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Author Topic: Will RS get its act together?  (Read 998 times)
KF7ATL
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Posts: 54




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« on: February 27, 2010, 08:14:53 AM »

I'm disappointed that Radio Shack has gotten away from its roots. The "young enough to be my kids" salespeople are decidedly unhelpful. Not only do they not know what I want, most of them don't even know what ham radio is. If they do know, they ask me " are there many people doing that anymore?  They might as well change the name to "Cellular Phone Shack". That's all they seem to have anymore!

It seems that back when they still had radio stuff that they were doing better as a company. Does anyone think RS will wake up and get its act together?
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AE4RV
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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2010, 09:05:39 AM »

People have been saying this for decades. Yes, decades. And because of this I am still pleasantly surprised to find electronic parts, 50 ohm coax, SO239/PL259 connectors, ground rods etc when I go there. Yeah the staff is pretty clueless but that's nothing new either. I'm glad Radio Shack is still around.

Here's something fun:

http://www.radioshackcatalogs.com/catalog_directory.html

73.
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WD4MTW
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Posts: 62




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« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2010, 10:49:03 AM »

Any good business is going to concentrate it's efforts on the products that it's target demographic wants. That's where the sales and profits are. RS is no different. I worked for them during the so-called golden age in the early to mid 70's. The store was arranged with the hi-fi's as you walked in on both sides with the sales/register gondola on the left. That's where the red carpet ended and the isles began of tv & stereo accessories,tape,antennas on the wall on one side and parts on the entire wall and back on the left. That red carpet up front was an imaginary boundry line that very few people that came into the store by proportion passed. The target demographic was a male between 20-30 of college age or young professional looking to buy a component stereo. He would probably come buy an buy a tape deck and occasional supplies. Four years later, that demographic became younger. A teen with his parents buying a calculator or portable radio or a lesser educated male browsing the CB radios or car stereo equip. Again, the carpet was the dividing line. Very few if anyone during the day went to the rear of the store by themselves, usually a salesman escorted someone directly to what they were asking for if they did. Parts rarely sold. The pegs had parts packages with faded packaging of older graphics. Very few actual components sold or did we have "techies" browsing or buying them. Some of the stuff we didn't even put out like TV antennas and kept them in the stockroom. Even in '73, it was wasted floor space by today's standards. Just before I worked there, they discontinued the AX&SX-190 receivers. The only shortwave radio outside the portables was the DX-150 which was followed by the 160 as a tabletop. There were no ham radio accessories,antennas or ham radio equipment short of anyting of interest to a CBer such as a SWR meter or coax. Only RF products were CB's and some crystal scanners.

Who is that demographic today and what do they want in electronics? Probably both male & female and even younger, looking for a phone,IPOD,laptop, small flat screen tv for a room or dorm.

Isn't that what RS is selling now? Then like now, how many people are building projects requiring parts? How many people are erecting TV antennas? CB antennas? Listening to scanners? Wiring their own homes or apts for telephone or network? Soldering or repairing anything? Buying expendables like tape or stereo supplies? RS is smart enough to leave other technology to office & computer supply and big box retailers where volume is high and margins slimmer in areas where they can be less competitive.

RS has their act together. They've survived all these years and seen all their competitors fail. They've always been able to define their niche. They're just meeting the demand their profitable deomographic wants.
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AA4PB
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« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2010, 10:59:57 AM »

"It seems that back when they still had radio stuff that they were doing better as a company."

I doubt it. I think management learned that trying to keep an inventory of small parts wasn't worth the returns on doing so. Personally, I don't really need a local parts supplier any more. I can go on-line to Digikey or Mouser, order exactly what I need, and have it setting on my door step in 4 days.
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W7ETA
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« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2010, 06:10:10 PM »

Or, one could assume they have better expertise than an individual who lacks both the depth and breath of expertise they have at their disposal?
73
Bob
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WX7G
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« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2010, 07:28:20 PM »

But RS says "you have questions, we have answers."
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KE3WD
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« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2010, 09:54:12 AM »

The slogan has ben changed now: 

"You have questions, we have cellphones."™


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N7NBB
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« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2010, 01:46:11 PM »

