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Thread: Radio Sh**k rant

  1. #1
    *Flashaholic* PhotonWrangler's Avatar
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    Scowl Radio Sh**k rant

    I walked into a local Radio Shack this evening looking for a triac. As soon as I walked in the door I was hit by a blast of loud music -
    BOOM--CHIKKA--CHIKKA--CHIKKA--BOOM--OH BABY I WANNA **** YOUR ****


    So I made it over to the components section, and the first thing I noticed was that there were no longer any semiconductors hanging on the pegboards - their stock had shrunken to the point where it all fit inside of that big metal mechanic's cabinet.

    Then I opened one of the two semiconductor drawers and found diodes placed in one of the bins for transistors. I opened the other drawer and I found the triac bin empty and more diodes placed in bins marked for other components.


    Meanwhile BOOM--CHIKKA--CHIKKA--can--BOOM--i--CHIKKA--help--CHIKKA-you?--OH--BABY--I--WANNA--

    Uh no thanks. And I left, feeling pretty depressed about the state of our "electronics" stores and the field of electronics in general.

    You've got questions, we've got bling-bling...
    Last edited by PhotonWrangler; 06-12-2006 at 08:27 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Radio Sh**k rant

    radio crap stinks far as that music i took bus this am to dr appt and the bus driver had rap playing i was so glad to get off bus and i walked rest the way.radio shack is so bad lately
    LED's have gotten too bright in our stuff. Many nights I'm awakened by my modem lights blinking.had help with my sig thank you for your help.

  3. #3
    *Flashaholic* IsaacHayes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radio Sh**k rant

    LOL @ the music. That sucks big time. I can't stand that stuff (rap).

    RadioScratch does blow. It started getting bad years ago, taking away all the electronics stuff, now it's near impossible to even get a resistor or simple part. I've stopped a lot of hobby stuff because of that, as it's not as easy to order online and wait for stuff than to just walk into a store, and figure out what you need... *sigh*

    All they have is TV's and Compaqs and cell phones...
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    Flashaholic* PhotonBoy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radio Sh**k rant

    Regrettably, hobbyist electronics is now on the bottom of the list for most companies in terms of revenue. When I was a kid in grade school, an 8 transistor radio was THE best. Now, you can buy a 1 GB USB flash drive with probably over 128,000,000,000 transistors for well less than $99. My arithmetic might be off by 100,000 or so, but you get my point. There's hardly anything you can build from scratch today with a soldering iron that compares with the electronics you can buy off the shelf these days for very little cost.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Radio Sh**k rant

    They used to have some pretty good speakers. Not all but some, the mimimus 7's and 11's come to mind. Do they still? When I was a kid growing up in hicksville, it was either Radio Shack or Ames for electronics so Radio Shack ruled. I bought my little portable radio, cassette decks etc. there. I was a proud battery of the month club member. Hope the Shack survives, I know a lot of them are closing now.
    I live in a van down by the river

  6. #6

    Default Re: Radio Sh**k rant

    Quote Originally Posted by PhotonWrangler
    I walked into a local Radio Shack this evening looking for a triac. As soon as I walked in the door I was hit by a blast of loud music -
    BOOM--CHIKKA--CHIKKA--CHIKKA--BOOM--OH BABY I WANNA **** YOUR ****
    LMAO
    just like wal-mart's electronic section....

    rat shack doesnt carry stuff like they used too...

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* Manzerick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radio Sh**k rant

    I understand the music but.... Given the distaste from the "target demographic" the marketing group may be off the mark.




    Come on... Who doesn't like a good Eminem Ft. Dre compilation?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Radio Sh**k rant

    Funny, I was thinking about this exact thing this morning in my think tank (shower). The Rat Shack across the street from me is one of the casualties of RS's restructuring, so basically they removed all the good stuff from the store and what was left is being sold at 50% off EXCEPT for components. Those are 90% off!! I guess nobody wants 'em. Sadly, not many experimenters as others have lamented.

    When I was a kid I spent nearly all my money at my local Rat Shack on components. Back then the sales agents actually knew Ohm's Law, and I frequently bounced techie questions off them. ("How many microhenries do I need to get 250 MHz out of my homebuilt function generator?") I actually spent a lunch break with two of the guys talking about the assembly language used in their old pocket computer thingy that looked like a calculator.

    Nowadays they sell all the same stuff as Circuit City and Best Buy--how do they expect to compete? Plus whenever you go in there to buy something the sales agent asks you that uber-stupid question, "How would you like a free phone today?" I mean come on, not ALL Rat Shack customers just fell off the turnip truck!

    However I do appreciate their selection of radio commo gear like CBs and scanners. Their old marketing model still holds up well there; you get a well-engineered and feature-packed product for a reasonable price and it's not something you can get at Best Buy.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* Manzerick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radio Sh**k rant

    Just as you mention, the Shaq is alienating it's core customers. It is these customers that I would imagine are traditionally more loyal and more willing to purchase other higher margin goods as long as their basic requirements are met. Sad that the executives can’t see the model from the silent majority J


    How can David play Goliaths game?

