Our local Waimea RadioShack shop is closing.
Our local RadioShack has survived several rounds of store closures as the chain has moved in and out of bankruptcy court. Time has finally run out for the store and it is liquidating the stock and will close by the end of the month.
I have commented on my view on RadioShack before. As an electronic hobbyist I have mixed feelings about RadioShack. In my younger years it was a decent place to buy electronic components. Some of the early computers I learned on were RadioShack products like the TRS-80 and Tandy 1000. I even worked as a RadioShack sales clerk one summer during high school.
Into the 80’s and 90’s the store moved away from the hobby market to concentrate on retail electronics. As such I rarely entered a store, they just had nothing I was interested in. In recent years there was an effort to move back into the hobby electronics market, stocking more components, tools, and even Arduino starter kits. I have occasionally shopped at our local store when I needed a component quickly or some cell phone accessory. But my visits remained rare.
Located right next door to my usual supermarket the shop is quite conveniently located. No longer, it will soon be gone, along with over 500 store locations nationwide. Some analysts expect the entire chain will be gone soon.
I did stop by today to take advantage of the closeout sale, buying a bag full of electronic parts. I have always felt that the items offered were badly overpriced, but at 60-80% off, why not? Dozens of perfboards, LED’s, and connectors in the bag when I finished at the cash register.
Do not forget DC jacks, I am out of 5.5mm DC jacks!
The prices at Radio Shack reflect the convenience of getting what you need immediately. Heavily marked up prices for simple cables and components. The prices were so out of line I really only shopped at RadioShack if I needed the item now.
$7.95 for about twelve inches of assorted heatshrink? Really?
I know what components should cost, at retail or in production quantities. During my career I have purchased components one at a time and by the truckload. I am not using cheap eBay parts from China as the benchmark for prices here, though I do buy plenty of those.
A reasonable comparison would be the prices at the usual catalog vendors like Digikey, Allied, and Newark, plus a fair markup for retail. The markups at Radio Shack were outrageous.
Indeed, those little padded eBay envelopes from China are the primary reason I do not need to regularly shop at the local Radio Shack. And I expect I am not alone in that. Radio Shacks recent attempt to move back in the hobby electronics market was doomed from the start in the face of eBay and little padded envelopes from China.
Now where are those 16×2 LCD character displays I ordered last week? And remember to order some SOT-23 40V PNP transistors… One dollar for 100 parts, MMBT4403, US seller, three dollars shipping? Buy them!