As a kid, my first soldering irons came from Radio Shack, as did the parts for the projects I'd put together.
And while I'm plenty damned old (get off my lawn!, etc), this was in the 90s.
Later on as a quasi-professional-sort-of-guy, I'd regularly buy odds and ends from them out in the field. Need an SMA adapter? Radio Shack. An audio isolation transformer? Radio Shack had a fairly decent one. A bunch of 160 Ohm resistors? Done. A bipolar electrolytic capacitor of who-gives-a-shit value, a toggle switch, and a small plastic box with a lid? No problem. A 75-Ohm BNC terminator? Probably not, but they had BNC connectors and they had 75-Ohm resistors, so...easy-peasy. A 7 Amp slow-blow glass 250VAC fuse? Sure. The funky tiny little 12V alkaline battery that runs the keyfob for my car? [...]
The biggest problem I had with Radio Shack was once they decided they were going to be a cell phone store above all else, as any clue that the staff may have had immediately dissipated (as clues must naturally do whenever one is in the primary business of selling telephones). It eventually got to the point that they lost the ability to know their own inventory, and I had to take to looking up their own inventory online and showing them that they have twelve in stock of the things that they insist do not exist.
For me, for awhile, it was more like the corner hardware store that every town should have. I never buy anything very expensive at the my local Ace Hardware either, but if I want help finding a good shovel with a straight-grained handle that's where I go. The coffee pot broke at work one day, so the boss sent me to Ace Hardware for a new one -- and of course, they had an exact replacement (though I was pretty surprised at the time). A 10-32x3/4" button-head socket cap screw? Done. A hundred of them? Sure. Busbar? Yep. Nails? By the pound. Hog ring pliers to fix the seat in my car? Sixteen half-inch wedge anchors? A corkscrew? A clevis hitch, sixty feet of 3/16" galvanized chain, an M8 wingnut, a bunch of rubber hose, some of those special gloves that you use for handling razor wire, an ice pick, a hacksaw, and twenty pounds of lye? Of course.
They greet me by name every time I walk in the place, having only read my name one time on my credit card. (I really should shop out of town and pay cash when buying special gloves and hacksaws together...) It's a wonderful place to buy all kinds of stuff.
I've still got Ace Hardwares all over to utilize, but I'm well and truly fucked if I need electronic components out in the field with Radio Shack being gone. Lately, my best option is to hit up small-time AV shops that might still have a repair bench and essentially beg them for parts....or wait for Teh Interwebs to deliver and come back another day.