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RadioShack To Rebrand As "The Shack"? 629

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the a-little-old-place-where-we-can-get-together dept.
Harry writes "Rumor has it that RadioShack is planning to re-brand itself as The Shack later this year, after eighty-eight years under the old name (most of them with a space in between 'Radio' and 'Shack'). I hope it's not true, because I don't think the move would do a thing to make the retailer a better, more successful business." Where will we go to buy soldering irons and those RCA to headphone jack adapters now?
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RadioShack To Rebrand As "The Shack"?

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  • by Duds (100634) * <{dudley} {at} {enterspace.org}> on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:03AM (#28927577) Homepage Journal

    It's very dangerous to rebrand because of how much you lose vs how much you gain. IBM makes bugger all money from "International Business Machines" these days but they wouldn't want to lose a brand everyone knows. Same for "Carphone Warehouse" in the UK, they don't want to lose the recognition despite the fact no-one has called a cell/mobile phone a car phone in 2 decades.

    And Microsoft's stuff certainly isn't small. (*sidesteps hook*)

    So despite the lack of "Radio" as their main business, they should REALLY look and see if the number of people who say "I don't need a radio I won't go there" might be outnumbered by the people who will end up saying "What the f is "The Shack"?". It sounds like somewhere you'd buy a very dodgy Hawaiian style shirt.

    • by e4g4 (533831) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:14AM (#28927763)

      they should REALLY look and see if the number of people who say "I don't need a radio I won't go there" might be outnumbered by the people who will end up saying "What the f is "The Shack"?"

      They should really look and see if the marketing company, to whom they undoubtedly gave millions of dollars for this rebranding idea, is worth their salt. On the other hand - name changes aren't always bad - Verizon seems to be managing just fine.

      • by Moryath (553296) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:31AM (#28928093)

        The rebranding of "The Shack" is because it's the only thing the marketing company could come up with that beat the more-apt "Crap Shack" moniker.

        Remember: Even the Radio Shack CEO can't figure out how his company stays in business [theonion.com].

        • by twistedsymphony (956982) on Monday August 03, 2009 @01:26PM (#28929973) Homepage
          I've referred to it as "The Shitty Shack" or "RatShack" for nearly a decade already... I lost complete faith in them when they started putting more emphasis in selling mobile phones than any other product in the store.... where the F else are you going to pickup that last little electrical component you need for your project instead of paying Digikey $12 to ship a 5 cent part?... though it pisses me off when there is only one clerk in the store helping some old lady decide on a cell phone while I stand at the register for 10 minutes waiting to buy a fresh roll of solder.

          I miss the college days... there was an electronics shop down the street from the school that was what you'd imagine if mouser opened a retail outlet.... it's a shame how few places like that still exist. It's an even bigger shame how not only is most of society not interested in learning about and working with electronics but actually FEAR peole who do... I miss the cold-war era sci-fi culture where it was actually cool to and respected if you got into the technical side of things. /rant
          • by CastrTroy (595695) on Monday August 03, 2009 @01:49PM (#28930415) Homepage
            How many 5 cent parts do they have to sell in a day to pay that $7 an hour employee. How many cell phones do they have to sell to pay that employee. Truth is, they could probably sell 1 phone a day for an employees entire day of wages. While they would have to serve more than 1 customer every minute selling 5 cent parts. And that's just the employee. Never mind all the overhead of the store. I think a much better way of selling those little parts you need would be to have a bunch of warehouses and you order them over the internet. After which they are mailed out in the cheapest way possible. Sure you wouldn't get them very quickly, but do you have any idea how much retail space costs in this day and age. I'm surprised they carry these little electronics parts at all.
          • by StikyPad (445176) on Monday August 03, 2009 @02:43PM (#28931237) Homepage

            When they started selling phones? Really? Not when they started hawking generic electronics and speakers at premium prices under the Optimus brand? Or when they tried to sell you a Tandy every time you stepped through the door?

