RadioShack has been on a tremendous decline over many years. It's been much longer and more severe than I realized. But what exactly happened? What happened that turned the successful company RadioShack into what it is today?
Other Company Declines:
My YouTube Channels:
Basketball's Best - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcZAZUSUitBEwEbxSEFI5eg
Company Man - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQMyhrt92_8XM0KgZH6VnRg
Mike's Thoughts - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_DcSvj8aN-vezhvW0-6M5g
Intro Made By - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqi0-4XRvQLBo8E5r8bvPsA
You May Also Like:
Mars Inc.: https://youtu.be/cuBAZc7loSY
Tim Hortons: https://youtu.be/pfeHgFMYm04
Man Radio Shack was the best no matter what crazy type of connection , adapter or plug, cable etc. they had it. Realistic was a great stereo systems and those hand held Tandy Electronic games were in my stocking every year.
Barret Norcross (2 hours ago)
I WAS 16 in 1980,. IF YOU Needed Some kind OF ADAPTER. FOR ANYTHING. RADIO Shack was the place,. YOU Could BUY A NEW NEEDLE FOR YOUR RECORD Player, CLOCK RADIOS, ECT ECT. Neat stuff..
Brian Vaughan (2 hours ago)
Put the speed at 1.5
Curt Coller (4 hours ago)
the main reason was that they hired sales associates in stores who were complete idiots. With people who have no idea and no interest in what they are selling you can't win.
TW Hunter (6 hours ago)
Fond memories. Bought three CB radios in 1973. Bought police scanners for over 20 years, a burglar alarm, AM/FM radios, antennas, coax & connectors, crystals, fuses, wires, switches, speakers, and countless batteries. I nowadays shop online, but my recollections of Radio Shack are positive.
Pauley Ducati (15 hours ago)
I would LOVE for a retail store to carry a wide variety of electrical parts. I sometimes build my own radios with bluetooth receivers and all kinds of other components. Another thing I love to do is mess around with my car electronics like solder new LEDs into the gauge cluster and radio/ window buttons as examples to change the colors of the backlighting. When I started doing this stuff as a hobby I went to radio shack initially thinking "hey they specialize in small electrical components like stand alone LEDs and resistors etc!" .... but they never had anything I could use! The had only a few types of generic LED BULBS, not a selection of LED components you would use for circuitry. I even went there to try and find a new type of antenna for a CB radio and all they had was one generic type you stick on your roof that you can find at Meijer or any other department store, no unique items at all. I dont like stores such as best buy because they all carry mainstream generic stuff every other department store carries, just more of them. If Radio Shack actually carried a wide variety of these off the wall non main stream products I mentioned above to make themselves unique and one of a kind, I think they would still be doing pretty well but because they carry "semi-odd ball" products and a very small selection of these products, it's a terrible place for both regular people that dont have an interest in these hobbies I mentioned AND also terrible for people like myself that DO partake in these hobbies.... somewhere stagnating in the middle.
Barbara Aspengen (16 hours ago)
The stories I have read about what happened to Radio Shack is sad But think about how you purchase your items. You just stay at home and buy & phone for things you want we our losing connection with other people so sad today the way our lives are lived. So the next time you buy something THINK about how that could affect someone's family or lose there Jobs what we do in life affect all of us.
Andy Anderson (17 hours ago)
I love to go to RadioShack when I was a kid, late 50s early 60s. They sold kits where you could build your own electronic radios amplifier stereos and so on. They were awesome. I built my entire stereo system from Radio Shack kits and it was high quality. Something happened to Quality dropped the customer service dropped it wasn't cool to go in and look anymore. They stop selling the kits. And everything started to be packaged and multiple amount. You couldn't buy one fuse you had to buy 5, you couldn't buy one conductor you had to buy 10. It all seemed rather useless. They stop caring anything that was interesting. And like I said if I wanted a fuse I didn't want to buy a handful I just needed one fuse so I would go to other places. After a while there just wasn't anything there to attract me. Two batteries for cheap at high prices. They became like many stores do, They Carried what they wanted you to buy instead of carrying what you wanted to buy. Kind of sad when I think back to all the memories that building my own radios and Stereos it was really fun. No one today that I know of does that, what a shame. The Greed for the Almighty dollar took over.
