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Desc:pouring out a carton of AA batteries behind victory garden walls
Category:Business, Religious
Tags:john oliver, radio shack, Last Week Tonight, parts drawer, Calendar Man
Submitted:Bort
Date:02/10/15
Views:1213
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Comment count is 45
SolRo
I've recently rediscovered that RadioShack was the only place left for reasonably priced replacement power adapters.

Best Buy/Office DeMax don't have shit, and the shit they do have has been converted to Store Brand Chinese imports.

Fry's either has extremely overpriced + universal adapters, or extremely cheap and worthless universal adapters.

RadioShack just sells(sold) the inverter and individual plugs separately, so I could get the right thing I need for a minor premium, despite the stores being 3/4 Sprint stores already.
Old_Zircon
They're still really overpriced.


I just get everything on Mouser and eBay.

Oscar Wildcat
There are really only two things now at radio shack that are worth buying. If there is a clearance sale, buy them all.

1) Desoldering iron : Yes, you need one of these. And they are cheap here.

2) prototype boards : They have a million different kinds, and they all SUCK, except for one, which they've carried for years. You know the one. It's small, and there's a trace between pairs of holes with buss lines and whatnot. I've tried to get these things from many other sources, and they're either too expensive or not of the right form. I plan on making a run of the local stores to get just this one thing.

Old_Zircon
I actually live two blocks away from a REAL, oldschool, independent electronics supply store but last time I went there they charged me $.80 for one resistor.

Still better than The Shack in the 21st century, though.

Old_Zircon
I get plain veroboard on Mouser these days, but good call on the desoldering iron, I don't need one enough to pay full price even for an entry level one (braid and one of those plunger style tools is almost always fine for what I do)


While we're talking about soldering, I can vouch that the Kendal 852D++ (might have a new name by now, it's one of those things that comes out of some factory in China under a ton of different names) hot air rework station you can get on Amazon for like is totally sufficient for serious hobbyist use

Oscar Wildcat
This part is what I am talking about

276-168 Universal Component PC Board

It's the only one: all their other units are trash. Can you source a replacement? I'd be thrilled.

Bort
Fill up yer shopping cart:

http://www.radioshack.com/universal-component-pc-board-with-78 0-holes/2760168.html

Oscar Wildcat
Oh for fucks sake, just buy the desolder iron, Zirc. I personally guarantee the first time you use it you'll curse the braid and yourself for not buying one sooner.

SolRo
Qwik Chip and braid has been a life changing revelation for me

SolRo
And to the responses;

If I'm leaving my cave to go to any store, it's not because I dont know how to look things up online, it's because I need the thing NOW

bopeton
Yeah I don't know where I'm going to run out and grab a cable or adapter I need once Best Buy goes the way of Radio Shack.

There needs to be a store still where you can grab generally useful electronic things like extension cables, adapters, memory cards/sticks, a robot that talks like a child, batteries, etc.

Fry's is only in a few cities.
Old_Zircon
Dollar Tree.

oddeye
The radioshack I used to go to after work so I could fondle the overpriced diodes and shit is gone and now the dollar store beside it has gone to shit too.

Everything is shit fuck.
Hooker
The dollar store has gone to shit. Huh. Did not think I would have ever heard that said.

Bort
I know a fair number of former Radio Shack employees, so the topic of "what could/should they have done" comes up more in my circles than in most people's. Their big mistake, I think, has been stocking the shelves with what they wanted to sell rather than what people wanted to buy. For example, for years (say from 2008 onward), corporate really pushed cell phone sales, despite the fact that cell phone sales needs are already handsomely met by carriers' own stores. Or Radio Shack would push the giant TVs when you could go to Target or KMart (to say nothing of Best Buy) and see better selection.

A couple people have mentioned how handy Radio Shack was for the small parts -- cables, memory, etc -- and since those things tend to have a large mark-up, that should have been the niche Radio Shack tried to fill. There are problems with that model, such as how many diverse cables / adapters are out there, so Radio Shack would have done better to consolidate to a few large stores with big stockrooms that would allow broad inventories (kind of like how AutoZone has the vast behind-the-counter parts area). And since cables / etc are such an occasional need, they should have also stocked more "perishable" items to keep people coming back often, for example basic office supplies (pens / paper / ink cartridges).

