I miss the 1980s Radio Shack

While building the bicycle generator, I wished I could find an electronics component store. I needed a couple parts, a diode and an inline Volt/Amp meter.  I checked the phone book for electronic parts and components and an older phone book had a few stores, but in the new phone book, the section no longer existed to be replaced by e-cigs.

The elusive diode…  After several phone calls and a store drop by, to no avail, I succumbed to ordering online.

In the video, I am feeling a sort of dread and disappointment that my generation will no longer see the brick and mortar specialized stores.  Instead, we must shop online exclusively for specialty items.   Ordering online for us means a minimum of a 4 day wait and that is with 2 day Amazon prime.  If the component is the wrong size, does not work as anticipated, or is made so cheaply it would be unwise to use it in the system, the return of another 4 days with another 4 day wait for the replacement could postpone a project over 8 days. Plus, the initial 4 day wait to begin with is a dozen days and don’t forget weekends.  I could have finished the bicycle generator in one day, if I could have purchased all the parts I needed at a localized store.  Gone are the days.

Gone are the days… The inline Volt/ Amp meter, I was surprised even my auto parts store didn’t have this one.

What does this mean for our society? Patience is a virtue? Or, progress is only as fast as the postal service.  Perhaps, with the death of these corporations a new demand will inspire people to start their own brick and mortar businesses to replace them, and the cycle will begin once again.  We can only hope.  I wonder if I could start a successful electronics store.

2 thoughts on “I miss the 1980s Radio Shack

  1. I called up several stores, asking for an outdoor TV antenna. “Yes, we have TV antennas in stock.” “Can I pick it in the store?” “Yes.” “Can I pick it up today?” “Yes. You can come to the store today for the TV antenna.” “Can I pick it up today and take it home today?” “No. It’s in stock in our warehouse in ——. We can have it here in 3-4 days.”

    It will be interesting when plumbing fittings are no longer locally available. I can see it now. The water is turned off, a valve is removed and the need for another part is discovered….and it will take four days to arrive. Meanwhile, the water can’t be turned back on until the part arrives.


    Liked by 1 person

    • You are absolutely right. I had a neighbor when I lived on the coast who went through that very same thing with a faucet. The plumber came out to assess the problem $75. He went to get the part and return, $75 more dollars. Part didn’t fit return part, wait some more for ordered part, 3rd trip another $75. Then the install of $150 dollars plus sink faucet part $210.00. He asked me what I did in such cases and I said I went to George Morlan in Lincoln City bought a new faucet for $140.00 and installed it myself. It is getting harder to do things on the fly when a special part is needed especially when no stores carry what you need in the area. Staples in our area has such a limited supply; it seems the help always asks for you to order what they don’t have online.


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