Discussion:
Goodbye Radio Shack
(too old to reply)
o***@tubes.com
2017-05-23 18:29:44 UTC
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It's official. Radio Shack is closing their doors. The nearest store to
me (in a big city about 60 miles away), is having a "going out of
business sale". Yesterday it was 80% off almost everything. But there
was little left to choose from. I got a few audio cables, some heat
shrink tubing and a couple 12v 1a transformers. That's about all I could
find.....

This is a sad day..... Radio Shack is the last of the old electronics
stores, and while they have not had much in recent years, I still liked
their stores, and over the years I found their equipment was made fairly
well.

The guy said they are presently going to keep about 70 stores, which is
about one per state, and they will only be in the very large cities.

This sucks!!!!
Foxs Mercantile
2017-05-23 19:47:45 UTC
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Post by o***@tubes.com
This is a sad day..... Radio Shack is the last of the old
electronics stores
Radio Shack was NEVER an old time radio store.
Except maybe back in the '50s before Tandy Leather bought
them.

They sold predominately cheap import stuff.
Middle management was draconian at best. Always grinding
on the store managers to meet constantly changing quotas.
No amount of mismanagement or corporate greed could save
them.
--
Jeff-1.0
wa6fwi
http://www.foxsmercantile.com

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Michael Black
2017-05-23 19:58:07 UTC
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Post by Foxs Mercantile
Post by o***@tubes.com
This is a sad day..... Radio Shack is the last of the old
electronics stores
Radio Shack was NEVER an old time radio store.
Except maybe back in the '50s before Tandy Leather bought
them.
Yes. They were traditional when they were a s mall chain in the Boston
area. But they were going bankrupt, which is why Tandy bought the chain.
And one reason Radio Shack was successful after that was that it was
everywhere, at a time when electronics were widening. The average home in
1971, the year Radio Shack came to Canada, had a tv or so, some am/fm
radios, maybe a record player or stereo. But five years later, there were
pocket calculators, digital watches, home computers, tv games, endless
stuff and getting wider, the result of the switch to semiconductors, and
then especially digital ICs. And Radio Shack was there on every corner, a
more familiar place than the old time electronic parts stores that were in
basements away from the mainstream. Radio Shack was niche back then, but
it was a place when a wider audience could get those metal detectors or
shortwave receivers or scanners or whatever without having to go to some
niche store. There was no competition, the others came later. Radio
Shack was there every time something new came along, so you could get that
Casio music keyboard that would sample, even if you were in some small
town.

ANd that's how the parts survived, Radio Shack could sell other things and
carry the parts. ANd it worked. I didn't buy parts there much, too
expensive and limited in selection, but it was convenient. But since I
paid attention and got the catalogs, when I started buying "stereo" stuff,
I bought at Radio Shack, usually when the item was on sale, or better yet,
a clearance item. And I bought a bunch of computers there, since they
were convenient. The catalog gave all the information, I could just go in
and get the item off the shelf.

And then at some point, other companies were doing the same thing, and
Radio Shack stumbled, losing its way.

Michael
o***@tubes.com
2017-05-23 19:52:31 UTC
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Post by Michael Black
Post by Foxs Mercantile
Post by o***@tubes.com
This is a sad day..... Radio Shack is the last of the old
electronics stores
Radio Shack was NEVER an old time radio store.
Except maybe back in the '50s before Tandy Leather bought
them.
Yes. They were traditional when they were a s mall chain in the Boston
area. But they were going bankrupt, which is why Tandy bought the chain.
And one reason Radio Shack was successful after that was that it was
everywhere, at a time when electronics were widening. The average home in
1971, the year Radio Shack came to Canada, had a tv or so, some am/fm
radios, maybe a record player or stereo. But five years later, there were
pocket calculators, digital watches, home computers, tv games, endless
stuff and getting wider, the result of the switch to semiconductors, and
then especially digital ICs. And Radio Shack was there on every corner, a
more familiar place than the old time electronic parts stores that were in
basements away from the mainstream. Radio Shack was niche back then, but
it was a place when a wider audience could get those metal detectors or
shortwave receivers or scanners or whatever without having to go to some
niche store. There was no competition, the others came later. Radio
Shack was there every time something new came along, so you could get that
Casio music keyboard that would sample, even if you were in some small
town.
ANd that's how the parts survived, Radio Shack could sell other things and
carry the parts. ANd it worked. I didn't buy parts there much, too
expensive and limited in selection, but it was convenient. But since I
paid attention and got the catalogs, when I started buying "stereo" stuff,
I bought at Radio Shack, usually when the item was on sale, or better yet,
a clearance item. And I bought a bunch of computers there, since they
were convenient. The catalog gave all the information, I could just go in
and get the item off the shelf.
And then at some point, other companies were doing the same thing, and
Radio Shack stumbled, losing its way.
Michael
So there was a bankruptcy even back then..... I did not know that, but
it seems they have gone thru a lot of them. Two recently.

I never understood the connection with the Tandy leather company. Maybe
there was no "real" connection, just that they bought the business. (Is
Tandy leather still around?).

There was a point when Radio Shack was called Allied Radio Shack. Did
Allied buy R.S. or was it the other way around? I dont know much about
the history, I only recall what I remember over the years. I remember
when they sold Archer brand items too.

However, I was pleased with most if not all of their gear, and I have
quite a bit of their stuff, from a few scanners, a radio, several
multimeters, lots of plugs and connectors, and a video switcher.

I realize their parts prices were on the high side, but I paid the price
because their stores were nearby and handy. Sure beats paying the
shipping from most places, and before the internet buying by mail was
involved, required mouth to mouth discussions and having a pile of paper
catalogs laying around. Far too complicated just to get a resistor,
capacitor, phono jack or semiconductor. It was easier to drive to R.S.
and just buy it. But I do agree their parts in recent years were very
skimpy and limited.

Regardless, I liked their stores and will miss them.....

