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Author Topic: Radio Shack asks the "DIY Community" for Input  (Read 5170 times)
AE4RV
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« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2011, 11:15:19 PM »

Unless they are in it for the long game I'm afraid it's too late for them to get all their electronic parts customers back. If they had well stocked stores, we would eventually write Radio Shack back into our shopping patterns. But my fear is that even if they start stocking like a real parts store, that we have already changed our habits they will give up before put them back in our habitual lineup.

Habits die hard.

It sounds like they are going for a relatively new, emerging demographic: the "makers".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maker_subculture

Some of the makers are in to ham radio, too:
http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2010/05/collapsible-fabric-yagi-antenna.html
http://makeprojects.com/Topic/Ham_Radio


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KG6BRG
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« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2011, 05:47:43 AM »

I think the problem is that R/S is just reflecting the society that we have become.  That is a "throw away-plug and play" world.  Other than a few guys / gals that still like to build and fix things, I'm afraid they (R/S) couldn't survive on profits from electronics bits and pieces.
I just stock up on small components from All Electronics or similar and have a pretty good stock of commonly used things, since they (All Electronics) are a couple of hours away form my current QTH.  I used to live just a few miles away and that was handy, and I remember that HRO was close to them too, on Oxnard St, and I could peruse the ham gear too.   I find with my local R/S I have to have the cell phone kid look up the specific part # and ask him to search their inventory.  It's no use to ask them if they have a specific part, they have no clue.  cheers.
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N3OX
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« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2011, 06:38:08 AM »

It sounds like they are going for a relatively new, emerging demographic: the "makers".

That's my interpretation too.  There's a pretty good hobby market for do it yourself projects.  Electronics are just part of it. 

I think that Radio Shack will probably just start stocking more microcontroller project boards and that kind of stuff.  Probably won't help much with the much-lamented "PL-259 problem."    I can solve that, though.  Write down 278-205 on a piece of paper and carry it in your wallet.  Or go into the store and ask where the "connectors for ham and CB coax" are.   Better yet buy your PL-259s on the internet twenty at a time so you don't have to use ones from Radio Shack Grin
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73,
Dan
http://www.n3ox.net

Monkey/silicon cyborg, beeping at rocks since 1995.
CLEBOT
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« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2011, 11:53:09 AM »

I like the idea of Radio Shack asking what people are looking for.  It’s great to know that there are still people who build and tinker, and that Radio Shack is asking for their opinion.  They don’t make much money off of it, which makes it that much more impressive.
I am very fortunate that my local RS has a ham working there who knows his stuff.  The sales staff isn’t pushy, and the employees really know their stuff.  If they don’t know what or where something is, I help them out by showing them.  No need to be rude or condescending toward them (unless the obviously do not care a lick and are just waiting for you to buy some batteries and then leave).  Those employees don’t last long, anyway.
As far as other stores with sales staff who aren’t familiar with every single semiconductor they sell, how about providing a little gentle guidance?  People generally want to do a good job at what they do and if approached the right way can benefit from our shared knowledge.  It’s about building relationships.  Soon enough, just like walking into your favorite coffee shop where they know how to make your coffee just the way you like it, the RS guys will remember you and know where you’re heading.
I, too, worked at Radio Shack during the mid-90’s.  While sales were important, people were what really mattered.  Customer service was always above profit.
Additionally, it was my employment at Radio Shack, which led me to get my license.  I got my first start looking through the “Passport to World-Band Radio”, “Antennas”, and Gordon West books we used to sell while at work.  I also enjoyed talking to other hams that would come in to buy odds and ends.  It was through these “Regulars” that I learned a lot about what we sold and about ham radio.
Anyway, just sharing my experiences, which have all been very positive.

All the best,
Gerrit, KE5HVM
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KC9HOZ
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« Reply #19 on: June 01, 2011, 06:40:21 AM »

Just a local observation:  I visited my local RS over the weekend to return a switch I purchased 3 weeks ago (which didn't work  Roll Eyes , but at lease they happily exchanged it, no questions asked).  In those 3 weeks their selection of perfboard and project boxes has about quadrupled!  They had a new large breadboard (new to my store anyway) and some copper clad board, which I haven't seen at any RS I've been in in years.  They also had Mims Engineer's Notebooks back in stock.  They had some new kits which looked to be geared toward kids (LED blinky things and little "robots") and some other stuff that escapes me just now.