  10. #10

    Default Re: Radio Sh**k rant

    looks like their trying to make cell phones their main thing... only thing is you can get the phones cheaper at a million other places..

  11. #11

    Default Re: Radio Sh**k rant

    I went to the Shack looking for some inverters or cables to power stuff in my vehicle at work. There is a problem with going through the cigarette lighter due to shorts and blown fuses.

    The kid working the Shack looked at me like I was speaking Greek. Then, some prospective employees entered and asked for applications. For three young gentlemen seeking minimum wage employment, they were sporting a lot of bling. They didn't look like the types that stay home and tinker with electronics. When you go into the Shack, you actually want to be helped by a nerd with glasses and pocket protectors, not a parolee with a 4 carat "diamond" earring, gold chain and a football jersey over low rider baggy jeans.

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    Flashaholic* Planterz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radio Sh**k rant

    I'm fairly young, but I'm still old enough to remember a time when you could actually build a radio with the stuff sold at Radio Shack. Now it's just cell phones and iPod accessories.

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    Flashaholic* cyberhobo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radio Sh**k rant

    Isn't Radio Shack BOOM--CHIKKA--CHIKKA--can--BOOM--i--CHIKKA--help--CHIKKA-you?--OH--BABY--I--WANNA-- themselves to bankruptcy court? I go online for electronic parts.
    "Battle Speed Hortator"

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    *Flashaholic* jtice's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radio Sh**k rant

    I hate RatShack,

    every time I go in there they dont have what i want,
    and theres always some punk kid, that thinks he knows it all, just cuz he works there.

    "Can I help you?" .... I SERIOUSLY doubt it.

    They used to have alot of actual component parts, now you are lucky to find the resistor you want. :

    ~John

  15. #15
    Flashaholic* coldsolderjoint's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radio Sh**k rant

    The radio shacks in the mall around here, dont stock any components at all anymore. the closet you can get to a component there are rca jacks.

  16. #16
    Flashaholic* greenlight's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radio Sh**k rant

    And they have the nerve to keep asking for your address.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Radio Sh**k rant

    They discontinued asking for addresses a long time ago.

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* RA40's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radio Sh**k rant

    I've had several unfortunate encounters at RS and ceased even going into the stores well over 8-9 years ago. Being curious since one shop was still in existence, I went in. Reminded me of a low end electornics shop and most of the signage is for cell phones.
    Mike

  19. #19
    *Flashaholic* PhotonWrangler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radio Sh**k rant

    Quote Originally Posted by PhotonBoy
    Regrettably, hobbyist electronics is now on the bottom of the list for most companies in terms of revenue. When I was a kid in grade school, an 8 transistor radio was THE best. Now, you can buy a 1 GB USB flash drive with probably over 128,000,000,000 transistors for well less than $99. My arithmetic might be off by 100,000 or so, but you get my point. There's hardly anything you can build from scratch today with a soldering iron that compares with the electronics you can buy off the shelf these days for very little cost.
    PhotonBoy, you and others here make excellent points. It's true that modern electronics have become so sophisticated thanks to LSIs that it's becoming difficult, if not impossible, to cook up something with a soldering iron that will come even close to competing. It's a sad and ironic consequence of the continuing advances being made in the field.

    But on the other hand, there's something almost magical about taking a handful of parts and crafting them into a device that actually does something!

    How many of today's potential young scientists and engineers will completely miss the opportunity to ignite that spark of curiosity and the profound sense of accomplishment that it brings? How can we expect to raise the next generation of engineers and scientists if we've taken away most of the tools that they need for learning and inspiration?

    We can't just settle for raising a generation of board-swappers. Someone has to do the inventing, the designing and prototyping. It used to be that we could turn to places like Radio Shack to help stoke the fires of invention. Now how are we going to be able to inspire the next generation of Thomas Edisons and Alexander Graham Bells? By showing them a pimped-out cellphone?
    Last edited by PhotonWrangler; 06-13-2006 at 05:09 PM.

  20. #20
    *Retired* The_LED_Museum's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radio Sh**k rant

    Last time I went to a Rat Shack looking for LEDs and mini test clip hook adapters, they had neither. Most of the components normally displayed on pegboards were gone; what little they had were in a mechanic's-style chest, and most of the drawers were mismarked. I left the store *WITHOUT* the LEDs and *WITHOUT* the test clip hook adapters. This was in Seattle WA. in 2003.

    Most of the products they had out for display were things like computers, cellular telephones, TV sets, clock radios that also played CDs, home stereo systems, and things like that.

    Back in the early-1980s, I could go to the Radio Shack across the Nugget Mall parking lot in Juneau AK. and find exactly what I needed: capacitors (or "capacitators"), resistors, LEDs, an LM3909 monolithic IC, some perfboard, some 555 timer ICs, wire, and things like that.

    Betchya you won't be able to purchase too many of these items at Rat Shack now.

