Radio Shack Rebranding, Or Learning to Live with Disappointment

As anyone who has been reading me for a while knows, I used to work for Radio Shack for a time, managing three different stores in Southern California. I worked there during the time that Len Roberts was the president of the company, and before it was revealed that Dave Edmondson was a long time liar, and still an undergraduate.

So it would be fair to say that I have a certain bias. It would, however, also be fair to say that for many years, I was a big fan of Radio Shack, waiting patiently each year for the new catalog, and saving change to build things that were both educational and ‘cool’.

radio-shack-logo another piece of Americana, relegated to the scrap heap…perhaps there will be a fire sale on them, for nostalgia buffs

147943036_6be9d12eb5 lots of these were found just a few years ago, after the last logo change … it wasn’t terribly helpful … the stock price still sucks, reflecting the store’s lack of success

This re-branding that is taking place is simply more of the slide into oblivion that has happened because the ‘learned elders’ who now run the place are nothing but greedy bastards who are desperately trying to increase the profits by any (hopefully) legal means possible.

During the time of Mr. Roberts, many changes took place. Entry into the cell phone market was a very lucrative thing, for the company, and the employees. It was also good for the customers. The addition of DirecTV, after the failure of Primestar, was also a great thing for all parties concerned.

The difference between the early years of Roberts, and later on, was that the early years did not erase the core ideas of Radio Shack that had been established many years before. ‘The wonder of electronics’ was the unstated raison d’etre of the company, and somewhere during the time of Len Roberts tenure, it was completely forgotten.  ( For those who don’t remember, this is the Radio Shack that swallowed up Allied Electronics in the seventies, and in the early eighties took out Lafayette Electronics as a competitor.)

Today’s Radio Shack is simply a place to be assaulted by idiots and other know-nothings, trying to desperately sell service on the inferior Sprint or AT&T networks, because Radio Shack did not have the foresight to stay with a winner, Verizon. The once trained staff has been replaced by the type of people that a place gets when incentives (read commissions) are removed, and wages are low.

Beyond the loss of Verizon, and DirecTV, the core items, electronics parts, in large measure, are mostly a memory that this new, unenlightened staff does not have. No, Radio Shack, under the helm of Edmondson became a place where accessories became king. Accessories that are overpriced and underwhelming in quality, with the items that they work with to be found mostly at other stores, not at Radio Shack. I’m actually surprised that more of these places have not been relocated right next to Best Buy stores, so that he customers could by the major goods at BB, and walk next door for the accessories. After all, the uninitiated and unwashed masses think that these places are great places to get deals. It would seem a natural fit.

Say what you will about the days of Radio Shack branded products, they were a value to the discriminating customer, who knew how to shop on sale items, and did a little homework about the source of those house brands. The accessories at that time were the glue that made the sale stick, not the only reason for being in the store.

When I started working at Radio Shack, I was proud to say I worked there, as I knew the long history of the company, and the place in the society it filled. It was a place that allowed me to help people with problems, making their lives better. Now it is simply a place to go when no place else has an item, or it is simply more convenient, because there are so many of the places (though not nearly as many as there used to be).

No, I don’t care what they call those places now, because they are no longer the realization of the dream of Charles Tandy.  The Shack, as they are to be called, is now just a place to go as a last resort, and no one likes to visit those places.

All we can count on in this life is change; unfortunately, not all change happens to be good.

___ One of the many articles about the change __

§

It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.Mahatma Gandhi

Get a faster browser, download Opera

Digg This