Rest in Peace RadioShack

by Barrett

The end is near for this RadioShack store and many others. If you want to pay your respects, you’d better hurry…

The end is near for this RadioShack store and many others. If you want to pay your respects, you’d better hurry…

It isn’t as if we didn’t see this coming. The last time I gave a thought to RadioShack was a year ago when I watched its clever Superbowl commercial. The retro spot was a great Hail Mary pass. Still, I can’t remember the last time I actually stepped foot in a RadioShack.

You don’t have to follow the news to know RadioShack was in trouble. And last week, the ailing electronics retail chain finally filed for bankruptcy protection. (Sprint will be picking up some of the stores as co-branded retail spaces.)

The New York Times recently ran a feature chronicling RadioShack’s slow train wreck over the years…

For me, RadioShack’s implosion felt a lot like losing a long-time friend who moved away from the neighborhood.

Once upon a time, RadioShack was always there whenever I had an immediate tech need. Where else were you going to go to get some speaker wire? Or headsets for your walkie-talkie? Or size D batteries?

But my RadioShack abandonment story is easy to explain:

  • I never went there expecting to buy quality tech
  • Their nerdy tech vibe wasn’t cool
  • My needs move from wired to wireless
  • There were other stores that carried the same stuff

You Get What You Pay For
You can’t argue that RadioShack carried items at a certain ‘accessible’ price point. But invariably, inexpensive items don’t hold up.
The price was right, but the tech I bought often broke or stopped working prematurely.
(So I went there mostly as an emergency measure.)

It’s hard to build a brand on merchandise that doesn’t last…

Who Wants to Feel Uncool?
Consumer tech is supposed to be cool, right?
But I don’t think you could ever have called RadioShack cool.
It was for nerds who liked to tinker.
(I should know.)

Image is everything, and even as a tech nerd, if I didn’t need to go to Radio Shack, I wouldn’t.

Who Wants More Cables?
A lot of what I bought from RadioShack over the years were the cables that connected all my tech together. But as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies took center stage, I didn’t really have to buy many cables anymore.

RadioShack didn’t stock much else that compelled me to come back…

Numerous Shopping Options
This was a time before Best Buy, Staples, Amazon and of course… the Apple Store.
Radio Shack had something of a monopoly on certain kinds of tech.

But now, there are plenty of places that can serve up all your technology solutions.

So Radio Shack couldn’t keep up and kicked the bucket.
Nothing lasts forever…
Plus, there’s really no loss to the consumer here.

All that said, I guess I still feel a little sad.
Yes, RadioShack was there for me… literally over the course of decades.
But I simply outgrew it. And so did everyone else…

Goodbye, old friend.