Radio Shack Stores

I have always liked to visit Radio Shack stores. I owned several TRS‑80 computers (and still do), and I liked to examine the computers on display. It was somewhat less interesting once they got out of that business, but I still liked to look at their electronic supplies and tools.

All Radio Shack stores used to have large electronic sections. They had drawers of LED’s, resistors, capacitors, diodes, connectors, and even some integrated circuits. The parts were overpriced compared to mail-order merchants, but the convenience of being able to walk out with just the part you needed was worth a lot.

But now the selection of electronic parts in a Radio Shack store varies greatly depending on the store. One store I like to visit still has a large electronic section. They even have some unusual items that you wouldn’t expect to see there, such as BASIC Stamp modules and starter kits. The manager is friendly and has an interest in electronics, probably explaining the large number of parts.

A more local Radio Shack is, I suspect, more typical. It is almost all cell phones and televisions, with only a small corner containing a few shopworn electronics parts. Who would want to buy PCB etchant in a box faded nearly to white, coated with a thick layer of dust?

I can understand why Radio Shack (or RadioShack as they are known now) wanted to move away from their electronic parts image. But it is still a shame that they have abandoned so much of what made their stores different.

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