            To be fair, electronic component sales really aren't a viable market anymore. With the price of production shrinking just as fast as the size of transistors, we've long since entered the world of disposable electronics, where it's cheaper to design and manufacture products to be replaced in their entirety than to be repairable. Surface mount technology was pretty much the death knell for that. Sure, there are exceptions, and I probably do more electronic repairs than most people, but it's still a rare event. I recognize that our hobby/habit is becoming more and more of a rarity, and on modern electronics, the only *technician* serviceable parts are basically connectors and buttons/switches. It's not like you can even get schematics for most electronics these days, so unless you know for a fact that you just broke off a SMC, and what its value was, you're probably never going to find the fault. I've even seen boards straight from the manufacturer with components broken off or leads clipped to correct design flaws, so you can't rely on sight alone.

            When it comes down to it, people would rather just get a new device than pay someone half the replacement price, and in most cases more than the market value of the old one. Desktop computers are about the only exception, but even then you're usually swapping out boards rather than performing component-level repairs. When I bent the pins on my LGA 775 socket, for example, the entire motherboard was a wash. It would have cost $25 just for the part from my wholesaler after discount, and hours of tedium to manually resolder 775 pins, IF I could even pull it off without creating a short or melting a trace. And I certainly didn't want to risk a $100 used CPU in a home-soldered socket, let alone the brand new $500 CPU I was replacing it with. Better to just run out and get a new motherboard for $100, and the peace of mind that comes with it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by residieu (577863)
        With Verizon it probably helped. Anyone happy with the Bell Atlantic/NYNEX/GTE was already a customer, and wasn't going to switch just because of a name change. Changing their name gave them a chance to trick some of their unhappy former customers into trying them out again.
        • by badasscat (563442) <basscadet75&yahoo,com> on Monday August 03, 2009 @12:32PM (#28929135)

          With Verizon it probably helped. Anyone happy with the Bell Atlantic/NYNEX/GTE was already a customer, and wasn't going to switch just because of a name change. Changing their name gave them a chance to trick some of their unhappy former customers into trying them out again.

          The Verizon rebrand happened when they still had a monopoly on northeast area local call service, and that was their only real business. There wasn't any choice of switching or not. You can rebrand as many times as you want when customers have no other company to go to. (A lot of utilities rebrand pretty frequently for that reason - my gas company just rebranded themselves as "National Grid" a little while ago, even though they only serve the Northeast. But I have no other choice of where to get my gas, so who cares?) I suspect my gas company rebranded themselves the way they did for the same reason as Verizon - they did not want to continue to be pigeonholed by their name into one region of the country. (Ditto for Cingular, now AT&T, which is an apt case of "back to the future".) In those cases, the rebranding allowed a local company to go national.

          I would love to see Verizon try to rebrand themselves again now, in the middle of a major battle with Cablevision for TV and phone service, and an ongoing battle with the three other major cell phone carriers for cell phone service. It would be a disaster.

          Any company that has major competition and is not region-bound by their name had better think long and hard about rebranding itself. You have to make the determination that your current brand is actually hurting you more than the confusion caused by rebranding would. I can't see how that's the case with Radio Shack. In fact, most companies interested in re-branding would be better served by going back to their roots and seeing what made them successful in the first place, not throwing it all away and trying to start from zero. (See aforementioned AT&T - how many telegraphs will you use today?)

    • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:27AM (#28927997) Journal
      They rebranded it from "Radio Shack" to "The Source" in Canada years and years ago. But everyone I know still refers to it as "Radio Shack". I can't even remember the name "The Source" well enough to tell someone how to find the place... I had to check online before I made this post.
      • by j1ggy (1136125) on Monday August 03, 2009 @12:05PM (#28928603)
        They were forced to because Circuit City swallowed up all of RadioShack's assets in Canada. They were no longer allowed to use the name as they are two competing companies. I believe the official name is "The Source by Circuit City". Instead of carrying the RadioShack brand of products in their stores, you'll find mostly Nexxtech stamped all over everything now.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      This could explain the recent rename of SciFi network. They want to lose their reputation for destroying series and bad made for TV movies, and hope that after changing their name to SyFy, people will forget. Unfortunately, they'll probably forget to fix their programming and just reaquire the bad reputation all over again.
    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:51AM (#28928367) Journal
      Worse, choosing a name that goes from "The Shack" to "The Suck" so smoothly(and appropriately) just seems like a terrible plan...
    • Same for "Carphone Warehouse" in the UK, they don't want to lose the recognition despite the fact no-one has called a cell/mobile phone a car phone in 2 decades. [...] [RadioShack] should REALLY look and see if the number of people who say "I don't need a radio I won't go there" might be outnumbered

      FACT: There is a Radio in your TV. There is a Radio in your Wi-Fi laptop. In fact, there is a Radio in your Carphone.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chris Burke (6130)

      IBM makes bugger all money from "International Business Machines" these days but they wouldn't want to lose a brand everyone knows.