The only reason I even found out that they were closing is because the
9volt battery connector broke on my portable weather radio, so I stopped
at R.S. to buy one. (I did not know they were closing). I had no problem
paying probably about $4 for one of them connectors. Now, I'm stuck
ordering one from ebay (I found a pack of 5 for about $3), but I hate
having to wait a week or more to get small parts like that, and my bench
piles up with projects waiting to be repaired, while I wait for parts.
Lately, when I buy a part, I usually buy 5 or more and keep them on
hand, so I have that stuff here. Its costing me more to stock all that
stuff in the end, but there is no way around it....

What once took a day or two to repair something sometimes takes months
now, because I have to keep waiting for each and every part I need.
Radio Shack provided a good service in that sense, and I was willing to
pay their prices for the convenience. Now they are gone, and I'm not
happy about it....
Neon John
2017-05-28 21:07:05 UTC
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Post by o***@tubes.com
The only reason I even found out that they were closing is because the
9volt battery connector broke on my portable weather radio, so I stopped
at R.S. to buy one. (I did not know they were closing). I had no problem
paying probably about $4 for one of them connectors. Now, I'm stuck
ordering one from ebay (I found a pack of 5 for about $3), but I hate
having to wait a week or more to get small parts like that, and my bench
piles up with projects waiting to be repaired, while I wait for parts.
Lately, when I buy a part, I usually buy 5 or more and keep them on
hand, so I have that stuff here. Its costing me more to stock all that
stuff in the end, but there is no way around it....
Quick! As fast as you can before it gets away, grab the nearest 9
volt battery. Preferably an exhausted one.

Now take your dykes and carefully peel back the case. Snip the two
metal straps going to the connector on top.

Viola!!!! You now have a brand new, high quality 9 volt battery
connector. Solder your red wire to the big terminal and your black
wire to the small one. Apply a little liquid tape if you think it
necessary.

You've now replaced your defective connector without having to drive
to Rat Shack, pay a piddling amount of shipping from Mouser, etc., or
whine about ebay.
Post by o***@tubes.com
What once took a day or two to repair something sometimes takes months
now, because I have to keep waiting for each and every part I need.
Sounds like extraordinarily bad project management to me. Surely you
don't order each part individually, do you? Hmm, maybe you do. Bad.

Because of our relative locations, I can order something from Mouser,
select the cheapest UPS ground shipping and get it in 1 or 2 days.

John
John DeArmond
http://www.neon-john.com
http://www.tnduction.com
Tellico Plains, Occupied TN
See website for email address
Foxs Mercantile
2017-05-28 21:39:27 UTC
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Post by Neon John
Sounds like extraordinarily bad project management to me.
Surely you don't order each part individually, do you?
I used to do side jobs in construction.
The plumber that worked with us ALWAYS had to make several
trips to Home Depot for more fittings, and other things.

Finally, Jack, our foreman, asked him, "Are you going out
of business? How come you don't have any inventory on your
truck?"
Post by Neon John
Because of our relative locations, I can order something
from Mouser, select the cheapest UPS ground shipping and
get it in 1 or 2 days.
McMaster Carr is almost over night. If I order before 9AM.
Same with Mouser.

With a shipping charge of $8 for USPS, I ALWAYS order enough
bits and pieces and extras quantities so I don't have to
immediately re-order the same things.
--
Jeff-1.0
wa6fwi
http://www.foxsmercantile.com

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Michael A. Terrell
2017-07-17 21:43:38 UTC
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Post by Foxs Mercantile
Post by Neon John
Sounds like extraordinarily bad project management to me.
Surely you don't order each part individually, do you?
I used to do side jobs in construction.
The plumber that worked with us ALWAYS had to make several
trips to Home Depot for more fittings, and other things.
Finally, Jack, our foreman, asked him, "Are you going out
of business? How come you don't have any inventory on your
truck?"
Hello, Jeff.

I used to run into so called electricians like that, at the
wholesaler's warehouse. I bought by the spool, bundle, bag or box for my
commercial sound work. One guy wanted eight feet of Romex, one handybox,
and outlet and a cover. He was complaining that they walked away from
him, to wait on me. My order was around %400, his was about $3.50.
--
Never piss off an Engineer!

They don't get mad.

They don't get even.

They go for over unity! ;-)
D. Peter Maus
2017-07-20 14:33:14 UTC
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Post by Foxs Mercantile
Post by Neon John
Sounds like extraordinarily bad project management to me.
Surely you don't order each part individually, do you?
I used to do side jobs in construction.
The plumber that worked with us ALWAYS had to make several
trips to Home Depot for more fittings, and other things.
Finally, Jack, our foreman, asked him, "Are you going out
of business? How come you don't have any inventory on your
truck?"
   Hello, Jeff.
   I used to run into so called electricians like that, at the
wholesaler's warehouse. I bought by the spool, bundle, bag or box for my
commercial sound work. One guy wanted eight feet of Romex, one handybox,
and outlet and a cover. He was complaining that they walked away from
him, to wait on me. My order was around %400, his was about $3.50.
There is nothing that says to the client: "I'm not ready for this
level of work," like running out of supplies in the middle of a job. On
the other hand, there is nothing that says 'I came to play in the big
leagues.' like letting the client see a depth of supplies.

For my commercial sound work, I buy wire in 1000' spools, connectors
in 100 piece lots, and screws, nuts and washers by the bucket load. I
standardize on specific hardware types to application, and I buy
connectors and other hardware with an eye to standardized pieces, so
that once installed, everything is not only neat and organized, but all
the connectors are uniform, the wiring is uniform, and the
installation/routing/management hardware is uniform.

As in most things, people shop with their eyes first, and looking like
you're prepared is often more important than BEING prepared when
servicing the needs of a client. Because a client that sees you're
prepared will often recognize that you need little supervision, and will
stay out of your way. And, an orderly, uniform finished installation
will engender more confidence in your work, and the reliablity of the
finished project.

