back to article Spavined RadioShack to file for bankruptcy next month – report

Ailing electronics retailer RadioShack is teetering ever closer to insolvency, reports claim, with a potential bankruptcy filing to come as soon as next month. Although RadioShack has not said that it plans to file for bankruptcy, the Wall Street Journal reports that Salus Capital Partners has already offered it $500m in …

  1. Anonymous Coward
  2. Ketlan


    As a former employee of this ghastly company (for three terrible years) all I can say is fucking good riddance.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Bye-bye

      A long and heartfelt employees tale

    2. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Bye-bye

      I used to work for them, and they were fine. Mind you, that was way, way back like 1985-1988, when the company was actually doing OK.

      1. launcap Silver badge

        Re: Bye-bye

        > 1985-1988, when the company was actually doing OK

        Didn't stop their built products being crap - we bought 3 things

        1. mains-bourne intercoms (kept dying - store manager protested that they were not meant to be on all the time, thus kind of missing the point of intercoms). Eventually got our money back.

        2. Ghetto-blaster - first the main board went (replaced). Then it went again (replaced). Then the tape decks stopped working (motor replaced). Then the radio tuning stopped working (the bit-of-string tuning had disintegrated). By that point we'd go so sick of it that we then binned it.

        3. A Sony-Walkman clone (tape obviously) - numerous problems with it eating tapes, motor incredibly variable in speed despite fresh batteries. Replaced twice, same problems with repacements. Binned

        After that I decided that they would never get any monet from me again..

  3. Mark 85

    As a former customer...

    all I can say is bye-bye. I used to use them for components for various projects but as they went into the big items, TV, electronic toys, phones, etc., they're components became basically small box stuff for cable tv, etc. which Wally World and every other discount store sold cheaper. They forgot their roots.

    I used to buy their stuff as I'm a bit impatient and didn't want to wait a few days for UPS...


    Oh dear

    Paying that huge check to Weird Al for that ad didn't help.

    How about they try slashing the price of their goods? 6 fricking Malaysian Ringgits for a single LED bulb is overdoing it, especially when you can get those from lesser shops at one Ringgit a for pack of 20.

  5. Mike VandeVelde

    oh yeah radio shack theyre still around?

  6. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Wow, are they still a thing? I remember their (Tandy's) pricing strategy in the 80s: plush cardboard package of five resistors for 50p.... or go to Bardwells and get them for 2p each.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      " I remember their (Tandy's) pricing strategy in the 80s"

      For UK readers, this 1980s experience is still available, by going to Maplin. But be quick, because they'll be gone soon, for the same reasons. Just like Radio Shack's boss, I can't understand why they're still in business, and I'd guess their management don't know either.

      1. Spoonsinger

        Re:- by going to Maplin.

        Everytime I go to my local Maplin I get accosted by spotty teen floor staff at the entrance asking whether 'they can help?'. It's probably the most annoying shopping experience I've endured trying to actually get into a shop while wanting to purchase the thing I need immediately. Knowing their mark up is based on the emergency factor anyway, they should preclude having to run that annoying gauntlet to get the bits people need.

    2. TRT Silver badge

      ...known as "The Bottom Sixteen Hundred", and an absolute PITA to stocktake.

    3. JimWin

      Bardwells - now there's a trip down memory lane

      As a yoof in the 60's, I lived in Sheffield and Bardwells was the Mecca for all things electronic. It got me hooked on electronics and hi-fi and led me along a path that led to engineering qualifications and a rewarding work life. RadioShack came along a bit later but it sucked even in the early days so I'm not at all surprised about their demise.

  7. Troy Peterson

    I miss the Radio shack of hte 80's and early 90s... Our first computer was a Tandy 1000... Quite a good computer actually... if only software supported the Tandy Graphics Adapter and Tandy 3-voice sound... 99% of the time it fell back on EGA and PC-speaker... but still a good machine.