      Yeah unless you consider a z/90 or other massive server computer to be a "business machine" -- hmm, a computer is a machine, and these are used by international businesses for essentially the same things as their classic tabulators, collators, and accounting machines and then some, I think it fits -- in which case it's more accurate to say "IBM makes all their money from 'Intern

    • by Lumpy (12016) on Monday August 03, 2009 @12:26PM (#28929003) Homepage

      The problem is that most people equate Radio shack with "used to be useful, but is now an utter joke."

      They lowered pay and employee standard so all you get now is idiots, and they eliminated almost all of their good stuff and replaced it with crap you can get at Best Buy for less hassle. Their small parts section is a joke, but that is really only there to sucker the techie guy in the door.

      Their cellphone selection and accessories are a joke, their Stereo equipment are a joke, in fact everything there is a joke now. Radio Shack's heyday was the late 80's. They made some really stupid direction changes and they have been sliding towards irrelevant ever since.

      Radio Shack, you got Questions? We got blank stares.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by pha7boy (1242512)
      you know what "the Shack" is? it's the place you go to watch "SyFy"
  • Surveillance (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Baldrson (78598) * on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:04AM (#28927587) Homepage Journal
    Well since they aren't going to sell real electronics anymore, maybe they'll stop reporting who is buying what electronics components to the government. Or am I thinking of the 80s?
    • Re:Surveillance (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kamokazi (1080091) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:16AM (#28927803)

      My local 'Shack' hasn't sold real electronics for years now. I've gone there 4 times over the past two years. Once they had something that kinda worked. The other two times I eneded up finding it at Wal-Mart. I'm really not sure why I bother, except that they are in the same minimall as Wal-Mart.

      This line made me chuckle:

      "Where will we go to buy soldering irons and those RCA to headphone jack adapters now?"

      Mine doesn't carry soldering irons, and they might have a place on the shelf for the adapters, but I'd be shocked if they have any stock. It's really quite sad. They wonder why they are going out of business...it's because they've changed their competition from Ace Hardware to Best Buy. And competing with Best Buy is always a good idea, isn't that right Circuit City and CompUSA?

      A year from now, I predict 'The Shack' will be liquidating assets under Chapter 11. Anyone wanna take that bet? It would be smarter than buying Radio Shack stock.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by nomadic (141991)
        I'm really not sure why I bother, except that they are in the same minimall as Wal-Mart.

        If you have to frequent minimalls that have Wal-Marts and Radio Shacks you need to move to someplace less soul-destroying.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          Yeah because visiting the minimall that has JCPenney and Woolworth's is just sooooo much better.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Kamokazi (1080091)

          I live in a town of 10k people. That's the only place to go. It has a Gamestop, UPS Store, and some crappy clothing store. It might technically be called a strip mall, whatever. Anything bigger is an hour drive away, and I usually just order from the internet at that point.

          And no, I don't live in Montana or Wyoming or something. This is actually Ohio.

          Other than having no local stores with anything decent, it's pretty nice for geeks like me who'd rather spend their weekends indoors playing PC games. Quiet

      • Re:Surveillance (Score:5, Informative)

        by moosesocks (264553) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:34AM (#28928127) Homepage

        A year from now, I predict 'The Shack' will be liquidating assets under Chapter 11. Anyone wanna take that bet? It would be smarter than buying Radio Shack stock.

        Bad prediction. Against all odds and logic, the company is reasonably profitable [marketwatch.com].

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by istartedi (132515)

          Anyone wanna take that bet?