Similarly, when I do live sound, everything is in the truck. Cables,
amps, speakers, DI's, of course, but also the right type of cable, with
the right terminations for the application. A almost never use an
adaptor. So, that when I set up, there is never a question that not only
myself, but the band/talent/corporate presenters are prepared.

That appearance of preparedness is essential for the appearance of
professionalism.

It also doesn't help that you have everything on-hand, for a job, so
you can get the job done faster, smoother and without stops or delays.

Clients dig that.


p
Peter Wieck
2017-07-20 15:07:49 UTC
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Back when I was doing this sort of work (Electrician), I would order by the job and package each job. The client would see a pile-O-parts arrive at his/her location, then shrink as the job progressed. By the end of the job, there would be a small box of miscellaneous connectors, wire-nuts, perhaps an extra box or cover, and perhaps a little bit of wire. Which I would leave with the client for future work (there usually was). But I would be shocked if the left-overs exceeded 2% of the total material costs. And the clients *REALLY* liked that. It takes some practice and familiarity with the process to hone it that close, and the real key is *NOT* running out. Whether it is a $100 part or a $0.20 part, the cost is in time. At the same time, the client was paying by the job, so the penalty (in time) for running out was on me.

Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA
Tom Biasi
2017-07-20 15:31:03 UTC
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Post by Peter Wieck
Back when I was doing this sort of work (Electrician), I would order by the job and package each job. The client would see a pile-O-parts arrive at his/her location, then shrink as the job progressed. By the end of the job, there would be a small box of miscellaneous connectors, wire-nuts, perhaps an extra box or cover, and perhaps a little bit of wire. Which I would leave with the client for future work (there usually was). But I would be shocked if the left-overs exceeded 2% of the total material costs. And the clients *REALLY* liked that. It takes some practice and familiarity with the process to hone it that close, and the real key is *NOT* running out. Whether it is a $100 part or a $0.20 part, the cost is in time. At the same time, the client was paying by the job, so the penalty (in time) for running out was on me.
Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA
I guess nobody steels on your jobs.
Tom Biasi
2017-07-20 15:32:00 UTC
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Post by Tom Biasi
Post by Peter Wieck
Back when I was doing this sort of work (Electrician), I would order
by the job and package each job. The client would see a pile-O-parts
arrive at his/her location, then shrink as the job progressed. By the
end of the job, there would be a small box of miscellaneous
connectors, wire-nuts, perhaps an extra box or cover, and perhaps a
little bit of wire. Which I would leave with the client for future
work (there usually was). But I would be shocked if the left-overs
exceeded 2% of the total material costs. And the clients *REALLY*
liked that. It takes some practice and familiarity with the process to
hone it that close, and the real key is *NOT* running out. Whether it
is a $100 part or a $0.20 part, the cost is in time. At the same time,
the client was paying by the job, so the penalty (in time) for running
out was on me.
Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA
I guess nobody steels on your jobs.
"steals"
Peter Wieck
2017-07-20 16:27:49 UTC
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No, in the about 8 years I depended on such work for my primary, then only income, nothing was stolen. This was, of course, from 1972 - 1979 or so, starting while I was in college.

Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA
Tom Biasi
2017-07-20 18:11:29 UTC
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Post by Peter Wieck
No, in the about 8 years I depended on such work for my primary, then only income, nothing was stolen. This was, of course, from 1972 - 1979 or so, starting while I was in college.
Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA
You're lucky. On site we called it "shrinkage"
Michael A. Terrell
2017-07-21 15:20:37 UTC
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Post by Michael A. Terrell
Post by Foxs Mercantile
Post by Neon John
Sounds like extraordinarily bad project management to me.
Surely you don't order each part individually, do you?
I used to do side jobs in construction.
The plumber that worked with us ALWAYS had to make several
trips to Home Depot for more fittings, and other things.
Finally, Jack, our foreman, asked him, "Are you going out
of business? How come you don't have any inventory on your
truck?"
Hello, Jeff.
I used to run into so called electricians like that, at the
wholesaler's warehouse. I bought by the spool, bundle, bag or box for
my commercial sound work. One guy wanted eight feet of Romex, one
handybox, and outlet and a cover. He was complaining that they walked
away from him, to wait on me. My order was around %400, his was about
$3.50.
There is nothing that says to the client: "I'm not ready for this level
of work," like running out of supplies in the middle of a job. On the
other hand, there is nothing that says 'I came to play in the big
leagues.' like letting the client see a depth of supplies.
For my commercial sound work, I buy wire in 1000' spools, connectors in
100 piece lots, and screws, nuts and washers by the bucket load. I
standardize on specific hardware types to application, and I buy
connectors and other hardware with an eye to standardized pieces, so
that once installed, everything is not only neat and organized, but all
the connectors are uniform, the wiring is uniform, and the
installation/routing/management hardware is uniform.
As in most things, people shop with their eyes first, and looking like
you're prepared is often more important than BEING prepared when
servicing the needs of a client. Because a client that sees you're
prepared will often recognize that you need little supervision, and will
stay out of your way. And, an orderly, uniform finished installation
will engender more confidence in your work, and the reliablity of the
finished project.
Similarly, when I do live sound, everything is in the truck. Cables,
amps, speakers, DI's, of course, but also the right type of cable, with
the right terminations for the application. A almost never use an
adapter. So, that when I set up, there is never a question that not only
myself, but the band/talent/corporate presenters are prepared.
That appearance of preparedness is essential for the appearance of
professionalism.
It also doesn't help that you have everything on-hand, for a job, so
you can get the job done faster, smoother and without stops or delays.
Clients dig that.
A lot of my work was when no wholesaler was open, so you carried it,
or stretched a job out over several days. As far as rentals, I did carry
a lot of adapters, since we would have to connect to existing wiring, or
give a feed to a radio station. We also carried tools and spare parts to
make equipment repairs, on site if needed.