Seems to me they STILL have quite a bit of general stuff, but you have to really SEARCH it out in those tiny grey parts drawers. Granted they do not stock a wide variety of transistors, Caps, resistors,ICs etc. anymore, but internet sales killed that in lots of local stores, not just Rad SH**. The big kill for the hobbiest came when the LOCAL managers lost the ability to STOCK what THEIR LOCAL customers would buy, and instead had to stock what "CORPORATE" told them to. THAT was what caused "demand" to drop off, not the other way around.  Back in the 80s, Our local manager told me that he would LOVE to stock some of that stuff, but the HEAD OFFICE would not let him. (in the past, he'd have lots of NON-RADIO SHACK componets, HEP, GTE, Etc. and on the counter were VERY WELL WORN master cross-references from the big three.
It doesn't matter if it's electronic parts, brands of shaving cream, pickles, hotdogs, or fertilizer - the cookie cutter mentality of corporate america is killing independent retail sales, and fostering discontent. We're forced to accept what the suits tell us we want.
Next time you're in a Rad Sh**, stroll to the back and just study those grey bins.. there's really quite a selection. Sadly, NO Anderson Power Poles,[grin] but quite a bit.
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WD4MTW
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Posts: 62




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« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2010, 03:33:27 PM »

Huh? HEP and other non-RS parts were never stocked in any company stores that I remember back then. There might have been an occasional special purchase when the company bought out some discontinued stock from another company that was featured in the flyers that wasn't reflected in regular inventory. Stores had access to the Allied catalog for special orders even after the split, but didn't carry any independent parts. Back then, each store received a forcefeed that maintained the inventory of the printed catalog. Even inappropriate things such as chimney mounts in areas that didn't have chimneys we had to stock. As far as obtaining items that was a high local demand. Tough nuts, you only got the allotment and had to barter with another store (used to be called ICC)with other merchandise or send the customer over there. This ridgidity used to drive the managers nuts. Later years in the 90's, they started to list items in the catalog that were special order/non stock which could be delivered to the store. Gee something like stocking local crystals for the scanners was something that the managers had to do on the side and was frowned on. Our store got their butt racked over that when the local police agency popped a gasket that you could walk out of there with a radio ready to listen on their system rather then purchase crystal certificates.
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W7ETA
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« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2010, 03:52:52 PM »

Fortunately, I live in an area with one surviving electron parts store.  THey even have a tube checker and some 9 pin min tubes in stock along with used tube sockets.

The last time I was there, I was buying parts to build a CW xmitter from a 1949 HandBook.  Some of the caps were listed as uuF.  None of the three people working there knew what uuF meant.  They gave me a well worn HandBook from the 70s to try and figure it out.

SInce that time, I started buying parts on line.  ON line is less expensive for me unless I need just a couple of something.  When its just a couple of something, I take the 20 minute trip to get there and pay 2 to 3 times more than on-line prices.  Plus, I have to pay for the gas and figure on at least an hour round trip.

Ordering on line is simply amazing now! I order from Mouser Sunday night, they pull and mail my order on Monday, its here priority mail by Wed!

Even more amazin, I order military surplus parts cheaper from Russia or Ukrane and get better quality than I can buy in the US!

So. Go ahead.  Complain that RS doesn't run a business they way you think they OUTTA!

Me, I'm amazed they are still in business!  Anyone remember Circuit City?

73
Bob
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WX7G
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Posts: 6131




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« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2010, 08:27:14 PM »

ATL, looks like it's time for you to get your 'act together' and learn how to order parts online.

I hear that Radio Shack is about to change the name to The Shack.
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W7ETA
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Posts: 2527




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« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2010, 09:54:59 PM »

I heard they were going to replace the Board of Directors with strategy sessions on eHam.

73
Bob
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WG8Z
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Posts: 200




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« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2010, 06:40:33 PM »

I remember back in the 60's, the local RS store Manager had a Ticket and the store had a working Ham station...Things seemed to have changed a bit. HiHi
73
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AA4PB
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« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2010, 04:56:47 AM »

"But RS says "you have questions, we have answers."

No is an answer :-)
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WX7G
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Posts: 6131




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« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2010, 07:22:35 AM »

Yes, I often walk into a Radio Shack to get a component or a connector. I head for the parts area and someone asks what I need. I tell them and they say 'we don't have those.' I pick up one of 'those', pay for it, and leave.
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