But to a large extent, the environment that made Radio Shack thrive went away long ago. Their store is named after the telegraphy booth on a ship, for God's sake. If you want to play with radios these days, you don't mess with a chunk of germanium and a safety pin, you buy a radio. But why even buy a radio, when you can get a live stream from the Latvian folk music station (http://www.folkradio.lv/) and not depend upon the good will of the ionosphere?

Trivia: former CEO of Radio Shack was Julian Day, whom Batman readers will recognize as Calendar Man. Never hire a third-rate supervillain to save your corporation.
Old_Zircon
DIY electronics are probably the biggest they've ever been, but the Internet has made it so easy to order direct from manufacturers or all-in-one places that Radio Shack really is a glorified version of the phone accessories rack at a gas station convenience store now.

The last good Radio Shack branded products I can think of were discontinued in the late 90s.

Oscar Wildcat
OTOH, if people did play with the diodes and coils, they'd not go on to design so much shitty wireless equipment, like the wireless card in this laptop, which gets hosed when I plug in a pair of headphones. And I could see myself trying to explain why this happens to said designer, with that blank deer in headlights look my only reward. That apple phone that didn't work because the antenna would be shorted out when you held the phone also comes to mind. Best product designers in the world there. Total noob mistake.

Bort
"diodes and coils"

Pulling a guess out of my ass: inductance current blows the diode?

Sexy Duck Cop
I worked at Radioshack for about three months in 2008 and can confirm that what your friends told you is accurate. Management really pushed you into shoehorning cell phones into EVERY sale, no matter how obviously disinterested the customer was. And as a salesperson, it really strained my ability to upsell customers on things they might actually want--like, say, a larger pack of AA batteries than the ones they're buying, or maybe a slightly longer cable--because they actually thought you could casually slip "So, how many months you got left on your cell phone contract?" into conversation without looking like you're transparently setting up an unrelated sales pitch.

And it's not like you're operating on an impulse buy here, either. You don't just buy a new cell and sign a complicated, two-year contract for the whole family because discussing payment plans is so whimsical. Yet management actually told us to go outside on the sidewalk and FLAG DOWN RANDOM PASSERBYS TO ASK THEM ABOUT THEIR CELL PHONE PLAN.

THEY WANTED US TO HUNT PEOPLE DOWN ON THE STREET AND PHYSICALLY DRAG THEM INTO THE STORE.

Fuck Radioshack.

infinite zest
I grew up a few houses down from a Radio Shack which I think closed back in 2006 or so and is now a Thai restaurant. When that one closed I sort of assumed they all did. Especially that store, because it was pretty much in the middle of a residential neighborhood. I don't know if it's like this everywhere, but everywhere I've lived, going to Best Buy is a chore: they're either in the middle of suburbia or on some non-residential sprawl, and always surrounded by the Wal Marts, Home Depots, etc. Not a huge hassle if you drive, but otherwise a huge pain in the ass. One time I needed to pick up a replacement AV cable at a Best Buy and it took me 6 hours or so because there was no way to cross the street without walking 2 miles from where the bus turned around. Like, if they had been able to throw them to me, I was right there, across the street..

Radioshack for me anyway never had that problem. I guess if everyone had my view then there wouldn't be any Best Buys left and Radio Shacks on every gold-plated street corner.

NancyDrewFan123
I lost my TV remote (i have no idea how) and i went to the radio shack a few blocks away from my apartment. The only universal remote they had was something like 75 dollars. I walked away and ordered one for 4 dollars off of Amazon.

Burn in hell, Radio Shack.
infinite zest
You missed out. That was actually the kind that would freeze time and space. That 75 dollars is a drop in the bucket compared to walking right past the guards at the Louvre and getting an original Picasso, ripping out the second amendment of the constitution at the Smithsonian, or whatever floated your boat.

