RadioShack is listening so shout out arduino if you want!

Not that they will listen but maybe enough number will make them notice our community and arduino's world-wide spread:

http://blog.radioshack.com/post/2011/05/19/RadioShack-And-The-DIY-Community-You-Talked-Were-Listening.aspx

Frankly, I'd prefer if they carried a larger selection of jellybean components: R's, C's, L's, NPN's, PNP's, MOSFET's, op-amps, etc. (and no, $2.29 for two 2n3904's is not going to cut it either). Waiting to buy an Arduino product and paying shipping for it seems reasonable somehow, but when you want a 15k resistor NOW it just doesn't make sense to wait 3 days and pay $5 in shipping.

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

That's the key, Radio Shack..

Out here on the East coast they have totally removed components and are now nothing more than Verizon outlets, with staff having the requisite knowlege to download Angry Birds and nothing more. Only one Radio Shack in the area stocks components at all, and then of course it's the Radio Shack prices.

None of us have any love for Radio Shack, it's the convenience that used to make them relevant, and now that's pretty much gone too. Sadly, the remaining "display" of real electronic merchandise is in this steel drawer arrangement that is by far the worst use of retail space I've ever seen other than the spot where the clerk was standing at any given moment.

Stock some basic components, heck even charge me twice the going rate for the convenience. When your prices are just plain Gouging (the "They can't get it someplace else" mentality), you are going to lose business. I can now order components direct from Hong Kong and have them delivered the next day to my doorstep, at prices that reveal just how badly RS has been taking advantage of what used to be their bread and butter, the hobbyist community.

The last thing ANYONE needs is another damn cell phone store.

focalist:
None of us have any love for Radio Shack, it's the convenience that used to make them relevant, and now that's pretty much gone too.

I'm not going to say I 'love' them, but the one closest to me has had the stuff I needed every time I've gone there. No, the selection isn't like, for example, the long gone Gateway Electronics. But just this week, I've gone there for flux paste and de-solder braid. As a guy just getting back into fooling with electronics, I don't have a bunch of parts bins with common stuff, and like Rugged, I'm not going to pay more in shipping than the price of the parts.

Radio Shack in the UK isn't much better. The one local to us is tiny, rarely has anything useful. Most of the components lining its shelves have likely been there for months, if not longer, as evidenced by packs that have been sitting under the hot shoplights so long, the glue has ceased to work, and blister packs are now often held together with tape.

Most of the useful stuff our local shop does carry I can get online for 1/10th of the price or less, and get it next day delivery with free shipping.

I generally find it easier and cheaper to order a 50 or 100 pack of something from Rapid or Proto-Pic (or Chinese eBay sellers if it's something I can be patient about) than to buy 3 or 4 of that same thing at the local RS - assuming they actually have it in the store.

Just being clear, I don't like RadioShack at all. There are apparently many reasons they're not liked by many. I am just thinking that if we shout arduino enough and they might listen. They have many stores over the globe so if they carry arduino then it's going to be a good thing for arduino to see the mass public.

RuggedCircuits:
...but when you want a 15k resistor NOW it just doesn't make sense to wait 3 days and pay $5 in shipping.

It seems I can always figure enough stuff to order to make the shipping worthwhile. Of course that doesn't solve the three day problem!

focalist:
The last thing ANYONE needs is another damn cell phone store.

Hear, hear! :smiley:

That's one thing I love about Rapid's website here in the UK. You can add some items to your cart, and then save your cart to your profile. So, as I find random things while researching on here and the rest of the web, stuff that I know I'll be needing soon or just want to have a play with, I'll go find it on Rapid, add it to my cart, then save the cart (they last in your profile for 60 days, but at any point, you can add a saved cart to your current cart, save it out and refresh your 60 days). Once I have enough saved carts that I meet the minimum cost for free shipping, I load 'em all up into my basket, checkout, and get a bunch of new toys the next day.

It also means I get a little time to reflect on my potential purchases to find out I didn't need that item I added to a saved cart last week after all. :slight_smile:

Kaouthia:
Radio Shack in the UK isn't much better. The one local to us is tiny, rarely has anything useful. Most of the components lining its shelves have likely been there for months, if not longer, as evidenced by packs that have been sitting under the hot shoplights so long, the glue has ceased to work, and blister packs are now often held together with tape.

Most of the useful stuff our local shop does carry I can get online for 1/10th of the price or less, and get it next day delivery with free shipping.

I generally find it easier and cheaper to order a 50 or 100 pack of something from Rapid or Proto-Pic (or Chinese eBay sellers if it's something I can be patient about) than to buy 3 or 4 of that same thing at the local RS - assuming they actually have it in the store.