Edward Petrowski Jr (18 hours ago)
As a kid it was a great store. Lafayette Electronics was the catalog we used to drool over, Radio Shack was kinda the cheaper company more stuff from Japan because don’t forget in the 60’s the big thing was catalogues, Sears and later Montgomery Wards we would pave through the Christmas Catalogue
Robert Ricketts (5 hours ago)
I worked for RS for a year or so in the late 70s. As a geeky kid, I loved RS. There really was no where else a 10 yo could ride his bicycle and buy everything needed to build a radio or my countless other home brew projects. Back then, and even into the 80s a little bit, stores like Best Buy etc. didn't exist. Walmart was still mostly a rural store (remember that?) Most people bought electronics at Sears, Montgomery Ward, or other dept stores. But those stores lacked RS range of products. Realistic was just an OK house-brand. You had to know what was shit vs. what was decent. Sony was king in the 60s-to-80s time frame but their stuff was too expensive for most mortals. Panasonic was good, too. Muggles (not tech geeks) really had zero clue what to buy, where to buy it, and it was all still magical. So RS was a good choice because it was everywhere, not too expensive, and accessible. All the stuff they had: tape recorders, walkie-talkies, remote controlled cars, and electronics that mortals could afford (unlike Sony). By the mid-90s, when the Internet was in its infancy and starting to catch on, people's base of knowledge expanded greatly and they found there were other avenues for this stuff. Radio Shack's slow slide into irrelevancy started. RS may have peaked in the early aughts, but I saw the writing on the wall long before then. RS had nothing I could not get elsewhere for less money, better quality, and better selection. I have fond memories of RS as customer although the job itself sucked.
And yes, their foray into cell phones was a disaster. It ruined the shopping experience for anyone that wasn't a geek (and needed no help) and didn't want a cell phone. The store's only employee or two were endlessly tied up writing cell phone contracts. That was the real genius of the carriers in the early days -- farming out that labor intensive, time consuming task to a sweet network of 8,000 stores.
raelgoth (20 hours ago)
For a good memory, there's this. I was a small kid in the late 70's shopping for something there with my birthday money. I bought one of those '89-in-1 Electronic Hobbyist ' kits. They had a ton of them, all different sizes and capabilities. It was great.
Here's the bad memory. Fast forward to 1986. My Atari 2600 power supply got chewed into two pieces by our cat. I went to Radio Shack and told them the voltage, amperage, and plug style of the adapter that I needed. They said they didn't have one. I asked two different people there and they both said the same thing. I milled around back there at the adapters and found a universal one that has the switch for the different voltages, and a bunch of different plugs to put on the end of it. The amperage was high enough, so I bought it, and let them know that they DID have it, if they would've taken the time to look.
Here's another good one. I didn't go back there for 5 or 6 years after that bad experience until I bought my surround system there. That surround system lasted until just a couple of months ago. The Realistic electronics were pretty good! At least my experience with them has been.
After that, I just never went back. Like you said in the video. They just didn't sell anything that I couldn't get somewhere else cheaper, better, faster, and more variety.
351 radio (21 hours ago)
radio shack was awesome and top notch electronics for the days back in the 70's and 80's, it made it easier to learn electronics.but the cell phone took over and you can't put all your eggs in 1 basket
Jeff Flowers (21 hours ago)
With all of the "Radio Shack" electronic items they sold originally made by other companies (Sangean, G.E., etc.) I used to say that the only thing RS made was money. Now I can't even say that. If I was going to buy a Sangean radio I would rather buy it with the Sangean name on it. In the end they were basically a cell phone kiosk.
sivadmg (22 hours ago)
Radio shack in my experience is what Radio shack has always been but at one time they were the only one like it. The surge of internet components and tech caused stores like Best Buy to come into being. Although I can appreciate their undying commitment to stick to the plan they had always been successful for the business would have done better to grow along with the market.
James Slick (23 hours ago)
What killed Radio Shack was when it stopped being run by nerds,for nerds. The employees used to know their shit! Once it became a cellphone store with a tiny "best buy" attached, staffed by folk who don't know a MOSFET from USB cable, There was no longer a reason to go there.
al daula (23 hours ago)
Loved the shack went in there every time I went to mall
Malti Moto (1 day ago)
I once visited my uncle in Miami. I needed some cables for my VCR and I thought it might be cheaper in the USA than in Germany. We went to RadioShack and the guy their helped me a lot with my cables and adapters. A few years later, I went to the USA with my girlfriend and I needed an SD card for my camera, again at RadioShack. But the stores were always empty and I think that today people might rather buy electronics parts online than in an expensive RadioShack store.
Charles Adamski_1 (1 day ago)
I miss Radioshack.
If you wanted to make your own radio or get capacitors, resistors, transistors, etc. It was the only place to go.
So inconvienient with them gone.
Guess it wasn't a big seller after World War 2 was over and and long range radio communications wasn't so urgent.
Tomoko Abe (1 day ago)
Radio shack closed their doors this year in central florida (2018). That made me very sad. I loved going there to buy parts and supplies.
Dave Edwards (1 day ago)
Your answer for what happened to Radio Shack can be found by looking at the Boy Scouts of America's Merit Badge handbook for RADIO, and comparing it to the same handbook of the 1960's (or 1940's for that matter). A comparison of the technical knowledge required FOR THE SAME AWARD is shocking, to say the least. Keep in mind, Boy Scout-types were Radio Shack's target audience!!! In part, it is also what put Heathkit out of business.