Binro the Heretic
I can remember my dad taking me there with him when I was a kid to buy components for repairing our home electronics. They used to be full of resistors, capacitors, transistors, tubes, soldering equipment & supplies and all sorts of stuff for repairing TVs, stereos, etc.

Does anyone else remember the days when a TV could be repaired as opposed to replaced or am I the only old fart around here?
Bort
I remember vacuum tubes. I even remember the machine for testing your vacuum tubes, it had a couple dozen vacuum tube sockets with the different pin patterns, and you'd plug the tubes in and the light would light up if your vacuum tube was good.

TeenerTot
Yup. My dad was the king of TV repair. We had a remote-less Zenith console for quite awhile.

Scrimmjob
Some old tube testers are really cool machines! I sadly still have to repair CRT monitors at work. Most of the old ones from the 80's are still repairable after all these years (the tubes are what are dying now), any of the Chinese garbage monitors from the last 20 years are pointless to even try and fix (hundreds of shitty capacitors, faulty parts, shorts that take out half of the components on the chassis, inaccurate/unavailable schematics). My place of employment has had a better selection of electronic components than Radio Shack for a long time though, out of desperation I'd occasionally call them looking for a part, and the clueless sweaty nerd on the other end would try and sell me a cell phone.


See you in hell Radio Shack!

Bort
Before you get too mad at the clueless sweaty nerd, his continued employment hinged upon selling a certain number of cell phones a month, with two accessories per cell phone. Yes, shopping at Radio Shack was a shitty experience, but working there was even worse. Thanks Julian Day.

The past few years, when I've shopped at The Shack, I've leaned over to the salesman and asked very quietly: "I know you guys have sales objectives, what sort of objectives are you working with, and can I help you meet them?" Of course, asking questions like that was like asking 1940s Muscovites what they really thought of Stalin, but I would do my best.

oddeye
It's fine and all that people have targets to meet but unless I actually want to spend my money I'm not going to help someone meet those goals regardless.

I don't owe them a living, just as they don't owe me one.

dairyqueenlatifah
It's interesting to drive through some of the more ghetto parts here in Columbus. Nearly every shitty rundown area has a tv repair shop in it that closed like 20 years ago, frozen in time.

You actually can have newer tvs repaired. The thing is that it's more expensive than just buying a new one.

StanleyPain
I have no particular memories of Radio Shack except once needing some components to build a speaker and getting them there despite the fact the employees were functionally retarded teenagers with no idea how to do anything except recite sales-pitches.

Oh..I also remember how they used to have their in-house brand of electronics, "Realistic", which were typically complete rip-offs of superior products from other companies, but only they cost more. I don't think I've ever seen a company on quite the level of Radio Shack ever go such a determined route to hold so much contempt for their own customers in the way they started doing the last few years.
Sexy Duck Cop
That was another problem with working there: Your training is split into two categories: How to turn a light switch on and off, and how to sell phones. Despite the mind-boggling array of obscure, specific parts in our sprawling inventory, Radioshack made no effort to explain what any of them were or what I should know about them. We were given huge binders full of cell phone plans to memorize, but I had zero idea what was even in most of the drawers.

And this was bad because approximately half the people who came in were clueless old people who just kept asking "where's the thing?" and the other half were engineers at Disney (my store was just off Buena Vista, in Burbank, so we were the go-to for the studios when they needed a small component immediately). Most of the time, all I could do was impotently wave at some vague box of copper wiring and tell them to have at it.

Oscar Wildcat
While we're on the subject of Radio Shack, anyone remember these?

http://www.atarimagazines.com/whizkids/

I still have a couple choice copies from "the day", principally "The computers that said no to drugs". Well, their computers did anyway.
EvilHomer
That is amazing! Not the video, the video sucks ass, but those comics! Holy Godbear, I must know more!

Oscar Wildcat
It was the 80's. What more need be said? My personal fav was "A Deadly Choice" which starred a young version of Oscar and his louche friends up to their usual mischief.