Wow, I didn't know that Radio Shack was still operating in the UK. I thought they had all been turned into mobile phone stores when Car Phone Warehouse bought the chain about 10 years ago. Locally (in Newcastle) we have Maplins :frowning: and ESR components :slight_smile:

I agree with you about Rapid Electronics for price and service, I've been using them for years without complaint

TonyD:
Wow, I didn't know that Radio Shack was still operating in the UK.

Yeah, I didn't either til we moved here, hadn't seen a Radio Shack or a Tandy in years.

There used to be a Tandy where I grew up that was fantastic, had everything you could imagine and more (part of the reason I got out of electronics after high school was that Tandy had closed and I didn't know where to get components from any more).

Oddly enough, I got my first ever mobile phone from there, back before mobile companies had the reputation they do now, before the Internet was widely availble (unless you wanted 28K8 dialup and per-minute fees from both the ISP and British Telecom), before every other 5 year old out there had a mobile, before anybody knew what SMS was (I had to hold onto my pager for about 2 years after getting my mobile) and back when you could still use mobile phones for... well, making phone calls. :wink:

Here's a little history on RadioShack - in case someone finds it interesting.

Once upon a time, there was a company called Allied Electronics. They were the largest electronic parts supplier in the world. They had a consumer electronics division called Allied Radio. They also had a division called Knight that sold kits and assembled items.

In 1968 (when I was working there) they were bought out by Ling-Temco-Vought who, at that time, made everything from jet planes to steel, to basketballs.

Within a month or two LTV re-sold Allied to Tandy Corp. who had a chain a stores for leather-work hobbyists and a chain for bubble pack electronic parts called RadioShack. Allied was merged with RadioShack and became known as Allied-RadioShack. RadioShack continued to be the disappointing parts supplier that it is today.

Somewhere along the line a little bit of Allied Electronics was left partially in tact.

Having worked at Allied in Chicago during it's glory days, I'd admit to having a very bad attitude about RadioSh**. I do go there when I absolutely have to, but have trouble getting through the door due to the enormous chip on my shoulder.

Man that was history we all need to know! Thanks for your time! Now that Circuitsh*ty and compusa are both history, I wonder if RadioSh** is the next or maybe they can sell hobby electronics to survive. I know BB silly stores will never sell hobby electronics. Training their enormous number of clerks to sell electronics parts is more impossible than getting everyone through college here:)

At least a few clerks working at RS near me know about components. Maybe they're from the nearby univ. They're not dummies by any means and look at a solder package design I demonstrated in my class to show RS has talents (I can't find it on RS website but if you pack them on a shelf, they take 50% space compared with regular packages).

bHogan:
Within a month or two LTV re-sold Allied to Tandy Corp. who had a chain a stores for leather-work hobbyists and a chain for bubble pack electronic parts called RadioShack. Allied was merged with RadioShack and became known as Allied-RadioShack. RadioShack continued to be the disappointing parts supplier that it is today.

Aye, Tandy is what they were called here in the UK. But that name seemed to disappear in the last 10-15 years (along with the nicely stocked decent sized stores), and now it's Radio Shack shops with limited stock popping up.

Kaouthia:
Radio Shack in the UK isn't much better. The one local to us is tiny, rarely has anything useful. Most of the components lining its shelves have likely been there for months, if not longer, as evidenced by packs that have been sitting under the hot shoplights so long, the glue has ceased to work, and blister packs are now often held together with tape.

And that is the problem. It isn't their fault. Stock just does not move. It's hard for anybody in retail. Each square inch of floor space has to earn it's keep. And if a rack of components sells a few quid of stock a week, it is more expensive than a rack that sells tens of items a day. Its a reality of retail. What doesn't move doesn't get stocked. And as rent is an ongoing expense, any line that is just sitting there, is costing money.
A pack of AAA batteries is a better line that a roll of 15K resistors. So that is what they will stock. Components just don't pay. And the blister packs.. They all cost money too. For a bit of card and a plastic wrapper you are going to throw away at the first opportunity.

Here in England it seems, we are luckier than Americans. Fast postal service means we can have components delivered next day. And there are loads of UK based traders on Ebay who buy in bulk and make up hobbyist scale orders for a small markup.

100nf cap from maplin... about 30p each. if they actually have any.
50 from ebay, about a quid, and £1.10 delivery. A bit cheaper than £15 that the same number would have cost from Maplin.

Many here seem to be reluctant to buy smart.

It's a common thing with more exotic hobbies. If you need to buy supplies, you can get extortionate possibly local,but very limited and small amount supplies for daft prices, or you can go trade, and get everything in bulk. Both are too expensive, but buying in multiples is a sensible middle route.

