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Radio Shack: an elegy - Page 2

post #41 of 62
Quote:
Originally posted by CosmoNut
Next time you're in ANY clothing section of ANY store, just check out how easy it'd be to navigate around there in a wheelchair. I pity disabled persons who want to shop at Walmart, Gap, Old Navy, Abercrombie, Hollister, American Eagle, Sears, etc. etc. Retailers don't care about wheelchair users.

Check out macys, Cant speak for everywhere but they took over a company that has dept. stores here and all of the isals are now wide enough for a wheelchair, and the main isals can accomedate one in a crowd pretty easily too, a section f each counter is lower, and the highest rack/shelf heights are being phased out.
You can't quantify how much I don't care -- Bob Kevoian of the Bob and Tom Show.
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You can't quantify how much I don't care -- Bob Kevoian of the Bob and Tom Show.
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post #42 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by a_greer
From a former emploee within the last 2 years, the current montra in the back rooms is something like "you've got questions, we'll answer them as long as you BUY A FUCKING CELL PHONE TO SAVE OUR HIT RATE!!"
Or "you've got questions we've got lies"


Radioshack doesnt like you as an emploee unless you are a cockbyte. I got chewed out for sugesting the $3.50 headphone splitter over the Belkin/griggen ones in the store that were like $20, the kids were using a portable DVD player in the back of a van with CHEAP headphones (we're talking 5 year olds), attenuation in a 6 inch cable wasnt a worry.

I got chewed out and nearly fired because I corrected a coworker when he has making outlandish claims about a $149 video camera. It shot MPEG4 30FPS 320x240 (it was a cheap digital camera in a camcorder body, that is what they told us at the regonal meeting!) HE told a lady that the cam was "dvd quality" and her holiday videos would look like a "Hollywood movie" because "digital makes everything cheaper"
I set the record streight, and he nearly bitchslapped me right on the spot.

The crowned jewl goes to the store manager, a gentalman was having issues with his PC burning coasters whenever he tried to make a redbook disk. The manager told him that he "cant use the data spindal CDs for music because they are a differant disk, get the music branded disks" the spindles, one of which the guy had bought the day before, were like 1/6 the price of the "music" discs

About 10 years ago I had a friend who worked at the Shack.

She said that "moving up the ladder" was this hideously fucked up Lord of the Flies kind of deal, with bizarre episodes of backstabbing and brown-nosing and no apparent standards of decorum or sanity beyond pushing shit out the door.

I tell you, the Radio Shack, she has no peer!
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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post #43 of 62
Quote:
Originally posted by addabox
About 10 years ago I had a friend who worked at the Shack.

She said that "moving up the ladder" was this hideously fucked up Lord of the Flies kind of deal, with bizarre episodes of backstabbing and brown-nosing and no apparent standards of decorum or sanity beyond pushing shit out the door.

I concur
You can't quantify how much I don't care -- Bob Kevoian of the Bob and Tom Show.
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You can't quantify how much I don't care -- Bob Kevoian of the Bob and Tom Show.
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post #44 of 62
they're closing over 400 stores in the US.

http://washington.bizjournals.com/wa...0/daily28.html

They've gone from being on the bleeding edge of the tech retailing curve, to barely hanging on to the dwindling tail end.
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post #45 of 62
Thread Starter 
Just as I feared.
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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post #46 of 62
I am also one that misses the funky old Radio shack stores that were in most towns. I have fidgeted with electronics since I was a kid and went to school to be an electronics tech years ago.
The school I attended was nuts and bolts components and I learned to engineer after stints with NASA and JHUAPL.
RS was a standby for any jack, switch, cable, project box, resistor, cap, transistor, diode and other odds and ends one like me would want when simply doing musical instrument repairs.

RS is now a cross between Toys are US, Sharper image and Verizon/Sprint/BLAH,BLAH,BLAH with a liberal sprinkling of Circuit City thrown in.

I bought nearly two dozen banana plugs there a few years back that rival the way over priced monster crap - I don't understand - how or why so people fall for the "supersize gimmic of that stuff but they do. ES use to sell raw drivers for speaker repairs and every pot and switch known to man. A place that made sense to me.

