Is This the End of RadioShack?

I once got a toy helicopter from there. Today it would be classified as a drone.Reason – by Scott Shackford

Decades before the Apple Store, there was RadioShack. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, it was where many Americans rushed to purchase their very first home computers, the TRS-80. My family was part of that group, and I distinctly remember being adrift in huge crowds at a store in New Hampshire when my dad got one for us at home. As I was about 8 years old, I recall being more excited about all the remote-control cars they sold there and the Simon-esque handheld games. Once I discovered the TRS-80 could also entertain, it helped launch a lifelong love affair with all things video games. I may frequently forget the names of co-workers and which day of the week it is, but I can recite from memory the final riddle in an extremely early text adventure simply called Haunted House. It is embedded now within my DNA.  

That was then; this is now. The home electronic scene has changed dramatically since then, and RadioShack has been rendered redundant. You can still buy all sorts of personal technology devices there, but we live in an age of Wal-Marts and Best Buys (and even Best Buy struggles). It’s look as though RadioShack is about to say good-bye for good. From BloombergBusiness:

RadioShack Corp. is preparing to shut down the almost-century-old retail chain in a bankruptcy deal that would sell about half its store leases to Sprint Corp. and close the rest, according to people with knowledge of the discussions.

The locations sold to Sprint would operate under the wireless carrier’s name, meaning RadioShack would cease to exist as a stand-alone retailer, said the people, who declined to be identified because the talks aren’t public.

The negotiations could still break down without a deal being reached, or the terms could change. Sprint and RadioShack also have discussed co-branding the stores, two of the people said. It’s also possible that another bidder could emerge that would buy RadioShack and keep it operating, the people said.

Given that the company has lost 90 percent of its value over the past year, it’s hard to imagine that happening. And if “Weird Al” Yankovic couldn’t staunch the bleeding, then who could?

It will be somewhat sad to see RadioShack go, in terms of the childhood nostalgia of Gen-Xers and some Baby Boomers (which explains the Weird Al hail mary), but its loss is also a big reminder of how much more accessible personal electronics have become for all Americans. The TRS-80 launched with a home price of $600, the equivalent of $2,300 in 2014 U.S. dollars. An American family today could buy a modestly decent home computer, high-definition television, current generation game console, and a tablet, and still have money left over to pay for an Internet service provider and a Netflix subscription.

6 thoughts on “Is This the End of RadioShack?

  1. I had to listen to that stupid Weird Al Radio Shack commercial every day when I was working at the cinema last month and the month before. Had to listen to it almost 20 times a day. Wanted to smack Weird Al through the TV screen. It was the stupidest commercial and I can see it didn’t do shit for RadioShack. Good riddence!

  2. In the fifties my brother built a short wave radio from a kit that Radio Shack sold, it was so cool. Back then they were a real tech store. Then when computers came out they featured the first home computer. 1200 bucks for a 8 megahertz, 2 ram, a 20 MB hard drive, a 600 baud modem a floppy drive with the big 5 and 1/4. It had no programs to speak of but it did have hangman and a blinking C:. I had such hopes for me and my computer but had no idea what that C was. I had seen on TV all the cool things they did with computers but this one only blinked a C on a black screen. What do you do with that?

    Nothing without a program for sure but what program so off to the store I went. Well you could get a database program for one but I had no use for one of those. Then there was a somewhat limited accounting program with double entry, I had no use for that so I gave up.

    I purchased a big thick Computer Catalog that did nothing for me but in the back were BBs? Anyone remember those. They were local people who ran Bulletin Boards. The were called Sys-Ops and that began my love affair with the computer. As I look back it was close to the internet only on a much smaller scale. You could download and upload files all free (called freeware). You could get help easily and limited messaging. I asked for help from the sys op (Homebody BB name, Don actual) He came to my home and taught all I needed to know and believe me that was a lot. It took months and all he asked is that down the road I help someone, been doing that ever since. He told me later the sysops love females on their boards it makes them more interesting.

    I then went to the college and took a macro keyboarding class and got launched.

    Since then I built my own computer for gaming which is quite different than a store bought one and been in heaven ever since.

    Anyone remember Commander Keen, Wolfenstein and Populius. Such fun. Later on much more complex games with sound, one kid in my neighborhood said Mrs. Binley (married name) your computer is awesome.

    Radio shack computers were terrible. They claimed IBM compatable but they were not. Some of their hardware was dedicated and not compatable at all. I only bought one. Later they dropped Tandy and sold other brands but they did cost a lot.

    No wonder they are going out of business.

  3. ahh, i happen to have a TRS-80/CoCo on the shelf across the room here.. i still play with it and its color basic operating system sometimes when i need a

    but as for people saying good riddance to radio shack, what happens to all the people working for these places after the company gets axed? the folks that own one of these stores here are older folks and do you know how hard it would be for them to find another job? Radio Shack might be a bother to yall but think of those who would be effected when they pull their franchise..

    i also get a lot of components like resistors and transistors from these places, if they go under me and a bunch of other people are not set up for online credit card BS.. i have not and will not get a credit card and sign up for that economic slavery..

  4. done got me tripping down memory lane now, lol…

    10 CLS
    20 FOR X = 0 TO 63
    30 Y = 15
    40 RESET (X,Y)
    50 NEXT X
    60 FOR Y = 0 TO 31
    70 X = 31
    80 RESET (X,Y)
    90 NEXT Y
    100 GOTO 100

  5. Scott Adams adventure games 4ever…lol.

    What I hated about radioshack is how it turned into a store where the employees knew absolutely nothing about the products they sold.


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