Recent news reports that Best Buy may acquire RadioShack have been causing me to reflect on the role “The Shack” played in my childhood, my interest in technology and radio, and how much they’ve changed in 40 years.
I sometimes like to joke that RadioShack was my first consulting client, but there’s an element of truth to that. In 4th grade every day after school I would walk over to my local RadioShack (on the corner of W Chapman Ave and Haster St in Anaheim) to spend an hour or more looking at their CB radios and other things I couldn’t begin to afford. The store manager finally got tired of wiping my fingerprints off his display cases and offered me a job delivering catalogs to the local neighborhood; paying me in store credit. After a strenuous week and a couple of spills on my bicycle (the catalogs were a lot heavier than the newspapers I was used to delivering) I was able to afford a real walkie-talkie; not one of those 100 mW Channel 14 toys I’d received for Christmas the year before but a REAL radio with channels and meaningful output power. I didn’t stop hanging around the RadioShack (because there were always more catalogs to deliver) but I felt like I was part of the store family.
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TRS-80 Model II … that was my first computer. Fond memories indeed of that little green screen.. 🙂
I remember as a kid they had a free battery deal where you could get one free battery a month or something. I also remember getting a few Radio Shack electronics kits as a kid, I’m 35 now. I think seeing true electronics at a component level helped to peak my interest as a kid. I think it would be cool to have the Shack Classic type of electronics at hobby shops that can provide classes, tutorials, and a club meeting place.
TRS-80! oh man that takes me back. my microprocessors prof. would go on and on about how the Z80 was the king of micros.
and i still have the speaker-building book i bought when i was 15.
the shack was the shiz back in the day.
Many a hack of mine back in the day started with a trip to my local Radio Shack, back in the days when 555, 8038, and 8870 ICs awaited in force-feed section to assist in implementing assorted deviltry…
I know Charles Tandy is rolling in his grave looking at what is happening to his company. I worked for Radio Shack for almost 20 years and knew Mr. Tandy. He put is life into this company and to see it torn down is simply sick. The death of Radio Shack started when John Roach sold all of the Tandy companies. Not many people remember but Tandy/Radio Shack manufactured about 50% of everything that was sold in the stores, Mr. Roach destroyed that. The current CEO in a comment to the press said that he had no clue as to why Radio Shack is making money but for some reason it is as he still has a desk to sit at daily. This guy is an idiot with no vision and how he got his job I have no clue. Personally I would want a CEO that would want to BUILD a company not sell or destroy it like he is dong to Radio Shack. My company, Radio Shack, has lost leadership and it’s a shame and there is nothing I can do about it.
If you want to see a website of old Radio Shack catalogs from 1939-2005, old store photos, memorabilia, trademarks, advertisements, commercial videos, read about Charles tandy and and even participate in a Radio Shack forum, THIS IS THE SITE!.
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