Tuesday, February 3, 2015

RIP RadioShack

Just a few hours ago I placed what will be my last online order with RadioShack.  Rumors over the past week that the company will declare bankruptcy came true today when news hit that the New York Stock Exchange will delist RadioShack stock,

Some of the stores will be sold to Sprint, to be used as mobile phone retailers.  Other rumors are circulating, such as one in USA Today that Amazon might create "showroom" stores for technology items.

This is particularly sad news for me, and I suspect for many other hams.  As I wrote back in 2010 RadioShack was a big part of my childhood.  I went to the local store every day after school.  My first "consulting" job was delivering catalogs in exchange for store credit, which I used to buy my first real CB radio.  I learned about electronics from being around electronics, absorbing terminology and bits of knowledge from overheard conversations between customers and store employees.

RadioShack hung on for a long time, and tried to rally in the 21st century - they started selling Arduino/RPi/BeagleBone components, and created a set of revamped "concept/flagship" stores and invited Makers to showcase DIY gadgets in those stores.  In the end they couldn't compete with online retailers.  I have to admit that after I spent the day showcasing as a Maker in their Mountain View flagship store they gave me a generous amount of gift cards - which sat unused in my desk until today.  It's not that I haven't bought circuit components since then.  It's just that RadioShack is no longer my go-to source for such things.

There's an irony here.  My first and last transactions with RadioShack - separated by 42 years - were both paid for using store credit, not cash.

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