When Radio Shack announced that it’s closing 1,100 of its 5,200 stores, several thoughts crossed my mind:

  • In January, 1986, I bought my first PC — a Tandy 1000, with monochrome screen, 270k memory and a 300 baud modem — at a Radio Shack store. I figured that wherever I moved, there would always be a place to get it fixed. Today, the chain wouldn’t even be on my radar if I were shopping for a new computer.
  • I’ve never bought anything else except batteries and audio cables at Radio Shack — and I’ve never seen more than one other customer whenever I was in the store.
  • Two years ago, Radio Shack tried to re-brand itself as “The Shack.” It was “The Failure.”
  • At this year’s Super Bowl, Radio Shack ran a big commercial whose theme was “Back To The 80s,” featuring Alf, Mary Lou Retton, and Hulk Hogan. Surprisingly, no one associated them with electronics and raced to the stores to buy Flock Of Seagulls CDs.
  • Radio Shack stores are small enterprises in the middle of strip malls. Best Buy stores are stand-alones, with huge inventory. The former can’t compete with the latter — and the latter can’t compete with Amazon.
  • In 1989, Dr. Demento played a Radio Shack parody on his radio show by Guns N’ Moses. It went like this…