1 resistor.. Don't do it. 100 resistors, and you have the beginnings of a bits box that is actually useful. Go on ebay, and find the people who are selling bargain packs. If it takes a week to arrive, so what. The money you will save over the blister packed over priced singles is enough to make it worth it.

Looks like RS is a lost cause for hobby electronics. We'll see it burnt down by BB and online stores like amazon and ebay. When they go out of business, I'll be there buying their soldering iron tips and solders. They're decent price.

Yes and no. It might move if they were items people actually wanted/needed. The majority of the stuff that's been sitting on the shelves in my local RS is random obscure stuff that nobody wants. The bread and butter components like resistors, transistors, diodes, useful ICs, they don't stock (bar one "resistor pack" containing 5 of every resistor value known to man - who's ever gonna buy more than one of those?). Heck, they don't even have soldering irons.

But that's what they have back/stock rooms for. A big box full of resistors in a back room, or even a drawer of them under the counter isn't using any retail display space. All you need do is ask the salesperson for however many you want of whatever size, and (s)he gets 'em out! Small components don't need to be out on display to be in stock. Even if they didn't stock every value of everything, which I wouldn't really expect them to, you think they'd at least stock the more common components. 10K pots, a dozen of the popular resistor & capacitor values, LEDs, etc.

Even some neat kits, like the Adafruit clocks, the egg-bot, etc. would be a good start toward at least looking like they're still a hobbyist-friendly electronics retailer.

The "electronics section" of my local shop is a wall about 15ft wide by 8ft high of this mostly useless stuff - THAT'S a waste of retail space. The rest of the store is iPod docks, (a limited amount of) DJ equipment, a handful audio cables (mics & mixers, yet no XLR cables?!?) and cheap indoor radio controlled controlled toy helicopters.

I've found Rapid to be even cheaper than most UK based eBay sellers. Not always cheaper than the Chinese ones (sometimes though), but then it obviously takes a bit more time to get to you. :slight_smile:

Rapid don't always have everything I need (no 595 shift registers? seriously), but Proto-Pic usually fills in the gaps on those missing items, and I check and compare both to eBay too when I'm getting ready to make an order.

I don't think it's a matter of not wanting to buy smart, but if you only need a couple of bits, the convenience of being able to buy locally while you're in town anyway is worth the little extra cost (especially if you're impatient and need to get your project finished now! ;)). If you're buying a whole lot of stuff, sure, get it online, but if all you needed was a couple of those 100nf caps, you wouldn't really care about spending 60p while you're in the area anyway.

That's the route I've taken to. I've probably spent about the same as I would've spent had I been buying locally, however as I've been buying 50-100 of everything at a time for the same price, the wife's moaning a bit about the lack of space that's starting to accumulate now. :wink:

Kaouthia:
Yes and no. It might move if they were items people actually wanted/needed. The majority of the stuff that's been sitting on the shelves in my local RS is random obscure stuff that nobody wants. The bread and butter components like resistors, transistors, diodes, useful ICs, they don't stock (bar one "resistor pack" containing 5 of every resistor value known to man - who's ever gonna buy more than one of those?). Heck, they don't even have soldering irons.

But does it actually move?... Within say a 5 mile radius, how many people do you know who buy components regularly? Not just an emergency resistor or two once in a blue moon. And if they don't sell something as basic as soldering irons, they are pretty much painting a sign on the wall telling you that they don't want your custom anyway. Come back when you want an iPod dock and a remote controlled helicopter..

But that's what they have back/stock rooms for. A big box full of resistors in a back room, or even a drawer of them under the counter isn't using any retail display space. All you need do is ask the salesperson for however many you want of whatever size, and (s)he gets 'em out! Small components don't need to be out on display to be in stock. Even if they didn't stock every value of everything, which I wouldn't really expect them to, you think they'd at least stock the more common components. 10K pots, a dozen of the popular resistor & capacitor values, LEDs, etc.

And the back room also attracts rent, heat, light.. A box of cheap nasty screwdrivers will take up more space than a box of resistors, but the screwdrivers will always move. And realistically, it is not going to be one cardboard box with say 50 different values to rummage around in. It will be a rack of bins with a product number that the sales person can pick from. Do you keep all your resistors mixed up in a single box? Even with a colour code calculator, it would take the average sales person at these shops a significant amount of time to pick your order.

Lets say.. to guestimate the kind of storage space we are talking about.. 5 ranges of resistors, in 5 divisions.. 22R, 220R 2K 22K etc.. That would be 25 bins just for resistors. Capacitors, diodes, transistors.. Chips.. By the time you can carry a useful number of parts, the box of resistors or the drawer of parts is starting to look a wee bit cramped. . And that is only for the really really common stuff. Which will still be sitting there tarnishing a year from now.