My customers were school boards, local governments and factories who
rarely saw what I carried. All they saw was that I could get a job done
on time, and at a fair price.

Work at schools often meant evening hours, or getting there at six
AM when their intercom was down.

Factories was almost always noisy and sometimes dangerous work
around running machinery.

Churches were always looking for the cheapest jobs they could find,
so some got no bids because of the cobbled together messes left by
whatever was there before you.

Amusement parks were often scheduled for after they closed for the
night. Like installing new dual 12VDC electrical and sound systems in a
pair of paddle boats J.I.T. for an after Prom party.
--
Never piss off an Engineer!

They don't get mad.

They don't get even.

They go for over unity! ;-)
Peter Wieck
2017-05-29 18:13:39 UTC
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Post by Neon John
Because of our relative locations, I can order something from Mouser,
select the cheapest UPS ground shipping and get it in 1 or 2 days.
Not so different (Mouser) in the great frozen north.

Ordered Monday morning, had on Wednesday afternoon.

Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA
Ralph Mowery
2017-05-23 21:04:56 UTC
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Post by Foxs Mercantile
Post by o***@tubes.com
This is a sad day..... Radio Shack is the last of the old
electronics stores
Radio Shack was NEVER an old time radio store.
Except maybe back in the '50s before Tandy Leather bought
them.
They sold predominately cheap import stuff.
Middle management was draconian at best. Always grinding
on the store managers to meet constantly changing quotas.
No amount of mismanagement or corporate greed could save
them.
Most of the components seemed to be low quality.

The manager of the local store 40 years ago had a major complaint with
the company. Whatever was on sale, the company would ship him many of
the items. He had an alotment of so many dollars. He may wind up with
half of that in antennas that he could not sell, but could not order
many of the items he could sell.

Even back in the 1970's I almost never bought anything from them in the
parts line. They did sell a few nice large items. Bought one of the
Model 3 TRS 80 computers from them, and a nice police scanner.
o***@tubes.com
2017-05-23 20:15:39 UTC
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On Tue, 23 May 2017 17:04:56 -0400, Ralph Mowery
Post by Ralph Mowery
Post by Foxs Mercantile
Post by o***@tubes.com
This is a sad day..... Radio Shack is the last of the old
electronics stores
Radio Shack was NEVER an old time radio store.
Except maybe back in the '50s before Tandy Leather bought
them.
They sold predominately cheap import stuff.
Middle management was draconian at best. Always grinding
on the store managers to meet constantly changing quotas.
No amount of mismanagement or corporate greed could save
them.
Most of the components seemed to be low quality.
The manager of the local store 40 years ago had a major complaint with
the company. Whatever was on sale, the company would ship him many of
the items. He had an alotment of so many dollars. He may wind up with
half of that in antennas that he could not sell, but could not order
many of the items he could sell.
Even back in the 1970's I almost never bought anything from them in the
parts line. They did sell a few nice large items. Bought one of the
Model 3 TRS 80 computers from them, and a nice police scanner.
One part I seem to find that is more often than not, the correct size,
are those stereo 1/8th inch plugs that plug into a computer or MP3
player. They almost always seem to be a sloppy fit and get noisy because
of loose fitting.

I bought several cheap ones on ebay and they were all crappy (from
several sellers). I bought a Radio Shack one on Ebay for 3 times the
price of those cheap ones and it fit perfectly. The seller had 3 left. I
bought all of them, even at $6 a piece. I dont know why no one else can
make them things to fit properly, but I was happy to find some that did
fit and not annoy me with crappy sound.
c***@snyder.on.ca
2017-05-24 01:28:41 UTC
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Post by o***@tubes.com
On Tue, 23 May 2017 17:04:56 -0400, Ralph Mowery
Post by Ralph Mowery
Post by Foxs Mercantile
Post by o***@tubes.com
This is a sad day..... Radio Shack is the last of the old
electronics stores
Radio Shack was NEVER an old time radio store.
Except maybe back in the '50s before Tandy Leather bought
them.
They sold predominately cheap import stuff.
Middle management was draconian at best. Always grinding
on the store managers to meet constantly changing quotas.
No amount of mismanagement or corporate greed could save
them.
Most of the components seemed to be low quality.
The manager of the local store 40 years ago had a major complaint with
the company. Whatever was on sale, the company would ship him many of
the items. He had an alotment of so many dollars. He may wind up with
half of that in antennas that he could not sell, but could not order
many of the items he could sell.
Even back in the 1970's I almost never bought anything from them in the
parts line. They did sell a few nice large items. Bought one of the
Model 3 TRS 80 computers from them, and a nice police scanner.
One part I seem to find that is more often than not, the correct size,
are those stereo 1/8th inch plugs that plug into a computer or MP3
player. They almost always seem to be a sloppy fit and get noisy because
of loose fitting.
I bought several cheap ones on ebay and they were all crappy (from
several sellers). I bought a Radio Shack one on Ebay for 3 times the
price of those cheap ones and it fit perfectly. The seller had 3 left. I
bought all of them, even at $6 a piece. I dont know why no one else can
make them things to fit properly, but I was happy to find some that did
fit and not annoy me with crappy sound.
Back in the day, when we had Radio Shack in Canada, MOST of their
product was middle of the road or better. A lot of their stuff was
REALLy good stuff.
Carter
2017-05-23 23:27:39 UTC
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Post by Foxs Mercantile
Middle management was draconian at best. Always grinding
on the store managers to meet constantly changing quotas.
Yup, had a GREAT manager at the local RS -- helpful, knowledgeable, a
really nice guy. Sadly, they fired him because of the bogus quotas.
Terry S
2017-05-24 01:07:34 UTC
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When the local RS mall store closed a couple years ago, I was there a few weeks before they locked up. Manager was about a 22 year old guy, it was obvious he'd never met ANYONE who knew electronics before. He sold Arduino, but had no idea what it was. He told me that in the previous calendar year, the store had netted all of $8 in profit. $8.