I grew up in a time when owning and driving a car meant owning a set of Craftsman tools and turning wrenches regularly to keep it running. I continue to change my own oil and lubricate my own chassis to keep me in touch with what shape the workings under the truck look like. Brakes, lights, the alternator last fall, and other things are taken care of by MOI.
Generations younger than myself go to Jiffy-Lube or other Grease and Go joints and have most likely never removed the oil filter from their car's engine.
The same mindset slides over to any aptitude in life that requires hands on tinkering with anything, electronics being the least of them. one needs to either fix or construct anything, that cannot be bought already.
RS reflects that part of Americana. The poor schooling systems have dumbed down America to the point of Lost imaginations
post #47 of 62
I am also one that misses the funky old Radio shack stores that were in most towns. I have fidgeted with electronics since I was a kid and went to school to be an electronics tech years ago.
The school I attended was nuts and bolts components and I learned to engineer after stints with NASA and JHUAPL.
RS was a standby for any jack, switch, cable, project box, resistor, cap, transistor, diode and other odds and ends one like me would want when simply doing musical instrument repairs.

RS is now a cross between Toys are US, Sharper image and Verizon/Sprint/BLAH,BLAH,BLAH with a liberal sprinkling of Circuit City thrown in.

I bought nearly two dozen banana plugs there a few years back that rival the way over priced monster crap - I don't understand - how or why so people fall for the "supersize gimmic of that stuff but they do. ES use to sell raw drivers for speaker repairs and every pot and switch known to man. A place that made sense to me.

I grew up in a time when owning and driving a car meant owning a set of Craftsman tools and turning wrenches regularly to keep it running. I continue to change my own oil and lubricate my own chassis to keep me in touch with what shape the workings under the truck look like. Brakes, lights, the alternator last fall, and other things are taken care of by MOI.
Generations younger than myself go to Jiffy-Lube or other Grease and Go joints and have most likely never removed the oil filter from their car's engine.
The same mindset slides over to any aptitude in life that requires hands on tinkering with anything, electronics being the least of them. one needs to either fix or construct anything, that cannot be bought already.
RS reflects that part of Americana. The poor schooling systems have dumbed down America to the point of Lost imaginations.
post #48 of 62
First, apologies if this post is placed an hour earlier than it was created, this forum is broken...

Anyway, I went to a Radio Shack hiring thing and I left an hour into it. It reminded me too much of a Nazi Party Rally.
post #49 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by tesst View Post

I grew up in a time when owning and driving a car meant owning a set of Craftsman tools and turning wrenches regularly to keep it running.

...and carrying some of them in the trunk at all times just in case.

p.s. I worked at Radio Shack for a year or so when I was 18/19 (late 80's) and attending community college. Good times actually and my first full time job. I still remember jokingly trying to sell Motorola brick phones @ $900+ to customers simply buying a few AA batteries. I'd also agree with a previous poster here that being able to buy bulk low-grade wiring/cabling was a key draw at Rad Shack.

These were some of my favorite Christmas presents when I was a kid...
"'Course, don't ever tell anybody that they're not free 'cause then they're gonna get real busy killin' and maimin' to prove to you that they are." -George Hanson
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"'Course, don't ever tell anybody that they're not free 'cause then they're gonna get real busy killin' and maimin' to prove to you that they are." -George Hanson
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post #50 of 62
Woah, a blast from the past. Not Radioshack, but this thread!

I was about to post that this reminded me of a couple years ago when RS was having real difficulty. Then I realized that the thread was indeed over 2 years old.

Since then, thankfully they've made some pretty big changes in leadership and strategy. Sorry, I can't remember the details from that far back. But at least one of the changes was to stop asking for personal info with every sale. Also, they revamped their employee education program.

Just yesterday I considered going to RS... needed a normally-closed 12VDC relay. It'll be interesting to see if they still have that kind of thing
post #51 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

OK, so I've been using Radio Shack since I was a kid. Sure, there are more fully stocked electronics places, but if you need a dipole switch or an LED or a DC connector or a cheap audio or video adapter on a Sunday night, where else are you gonna go? Having all that stuff from 9am-9pm, more or less 7 days a week, never more than a half mile away, has saved my gadget happy ass on more than one occasion.

So I have a kind of fondness for the old girl, with their odd mix of down market A/V products and DIY gear. They always seemed to manage to hit this middle ground between hobbyists, enthusiasts, and bargain hunters, with the occasional genre busting wildcard, ala the venerable TRS 80 or any number of head scratching audio offerings (for instance, they started putting Lineaum ribbon tweeters into cheap bookshelf speakers for no apparent reason, other than someone in the company though it was cool and got to do it). And then there was the portable CD player that had the audio press in fits of rapture, but only if you ran it off the batteries. I have no idea. But then that's the wonder of the thing.