          Yes. They're called traders. Ticker symbol RSH. You could short the stock, but that doesn't seem like such a bright idea since they have a PE of less than 10 and are even paying a modest dividend. They seem to have done a smart job over the years of changing with the times-- selling the infamous "trash 80" back in my youth, always selling consumer and hobby electronics, and now selling cel phones.

          FWIW, I think the name change is a dumb idea though. It sounds like it was pitch

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by moosesocks (264553)

            another one that use to be Anderson Consultants. I can still remember Anderson Consultants, but for the life of me I can't remember what they call themselves now.

            Anderson Consultants changed its name to Accenture, and was extremely lucky to do so, given the Enron scandal that destroyed its sister company, Arthur Anderson.

            Even though the two companies hadn't been directly related since the 1980s, the name would have been a huge taint on their brand.

      • Re:Surveillance (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Volante3192 (953645) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:36AM (#28928155)

        A very unusual project at work required me to make a mono audio jack to RJ11 cable.

        My first thought was 'Radio Shack.' I'm digging through the drawers of connectors and the salesman came over and asked if I needed any help. (I was the only one in the store, he was probably bored.) I explained the project and got a blank stare.

        I eventually found bits that worked for my purposes (1/4" mono jack, screw down...no soldering iron at work, not that I'd want to risk it in the first place, I'm not that coordinated... and a 1/4" to 1/8" mono jack converter. Incidentally the converter was 3x as much...go fig.) Paid and left.

        I couldn't help but think if this was 10, 15 years ago not only would I not have gotten a blank stare, if it was that slow they might have offered to even make it while i was there.

        • I couldn't help but think if this was 10, 15 years ago not only would I not have gotten a blank stare, if it was that slow they might have offered to even make it while i was there.

          Nah, that's not quite far enough back... At least, not in the Radio Shacks I'm familiar with. In the mid-Nineties the stores were roughly as they are now. Maybe fewer cell phones and more VCRs and DVD players, but the reduction of the parts section and the blank stare effect were in full force at that point.

          Mid to late 1980s you might have had better luck. I still can't imagine the folks at Radio Shack building anything for me, but they'd be happy to show me their selection of soldering irons...

          Honestly

        • Re:Surveillance (Score:5, Informative)

          by Ephemeriis (315124) on Monday August 03, 2009 @12:05PM (#28928601)

          A very unusual project at work required me to make a mono audio jack to RJ11 cable.

          My first thought was 'Radio Shack.' I'm digging through the drawers of connectors and the salesman came over and asked if I needed any help. (I was the only one in the store, he was probably bored.) I explained the project and got a blank stare.

          I wanted to hook up my laptop's S-Video to my TV's RCA video.

          I know such cables and adapters exist, I've used them before and seen them online for just a few dollars. But I didn't have any handy, and didn't want to wait for something to ship. I figured Radio Shack would have what I needed.

          My wife and I were the only customers there, so the sales people kept hovering around. I shoo'ed them away a couple times, but I was having a genuinely difficult time locating the part. Eventually I got tired of them asking to help me and I told them what I was looking for.

          One of them gave me a blank look, the other one looked amused. He then carefully explained that there was no such simple adapter and that I'd have to purchase some kind of RF converter box. He showed me a device with inputs for everything under the sun... S-Video, RCA, component... And outputs in RCA and coax. The box cost around $100.

          I noticed right next to this RF converter box an S-Video to RCA cable. Exactly what I'd been looking for. Except that it was about 10 feet long and gold plated. The cable itself was $30 or so.

          I didn't buy either item at Radio Shack. I went to WalMart instead. Found a little adapter for $2 and a 5 foot cable for $7 or so. Spent about $10 total and it works great.

          That was the last time I went to Radio Shack.

      • Re: competitors (Score:5, Interesting)

        by macraig (621737) <mark...a...craig@@@gmail...com> on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:54AM (#28928435)

        The competitors of the traditional Radio Shack were not the likes of Ace Hardware, and only marginally were they stores like BestBuy or CompUSA. Radio Shack didn't sell hardware for mechanical engineering, like an Ace Hardware store; it sold hardware for electr(ical|onic) engineering. Its competitors were other electronics hobbyist and surplus stores, like Dow Electronics, Marvac Electronics, HSE Electronics, and so on.