Their parts drawers were still a mess... and the same--generally clueless--employees were still employed there.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed and also hoping they can bring their prices down a bit.  $1.49 for a single capacitor? Come on...

Scott
kc9hoz
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N3OX
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« Reply #20 on: June 01, 2011, 07:50:55 AM »

I'm keeping my fingers crossed and also hoping they can bring their prices down a bit.  $1.49 for a single capacitor? Come on...

Scott, they're not going to bring the prices down much if at all.  You're paying for convenience.

A retail storefront would have to charge much more than a big electronics supplier anyway, and RS is going to charge WAY WAY more to make it highly profitable to keep stuff in stock.

If you're really interested in homebrewing, you'll need to build some stock using one of the online suppliers.  I like Mouser.  The parts at RS will, for an established ham homebrewer, always be "emergency" items and it would cost way too much to get started with them for any substantial project.  For minimal entry-level hacking around it's good to be able to run out and grab a part, but the prices aren't going to come down much.

Think of the new electronics stock at Radio Shack as a way for Dad to buy an interesting Christmas present for little nerdy Susie who likes to tinker, and a place where Susie can go because she needs a couple of LEDs and resistors or ONE small motor and a MOSFET  to go with her new microcontroller board.

It's not somewhere you'll ever be able to go to buy all the parts for a QRP transceiver and walk out for less than the cost of a FT-817 Grin
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73,
Dan
http://www.n3ox.net

Monkey/silicon cyborg, beeping at rocks since 1995.
K1CJS
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« Reply #21 on: June 01, 2011, 09:07:36 AM »

If you're looking for price, the internet suppliers will beat RS hands down.  If you're stuck for a part on a weekwnd and just have to have it, RS may--MAY--fill the bill.

Anyway, they've asked this of their customers before, and they've changed a little--and went right back to the same old.  I don't think you'll see much, if any, more new/restocking of parts being done.  It's just a marketing ploy.
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KC9TNH
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« Reply #22 on: June 02, 2011, 06:11:00 AM »

There are RS who are "corporate" - quite often the ones with some decent parts bins who have a larger footprint in terms of sq. footage, maybe in a mall - and there are the old smaller town RS who are indiv franchises and have near-zero latitude in what they order. They sell qty=1 of an item per year they will be lucky to replenish that one unless they can call to the big-city-Corp RS 60 miles away and inquire if that store has it in-stock. The play nice guy & the other store gets the sale. The indiv franchise guy has to eat so sells & deals with what moves. The rule of the self-licking ice cream cone.

Awhile back lots of gun owners started shopping online to save a couple of bucks (false economy after transfer fees etc.), only to wake up one day and ask "hey, where are all the brick & mortar gunshops?" RS is already there and too late for them in my view; hobbyists have reaped what they've sown.
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73
Wes -KC9TNH
"Don't get treed by a chihuahua." - Pete
KC9HOZ
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« Reply #23 on: June 02, 2011, 02:01:36 PM »

Well, OK a price decrease was pretty much wishful thinking!  Grin  I was surprised to see so sudden a change, especially in a small town store.

Scott
kc9hoz
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K1CJS
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« Reply #24 on: June 03, 2011, 05:04:24 AM »

I have to disagree with one point made here.  Most of the franchise RS stores are the ones that carry more in the parts department than the corporate stores do.  The corporate stores are after the cash--they carry the things that move, as has been said.  The franchisees, however, look to what the people in their community want, and are NOT controlled by RS to the point the corporate stores are.  If their customers want parts, the store owners are going to carry those parts--even if they only have one or two of a specific piece on hand.

I've been in a franchise store in a small local plaza where the owner also carried parts and materials that Radio Shack did NOT supply.  That store has since closed, but it was--for the community--THE place to go for electronic repair and DIY parts, not the RS store a mall about a mile away.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2011, 06:14:28 AM by K1CJS » Logged
N8CMQ
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« Reply #25 on: June 03, 2011, 08:43:09 AM »

I have only been to the shack in emergencies, I needed UG-179s for a jumper.
I asked for RG-58 coax, but they only knew RG-6, till I said CB...
Otherwise I buy through the internet, Allied, Richardson and so on...
Looks like they carry a lot of toys and cell phone stuff, that is what keeps them open...
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