A more interesting story, is what put Lafayette out of business. They had a better product offering, and also stocked the array of electronic components that Radio Shack was famous for. I miss Lafayette and Heathkit. But...when you sell buggy whips....even if it WAS online....you have an uphill battle!!
jerry G (1 day ago)
Amazon killed radio shack
r0ckymountainhi (1 day ago)
I used to buy raw speakers from radioshack as a kid and build enclosures. Now I need to buy resistors and capacitors for refurbishing automotive control modules, but the nearest location was a 30 min drive from me last time I checked.
Casey Muller (1 day ago)
one of the first stores to sell home computers in the late 70s. called the trs 80 !
Derek Colvin (1 day ago)
Growing up in the 70s, there was a RadioShack right next door to my father store so for the majority of my mid-to-late teenage years if I received a gift it was something from RadioShack with the brand name Realistic or Optimus on the front
Brady Ogle (2 days ago)
I was a store manager for corporate RadioShack 2009-2011.. The issues were upper management always pushing for the sales of cellphones instead of what actually made the company money. We would sell an iPhone $50-$100 cheaper on contract than the actually carriers would just to make a sale. Guess what? We got to eat that at the end of the day. I loved working for them as an associate, regretted my decision to promote after around 3 months of being a store manager.
Cass Axiom (2 days ago)
There is a radioshack still open in Toccoa Ga
Rickey Bennem (2 days ago)
Thank you sir.
Jeff Russ (2 days ago)
You left out the #1 reason: RadioShack inexplicably ignored the explosion of maker culture / the DIY electronic movement that was partly spurred by the release of the Arduino in the late 2000's. Totally bizarre considering DIY electronics was RS's original reason for being and when it finally hit in a big way they seem to totally ignore it while other companies like Adafruit took all their customers. https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/ypwday/why-doesnt-radioshack-reinvent-itself-as-a-makerspace
Movie Games (17 hours ago)
I'd hate to say it, but a big part of RadioShack dying is the employees. I remember going into one in the 80's with my dad and asking the person working what he needed to repair his blown TV set. If you walk into a RadioShack now, the employees wouldn't know a fuse from a hole in the wall. But they would be glad to sell you an extended warranty on either of them.
grownman284 (22 hours ago)
That's really anywhere you go these days. Most workers are there to just collect a check.
David Buschhorn (2 days ago)
Radio Shack stopped selling electronics parts. In the 1990s, suddenly all they did was sell cell phones. If you asked an employee if they had a certain part, they had no idea or how to look it up :-( They used to have the coolest kits and stuff to build for Christmas gifts.
Stiletto 1956 (2 days ago)
In 1974 I bought a cassette deck for my first car there. Later as a service man I could find electronics components like slo-blow fuses and shrink tubing etc. then they dropped all of that.
mostmost1 (3 days ago)
Purchased a keyboard from them in 96. It just stopped working a few years ago.
ziqfriq (3 days ago)
Reason #3 was what I experienced the most. I'm 65 and have been an electronics hobbyist since about age 8. I bought my first code practice set from Radioshack (or Radio Shack). Back then you needed to know Morse code to get a ham license. Later as an adult, they would not have everything I could possibly want but they were always good for certain core products, for both hobbies and work (in radio and TV broadcasting and later, as a tech for a University physics department); things like switches, transformers, breadboards. Things for wiring your home for telephone (remember wired telephones?) like modular jacks and terminal blocks. Later, a decent selection of computer networking things, cables, routers, etc. Cables for stereo (if you didn't buy into ultra expensive high end ones) and cable TV. Mostly not things you would go to Best Buy, or the people on the street interviewed would know about. If I needed a particular component I could get it cheaper from Digikey or Mouser, but if it was one of the things The Shack stocked, I could just go in the store and get it. As a regular customer I knew what those things were.
Then, they started getting heavily into cell phones (actually, I bought my first cell phone from them). They were spending a lot of time with customers activating phones and explaining contracts, to the detriment of the rest of their business. At one point I needed one of their relays for a project. I walked into one store (I could look up the part # on the Internet, and didn't really experience their slowness to adapt there) and they didn't have it in stock (their parts stock information on the Internet for local stores was not always up to date) but the manager called another store and they did stock it. I walked into that store, asked the first associate about the relay and she didn't even know what a relay is. How pathetic is that, I though, at Radioshack? Fortunately, I did find it in the parts drawers. And, yes, they did not keep up with the cell phone business so it dried up.
So how might have Radioshack saved itself? If there were more of me in the country it would have thrived but obviously there aren't. Electronics hobbyists have become more scarce, though there may be a resurgence of "makers", with the Arduino and Raspberry Pi craze happening now (if The Shack were thriving now they would be selling those, or should be). From my point of view it was nice to have a place where I could go and buy a soldering iron, but I didn't need 10, which was approximately what I had at some point (was that part of reason #1?) I was not aware of the situation where the lender would not allow them to close stores.