    In the town I lived in (less than 2000 people) the local Radio Shack was the only place within a 6 hour drive where you could buy any computer stuff... or any electronic components. Sure they were outrageously over-priced... but at least you could buy components. When I was a young nerd-ling (around 10ish) and into electronics it was like a candy store. I begged my parrents to buy me oen of the 50-in-1 electronics kits... and eventually had quite a few of those over the years.... but by 1995 or so RadioShack just took a sharp turn downhill... I can't believe they are still in business too....

    Now I live in the UK and Maplin here is great. Everytime I go into Maplin it's like a little bit of nostalgia for what Radio Shack used to be like... but as someone else said, I don't think they'll be around forever either...

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Ah, those were the days...

      I used to work at Tandy (Radio Shack) in Salford, that's a city right next to Manchester. One day I was seconded to the Bolton store a few miles away to cover during an outbreak of 'flu.

      At this point I have to explain the Bolton accent for those who haven't heard it. The best example I can think of, that people may have heard, is that of Brian Glover, who does the voice over for Tetley Tea, and was the prison govenor in Alien3.

      Anyway, this red-cheeked, weather-beaten, man wearing a flat-cap and Wellington boots came into Tandy and said to me,

      "'Scuse me son, but does tha' sell turps?"

      I replied,

      "I'm sorry sir, you could try FADS the DIY shop around the corner."

      To which he replied,

      "No lad. I heard how tha' sells turps in 'ere."

      I said,

      "Well, we do have a range of cleaning products for hi-fi's, records and the like."

      Getting quite agitated now the man replied,

      "No, lad, no. Turps; for me turp recorder."

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Ah, those were the days...

        And then there was the young Irish lady I helped choose a telephone for.

        Standing at the pay-desk, new telephone in hand, the young lady said to me, in a beautiful Irish lilt,

        "T'ank you ever so fer all yer help now. Oh, while 'am here, tell me now, do you have a box for tips?"

        Flattered, I replied,

        "Thank you, but I'm afraid we arn't allowed to accept gratuities."

        Laughing gently she said,

        "No, no, I meant a case for putting all me music tips into fer when I go back te Ireland."

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ah, those were the days...

        That FADS shop is still empty :(

        Tandy was converted into a club of some sort when I passed last.

  8. Joe Harrison

    Paired vices

    I once had an urgent call to fix a printer in Scunthorpe because they couldn't do the paired vices. WTF? They repeated it several times but I was too polite to tell them I had no idea what they were talking about. Eventually "You know, the paired vice slip you get in your wage packet..."

  9. bob, mon!

    me stoopid murrican

    No idea what "turps", "music tips", or "paired vice slip" mean....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: me stoopid murrican

      Turps = Turpentine - for cleaning paint brushes etc

      Music Tips = Music tapes... cassette tapes... normally C60, C90 - but don't risk C120 :) Very handy for "backups" of ZX Spectrum (or C64 for you "murrican's") games.

      "paired vice slip" - no idea, but I'll kick myself when someone explains :)

    2. paulf

      Re: me stoopid murrican

      "turps" and "Music tips" = tapes i.e. Compact Cassettes

      "Paired vice slip" = Pay Advice Slip - A printed piece of paper that explains why you got what you did in your pay packet (A small brown envelope with currency in it, back when employees had the right to be paid in cash, and before the days of direct bank transfer)

  10. Alan Bourke

    This is the first use I have seen of the word 'spavined' in print

    ... since whichever volume of Milligan's war memoirs I first saw it in.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tandy/Radio Shack

    They helped introduce me to computers through their Model 1 and the (at the time, in comparison to other systems) excellent extended basic. It was great having a shop round the corner where I could buy bits and pieces for my Model 1 and CoCo systems - no internet meant the alternative was buying a computer magazine and posting a cheque off somewhere, and even Tandy's prices seemed reasonable in comparison to sending a money order overseas.

