better than the iPhone and less disastrous if lost or dropped overboard).


The charger didn't work (we returned it to our local store for a refund) but the Coolpix gave us a lot more great memories of the trip.
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Old 01-15-2015, 10:09 AM   #27
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If that doesn't work, take the phone to the Gamestop store nearest you. Virtually guaranteed to find a techy nerd making min wage at one of those.
That's similar to what my DW said when I suggested that these RS stores might be converted to in-person help for our personal devices. "You want to rent the technical expertise of a 14 year old." Yep, that's pretty much it. And I'm willing to pay for it. And for him/her, it's probably a lot more fun than working at the McD drive through window. The store could even sell apps at a slight markup, etc. Customers would be hooked--there's always new stuff out there, things that need explaining, software "upgrades" that don't play well with other installed software. As it is now, we all discover these things on our own and have to find the answers independently--a guide (working for me) would be worthwhile. A chain with a brand name would offer marketing that other resources hard for a Mom-and-Pop operation to match.
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Old 01-15-2015, 10:52 AM   #28
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A chain with a brand name would offer marketing that other resources hard for a Mom-and-Pop operation to match.
I think best buy and many of the office supply stores (well, there's really just 2 now - staples and officemax/depot) offer a type of "geek squad" service that can do exactly what you're asking, although their prices for any kind of service seem crazy high ($200 to cover services for 2 years on a $250 computer, no thanks).

If you have a contract smartphone, you might find a smart 16 year old at the verizon/sprint/ATT store that could show you how to do everything.

And the apple store is apparently that fount of knowledge for those that are into that kind of device.
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Old 01-15-2015, 10:58 AM   #29
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I went in to a RS recently to buy a HDMI cable. They wanted $40 for it. I came home and ordered one online for $3. It wasn't the same quality, but I don't use it much. Plus, I can buy a lot of replacement cables for $40.00.
Just a note... HDMI is a digital cable, it either works or it doesn't. If a $3 HDMI cable works, it works as works as well as a $40 cable.

c|net HDMI cable buying guide
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Old 01-15-2015, 11:04 AM   #30
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They mentioned this on a cable channel this morning....

Said that it would not 'go away', but get downsized significantly....


We will see....
If they significantly reduce the number of stores, what will everyone do when they go to there for RS's most wanted item--directions to Best Buy?
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Old 01-15-2015, 02:23 PM   #31
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Graduated from college in 1972 (BS in Biz), and 2nd job was managing a new fancy stereo store that came to town (high end components, speakers, '8-track tapes', car stereo, etc.). There was a Radio Shack 2 buildings down the street and I'd go in there to get RCA cables, speaker wire for hooking up displays, etc. Can remember coming out of their store and saying to myself, "They're never going to make it, or stay in business". Took over 40 years, but I was right. Place I worked for put in 6 stores, but only lasted 10 years before pulling out, but I was long gone from there by then.
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Old 01-15-2015, 02:38 PM   #32
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Radio / electronic hobby stuff was a section of the Tandy leathcraft stores , and RS grew out of that, split off on it's own. In the 60's I remember a RS in one store, and Tandtcrafts next door. I know Tandy Leathercraft is still in business. I also remember "Computer City" stores in the '90's , pretty sure it was part of Radio Shack. Computer City went under , maybe 15 years ago ?
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Old 01-15-2015, 02:48 PM   #33
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Nooooo!!!

Now where will I go to find a complete electronic component selection contained in one single drawer!
+1

My thoughts exactly after visiting a store a year ago that had gone through the "80's Superbowl Ad" remodel.

"Hey -- where's the Silicon?"
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Old 01-15-2015, 03:00 PM   #34
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I stopped going when they got so pushy about giving them your address and phone number. It was always tough to check out in a timely manner.
I found that annoying too. And the last time I wandered into a store (in a mall) I didn't see a thing I wanted to buy.
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Old 01-15-2015, 03:53 PM   #35
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Anyone who prototypes electronics uses Digikey (or free samples if they feel like waiting) Digikey you can order at 7pm and have your components the next morning.

Radio shack was a good source for flux capacitors. Or at least that is what I would ask for if the salesperson was bugging me.
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Old 01-15-2015, 04:05 PM   #36
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I stopped going when they got so pushy about giving them your address and phone number. It was always tough to check out in a timely manner.

Sent from my mobile device so please excuse grammatical errors.
+1, that annoyed me too. Although that was probably the extent of their new hire training program.

True story; about a year ago, I stopped by a Radio Shack to buy a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) and the only sales "person" in the store said she had never even heard of such a thing. It didn't surprise me too much that they didn't have one, but it made me smile to think, how in the world, can the only person working in an electronics store not know what a UPS is.
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Old 01-15-2015, 05:04 PM   #37
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I stopped going when they got so pushy about giving them your address and phone number. It was always tough to check out in a timely manner.

Sent from my mobile device so please excuse grammatical errors.
Your comment reminded me of this joke from a Seinfeld episode:

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Old 01-15-2015, 05:35 PM   #38
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+1, that annoyed me too. Although that was probably the extent of their new hire training program.

True story; about a year ago, I stopped by a Radio Shack to buy a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) and the only sales "person" in the store said she had never even heard of such a thing. It didn't surprise me too much that they didn't have one, but it made me smile to think, how in the world, can the only person working in an electronics store not know what a UPS is.

Best I can tell, their focus has been on selling phones/plans, and other personal gadgets. Not like in "olden days"' when it seemed many sales clerks were also hobbyists...


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Old 01-15-2015, 05:42 PM   #39
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It's sad that an American icon has been gutted and will likely be abandoned, ironically just as the Maker movement is picking up steam and could really use a retail source.
They've been trying to align themselves somewhat with the home-brew/maker movement in the last few years, by carrying Arduinos and related products. Heck, I even found a breakout board for a TQFP-32 chip package in RS recently, and my local store has a demo 3D printer, though it's in a display case and not actually doing anything.

As encouraging as the Maker movement is, I don't think it's enough to sustain such an extensive chain of stores, especially as the online world is such a stiff competitor (Adafruit, Sparkfun etc, not to mention the likes of Mouser and Digi-Key). On top of that, the staff still don't know a thing about any of this stuff. Anyone at RS who knows about the hacker/maker/home-brew community is at their head office on the buying team. On walking into an RS, you don't get the feel of being in a place that is in tune with, well, anything much at all.

It is a shame. For the first time in a while, designing and making your own electronic stuff at home is actually "cool" again. The trouble is that RS are not (cool, that is). While a handful of guys at HQ might "get it", the staff in their stores don't.
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Old 01-15-2015, 05:43 PM   #40
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What took them so long? I've never understood how they stayed in business for the last 10+ years.
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