I’ve tried several times to write a eulogy for Radio Shack. It’s not easy. The demise has been a foregone conclusion for a very long time, and it’s clear they could have done any number of things differently and survived in some form.
But they didn’t. Let me tell you about the last time I almost went to Radio Shack. Yes, almost.
I needed a battery. Radio Shack was always a good go-to place for batteries. You’d pay a bit of a premium most of the time, but they were almost guaranteed to have what you needed, even if they had to cross-reference it.
This being 2015, though, first I went to their web site to make sure. I wanted to get the battery and get back home in one trip, because it was cold and rainy. And what did I find? Well, it was completely unclear whether either of the stores near me even had the battery in stock in anything other than a five-pack. I needed one, not five.
So I checked Batteries Plus. They had the battery in stock, and their price was lower. So I went to Batteries Plus, where they tried to upsell me to a ten-pack. No thanks, I said. They didn’t have a single, so I bought a two-pack. I expect I’ll be set for 5-10 years now.
Once the announcement is official, I’m sure I’ll pay the two stores closest to me one last visit. They may have a few things I can use, or maybe they won’t.
I’ll miss the stores, but, realistically speaking, it’s been a very long time since they’ve even vaguely resembled what they once were. The components section is 1/3 the size it once was, and there’s nothing special about the rest of the store. They aren’t even the best place to get a battery or a bulb anymore. For the last decade, I’ve probably gone there once a year on average.
Of course, I can’t get electronics components at Batteries Plus. But there is a TV repair shop a couple of miles away that deals in components, from what I understand. That place may well be able to help me out, they aren’t much further away than Radio Shack was, and they’re locally owned. Supporting a locally owned business is always a good thing.