The Shack has been part of my life for most of my life and to me it's sad seeing it go.
Michael Carraher (3 days ago)
The seeds of the decline and fall of Radio Shack were sewn way before the period covered in this piece. They had a habit of jumping into and out of the latest electronic fad long before their infatuation with cell phones in the 90s. Component stereo equipment. 8-track players. CB transceivers. Home computers. Laptops. Some they seem to have skipped like VCRs and Walkman clone personal cassette players. But for their electronic devices du jour they insisted on selling under their own brands and their own brands usually had terrible quality reputations - the kiss of death for the hobbyist market. On top of that, their home computers ran on their own proprietary operating system, not compatible with PCs or Apple and with limited softwear available. They did try to compete directly with Best Buy, Circuit City and the rest with their own attempt at an electronics big box store (Incredible Universe) and that quickly bombed. Given all their missteps and screw ups, the question should not be why RS went under but why did it last so long?
CONNOR GAMER TV (3 days ago)
I have a RadioShack near me.. one of the last in PA.
Joseph Martinez (3 days ago)
It's funny , I worked for them in 03-06 . It sucked it was 8.00 + commission. Which means you have to lie and basic the customer to make good pay check . Me I worked my ass off to try to sell a phone ? Sucks
James Siebold (3 days ago)
Funny, I used to buy allot of electronic parts from Radio Shack like resistors, diodes, LEDs and breadboards for college classes and other home made projects. So I guess if your not into electronics, there is probably no reason to shop there. Like me, if you don't drink alcohol, there is no reason to hang out at a club or bar unless it's to pick up skanks.
After they closed their three stores in my hometown, I was in another town 40 miles away and saw one in a strip mall and told my wife I had to stop there to pick up some diodes for a project I was working on. At the time I thought the whole chain had went out of business.
They used to sell allot of neat stuff you couldn't find elsewhere back in the 70s, 80s and up until the 90s. Like electronic kits, cables and Ghetto Blasters.
Erik Smith (3 days ago)
Radio Shack used to be the place to go for electronics.
Roger H (3 days ago)
one answer: Amazon and eBay.. that's it.. didn't even watch the video
john doe (3 days ago)
Zip Zaps and Xmods
trevor lyle (3 days ago)
I would go shop at one still but the net did them in
Rickholly74 (3 days ago)
I stopped going to Radio Shack when I continually went in the store to buy something and had to wait 20 minutes while three or four store employees were to busy selling cell phone plans to take my money for a normal shelf item. I saw people just standing around waiting to get rung up for items while the staff was making their cell phone sales pitches then just leave in disgust without their items.
BIG GEE (3 days ago)
Give me your phone # and I'll leave a comment. GET IT? LOL.
Frederick Calabrese (3 days ago)
Radio Shack's demise had been a long time coming.
Back in the 80's I could buy electronic components from them. However, this was a convenience and often my last choice. Radio Shack was always expensive. For electronic parts there were local providers the had better pricing and much more knowledgeable sales help.
Detective Gainz (3 days ago)
I bought my turbo graphics 16 from radio shack
murrowboy (3 days ago)
Can you do a Gamestop video? Seems the company is in trouble but still making a profit due to shady practices.
henrywm (3 days ago)
Why didn't he mention their sales of Tandy TRS-80 computers in the 80s?
itisonlyadream (3 days ago)
Back in 1971, I moved from Texas to California to work for a friend who had a start-up business in electronics. The start-up failed unexpectedly, and when I arrived in California, the job I was counting on was not waiting for me. While I was looking for another job in engineering, I took a temporary job at Radio Shack to keep some money coming in. At that time, Tandy had a corporate policy that I thought was suicide. Here is an example of how Tandy allocated stock shipments to individual stores in the San Fernando Valley in 1971:
If my store sold less of a particular item in February than it did in January, then we would automatically get less of that item in March. With less of that item to sell in March, the sales of that particular item in March would be less than in February even if we sold out of the item in March. So, in April the shipment of that item would be reduced again, because the March sales were less than in February. This policy guaranteed a downward spiral of sales for that particular item until we no longer stocked the item. When people came in asking for the item in May, I'd have to tell them our store no longer stocked the item, but I could get the item for them by special-order (that's what i was told to say). If the person was in a hurry, or didn't want to bother with the special-order paperwork, then the sale would be lost to my store. Almost no customer wanted to go through the red tape of special ordering the small parts that made up the bulk of our sales at that time. This policy seemed short-sighted to me because it ignored the fact that demand fluctuates due to many factors that are often only temporary.
