...since I knew it was coming for years, but it still will be hard. The first computer I ever programmed was a TRS-80. I used to book programming time at the local library on their Model III. I worked there in the summers in college after the store manager overheard me giving advice to a fellow customer and offered me a job on the spot. When the manager wasn't looking, I'd read the ham radio and electronic books by Forrest Mims and write down important scanner frequencies from their police scanner books.. The original handwritten "Getting Started with Electronics" sits proudly on my shelf, and I have an electronics project kit I still haven't finished. I still use some of their best items, like their stereo speakers, a duophone speakerphone that is still the best item they ever made, the mini amplifier which may be the second best, CB radio and scanner antennas, and countless parts, adapters, soldering irons, solder, etc. I even still use their 1980's era pocket computer! People say that digikey is good enough for the pieces parts, but that web site is extremely difficult to use and confusing. I feel like I'm losing an old friend. I will miss Radio Shack very much, especially at Christmas time where I'd buy their electronic and RC toys and kits as gifts. You can't find that stuff anywhere else.... not the same stuff at least.
It's not surprising, of course. It's more of a surprise that Radio Shack lasted this long, because they always ignored their core customer... us. Maybe not ignored, but treated us like second class citizens, even though we were keeping them afloat with their 400% market up pieces parts (and yes, I could see on the computer when I worked there what the actual cost was on each part, and the markup was as bad as everyone suspects). They admitted to that the pieces parts kept them in business, but you could tell that they only accepted that reality very grudgingly. If they could have become Best Buy, they would have in a heartbeat. They kept trying, and now that even Best Buy is hurting, too, their little sister Radio Shack had no chance of trudging along anymore.
Radio Shack brought the first microcomputer (PC's for you young'ns) to nationwide retail, beating out Apple and Commodore by a few months.. and now they are gone. :-(