        Truth be told, though, Radio Shack's biggest competition came from the atrophy of that market. Over the last three decades, steadily more people have become consumers of electronics and stopped being creators or engineers of it. That is why Radio Shack transitioned from selling components to selling "pre-fab" products; they couldn't compete with those other stores in a dwindling market, and some of those other hobbyist stores have disappeared altogether. Could they have created an advertising campaign that would single-handedly have reinvigorated the hobbyist component market? I doubt it.

        That said, this alleged re-branding is even more idiotic than Pacific Bell spending $750,000 to re-brand itself as Pacific Telesis Group (that was just the bill from the ad agency that came up with the name, not the total cost of the name change). "The Shack" isn't edgy or funny, it's just weird and dumb, especially because it will say NOTHING descriptive about the current business model or product offerings.

    • by thelexx (237096)

      Could you please elaborate on this?

      • Re:Surveillance (Score:4, Informative)

        by vlm (69642) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:32AM (#28928095)

        Could you please elaborate on this?

        Back in the handwritten receipt era, they used to "demand" names and addresses for all purchases to add you to the catalog list.

        I had relatives employed there, and address collection was a typical MBA tracking metric complete with graphs and goals and standards, you could be fired for not bothering, there was a minimum quota for data gathering, etc. If I recall around a quarter century ago you were expected to get the address at least 60% of the time. During christmas rush it was assumed you'd not bother, on the other hand, during the slowest football sunday it was assumed you'd gather all info since you have nothing better to do.

        Crazy people usually had the intersection of two beliefs :

        1) That anyone cares that you personally bought a headphone-RCA adapter cable.

        2) That no one can tell a lie to a store clerk, or just plain ole make stuff up (Yes sir, I do in fact live at 1600 penn ave in DC). They never, ever, asked for picture ID.

  • Problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:04AM (#28927599)

    The main problem is that a "shack" usually connotes a cheap, run down house. Not really the image they should try to project.

    (I know "clam shack", "radio shack", etc. don't really have such a connotation. I'm just talking about the word "shack" when it's used all by itself.)

    • by Trifthen (40989) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:20AM (#28927879) Homepage

      Indeed, I believe they are being too conservative in this renaming. For regular customers of Radio Shack, we know the new name is too high class. The only possible remedy for this situation is to name the chain "Electronics Shanty," because we all know that's what they are.

    • It's because they're completely changing their business model. Pizza Hut is now "The Hut" and they're selling pasta and crap. Radio Shack is going to become "The Shack" and sell pizza. Now we just need to wait for a pasta joint that's going to start selling electronics and the circle will be complete.
  • Guess that works better these days.

  • by davejenkins (99111) <slashdot.davejenkins@com> on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:06AM (#28927621) Homepage
    They're just anticipating the coming legalization of pot. It will allow them to move into a generalized convenience store model, sort of a "smarter" quik-e-mart: soldering irons, robot toys, pot,and munchies.
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:06AM (#28927623)
    Radioshack has spent the last 20-30 years attempting to rebrand itself from a store that carries one-of-a-kind electrical components and equipment to a store that carries 2nd-rate, overpriced versions of the stuff everyone else carries (cellphones, computers, really awful audio equipment, non-educational toys, etc.). It's all part of their master plan to turn themselves into a store with no apparent reason to exist.
  • by crumbz (41803) <<remove_spam>jus ... o spam>gmail.com> on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:07AM (#28927641) Homepage

    "Where will we go to buy soldering irons and those RCA to headphone jack adapters now?"

    Digikey?

    Not to be an old grumpy man, but RS has missed out on the electronics maker revolution of the past decade. They could have been on the ball, like NewEgg, for the PC modding market but failed to adapt to the market. The RS of today is but a poor imitation of the RS of the '70s and '80s. Full of crap, obsoleted models and cheap junk. /Now get off my lawn.

    • by schnikies79 (788746) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:18AM (#28927855)

      Most of the time when I got to radio shack for a component, I need it now. Not in two days.