Then he showed me an entire wall of plastic cell phone cases. 90% of them were on sale for under a dollar -- they were all for old phones. But corporate made him stock them. Something like $10,000 in obsolete plastic.

I did not manage to get back to the store before it closed, wish I had, I'm sure there were bargains to be had. That store never had any traffic and had lots of inventory.

As a kid I was at the local RS often, cashing in my multiple "Battery of the month" cards for an endless supply of free batteries. Later I went there on occasion for tubes, as the manager would get them for me even if they were not in stock. He also always had a good closeout shelf.
Michael Black
2017-05-24 20:05:20 UTC
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Post by Terry S
When the local RS mall store closed a couple years ago, I was there a few weeks before they locked up. Manager was about a 22 year old guy, it was obvious he'd never met ANYONE who knew electronics before. He sold Arduino, but had no idea what it was. He told me that in the previous calendar year, the store had netted all of $8 in profit. $8.
Then he showed me an entire wall of plastic cell phone cases. 90% of them were on sale for under a dollar -- they were all for old phones. But corporate made him stock them. Something like $10,000 in obsolete plastic.
I did not manage to get back to the store before it closed, wish I had, I'm sure there were bargains to be had. That store never had any traffic and had lots of inventory.
As a kid I was at the local RS often, cashing in my multiple "Battery of
the month" cards for an endless supply of free batteries. Later I went
there on occasion for tubes, as the manager would get them for me even
if they were not in stock. He also always had a good closeout shelf.
One friend worked at Radio Shack for a while (though not the only one who
did). And he took advantage of eomployee discount, and maybe getting some
choice items that had been returned or had cosmetic damage.

And one summer, I think he was no longer working at Radio Shack, they had
a program where every Wednesday you could bring something in, and they'd
fill it with batteries for free. These were their cheapest carbon-zinc
batteries, but they were free. The problem with the battery of the month
club card was that unless you got a 9v battery, one battery wasn't very
useful.

Anyway, so the friend organized a battery gathering for a few Wednesdays.
He had various items that used a lot of batteries, like his 23 channel CB
walkie talkie, and a radio controlled boat (batteries for the boat, and
the remote) and I can't remember what else we took. And we worked that
one week. And then the next, the guy behind the counter, got quite upset
with us, as if we were abusing it. We probably were, but it wasn't like
they'd said "only one week per customer) or that we had more than one item
each.

But we were in high school, lots of time for that sort of thing. And it
was when in the downtown area, there was a Radio Shack every few blocks.

Michael
c***@snyder.on.ca
2017-05-24 01:30:15 UTC
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Post by Carter
Post by Foxs Mercantile
Middle management was draconian at best. Always grinding
on the store managers to meet constantly changing quotas.
Yup, had a GREAT manager at the local RS -- helpful, knowledgeable, a
really nice guy. Sadly, they fired him because of the bogus quotas.
Here in Canada a LOT of the stores were franchises - locally owned
businesses that HQ could not fire - - -
Michael Black
2017-05-24 17:24:00 UTC
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Raw Message
Post by c***@snyder.on.ca
Post by Carter
Post by Foxs Mercantile
Middle management was draconian at best. Always grinding
on the store managers to meet constantly changing quotas.
Yup, had a GREAT manager at the local RS -- helpful, knowledgeable, a
really nice guy. Sadly, they fired him because of the bogus quotas.
Here in Canada a LOT of the stores were franchises - locally owned
businesses that HQ could not fire - - -
That was the case in the US too.

But in the US, their Franchise stores often were hybrid, selling Radio
Shack items, but also other things. I remember going to one, I guess in
Maine, in the seventies, able to get some interesting books because they
carried more than Radio Shack items.

Michael
Terry S
2017-05-24 17:51:46 UTC
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The RS still standing in Siren, Wisconsin, is combined with a Ben Franklin store. Not sure if that is a regional chain or national, but Ben Franklin is essentially a five & dime. At least it was.

Terry
Post by Michael Black
That was the case in the US too.
But in the US, their Franchise stores often were hybrid, selling Radio
Shack items, but also other things. I remember going to one, I guess in
Maine, in the seventies, able to get some interesting books because they
carried more than Radio Shack items.
Michael
Michael Black
2017-05-24 17:22:20 UTC
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Post by Foxs Mercantile
Middle management was draconian at best. Always grinding
on the store managers to meet constantly changing quotas.
Yup, had a GREAT manager at the local RS -- helpful, knowledgeable, a really
nice guy. Sadly, they fired him because of the bogus quotas.
That's some of the mythology of the place.

People complain about "Got questions? We've got answers", because they
took it literally. When in reality it wasn't that they'd be a source of
information, but having that adapter fo solve a problem.

I don't think the chain ever deliberately hired "technical people". But,
lots of people need jobs, and retail often means flexible schedules. So
the teenager interested in electronics would apply for jobs at Radio
Shack, since it was in line with the hobby. And I seem to recall
something about an employee discount, which had to be good.

So in the seventies I certainly had friends who worked there.

But I think with time, it became a less interesting place to work, more
about consumer electronics than hobby type things, so the hobbyist was
less likely to apply. Or maybe it's that "electronics" became mainstream,
so any kid with a cellphone applied, fancying himself as a "stereo whiz"
or something, so the hobbyist had competition.