But as far as I can make out, Radio Shack has entered a period (or has been in a period for a while) of complete cluelessness as to how to proceed. Like, falling apart before our eyes.

I don't have any figures on this, but my guess is that the Radio Shack empire was built on a post-war golden age of tinkering and the first big wave of "Hi Fi" hobbyists. That was always the main part of the mix: parts and audio gear. Ok, batteries and cheap RF junk.

I always had the feeling that the people running Radio Shack were sort of like that. Tinkerers at heart. Possibly a tad insane. So: a very eccentric product mix, with some stuff that only an engineer could love. Amazingly hit and miss managerial styles, franchise to franchise, as if, when you sign on, they give you a key to the front door and tell you to just wing it, as long as you can sell some shit. If that means piling stock in the middle of aisles and hiring spooky oddballs, so be it. Really, not another store like it, for better or worse.

But nowadays when I walk into a Radio Shack I never know what store I'm going to enter. Seems like they feel like the old, low margin "I think I'll buy a cheap RF thing and a cheap PA thing and a cheap LCD thing and some wire and see what I can make" isn't cutting it anymore, so they're moving into Sharper Image lifestyle electronics n' gifts territory.

Like, hideously overpriced, insanely over-packaged "robotics" sets. Or entire walls of their take on the little battery powered car craze of a few years ago, but with a whole line of "modding" parts for far too much money. Fucking ionizers. Fucking iPods. I'm sorry, Radio Shack cannot have iPods. It's like running into a big Sonoma Williams display at the corner liquor store. Just conceptually wrong.

And, of course, cell phones, which sometimes seem like what's keeping the doors open.

I think they've cleaned house and gotten rid of the weirdoes and are endeavoring to become some kind of proper, well lit, expensive toy store.

And I think it's a shame. The Radio Shack of my youth was always a slightly scurrilous place, patronized by people who either didn't know any better or knew perfectly well.

There are plenty of nice stores to buy nice things. Radio Shack, bravely, was a half-assed store to buy cobbled together things, in the company of the like minded. I'll miss it.

I'm glad you posted this. I had an experience about a year ago that made me think many of the same things. Last June I blew one of my woofers on some cheap-ish Sony speakers at school. Rather than request another $100 pair of speakers, I thought I might just replace the actual woofer for like $15. I thought the crossover was probably OK, so what the hell.

I naturally thought of Radio Shack. When I was younger, I remember they had a nice selection of speaker parts, so hey...off I went. I went into the local one, marveling at how different it looked from...well, anytime I remembered it. There was a guy "negotiating" a cell phone purchase, flashy displays, toys, LCD screens, etc. I couldn't find speaker parts, so I asked an employee. He told me "we haven't carried that stuff for about 5 years now."

I was frankly blown away. You don't carry speaker parts...at Radio Shack? . He pretty much told me that stuff wasn't profitable, and that things like cell phones were. It makes sense I guess, but it's disappointing. I don't see how RS can compete in the long term. I give them a few more years of business. There is simply too much competition out there with better prices and better selection for the products they carry. If I want a cheap cable, I can just as easily get it at Wal-Mart. They have more than RS does at this point.

Anyway...RIP Radio Shack.
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post #52 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

I was frankly blown away. You don't carry speaker parts...at Radio Shack? . He pretty much told me that stuff wasn't profitable, and that things like cell phones were. It makes sense I guess, but it's disappointing. I don't see how RS can compete in the long term. I give them a few more years of business. There is simply too much competition out there with better prices and better selection for the products they carry. If I want a cheap cable, I can just as easily get it at Wal-Mart. They have more than RS does at this point.

Anyway...RIP Radio Shack.

Perhaps not profitable, but items like speakers parts are what draw in customers into Rad Shack in the first place. If I was looking to buy a cell phone, I certainly would think to go there first. I think my last purchase there was a couple of resistors... I guess I'm not a profitable customer anyway.
"'Course, don't ever tell anybody that they're not free 'cause then they're gonna get real busy killin' and maimin' to prove to you that they are." -George Hanson
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"'Course, don't ever tell anybody that they're not free 'cause then they're gonna get real busy killin' and maimin' to prove to you that they are." -George Hanson
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post #53 of 62
You guys would die if you visited here...