      For instance, movie night with my buds a few weeks ago. DVD player popped a cap (blah, that sounded ghetto. magic smoke instead). A trip the Radio Crack and 20 mins later, we were back in business.

      • by Muad'Dave (255648)
        Exactly. I needed a 3.5mm stereo jack so I could unbrick a Netgear 614L router. Radio Shack was around the corner and had what I needed.

        For my real projects Digikey is the place for me.
    • Not to be an old grumpy man, but RS has missed out on the electronics maker revolution of the past decade. They could have been on the ball, like NewEgg, for the PC modding market but failed to adapt to the market. The RS of today is but a poor imitation of the RS of the '70s and '80s. Full of crap, obsoleted models and cheap junk. /Now get off my lawn.

      If you're close enough to a MicroCenter, they're more like what a Radio Shack should have become. And they actually have a better selection of electronics tools than RS. They only lack a wall full of discretes and ICs, but so does Radio Shack now.

    • Yeah, pretty much, you can spend $40 for a 6' hdmi cable at radio shack, or you can pay $2 on amazon.com, ditto for most or all other A/V type cables. Jameco and digikey, as well as smaller mom-and-pop electronic component stores (they still exist, they're just tricky to find, simply because you don't know where it is doesn't mean that you don't have one hiding in an indstrial park somewhere) were pretty much where i went to after RS moved all of their components to the a cabinet at the back of the store an
  • So? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kjs3 (601225) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:09AM (#28927651)
    Radio Shack has been an irrelevant vendor of cell phones and cheap 2nd tier consumer electronics for a decade. Long gone are the days when one ran down there to pick up a couple of capacitors and transistors to finish that weekend project.
  • the whole goal is to be more best buy like. They want to get rid of people who buy soldering irons, and other low margin items that require a lot of exspensive customer support.

  • by HappyHead (11389)
    All of the Radio Shack stores in Canada (that I've been able to find at least) were rebranded as "The Source" years ago.
  • by King_TJ (85913) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:11AM (#28927713) Journal

    In the last decade or so, Radio Shack seems to have been really pushing to become more of a "boutique electronics retailer", ditching their image as a "parts store" for hobbyists. I guess on one hand, I understand the desire - because there's not a lot of profit in individual sales when your customers want a package of resistors, a spool of wire, or some $10 pliers or cutter tool.

    But I don't think their obvious alternative has worked out very well for them either. They're stuck trying to compete with much larger stores like Best Buy, and getting killed merely because Radio Shack doesn't have enough floor space in a store to carry the variety people expect when shopping for a new flat panel TV set or stereo, or computer.

    Reminding people that their stores are small "EG. "The Shack" is emphasizing what may be their biggest negative in the market-space they're working in!

  • There's an onion article on this, but whenever I go by radio shack, I wonder how on earth they stay in business. The shops tend to be small, with various corners full of obscure electronics components. Yet, they also attempt to sell computers and televisions from these tiny shops. Everything they have in the parts drawer or on the shelves you can get cheaper off of ebay, often at half the cost or less. Radio shack is fundamentally inefficient. Each of these little shops has an inventory that sits there
    • by i.r.id10t (595143) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:21AM (#28927905)

      And when your paper, project, etc. is due Monday morning, and your CPU fan or PSU dies Friday night, you really have time for a online purchase...

      There are some things that you just have to have *now* and even if it costs you $5-10 more than the online item, having it after a 30 min drive and short walk is worth it.

      • Basically, what the parent says - RadioShack might have smaller locations, but they have *more* locations than *anybody* else (except, maybe soon, Walmart; I really wonder if Walmart is having any impact on RS's business - I bet they are a bigger problem than the Internet for RS). They're everywhere - even in strip malls in little out-of-the-way semi-rural areas. They might not have everything, but they have lots of adapters and cables to get things hooked up ("Oh, we got this new HDTV and we want to use it

    • http://www.theonion.com/content/news/even_ceo_cant_figure_out_how [theonion.com]