Electronics shops these days are pretty much Argos without the back room Morlocks. I think Maplin even has those same little pens. If they can't type in the reference number, forget it.

Even some neat kits, like the Adafruit clocks, the egg-bot, etc. would be a good start toward at least looking like they're still a hobbyist-friendly electronics retailer.

Those would be good. And stand a chance of moving. Well.. the cheaper ones that is. Especially if displayed well. With say the Ice Tube clock made up and running to show off what these kits are like. I quite fancy making one of those myself. Also, things like Arduino starter kits. Power supply kits for breadboards and the like. A little transistor tester circuit would be a good enough soldering practice project, and result in a useful tool at the end. Stuff that is pretty much self contained and immediately useful. And importantly.. you can plonk it down on the counter for the salesperson to scan the bar code, and ring up.

The "electronics section" of my local shop is a wall about 15ft wide by 8ft high of this mostly useless stuff - THAT'S a waste of retail space. The rest of the store is iPod docks, (a limited amount of) DJ equipment, a handful audio cables (mics & mixers, yet no XLR cables?!?) and cheap indoor radio controlled controlled toy helicopters.

There I agree. but they must sell enough to barely justify it, or they are all that is left form the once bigger range. The iPod docks, Low end DJ stuff, and remote control toys do sell though. And cabling has a gigantic markup. A half meter Ethernet patch cable in Maplin costs £5.49! Online, what.. A quid or two tops? And cables do move. Look how much places like PC world make from USB cables when they sell printers.

I've found Rapid to be even cheaper than most UK based eBay sellers. Not always cheaper than the Chinese ones (sometimes though), but then it obviously takes a bit more time to get to you. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the tip. I'll check them out. I've been using Bitsbox and made an order with Spiratronics a few days ago. Not the cheapest of them all, but a good middle ground. Haven't used China for anything but a breadboard so far. And that took a month to arrive.

I don't think it's a matter of not wanting to buy smart, but if you only need a couple of bits, the convenience of being able to buy locally while you're in town anyway is worth the little extra cost (especially if you're impatient and need to get your project finished now! ;)). If you're buying a whole lot of stuff, sure, get it online, but if all you needed was a couple of those 100nf caps, you wouldn't really care about spending 60p while you're in the area anyway.

And if you were only ever going to make one thing. Fair enough. But realistically.. How many that get to the point where they can use individual components are going to be just making one thing? And for beginners like me, having just enough to make my latest project means I have to re order if I make a mistake. I'm gradually getting to the point where I can see a circuit on a web page, or in a book, and I can pull out the breadboard and just make it. And have enough parts to fiddle with values to see how it reacts. Writing a parts list, and going shopping is just too frustrating.
I may be way off base here.. But I see buying ones of anything like this to be similar to making a special trip to a chain hardware shop and buying a single nail. The effort involved in getting the thing is several times it's value. And I'm pretty patient anyway, so waiting a day or two is no big deal.
When I have not heeded my own advice, I either have to make a single order for a 50p part, with a quid postage, or I buy a tenner or so of parts, and buy a bunch of what I want, along with other things for the bits box. I choose the second option.

That's the route I've taken to. I've probably spent about the same as I would've spent had I been buying locally, however as I've been buying 50-100 of everything at a time for the same price, the wife's moaning a bit about the lack of space that's starting to accumulate now. :wink:

One of the dubious joys of being single.. I can buy as many toys as I can afford without getting the look. :slight_smile:

I think you both have good points, but you might want to consider RS stores in a different context. By that I mean . . .

There are no less than 10 RS stores in the Denver, US area. These stores, some franchised, maybe some not, compete with each other for the limited hobbyist market. I don't think the market is big enough for any of the stores to make out on this.

Several years ago RS tested a pilot "superstore" idea in Denver. For one who has already admitted to having a very bad attitude towards them, I have to say I was very impressed. They sold wire and cable by the foot, and had 3 guys at a huge parts counter with rows of sleeves behind them. The sales floor was filled with surprisingly modern stuff of much more of a geeky nature than say a BB.

It would seem like this idea would work - one big store in the city and let the others sell their door chimes and walkie talkies.
It would seem, but I guess it didn't to corporate. They closed the store after about a year.

Too bad. It was our only hope, Obi-Wan.

You are more familiar with RS than I am certainly. So I defer to your opinion. But I was talking more generally. Not just electronics.

Heck I would like them to carry a simple AVR. Even though the ones around here do have Ultrasonic sensors.