Michael
c***@snyder.on.ca
2017-05-25 00:28:57 UTC
Permalink
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Post by Michael Black
Post by Foxs Mercantile
Middle management was draconian at best. Always grinding
on the store managers to meet constantly changing quotas.
Yup, had a GREAT manager at the local RS -- helpful, knowledgeable, a really
nice guy. Sadly, they fired him because of the bogus quotas.
That's some of the mythology of the place.
People complain about "Got questions? We've got answers", because they
took it literally. When in reality it wasn't that they'd be a source of
information, but having that adapter fo solve a problem.
I don't think the chain ever deliberately hired "technical people". But,
lots of people need jobs, and retail often means flexible schedules. So
the teenager interested in electronics would apply for jobs at Radio
Shack, since it was in line with the hobby. And I seem to recall
something about an employee discount, which had to be good.
So in the seventies I certainly had friends who worked there.
But I think with time, it became a less interesting place to work, more
about consumer electronics than hobby type things, so the hobbyist was
less likely to apply. Or maybe it's that "electronics" became mainstream,
so any kid with a cellphone applied, fancying himself as a "stereo whiz"
or something, so the hobbyist had competition.
Michael
The manager of one of our local Radio Shacks was a HAM radio
operator.
The manager of another was a former military elecronics engineer.
Both could tell you anything you needed to know about CB radios,
Stereo sytems etc and knew their components inside out. Sadly, that
all ended when Circuit City closed the last Canadian Radio Shacks in
2007 -
D. Peter Maus
2017-05-30 13:45:40 UTC
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Post by Michael Black
I don't think the chain ever deliberately hired "technical people".
At one time, yes they did. My first encounter with Radio Shack was a
very pleasant experience. But, they were much different times. Olson,
Lafayette, Allied, Burstein-Applebee, even Zalytron, and numerous brick
and mortar stores in an area provided incentive for Radio Shack to be a
better Radio Shack.

And, since Radio Shack catered to an amateur radio crowd, their sales
persons had to be knowledgable, to explain the equipment, as well as
licensed to demostrate it. In my area, all the RS stores, at the time,
had working ham stations on site, to demostrate their best and newest
toys.

When I applied for a job there, I was woefully, at the time,
unprepared for the technical requirements of the job, and was told to
come back, they'd be glad to have me, but I needed to get more
comfortable with the technical aspects of the inventory.

When I told them I was more of an audio guy, and my expertise was in
that vein, the GM's eyes perked up, and we had a great conversation. He
had been looking for audio people, because the market was moving toward
components, as opposed to furniture consoles, and away from the amateur
market. And, the licensing requirements for CB were already being
discussed as obsolete.

So, yes, at one time, they did require technical knowledge to work at
Radio Shack. But that was long ago, in a galaxy far away.

Oh, and, I never did work there. I had also applied at a number of
other places, but decided, instead to open my first repair shop, an
offshoot of which was designing and building custom audio equipment for
the well-heeled in Clayton and LaDue. Great fun.

Good coin, too.

p
amdx
2017-05-23 20:31:24 UTC
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Post by o***@tubes.com
It's official. Radio Shack is closing their doors. The nearest store to
me (in a big city about 60 miles away), is having a "going out of
business sale". Yesterday it was 80% off almost everything. But there
was little left to choose from. I got a few audio cables, some heat
shrink tubing and a couple 12v 1a transformers. That's about all I could
find.....
This is a sad day..... Radio Shack is the last of the old electronics
stores, and while they have not had much in recent years, I still liked
their stores, and over the years I found their equipment was made fairly
well.
The guy said they are presently going to keep about 70 stores, which is
about one per state, and they will only be in the very large cities.
This sucks!!!!
The last one in my town closed about two weeks ago.
o***@tubes.com
2017-05-23 20:08:07 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by amdx
Post by o***@tubes.com
It's official. Radio Shack is closing their doors. The nearest store to
me (in a big city about 60 miles away), is having a "going out of
business sale". Yesterday it was 80% off almost everything. But there
was little left to choose from. I got a few audio cables, some heat
shrink tubing and a couple 12v 1a transformers. That's about all I could
find.....
This is a sad day..... Radio Shack is the last of the old electronics
stores, and while they have not had much in recent years, I still liked
their stores, and over the years I found their equipment was made fairly
well.
The guy said they are presently going to keep about 70 stores, which is
about one per state, and they will only be in the very large cities.
This sucks!!!!
The last one in my town closed about two weeks ago.
According to the guy at my local one, they are all closing or have
already closed in the last month. This one will be closed the last day
of this month. There is so little left that they may as well be closed
already but they are also selling shelves and parts of the store's that
are not attached to the walls of the building. I offerred to buy the
small parts drawers, but they were already sold and paid for. But he
said the buyer has to wait till May 31 to pick them up.
Some of the largfe shelves were already gone and there were 8 or 9 boxes
of cables and cords on the floor because they did not want to hang the
stuff again.

I asked if I could make an offer for an entire box of those cables, but
he told me to come back around the 29th or 30th. He said right now he
must still sell everything at the percentage off rate that corporate
told him to do. I may make a trip there on the 29th just to see if I can
get boxed deals.

I got a laugh, because I found a connector in the parts bin that was not
in a bag, and he said although all small parts were priced at $1 each,
he could not sell that plug without a part number, but since I spent
over $25, I could have it for free as a bonus. That was nice of him!
mike
2017-05-23 21:25:56 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by o***@tubes.com
It's official. Radio Shack is closing their doors. The nearest store to
me (in a big city about 60 miles away), is having a "going out of
business sale". Yesterday it was 80% off almost everything. But there
was little left to choose from. I got a few audio cables, some heat
shrink tubing and a couple 12v 1a transformers. That's about all I could
find.....
This is a sad day..... Radio Shack is the last of the old electronics
stores, and while they have not had much in recent years, I still liked
their stores, and over the years I found their equipment was made fairly
well.
The guy said they are presently going to keep about 70 stores, which is
about one per state, and they will only be in the very large cities.
This sucks!!!!
Local store here is at 60% off.
Even at 60% off, they're still WAY more expensive than online.
RS was only viable if you had an emergency.
Ian Field
2017-05-24 18:16:23 UTC
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Raw Message
Post by o***@tubes.com
It's official. Radio Shack is closing their doors. The nearest store to
me (in a big city about 60 miles away), is having a "going out of
business sale". Yesterday it was 80% off almost everything. But there
was little left to choose from.
A few months ago I found a Radio Shack calculator dropped on the ground by
some recycling bins.