      I'm not normally a huge Onion fan, but this article is so spot-on, it brings a smile to my face every time I think of it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I remember that exact article, and you are right. I think RS does well in small markets (like where I am from) that doesn't have any of the big-box stores and tends to cater to customers who were told "I need a USB cable" but don't know what that is or where to get one. They expect they'll get marginally better (knowledgable) service than Wal-Mart with less hastle. Last time I was there in California a lot of people were paying the cellular bill there, which I don't understand why anyone would pay their bil
    • by guyminuslife (1349809) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:43AM (#28928253)

      1) The workers make minimum wage plus commission.
      2) They specialize in items with a high profit margin. And then they mark them up.
      3) They attach themselves to "hot items" that suddenly everyone needs. Most recent example: digital converter boxes have been huge business.
      4) They cut costs like crazy. The CEO famously sold off all their plants to employees to save them money on maintaining them. Et cetera.
      5) They're everywhere, they're convenient. If you need something specific and relatively common, chances are the RadioShack is closer to where you live and small enough that, unlike, say, Fry's, you don't have to wander around a big box for 30 minutes.

  • Future uncertain (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kheldan (1460303) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:16AM (#28927815) Journal
    Radio Shack used to be a decent outlet for common electronic parts, what I've referred to as "the 7-11 of electronics". Over the last 10-15 years it's been shifting away from that, and into something more like a micro version of Best Buy or Circuit City with some electronic parts. I guess the world is moving away from electronics as a hobby now, which is sad, but even though they're not as useful as they once were, I'd be sad to see Radio Shack disappear. Aside from the local Fry's, which despite the immense amount of aisle space they dedicate to it has a pathetic selection of electronic components, there isn't anywhere else you can just walk in and find what you might need. It would suck to have to mail-order everything you need when you might need it on the spur of the moment.
  • by 93,000 (150453) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:16AM (#28927817)

    than 'radio' and 'shack'? Telegraph hut? Gramophone igloo? Victrola shed? . . .

  • Radio Shack stores were all renamed "The Source [by Circuit City]" here in Canada after InterTan was bought by Circuit City a couple of years ago. I think they've recently all been bought by Bell to be set up to compete with the mall stores that every other cell provider has.
    You'll get over the name change. The "Radio Shack" brand never had extremely positive connotations (as far as I know), so they're not losing much. Name changes, brand identity...they're all junky stores staffed by uninformed people in l

  • Hmmm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by thisnamestoolong (1584383) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:17AM (#28927845)
    I was actually thinking that if they were going to change one part of their name, calling the store a 'shack' is certainly more likely to turn away customers than implying that you sell radios... would you buy anything from the Computer Hovel? The Cell Phone Shanty? Meh... I won't be sad to see them go in any case, they have totally missed the opportunity to dominate the hobbyist market by making a half-assed attempt at edging into the mainstream.
  • Seems to me that the corporation is free to brand itself whatever it pleases. If they feel that they can justify the added expense of making new signs and advertising material with increased sales via the name change, more power to them. This re-branding doesn't seem nearly as stupid as this other one [syfy.com] that just took place about a month ago,... ;-)
  • by The Redster! (874352) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:23AM (#28927935)
    I think they should change their name to "Hz So Good."
  • I'm not sure what is better.. "The Shack" or "Radio Shaq"
  • The City (Score:3, Funny)

    by Frankie70 (803801) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:25AM (#28927969)

    Rebranding Circuit City as "The City" worked well for Circuit City?

    Is there some Consultant on the loose recommneding this?

  • It actually sells capacitors and whatnot in the little drawers. Most of the RadioShacks I've been in lately are all about ipods, wireless networking, and cell phones. I want a place to buy transistors in blister packs dammit !

  • I would think one would buy beef jerky or discount goods from a place called The Shack. They might want to hire a new marketing firm because the one they are using is giving them very bad advice...
  • Where will we go to buy soldering irons and those RCA to headphone jack adapters no

    You can go just about anywhere for those. The closest Radio Shack to where I live is across the parking lot from a Home Depot, I can buy those items there. For that matter I think I can find a better selection of those items there.

    The only thing I can get at Radio Shack that I can't get anywhere else is ... OK I give up, what is it now?