I want to be clear that I'm not talking about discontinued items that were being phased out. I'm talking about current items that our particular store could no longer stock for no other reason than this crazy policy. It is true that Items were constantly being discontinued and replaced at RadioShack, but that's a different issue which is not related to this problem. I also want to be clear that Tandy was not simply delaying shipments, they were automatically reducing shipments of active items, which is completely different. Delaying new shipments of an item until the existing stock of a particular item in a particular store is sold out prevents overstocking and that makes sense. But, according to the manager of my store, Tandy was automatically cutting back on future shipments of parts which should be included in the store's basic stock. And, the only reason for doing this was based on a temporary dip in sales of that item which happened months before. Moreover, my manager said he had no authority to increase the size of the order of a specific part, once the automatic stock reduction cycle for that part began.
I worked for RadioShack for less than a year. I left as soon as I found a well paying job in engineering. For that reason, I don't know long long that crazy policy continued, or if the policy was only regional. Maybe what seemed like a bad corporate policy was actually caused by a poorly written inventory management program, I'll never know. I'm basing everything I'm saying on what I was told by my RadioShack store manager when I complained about our dwindling stock of basic items forty seven years ago. I can only say, I became good friends with the store manager and I thought he was an honorable and intelligent man, so I have no reason to doubt his version of the facts. There were many reasons why RadioShack eventually failed, and many of them have already been covered on here, I'm just offering this as another example of bad management at Tandy, which may be one more reason why RadioShack stores are gone.
tihzho (4 days ago)
I used to be a RadioShack manager back in the 1970's. When I was a kid chemistry, electronic sets were popular as well as industrial arts toys like Vacuum Form. RadioShack was popular because of this nerd DIY culture which slowly declined and stupid corporate decisions RadioShack steering it away from the nerds.
Fleek Geek (4 days ago)
I'm pretty sure there's still one Radioshack about a half hour from me.
Sumnder Makhijani (4 days ago)
Global news for future children 👶
Daniel R (4 days ago)
I used to use my paper route $ to buy electronic parts. Was a really cool place back in the early 80s.
calvin cosplay (4 days ago)
my dad would say it was an incendent of mistaken theaft.
my dad was compairing his old worn out calculator,to a new one in the shop and put his old one in pocket cause it was his old calculater...
well i was a baby at the time and my sister was young to and they got like 3 cops to investagate my dad and mom at the store site
along with cheaking thier van lol,corse all the cops found was an old calculator of my dad's and dad boycotted them ever sence
i was born around 1992 in case yo where woundering the year ish this happened
Neil Gibbons (4 days ago)
What kill R,S back when kids wll. Spend there penny's and wk,ends at the gas stations to see what makes cars go they will build there own cars and radios, box carts toys,etc
Now every thg. Is disposable and imported so is it any wonder R.S is gone. Car repair, and hardware stores are next
geo cube (4 days ago)
As a kid, this place was amazing (30 years ago or more) I like working on electronics a a hobby and I used to go to them a lot, they were my go to store until about 2010. The store where I live brought the owners son in as a teenager, and there I was in my mid 30's. Every time I went there, which was a few time per month, the store was laid out different, so I'd always try to find what I needed myself and when I couldn't find it, I'd ask.
Well, when the owner brought his kid in to work, right off the bat from my first interaction with him, he would belittleingly? tell me to upgrade whatever I was working on with an upgraded add on to my current project. I mean this guy would literally tell me to go spend my money on things they didn't sell in this store. He did this for years, when all I wanted was a basic part..... It eventually got to the point I just avoided the place.
I remember, in 2015 I had a simple case fan on my computer that was vibrating and making noise from the bearings, so I grudgingly went to Radio Shack, my previous favorite electronic parts store, and looked for a fan. I asked the clerk where they were, he took me showed me, and he was great. When I got back to the register, that mouth of an arrogant puke had snuck in the store.
He saw I was buying a case fan, and he told me I should upgrade to a water cooling system on my computer (which already had an evaporator style water cooler on it). I finally had enough of this kid and laid into him. I asked him if he sold them there and he said no.
Then I started getting angry voiced and told him "why the eff would you tell meto go spend my money somewhere else? I want a fan. I want a simple fix that doesn't cost $200.00. Your the worst thing that ever happened to this store."
I let his dad (who'm I've dealt with for years) know what happened the next day, and he admitted to me that he knew, and that I was right. The worst decision he ever made was letting his son work at the store and not putting his foot down _EVER_.
They closed 4 months later.
mrprosale (4 days ago)
..skip to 7.28 that is where "his speculation about why radio shack declined" starts... and , it is just speculation, as it's not scientific...
john barto (4 days ago)
they were done when they decided to call themselves "The Shack"......stupid basterds.....
Clayton Benignus (4 days ago)
I saw some decline as early as the 60s when a certain Store Manager simply refused to assist me, wasting my time.