Its an old retro LED job and the = button needs a convincing jab to work -
but it has a proper on/off slide switch that doesn't get knocked on in my
jacket pocket.
Michael Black
2017-05-24 19:59:43 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Ian Field
Post by o***@tubes.com
It's official. Radio Shack is closing their doors. The nearest store to
me (in a big city about 60 miles away), is having a "going out of
business sale". Yesterday it was 80% off almost everything. But there
was little left to choose from.
A few months ago I found a Radio Shack calculator dropped on the ground by
some recycling bins.
Its an old retro LED job and the = button needs a convincing jab to work -
but it has a proper on/off slide switch that doesn't get knocked on in my
jacket pocket.
I'd forgotten about the days of slide switches to turn calculators on and
off.

Though, the TI30 I got in 1976 or so used two pushbuttons for on and off.

And most of the calculators I've had since have had solar power, so I
never worried about whether they were on or off.

Michael
Ian Field
2017-05-24 20:09:34 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Michael Black
Post by Ian Field
Post by o***@tubes.com
It's official. Radio Shack is closing their doors. The nearest store to
me (in a big city about 60 miles away), is having a "going out of
business sale". Yesterday it was 80% off almost everything. But there
was little left to choose from.
A few months ago I found a Radio Shack calculator dropped on the ground
by some recycling bins.
Its an old retro LED job and the = button needs a convincing jab to
work - but it has a proper on/off slide switch that doesn't get knocked
on in my jacket pocket.
I'd forgotten about the days of slide switches to turn calculators on and
off.
Though, the TI30 I got in 1976 or so used two pushbuttons for on and off.
And most of the calculators I've had since have had solar power, so I
never worried about whether they were on or off.
I have a Casio solar with no battery at all - its allegedly collectible, so
I took the opportunity to put it somewhere safer than my jacket pocket.
Michael
2017-05-24 22:33:51 UTC
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I"ve got a bunch of old catalogs back into the 70's. If anyone's interested, maybe we can work a deal. email me.
Michael Black
2017-05-25 14:09:26 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Michael
I"ve got a bunch of old catalogs back into the 70's. If anyone's interested, maybe we can work a deal. email me.
I forget the URL, but someone scanned a whole lot of old Radio Shack
catalogs. This is separate from the site with all the old electronic and
radio magazines that were scanned, which also has a select number of old
catalogs too.

Michael
Terry S
2017-05-25 15:38:34 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Michael Black
Post by Michael
I"ve got a bunch of old catalogs back into the 70's. If anyone's interested, maybe we can work a deal. email me.
I forget the URL, but someone scanned a whole lot of old Radio Shack
catalogs. This is separate from the site with all the old electronic and
radio magazines that were scanned, which also has a select number of old
catalogs too.
Michael
http://www.radioshackcatalogs.com/
C.Copperpot
2017-05-24 23:01:41 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
I still have 3 or 4 free comics they gave away in the 1970's. I think
they were made by DC. They were the last place in town that had a tube
tester and sold tubes. Gold plated pins with a lifetime warranty.
Foxs Mercantile
2017-05-25 00:02:31 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
They were the last place in town that had a tube tester and
sold tubes. Gold plated pins with a lifetime warranty.
I have about 2 dozen of their gold pin "Lifetime warranty"
tubes that keep at the shop.
--
Jeff-1.0
wa6fwi
http://www.foxsmercantile.com

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o***@tubes.com
2017-05-25 07:18:24 UTC
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Raw Message
On Wed, 24 May 2017 16:01:41 -0700, C.Copperpot
Post by C.Copperpot
I still have 3 or 4 free comics they gave away in the 1970's. I think
they were made by DC. They were the last place in town that had a tube
tester and sold tubes. Gold plated pins with a lifetime warranty.
I dont recall the comics, but now that you mentioned it, I do remember
the gold plated pin tubes. I think R.S. was the only company to make
gold plated pin tubes.

So, if I have one of these tubes and it is bad, where do I go for the
"lifetime warranty".


---
Now I know I'm old. I cant find any store with a tube tester anymore,
and when I went to phone in a complaint about it, I could not find a
single pay phone booth to make the call.
Clifford Heath
2017-05-25 12:44:42 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by o***@tubes.com
On Wed, 24 May 2017 16:01:41 -0700, C.Copperpot
Post by C.Copperpot
I still have 3 or 4 free comics they gave away in the 1970's. I think
they were made by DC. They were the last place in town that had a tube
tester and sold tubes. Gold plated pins with a lifetime warranty.
I dont recall the comics, but now that you mentioned it, I do remember
the gold plated pin tubes. I think R.S. was the only company to make
gold plated pin tubes.
So, if I have one of these tubes and it is bad, where do I go for the
"lifetime warranty".
When the tube dies, that is the end of its lifetime.
c***@snyder.on.ca
2017-05-25 15:04:57 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by o***@tubes.com
On Wed, 24 May 2017 16:01:41 -0700, C.Copperpot
Post by C.Copperpot
I still have 3 or 4 free comics they gave away in the 1970's. I think
they were made by DC. They were the last place in town that had a tube
tester and sold tubes. Gold plated pins with a lifetime warranty.
I dont recall the comics, but now that you mentioned it, I do remember
the gold plated pin tubes. I think R.S. was the only company to make
gold plated pin tubes.
Not quite, Electro Harmonix and Amperex also made/(make ?) gold pin
tubes
Post by o***@tubes.com
So, if I have one of these tubes and it is bad, where do I go for the
"lifetime warranty".
---
Now I know I'm old. I cant find any store with a tube tester anymore,
and when I went to phone in a complaint about it, I could not find a
single pay phone booth to make the call.
Michael Black
2017-05-25 14:01:13 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by C.Copperpot
I still have 3 or 4 free comics they gave away in the 1970's. I think
they were made by DC. They were the last place in town that had a tube
tester and sold tubes. Gold plated pins with a lifetime warranty.
I can't remember if I ever saw a Radio Shack comic book. I did have a
Tandy Leather comic book in the early sixties.