  21. #21
    Flashaholic* WildRice's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radio Sh**k rant

    I have a story about someting of a RS legasy (sp). When I was about 7 or 8 and just getting interested in electronics my father bought me a RS 150 in 1 experimenters kit, you know, the one in the wood box with springs in cardboard to make all the connections. Well, LAST year Christmas I cobbled a WORKING 150 in 1 kit together from 2 ebay units for my 7yr old. Just like I did, he loves things that make noise, ie morse sounder, siren, and the electronic cat. The kit is just as the one I had, cardboard lid, original project book. Only difference is the resistored LED in place of the 3v bulb, and grey tinned ribben cable wire, original had different colors for different lengths. My Julian is VERY creative and loves building stuff (if it does something, all the more fun. IMHO the *newer* kits that have a solderless breadboard and a bag if parts dosent inspire the fun of just moving wires around on springs.

    Jeff

    Craig, as far as I am concerened, the LM3909 was ONE of the best ICs ever made for the budding modder, but now they are kinda hard to find.
    "We cannot learn from one another, until we stop shouting at one another, until we speak quietly enough, so that our words can be heard, as well as our voices." R.M.Nixon 1969

  22. #22
    *Flashaholic* PhotonWrangler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radio Sh**k rant

    That's a wonderful story, Jeff! I remember that 150 in 1 kit. I had a similar kit from a different manufacturer when I was a kid, only it used a lot of Fahenstock clips instead of the springs. There were no ICs available to the public when I was a child, so the circuits that I could make were pretty simple - a few solar cell based experiments, an alarm circuit that used a relay to control a buzzer and a few other odds and ends. I LOVED those solar cells! I thought it was so cool to be able to derive electricity directly from sunlight and drive a little mabuchi hobby motor or a transistor radio!

    Anyway your story warmed my heart, Jeff. I hope that Julian gets bitten by the bug and goes on to an exciting and rewarding career in the sciences.

  23. #23
    *Flashaholic* IsaacHayes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radio Sh**k rant

    Ah brings back memories! I bet ya cant get a 555 anymore. Some items you need to custom build to do stuff though you want. Now I hold on to salvage parts a lot more, because I know I cant just go to the store and get em. I have started to hold on to old electronics with the non SMT stuff for future use. That is if I ever get time. Eventually. I have too many hobbies right now. I'm not even going to list them all!
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  24. #24
    *Retired* The_LED_Museum's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radio Sh**k rant

    I'm pretty sure you can still get 555 timer ICs, but you could go ice skating in heck before you could get your hands on a new LM3909 IC. Not new old stock; I mean "new" as in "made recently".

    The LM3909 was an IC designed for one purpose: to flash an LED with extremely long battery life on a single 1.5 volt cell. If I remember correctly, the only external components you needed besides the LED itself were a resistor and a capacitor.

  25. #25
    Flashaholic Big Bob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radio Sh**k rant

    Hey Jeff, speaking of kits, remember the great stuff that you could buy at one time from Heathkit? My first HF transceiver as a licensed amateur was a Heathkit HW-104 that I assembled over many, many evenings in 1974. Had a ball doing it. BTW, all the Radio Shack stores in Canada became stores for "The Source by Circuit City".....mostly phones and cutesy little gizmos and such.

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    Default Re: Radio Sh**k rant


  27. #27
    Flashaholic* Wingerr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radio Sh**k rant

    Probably the reason is just the pricing of the parts nowadays; they're so low that there's just no profit in it for them to stock and maintain order for thousands of parts. They'd need to charge a dollar for a part you could get for a dime from mouser or digikey. If you only need one and you need it now, it's nice to be able to just get it locally from them, but I'd guess they're not seeing enough support from the dwindling numbers of hobbyists to continue.
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  28. #28
    Flashaholic* Aaron1100us's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radio Sh**k rant

    Radio shack is all about cell phones and stuff like that. Radio Shack is where I bought my first 2 meter ham radio back in 1999. They don't even carry ham radios any more. I thought their name was "Radio" Shack, Not Cell Phone Shack.
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  29. #29
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    Default Re: Radio Sh**k rant

    Quote Originally Posted by jtice
    I hate RatShack,

    every time I go in there they dont have what i want,
    and theres always some punk kid, that thinks he knows it all, just cuz he works there.

    "Can I help you?" .... I SERIOUSLY doubt it.

    They used to have alot of actual component parts, now you are lucky to find the resistor you want. :

    ~John
    As luck would have it, I needed a 'momentary on' switch as the last one from RS gave up after 3 valiant months of service; so off I go to the Source (prev. RS) since its the only place anywhere near my corner of the world that carry's anything.
    I go to the wall where some switches are displayed and start to sort; along comes a kid and asks if he can help. I explain what happened to the last switch and he informs me "They come in different colours"

    How lucky.

    Karl

  30. #30
    Flashaholic* leukos's Avatar
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    Default Re: Radio Sh**k rant

    Yeah, I wouldn't buy any stock in Radio Shack. Unless their CEO's do a 180, I don't think that company will be around in 10 years. My experiences were always dissatisfying, over priced items and lately some of the worst CS I've had anywhere.
    Light is sweet and pleasing to the eyes....

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