Fast Forward to 2016: I visited my local Radio Shack to get some Or Gate Chips. They looked at me funny. Had they lived up to their hype, they would have googled up the SN74LS32 Chip and got it for me. In a College Town with a lot of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, there is no excuse for not hiring a needy Sophomore of either major who would have the competence to help an Electronics Hobbyist.
I ow use other sources like Element14, Electronic Goldmine, and Banggood.
James Russo (5 days ago)
The ironic thing was that Radioshack was one of the worst places to buy phones as well. Their selection was usually bad, and their contract terms and fees were awful! Lisa from MobileTechReview has an old video explaining this.
Ron Love (5 days ago)
Bad management at best.
Adrian TheElectricGuy (5 days ago)
Do - the decline of dick smith electronics... What happened?
sibsbubbles (5 days ago)
Wow. What a bummer to see how poorly managed this company became; the comments below of former employees' stories of working for this company of horrors is also pretty eye-opening. I remember here in CO they had merged with a company called "Tech America" and had a "RadioShack.com" store over off I-25 and Colo Blvd. This was THE source I had to buy all my parts and kits in middle school (this would have been 1999 into 2001 or so). The store itself was massive compared to the typical tiny ones that didn't have jack for parts, or wire, or even someone who know what a transistor was. Once this store died, the convenience of being able to get most of these types of "common" electrical parts basically disappeared for me and it was back to digging stuff out of the garbage; CRT's were usually the best bet for large resistors and rectifier diodes though I digress. Then, just as in the video, internet sales took rise as the main avenue of commerce for this stuff; enter Mouser, Digikey, Farnell, etc. And yes, the 'shack charged up the ass for things like headphone extension cables, connectors... and all the while by the time you wanted to pay, the clerk essentially needed a certificate of birth, your passport, a home phone, toe prints, an email, a fax, and emergency contact before you we sold anything haha. The few times I have had to go in there in the last 15 years, I usually found myself leaving slightly pissed off at how long it took them to sell me my shit.
filmgirlLisa (5 days ago)
My very last purchase of RadioShack was of that composite video converter featured in the video. I figured I would go into the store and order it rather than wait for it online since the store was in my neighborhood. I bought a few different ones and unfortunately waited too long to return them since by the time I realized I didn't need them afterall they announced they were closing stores and were no longer taking returns.
My top reasons for the stores closing: 1. If you didn't mind the wait you could just order whatever you need from Amazon for ALOT cheaper, 2. The staff became awful to deal with. If you did venture into the store, it's because you might be unsure what you needed and wanted to ask a sales rep. Radio Shack used to employ those that had strong knowledge in electronics.Once they started pushing the cell phones they fired all those that weren't hard core sellers. It used to be that if you realized after talking with someone that you didn't need something they sent you on your way without pressure, after the cell phone migration if you weren't interested in a plan, they were uninterested in you or whatever else you needed. Unless you wanted to have to repeatedly say "no" to buying a cellphone, you would just assume stay out the store. 3. Like CompanyMan said, in the later years they likely didn't have what you needed anyway.
RadioShack's desperation was their biggest enemy.
Roy Winkler (5 days ago)
I watched the arc of Radio Shack from its beginning. Amazing.
marco rivosecchi (5 days ago)
One thing you didn’t mention is the fact that own branded products were incredibly cheaply made and would fail very soon. They taunted advanced functions but failed to deliver on quality. It seems they ended up cheapening their brand for quick returns. Amazing it lasted the time it did.
Bob Rogers (6 days ago)
Radio Shack made absolutely the best reasonably-priced CB radios during that craze. The Navajo base unit was powerful and affordable. The TRS-80 computers were great, durable machines, but when Commodore and others came out with color, TRS lagged behind.
In those earlier years, Radio Shack was staffed with nerds who could answer any electronics question and show you how to use any electronic gadget whether or not it was theirs. As the company struggled, those gurus went elsewhere. I think this loss of expertise was one of the major factors in their downfall.
dtip4life 8472 (6 days ago)
My father got one of their giant TV antennas in 1963. It got one in 1982. I got a stereo in 1994. Down through the years I got blank tapes, VHS tapes, CDs and DVDs. I got batteries and cable connectors as well. It is a shame they are on the way out.
Robbi D (6 days ago)
Radioshack prices were outrageously over priced. I never bought anything from them when I got it for less elsewhere.
corrion1 (6 days ago)
two words -planned obsolescence
Vikram Gupta (6 days ago)
Great analysis. I'm 50, and radio shack always seemed kind of dated, and just kind of an odd store...the products seemed esoteric and vague, generally stuff I couldn't relate to.
