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Topic: I know you don't like this but I do (Read 6531 times) previous topic - next topic


Cut and pasted from arduino blog:
"Another big deal was the announcement that Radio Shack is going to be stocking Arduino in its thousands of stores. Everybody I met was tremendously excited about this (like we have been throughout the negotiation) and a momentous event for an open source project."

Any comments, usual suspects? ;)

I don't think RS has good success in electronics consumer products market. This step could strengthen their roots as hobby electronics stores on your block. I think this may eventually make arduino percolate and build enough local user base to go mainstream (news, culture, K-12 education, college, etc.) in a short number of years. I'm talking about hundreds of millions instead of a few hundred thousands.
Serial LCD keypad panel,phi_prompt user interface library,SDI-12 USB Adapter


I am cautiously pessimistic. Why would someone buy an Arduino at RS over buying it on-line? Maybe in case of an "Arduino emergency", but otherwise it will probably be cheaper on-line. I'm pessimistic because it's not enough to put them in stores, you have to put the right salespeople in the stores as well. Right now the salespeople in our local RS are clueless about hobby electronics. They just know what aisle it's in, but nothing about what is there (and what is there is depressing -- try finding no-clean flux).

It may sound like distribution through RS will somehow raise the profile of Arduino, but frankly our local RS is "dead". Hardly anyone is ever there. I can't imagine how or why they are staying in business, given that the local Best Buy sells everything RS does with much bigger selection.

Maybe RS is looking to turn over a new leaf and rebrand themselves, but my guess is this is just a step of desperation towards eventual bankruptcy.

This is a 4-year-old piece of comedy but there is definitely a kernel of truth behind it all:


The Aussie Shield: breakout all 28 pins to quick-connect terminals


you have to put the right salespeople in the stores as well

I knew someone would jump in. Welcome to my hole! Let's dig deeper  :smiley-mr-green: :smiley-mr-green: :smiley-mr-green:

I agree. On the other hand, some clerks in my local RS are probably ECE students from my university and they DO know what to do when you want to light up an LED, that kind of thing. So the chances of seeing a real "expert" at RS is maybe 50/50?! Depends on where you go too. College town, higher chance you get these "experts" from school, Mall of America, I kill myself before buying anything there, in general. Talking to someone face to face is better than meeting someone online. You need that person-to-person interaction to teach and learn a bit. Not everyone learns the same way and not having person-to-person experience is a major problem of online classes.
Serial LCD keypad panel,phi_prompt user interface library,SDI-12 USB Adapter


That's the thing....IF they replace their entire salesforce with hobbyist-knowledgable people (or ensure there's always at least 1 person in the store that can answer questions about "that stuff") they could carve out a very nice niche for themselves. I am just pessimistic that RS has that kind of foresight. Maybe they will indeed only be successful in college towns.

The Gadget Shield: accelerometer, RGB LED, IR transmit/receive, speaker, microphone, light sensor, potentiometer, pushbuttons

Jack Christensen

Even going back decades, Radio Schlock never was the first choice for a lot of things, but there were a few items I tended to get there like project boxes. These days, I might go to a RS once or twice a year, and as often as not, I leave empty-handed and disappointed. I don't see where this will change things at least in my locale. There's a chance it may... but I will need to be convinced.


I dropped by my local RS yesterday (about 1 mile) to get some connectors (It's about the only thing I can count on them usually having) and found them shutdown, empty, signs gone. There is another one a couple of more miles away (and another a couple of miles from that one, LOL), but I suspect they are all going to fail in time.

Seems to me that cell phone sales and Christmas time kids electronic toys is all that is (was?) keeping them in business. I don't think selling Arduino will stop that trend.



Talking about Radio-Shack ?  I used to work there in 1990 to 1992 when I was in college ( at DeVry ). And I was fairly knowledgable. In fact, I was helping a bit too much. The company close the store I was working and re-open in the Mall ,  Right now, no more RS in Canada, thank to Intertan , it became Circuit City, my neibouhood CC in now Close. Selling Arduino boards at RS sound interresting, but the majority of the public have no idea what that is. So I wonder how many of these boards will be sold in the RS stores ( in USA ) ? Hobbyist in small town may purchase those boards.   