Akihabara Electric Town

Anything electronic you can imagine, including random components. Great place.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #54 of 62
I have to say at the start of this decade when I was in the US I tended to avoid Radio Shack. But that's because I've always been more into computer stuff than like electronics and soldering and so on which I have no idea how to do.
post #55 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunilraman View Post

I have to say at the start of this decade when I was in the US I tended to avoid Radio Shack. But that's because I've always been more into computer stuff than like electronics and soldering and so on which I have no idea how to do.

Knowing how to solder (no expert) has come in handy more than a couple of times to fix crappy electronics.
"'Course, don't ever tell anybody that they're not free 'cause then they're gonna get real busy killin' and maimin' to prove to you that they are." -George Hanson
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"'Course, don't ever tell anybody that they're not free 'cause then they're gonna get real busy killin' and maimin' to prove to you that they are." -George Hanson
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post #56 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by @_@ Artman View Post

First, apologies if this post is placed an hour earlier than it was created, this forum is broken...

Anyway, I went to a Radio Shack hiring thing and I left an hour into it. It reminded me too much of a Nazi Party Rally.

Whaaaaat? You're going to have to provide some "color" on this story.

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GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

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post #57 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gas_pig70 View Post

Knowing how to solder (no expert) has come in handy more than a couple of times to fix crappy electronics.

There's an excellent reason to know how to solder, at least a little: every piece of consumer electronics that has rca plugs on the back uses the cheapest possible scheme to keep them in place-- they solder the jack module directly to the PC board and put a hole in the chassis so you can plug a cable in.

Which means that every time you plug and unplug a cable you're putting stress directly on the soldered trace. Do it enough times, it cracks.

Then you get that great "works if I jiggle it" condition. If you know how to solder even a bit, you can fix that. You can fix your friend's stuff. You will be a king among men.

Also, SDW: the loss of speakers parts grieves me the most. I also found out the hard way, a few years ago. Oh well, there's always the internet, but it's just not as fun or immediately gratifying.
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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post #58 of 62
I had my two daughters solder up their own mintyboost, something I saw over at make.com.

It's good to be able to build that sort of thing -- if only to not lose site of the nuts and bolts of digital electronics. Plus, they got a real kick out it.

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #59 of 62
I wish I had known about this thread before getting ripped off on a radioshack-branded toslink cable.*

You don't even want to know how bad...

*Didn't go with HDMI because apparently it has problems with closed captioning, which i require.
post #60 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShawnJ View Post

I wish I had known about this thread before getting ripped off on a radioshack-branded toslink cable.*

You don't even want to know how bad...

*Didn't go with HDMI because apparently it has problems with closed captioning, which i require.

Two sites to bookmark, and you never need fear cable (or switcher and accessory) ripoff again:

monoprice.com

cablewholesale.com
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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post #61 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

There's an excellent reason to know how to solder, at least a little: every piece of consumer electronics that has rca plugs on the back uses the cheapest possible scheme to keep them in place-- they solder the jack module directly to the PC board and put a hole in the chassis so you can plug a cable in.

Which means that every time you plug and unplug a cable you're putting stress directly on the soldered trace. Do it enough times, it cracks.

Then you get that great "works if I jiggle it" condition. If you know how to solder even a bit, you can fix that. You can fix your friend's stuff. You will be a king among men.

Yeah, that's a common problem. Those jacks are cheap as hell. I've had that issue with several pieces of equipment.

Quote:

Also, SDW: the loss of speakers parts grieves me the most. I also found out the hard way, a few years ago. Oh well, there's always the internet, but it's just not as fun or immediately gratifying.

I loved when you could go in RS and just look at all the random shit they had. Woofers, tweeters, 100 feet of coax in a neat little box, little bags of LEDs and about 1,000 things that I have no idea what they were! The internet is probably better though...more selection and what not.
I can only please one person per day.  Today is not your day.  Tomorrow doesn't look good either.  
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I can only please one person per day.  Today is not your day.  Tomorrow doesn't look good either.  
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post #62 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

Yeah, that's a common problem. Those jacks are cheap as hell. I've had that issue with several pieces of equipment.



I loved when you could go in RS and just look at all the random shit they had. Woofers, tweeters, 100 feet of coax in a neat little box, little bags of LEDs and about 1,000 things that I have no idea what they were! The internet is probably better though...more selection and what not.

One thing they still have, for some reason, against all odds-- the 50' shit brown RCA cable that looks like they're making them up in the back and just throwing them in whatever plastic bag comes to hand.

They cost a few bucks, and work fine. I've sent all kind of signals vast distances with these cables and some equally cheap-ass male to male RCA barrel connectors. That's your classic Radio Shack, right there.
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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