Zach Thompson (6 days ago)
1:13 I live like five minutes away from that Radio Shack, although it’s closed now lol
Frasier Reynolds (7 days ago)
There were 2 RadioShacks in Waukesha, WI. The one I used to go to was ran by the 2 nicest old men I've ever encountered in all of retail. Not a fake smile or "work" personality, genuine passion for what most would consider a pretty mediocre job. I'll probably never see anything like that again in my life. That and it used to be a 5 min walk from my house. But then they both retired, and were replaced by below average employees. Closed up pretty quick after that. The one across town usually employed at least one of my friends in high school, who would basically ignore anyone else who came in if I was there talking to them. I would go in solely to pay my high school burner phone bill every month, or talk to one of my aforementioned friends, sometimes both. I still wasn't surprised it closed. About half the time I was the only customer inside.
Derek Nor (7 days ago)
In 2005 Radio Shack built a stunning headquarters campus and flagship store in downtown Fort Worth right on the Trinity River. Tarrant County College bought it from them just 2 years later and now it's a beautiful community college. Also Radio Shack had a sweet outlet store up on Blue Mound Rd. Never anything particularly useful, but fun. That shut around 2012 I think.
Joe Days (7 days ago)
I think one of the problems for them might have been that they carried just about anything you would need to repair electronics and a very good price and other things that were just baby overpriced. For example I was fixing something one time and I needed a resistor or something. I literally drive there, walk in, spend 35 cents, and walk out and go back home and good my electronics. 35 cents. How many customers will they be a day to turn a profit of a customer can walk in and out for 35 cents? And on the other hand they sold the "Realistic" brand car audio with cassette deck, amplifiers, bass speakers like 10 or 12 inch woofers for insanely high prices. They sounded like shit and god awful quality and dedicated an entire section of the left wall in the store, be practically 1/3 the wall was their car audio which I don't think anyone night anything of. So the stuff people need cost pennies, and stuff no one wanted cost hundreds. You are not going to make a profit that way bro. It's just too hard. Back in the CB radio days yeah... And we would buy our home cordless phones from there also. But with the emergence of Good Guys, Circuit City and eventually Best Buy, I mean they just couldn't complete with the price and selection. But I can't lie, I really miss the little store that had so many cool little gadgets. You could literally buy all the components to build anything you wanted there. Geek heaven.
RT Arcand (7 days ago)
They did a bit of a computer business starting with the TRS80 and including the legendary Tandy 1000. And they had some really cool toys.
cutterbacon (7 days ago)
I love radio shack and tandy.I loved my beatties store also.
Robert Peterson (7 days ago)
In response to your question at the end on my experiences with RadioShack... I just remember as a kid growing up in Southern New England going to the store for batteries, radio equipment, and my dad was into CB radios. This was back in the 70s. After I grew up, I never went into another RadioShack since.
Dan Murray (8 days ago)
Yup cell phones and garbage products. We never had the components anyone needed. Folks came in there for knowledge and then a product based on needs, when you have one but not the other, it will rarely end well. Not to mention terrible wages. Don't get me wrong, I loved working there but wow someone in management was smoking some bad rocks or something.
all my friends are dead (8 days ago)
I have a feeling that radioshack sold electronic parts alongside their radios _in order to supply parts to fix theirs as soon as they break_ .The last time i went, in 2006, it felt old, and inventory seemed outdated.
sminthian (8 days ago)
There's still a bunch of Radioshack's in Alaska. But there's also some Blockbuster Video's also...
Juve Travels (8 days ago)
I loved Radio Shack. The first computer I ever purchased on my own was a Tandy that I bought at the Radio Shack at the Citadel Mall in Colorado Springs during my Army days. Throughout the years, Radio Shack was my go to location for electronic parts, hard to find batteries, car stereos and DVD players and recorders. I even bought a cell phone at Radio Shack at some point.
It's sad how the stores cleared up a lot of their inventory to focus on cell phone sales. I remember this very clearly. Even so, I would often find things on sale there, mostly on clearance. But it was always where I would buy my computer's power backup batteries at.
Lex Beltran (9 days ago)
I lived behind a Radio Shack with a giant warehouse in the back. This was in the 70's to the late 90's until they closed down for good. My brother and a friend would get free batteries with those battery club cards. On occasion, we'd go dumpster diving and find a few treasures. Remember the old TRS computers? There was a few fun games my friends and I would play. Too bad they went out of business.
Chad Hayslip (9 days ago)
I used to go there more than 10 years ago when they had the mini radio control cars that had fast and furious body covers, that's about the best memory I have, I'm 28.
Author Danny Walls (9 days ago)
It seems like we used to buy records from them in the 70's. Not sure though. I do remember that Radio Shack was the place to go for stereo equipment
Cesar Ramos (9 days ago)
As a child I remember going there to look at the remote control cars, for me that was a great experience. As an adult I never could find anything worthwhile at the store, maybe some batteries if the price was competitive.