RS has a small corner with basic stamp and a few other stuff. If they market this right, $30 geeky toy for a child or an adult is far more affordable than what they sell now, a $99 basic stamp package. It's just a possibility for arduino to meet the public. And next time if I talk with someone slightly interested in hobby electronics, I can direct them to a local RS store to buy an arduino. If I say it's online sold at such and such store, they probably say nah. That "next time" might be when I go and judge on science fair this year. Even kids can afford arduino at $30.
Serial LCD keypad panel,phi_prompt user interface library,SDI-12 USB Adapter


Why would someone buy an Arduino at RS over buying it on-line?

I bought an Arduino at Microcenter.  Needed it on short notice for a gift...

Radioshack has a tradition of hiring "salesmen" rather than helpful experts.  I mean, the helpful expert gets tied up for long stretches discussing the relative advantages of some part choice (Basic Stamp vs Arduino?), and meanwhile the salesman has sold several cellphones at significant commission each.


Sep 22, 2011, 01:59 pm Last Edit: Sep 22, 2011, 02:02 pm by AWOL Reason: 1
Please don't abbreviate Radio Shack to "RS".
RS in the UK is what used to be called Radio Spares, and is a large and respected (if expensive) distributor, not connected to Radio Shack.

They already stock Arduino.
"Pete, it's a fool looks for logic in the chambers of the human heart." Ulysses Everett McGill.
Do not send technical questions via personal messaging - they will be ignored.
I speak for myself, not Arduino.


there are 2 radio shacks worth a crap in my area (both over an hour drive from me) one is ran by a guy who has been in it for a long time and has reasonable knoledge but the celphone crap drives me nuts (want a pack of diodes wait until the sales team is done explaining every feature of a smartphone and its contract to someone)

the other isnt a radio shack, its a tv repair shop that has radio shack stuff, and OMG this place is a gold mine, he has all new old stock from the archer days, but hardly worth driving 1 hour 45 min away to get a intel calulator chip and some 64k dram.

TBH I am abit more excited about the parallax stuff they will be carrying more than anything, otherwise unless i need something (they still have decent prices on protoboards for instance) I tend to avoid them.


I think anyone with an arduino at hand probably bought them online and will likely buy any new boards online instead of going to a radio shack. But think about new people joining the arduino community. I don't mind getting my first wire wrap tool and a spool of wires from radio shack, or my first soldering iron from it, or my first desoldering iron from it. I can touch them and physically pick the one with a perfect package. That's important in decision making too.
Serial LCD keypad panel,phi_prompt user interface library,SDI-12 USB Adapter


I remember a Radio Shack from decades ago also, and back then, it was a cool place to go.  There were no RC toys, no cell phones, just interesting (for the time) electronics.  Those new fangled triacs were over there on that wall and the LEDs were individually packaged on the racks.  It was a place that sponsored electronic hobby clubs meetings and had enclosures that we could open up and see if the parts would fit.  The guy that owned it was a ham radio operator and had some of his more obscure contact cards on display.  A couple of us nurds, although we didn't know we were nurds then, would prowl for a hour gathering up just the right set of parts to make a nixie tube that we stole from a discarded stereo work.

Radio Shack, in those days, thrived and helped.

That store is a T-Mobile outlet now.



Earlier this year I went to RS and got exactly what I wanted

Course I was looking for a cell phone accessory (car charger :P)

I also walked out with tips for my Weller Soldering Gun


It looks like Radio Shack are at least trying to mend their ways. They had a large stand at the NY maker Faire and were giving away some freebies. From what I can gather they have been in decline for many years so you can't criticises them for trying to reverse there fortune. Sure it is not going to happen over night that all the staff are going to be knowledgeable about everything but a recognition from people at the top that things have to change can only be welcome.

At the NY Maker Faire I noticed that even Microsoft were trying to rehabilitate themselves with the creative community, dare I say they have much further to go than Radio Shack. A lot of people (including me) will take a long time to forgive them for upgrades that removed functionality and invited you to purchase it back.

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