I still have an Archie comic book from the late eighties or early
nineties, the ARRL organized something so the characters would be in a
special issue about amateur radio.

Michael
d***@agent.com
2017-06-04 07:53:05 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Michael Black
Post by C.Copperpot
I still have 3 or 4 free comics they gave away in the 1970's. I think
they were made by DC. They were the last place in town that had a tube
tester and sold tubes. Gold plated pins with a lifetime warranty.
I can't remember if I ever saw a Radio Shack comic book. I did have a
Tandy Leather comic book in the early sixties.
http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=Radio+Shack+comic+book&_in_kw=1&_ex_kw=&_sacat=0&_udlo=&_udhi=&_ftrt=901&_ftrv=1&_sabdlo=&_sabdhi=&_samilow=&_samihi=&_sadis=15&_stpos=27517&_sargn=-1%26saslc%3D1&_salic=1&_sop=12&_dmd=1&_ipg=50
Post by Michael Black
I still have an Archie comic book from the late eighties or early
nineties, the ARRL organized something so the characters would be in a
special issue about amateur radio.
Michael
bitrex
2017-05-25 13:10:07 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by o***@tubes.com
It's official. Radio Shack is closing their doors. The nearest store to
me (in a big city about 60 miles away), is having a "going out of
business sale". Yesterday it was 80% off almost everything. But there
was little left to choose from. I got a few audio cables, some heat
shrink tubing and a couple 12v 1a transformers. That's about all I could
find.....
This is a sad day..... Radio Shack is the last of the old electronics
stores, and while they have not had much in recent years, I still liked
their stores, and over the years I found their equipment was made fairly
well.
The guy said they are presently going to keep about 70 stores, which is
about one per state, and they will only be in the very large cities.
This sucks!!!!
I bought up all the BNC connectors/automotive switches/guitar effects
box switches from my local store; 6 packs of nickel-plated brass RG-58
and RG-59 crimp-on/twist on connectors with gold contacts, usually
around $18 a pack. IIRC got 20 packs of different types for about $1.50
each.

Also bought up all their TO-3 power transistors (2N3055 etc.) for around
30 cents each
bitrex
2017-05-25 13:14:23 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by bitrex
Post by o***@tubes.com
It's official. Radio Shack is closing their doors. The nearest store to
me (in a big city about 60 miles away), is having a "going out of
business sale". Yesterday it was 80% off almost everything. But there
was little left to choose from. I got a few audio cables, some heat
shrink tubing and a couple 12v 1a transformers. That's about all I could
find.....
This is a sad day..... Radio Shack is the last of the old electronics
stores, and while they have not had much in recent years, I still liked
their stores, and over the years I found their equipment was made fairly
well.
The guy said they are presently going to keep about 70 stores, which is
about one per state, and they will only be in the very large cities.
This sucks!!!!
I bought up all the BNC connectors/automotive switches/guitar effects
box switches from my local store; 6 packs of nickel-plated brass RG-58
and RG-59 crimp-on/twist on connectors with gold contacts, usually
around $18 a pack. IIRC got 20 packs of different types for about $1.50
each.
Also bought up all their TO-3 power transistors (2N3055 etc.) for around
30 cents each
I have more connectors than I really know what to do with now. If anyone
needs some of this nice stuff for cheap let me know I get you good
price...;-)
o***@tubes.com
2017-05-25 19:30:22 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On Thu, 25 May 2017 09:10:07 -0400, bitrex
Post by bitrex
Post by o***@tubes.com
It's official. Radio Shack is closing their doors. The nearest store to
me (in a big city about 60 miles away), is having a "going out of
business sale". Yesterday it was 80% off almost everything. But there
was little left to choose from. I got a few audio cables, some heat
shrink tubing and a couple 12v 1a transformers. That's about all I could
find.....
This is a sad day..... Radio Shack is the last of the old electronics
stores, and while they have not had much in recent years, I still liked
their stores, and over the years I found their equipment was made fairly
well.
The guy said they are presently going to keep about 70 stores, which is
about one per state, and they will only be in the very large cities.
This sucks!!!!
I bought up all the BNC connectors/automotive switches/guitar effects
box switches from my local store; 6 packs of nickel-plated brass RG-58
and RG-59 crimp-on/twist on connectors with gold contacts, usually
around $18 a pack. IIRC got 20 packs of different types for about $1.50
each.
Also bought up all their TO-3 power transistors (2N3055 etc.) for around
30 cents each
The store I went to, all the small parts in the bins were $1. No matter
what it was. But there were little left.

I got Three 12V and One 24V power transformers for just over $2 each.
That was at 80% off, but the packages on them showed they were OLD
stock, thus old prices. I first grabbed one of each off the shelf, but
for that price, I decided to take all four. That's a steal.
Terry S
2017-05-25 15:03:24 UTC
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Raw Message
Let's not write the obituary just yet.

The company is closing some stores, leaving some open, and the franchises are able to remain open if they can do so. The level of corporate support may or may not make it feasible. Some stores may elect to switch to other suppliers as the corporate support dwindles or dies.

This actually *could* be a good thing. Maybe some of those independent stores will find ways to fortify the product line and become electronics stores again. Some will surely close. How cool would it be if some of the stores morphed into maker supply shops...

RS cut it's own throat by tying in too tightly to Sprint. It was an unprofitable venture, the competition was too fierce. That combined with non-competitive pricing on RC toys, TVs, and a total lack of selection for hobbyists, made their business model unfeasible.

I'm hopeful something good will rise from the ashes.
Foxs Mercantile
2017-05-25 15:18:39 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Terry S
I'm hopeful something good will rise from the ashes.
That would be nice, but based on their history, I doubt it.
--
Jeff-1.0
wa6fwi
http://www.foxsmercantile.com

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