    However, the decline set in over here I think because the Coco had such a dismal display capability and was so expensive, so Tandy lost out to Acorn for the BBC computer, and concentrated on not-quite IBM compatables.

    It may have been the lag between the US market and the UK's, but Tandy seemed to lose faith in their computer products very quickly, so stuff was hardly on the shelf before it was discontinued and sold off. Good for me but not for their bottom line.

    Still, 1982 and I had my own desktop publishing system all sourced from Tandy.

    The local store has long gone of course, and stopped carrying computer stuff even longer ago, but I still fondly remember poking through their bargain box and pulling out a model 1 dancing demon programme for a fiver...

  12. Carl Pearson

    Down the Tubes

    I knew the 'Shack was destined for failure when they started taking tube testers out of the stores.

    These days they look like a section of the discount aisle at Best Buy. Barely anything worth purchasing.

    However, they *do* have one potentially valuable commodity: a *lot* of retail space.

    Seems like all the Maker folk out there could use a friendly place to gather, shop, exchange and designs, whatnot.

    Perhaps ARM and Raspberry should get together?

    1. swschrad

      ah, retail space.

      look around the mall. it ain't valuable any more. over here in the 50 states, most malls are half leased, something to do with building 5 times more stores than people use.

      I agree, if RS had gone Maker last year, they'd be growing. there are at least 5 3D printers under the $1000 mark, for instance. 3 bucks for a roll of filament, which the machines eat like popcorn. Raspberry PI headquarters and take that phone space, put in a round table and a big power supply, and hold Saturday afternoon "make it do something" classes. get the parts back on the pegboard.

      nah. down at Tandy Tower, all the suits want slick phone apps. so that's what everybody wants, new phone every 5 months and push cute apps.

      gurgle, and the drain is clogged again with another power tie.

  13. swschrad

    actually, RS did NOT shut down 1000 stores

    lenders wouldn't let them. for sure they've closed about 300. I saw a report early this week that said about 700. but I rather doubt they had the cash to do that, and again, lenders don't want them to waste cash on silly things like mall rental buyouts and legal staff separation payments. they'd rather The Shack buys more robot toys and push them to... uh... I don't see anybody coming in...

  14. CJ_in_AZ

    Hmmm... guess I'll be the first to mention remembering the "free battery a month" card at RS from the 1960s (and "computer" meant something that would take more space than my parents' apartment).

    In Y2K, I went to Australia, and encountered Dick Smith's Electronics Stores -- IM[NS]HO what Radio Shack really SHOULD have been.

    Using American jargon, Radio Shack is to electronics what 7-11 ["convenience store"] is to groceries -- great when you need something in a hurry on Sunday afternoon, but you really don't want to do your weekly shopping there. (We Yanks aren't into going to the market every day -- Tesco found that out the hard way when their "Fresh and Easy" stores flopped here.)

    1. TRT Silver badge

      They used to have the coupon in the front of their diary. I still have a few of those. And diskette club.

  15. Tubz Silver badge



    What will this unfortunate individual do without his RS fix ?

    1. Crazy Operations Guy


      Continue to pull down well in excess of a million dollars per episode?

    2. TRT Silver badge


      F*** Sheldon. What about Johnny 5?

  16. sisk

    Maybe they should have stuck with their original business model of catering to electronics and computer geeks instead of trying to turn themselves into an overpriced high-tech toy store that isn't particularly high tech.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      IIRC, Tandy's original business was shoes.

  17. Matt Piechota

    I'm trying to think of the last think I bought there. I think it was a DPDT momentary switch to make a headset into PTT. Other than that the odd audio adapter plug when I was in a rush.

  18. polly618

    Radio Shack hasn't a hope when Fry's Electronics Super Store can deliver everything that anyone could want from RS and more. They started as a Food Super Market with a minimal corner displaying a few early electronic components and are now an Electronics Supermarket with a minimal corner for food. Maplin should try and emulate them and really succed

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