Tandy's Radio Shack retail stores is what I miss most about the 70's. But it's time to do it in a digital world.
It was the place to go to for most anything related to stereos, radios, electronic kits, organizers, CB radios, remote cars, books on electronics, speakers, clocks, television antennas, and recently electronic mobile devices and security systems. They had it all, back in the days when Tandy was going strong.
"You got questions?, We got answers!" - Yeap that was their logo.
Internet takes over
Before the personal computer and cell phone became the main method for purchases from retail stores and before the internet became the most sought out place to buy just about anything under the sun, and when Retail stores like Radio Shack, Montgomery Ward, Sears and Shopping Malls were in their hay day era, I was so thrilled by getting out of the house and taking a look at what was on the shelves of almost all the major retailers. I enjoyed being able to be surrounded by things I like and would be buying eventually when I became a very successful artist, or so I once thought. Or musician. Or architect or writer. I had ambition back in the day. The Radio Shack at Wynnewood Village Shopping Center was located along the strip where Kroger sat. They had a great selection of stereo equipment, microphones, reel to reel, cassette recorders and belt drive and direct drive turntables. I bought my first pair of Walkie-Talkies and my first personal CB radio and portable LCD television from Radio Shack. I bought my first stereo system and speakers at that store.
I put together my own stereo speakers from raw wood and tweeters, woofers and used glue and nails to put together some awesome speakers that I then connected to my stereo system. Back then, when I had access to my parent's garage, I turned it into a Cobra Club where I put a piano a desk astronomy posters, magazines and books and random furniture and rugs and tables found at thrift stores. The only thing new in that garage were the light bulbs, the throw rugs and the assorted magazines and records that me and my friend, K. T. , spending much of our time playing music on guitar and piano and recording our music on cassette recorders bought at Radio Shack. They were called 'Realistic' They were mono recorders with a built - in microphone and a portal for a wired omni-directional or bi-directional microphone. I bought my first cell phone from Radio Shack when cell phones were just in the early stages of production and mass marketing.
I paid for a 2 year plan, with Sprint as my carrier and paid about 45 dollars each month. I also had a Pager, but it was a Southwestern Bell Telephone item. The cell phone was analog, not digital and it was heavy and had to be charged on a base system that plugged into the wall outlet at home using an AC-DC voltage adapter.
They had nifty pocket calculators, electronic organizers, LCD and LED clocks, Citizen Band Radios base units, with coax wire and antennas and wireless CB units as well as a selection of Car CB radios. Their car stereos and car speakers and wireless headphone AM/FM radios were all the rage back in those days. I had bought so many products from Radio Shack over the years that I won't even dare calculate the dollar amount I spent over the years. I must have spent more of my hared earned money working at the hardware store and the print shop and doing lawn work on the side that I could have bought a brand spanking new car!
So, I thought about it and came up with the idea that would save Radio Shack from going into extinction and that would simple be that Tandy did it the way the rest do it. Most of us know that Amazon is the place to buy things. Walmart is the only retail store I know that sells half of the stuff Radio Shack used to have in their stores. Now they do in fact have an online presence. That is the way to go for them and if they keep it up I think they will excel, even though they are losing at the retail end.
So, if it were my wish to be granted today it would be that Radio Shack became the king of the internet in sales and marketing. The things I used to buy there were good in quality and price with a few exceptions, the cheap stuff was not that great but the mid market items and high end stuff was top shelf in quality. Now I see stuff electronics catalogs like Crutchfield , and others, that sell only the high end stuff. Radio Shack was more of a local place for the average Joe. I was the prime purchaser of the things that Radio Shack had to sell for a person living on a tight budget but for a person who could walk into a store and get instant customer service, look at things on display and compare prices and end up buying one or two new items every single time. Satisfaction brought me back. There are not that many stores that are retail markets that produce the same type of customer satisfaction that Radio Shack gave to their customers.
So if they are to survive, they really need to remain online and do it the way the others are already doing it, letting people purchase the things they like at the click of a mouse. But I do miss the one-on-one friendly customer service that was one of the top reasons they were so successful when the heavy competition was not squeezing the life out of them through no fault of their own. Blockbuster also had their hay day period until the world as a whole went DIGITAL.
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