  • by dtmos (447842) * on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:34AM (#28928123)

    The term "radio shack" was coined in the early 20th Century, when shipping companies began to add radio to their vessels. Since the ships were already built, the extra room for the radio equipment had to be added -- there was typically no existing space with both access to the antenna (i.e., above deck) and the necessary electrical power from the ship's plant. (The audible noise from the spark equipment of the day also meant that the equipment, which was used largely at night, couldn't be placed near the officers' sleeping quarters.) Paid for out of operating expenses by the frugal shipowners, these added rooms were typically small and poorly constructed, often from wood, and the term "radio shack" quickly followed.

    New ship construction, of course, included a purpose-built room for the radio equipment, still called the "radio shack." Even the Queen Elizabeth 2 has a radio shack. The term quickly moved ashore -- amateur radio stations are in shacks, for example -- and "radio shack" came to mean the place where all the equipment was. From there, commercial use soon followed.

  • by EsJay (879629) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:39AM (#28928199)
    While you are all spelling out exactly why RadioShack can't succeed (they don't stock flux capacitors!!!), the company is busy making money. They were in the black last year, too.

    Ft Worth Business Press - August 03, 2009 [fwbusinesspress.com] - [RadioShack] posted an about 18 percent increase in net income over second quarter 2008's $41.4 million, according to the financial statement. During the quarter, the company also posted cash and cash equivalents of $931 million, compared with $578 million last year, and inventories of $578 million, about $41 million less than the same quarter last year.

  • by sir_eccles (1235902) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:40AM (#28928215)

    He just created a new cycling team called Team RadioShack and will have to change the name to match, he had the t-shirts printed and everything.

  • Changes needed (Score:4, Insightful)

    by WindBourne (631190) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:51AM (#28928373) Journal
    Quite honestly, they are trying to compete against established bigger companies that have gone out of businesses. By doing all made electronic gadgets, they are hurting themselves. OTH, they could go in a different direction. How about selling not just electronic parts, but items for building ideas? The reason that I suggest that, is that America used to have an infrastructure that made it possible to build a number of gadgets, ideas, etc. That is slowly going away. For example, radio shack no longer has the ability to build computers. And the capabilities to breadboard things is minimal. BUT, if they put together kits for learning from, and then made it possible to order on-line and simply pick up the parts in a couple of days at a local shack they would go far. Also, at the same time, they should consider targeting items such as adding speakers to a house. And why not offer innovative products. Heck, at this time, they would be wise to ask for new patentable ideas to be made by Americans (or at least in the west) and sold here.
  • by DutchUncle (826473) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:53AM (#28928405)
    "Radio Shack. You've got questions; we've got blank stares."
  • by MrKaos (858439) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:53AM (#28928407) Journal
    Maybe their tin roof,, rusted.

    With apologies to the B-52s

  • It used to be that if you walked into a Radio Shack and saw a bunch of TRS-80 computers, a wall full of electronic parts, total geeks working behind the counter, you might get the impression that the TV's and Stereos that they carried were pretty good stuff, because the whole store screams geek.

    By getting rid of the geeky electronics image, they've kinda undermined their consumer electronics brand... were I a consumer electronics retailer, I would carry a mix of hobbyist equipment and just let it sit on the shelves, and premium products, and I'd bet one could establish a brand.... I mean, if Home Depot can make 100B a year selling the idea that you build a deck yourself, why not have people put together their own PCs and LCD tvs...

  • by RomulusNR (29439) on Monday August 03, 2009 @01:09PM (#28929683) Homepage

    Rad Hack's flaw was giving up on being THE store for electronic, A/V, and other technical components, cutting back on things like electronics kits in favor of pre-built robots, etc. Instead of maintaining a technical focus, they veered into a confusing mash of angles like prebuilt computers, TVs and video players, and cell phones.

    I am one of few people that still go to RadHack for cables and rare items that would be marked up 200% at Best Buy or impossible to find. I don't know why anyone else goes there -- and I think that's their problem.

    Other things I like about RS is that the staff usually only ask if you need help once, and aren't impossible to find when you DO need help finding something, and usually there is someone there who has a clue as to the arcane thing you are looking for.

    Trying to be a miniature Best Buy, and leaving more than 75% of their small floors as open space, is their problem -- not branding. DIY is becoming vogue again, and they should try returning to their DIY roots.

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