Nikki (9 days ago)
Back in my day people actually went to RadioShack...just to buy some batteries
Alan Godfrey (9 days ago)
They're problem was they quit selling what they were good at. Back in the day the technology hit those stores first, and they were a little higher priced but not outrageously as they were in recent years. They sold gadgets and converters, also wires that nobody else did. You're right they dropped the ball with their late moved to the internet, and before that they decided they didn't want catalog sales anymore. But they also did what a lot of brick and mortar stores do today, they stopped carrying inventory. That was why customers go to brick and mortar in the first place, the inventory! The excuse we got was we can order it for you, or they'd say go to the website. Well if your going to the internet it's cheaper and more convenient to shop other websites for the best deal. This is why brick and mortar is failing, I am even seeing some weakening of the behemoth WalMart with this attitude about carrying enough inventory.
Richard Bulles (9 days ago)
Speaking of their batteries. Right before the store near me closed for good, they were selling 40 packs of AA and AAA batteries for $12. I stocked up! I also got a pair of head phones 50% off and paid $39.99 that I am still using now when I listen to youtube videos. For $40 the head phones were worth the money. They are fair to good, but at $80 they would be way over priced. As for their products in general, they were grossly over priced. Also, most of their sound equipment back in the day was JUNK. There was even a time where they did sell desk top computers in most of their locations back in the 90s! I remember playing on them as a teenager! I also had some Radio Shack Walkie Talkies as a kid, and they did sell a lot of RC cars and Trucks for the holidays for Christmas. Those RC Cars were fun at first, but usually were broken within 4 or 5 months of normal use. Yes, most of the cables, and other electronic parts they sold were over priced as well. They counted on people needing them right away. Internet ultimately killed that side of their business. I could find a RCA sound cable for like $3 on Ebay, which would be marked up to $12.99+ at Radio Shack. HDMI Cable at Radio Shack was like $30, for the cheap one and $50 for the mid grade. Could find one for under $10 on Ebay...and now they sell at Five Below for 5 bucks!
Resident Evil Umbrella (9 days ago)
The only Radio Shacks I seen in my 36 years were very small mall locations (about the size of 2 bedrooms) and they sold things I cared nothing about. I do my electronic shopping at good ol' Best Buy where I'm hoping to land a job at my nearby location.
Richard Binder (9 days ago)
I attend college at Tarrant county Trinity river campus. It's the former headquarters in downtown Ft. Worth Texas. Very modern and beautiful buildings. There were still a few Radio Shack employees still left in the Spring of 2018.
Luis Pollito Lopez (9 days ago)
My favorite electronics store when I was a kid my first time in a radio shack was when I was 10 good memories to bad technology took over I wish it was back in the 90's
SkipSpotter (10 days ago)
There is a MAPLINS shop in town here. It's just like a carbon copy of RADIO SHACK. Could they be connected???
Psyko's Platters (10 days ago)
The location in Rogers,AR still there go figure..think I was in that one twice in the 11 years I have lived here
Jeep Cherokee (10 days ago)
Just really bad management. I don't know who there customers were? They never should of left the base which was Radios. What I would of done is provided extremely low cost entry Ham Radios as China has done then as the base grew make money from more expensive radios and misc. Combine it with other programs to build a loyal customer base. Just bad management.
James Someone (10 days ago)
“Yeah, I need overpriced batteries... sure, sure, I can give you my address and contact info...”
James Moore (10 days ago)
My brother was with the "Shack" for over 25 years and my mother pushed me to shop from him. My brother can't change a light bulb without help but he would go on to be a 5 state supervisor who would always hand me a free battery card ! But NOTHING I ever bought from them ever worked for more than a day or two. So in 1998 I swore to myself after a bad purchase I would not ever go back. So I sent this text to point out a strange fact. No matter how user friendly electronics get The Shack never sold new parts and until Fry's, I no of no company ever opening to compete with them. Not one single competition for about 80 year's and they still just can't get things right. And as you pointed out they closed stores to save money when they should have culled their data and started selling items we were buying!!! And dropped the loser's like the battery club, free batteries are great unless they leak and the Shacks are known for it. Bro.james.k.moore.O.S.B.
dank9288639 (10 days ago)
Fry's took em out and bestbuy. Plus they wanted 10% over what everyone else sold it for. The stores were smaller than a NYC apartment kitchen. Sooo yeah
Ryan Clay (10 days ago)
I usually skim through the comments section below and read only a few but this one has a lot of very long comments and I read a lot of them! I am in my 40's now and I remember back I'm the 80's I used to go to the Radio Shack near my house to get parts to modify my ham radio or build a power supply or fix a electrical item. I got my first cell phone from a gas station in 2012 and at that point I hadn't been to a Radio Shack in many years but I'm sad to see them go.
David Lewandowski (10 days ago)
I can’t believe you didn’t bring up Tandy computer those were the worst
CYBOPOD (10 days ago)
What happen to Color Tile..? Another Tandy company.. a Color Tile commercial 1988 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6qOafMUCuk