EvilHomer
Dem middle panels:

http://www.atarimagazines.com/whizkids/drugs/page8.jpg

Rafiki
Radio Shack should have been a brick and mortar Monoprice.com.
Rodents of Unusual Size
The worst retail experience of my life happened at Radio Shack.

I went there after I got back to America. I needed a phone. I had walked to a friends house because he wanted to sell me one of his many cel phones but when I got there he suddenly couldn't find them and realized they had been stolen, probably by one of the guys he was paying to help with yard work. I walked across town to the ATT store just as it was closing. Radio Shack was right next door. So I thought, how bad could it be?

I looked at the plans and asked hey, can I get this phone with this plan? They say sure, no problem, it's only for 1000 minutes. Awesome fine, here's my money. Okay sir, we just have to activate it.

um.

....


Sir it's not working, I don't know why.

Ok..soo....

(they make phone calls)

So sir, you actually have to pay more for the plan that you chose.

What? Well then screw it, I'll just take it back. Just give me a refund.

Sir, I can't do that, I'm not allowed.

What do you mean...I'm right here.

Sir, we have a TEN MINUTE REFUND POLICY.

You have a WHAT

Sir, you can't get a refund after ten minutes.

TEN MINUTE REFUND POLICY. Yes, you read that right. At this point there was a line of about 8 people that got fed up and most of them wound up leaving.

Okay you know what, I need a fucking phone. Fine. Here's the money. Just take it and give me my phone and activate it.

(they take more money)

Sir, we can't activate the phone. Are you sure you can't give us an already existing phone number?

No, I don't have a phone number.

Douchebag guy: Sir, why don't you have a phone number? It would make this a lot easier on everyone. I mean it's really weird to me you don't have a phone number.

I don't have one because I was OUTSIDE of the US for several years and they have OTHER phone numbers in OTHER countries including DIFFERENT area codes. It's totally crazy now give me my fucking phone.

(Girl employee talking to India on the phone trying to figure out why it won't activate, starts crying and talking about filing a complaint)

All of this took a whole hour and a half out of my life, and I was there 30 minutes past closing. Ten people who had waited for help didn't get it and some threw what they had picked out on the ground and yelled things and told the staff to fuck off. I had been fuming in rage and demanded my money back, saying yes you will give me my fucking money back, and you'll do it right fucking now. I told them this was the worst fucking customer service experience of my life.

They didn't give me a refund. They didn't have the authority so I went there the next day and the manager apologized and told me HE HAD TO DRIVE TWENTY MILES TO GET ME A NEW PHONE FOR THE PLAN ID PURCHASED. Because he also didn't have the authority to get me a refund, either. I finally shrugged it off and went to get a smoothie and waited for him to return. And that is how I got the shittiest phone I have ever had in my entire life, (thank you Net 10) until I got another one months later.

I will piss on your grave, Radio Shack.
Oscar Wildcat
Yes! Let the hate _flow_, Rous.

As I've often stated, RadioShack is in fact worse than Hitler.

Gmork
They deserve to fail. I knew employees there, and they know exactly what the fuck they're doing wrong, all the time. They just don't give a shit.

And yes, it was HEAVILY commissions-based, my friend barely made any money because NOBODY GOES TO FUCKING RADIO SHACK FOR A PHONE ANYMORE except in extenuating circumstances like ROUS.

dairyqueenlatifah
Other chains that should fail:

-GameStop
-HH Gregg
-Best Buy
-Wal-Mart

dairyqueenlatifah
I guess they couldn't afford those Weird Al ads after all.
John Holmes Motherfucker
Always a great place to get adapters and cables and shit to plug your shit into different shit, but now you can order that stuff on the internet way cheaper. The prices on everything else (like some black CDs) was always flat out ridiculous. Die motherfucker.

oddeye
I knew what you mwant buddy, got your back

The Mothership
Former Radio Shack employee checking in.

Awful, awful place to work, full of sociopaths and child molesters. Seriously, my first manager was fired for looking at child porn on a work computer, and his replacement slept with employees.
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