Magazines and the “Shack”

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I get 4 magazines. Linux Journal, Wired, Inc, and Money Magazine. I really enjoy each. Inc has so much information and ideas it makes me both excited and angry when I read it each month. Money always gives me ideas and motivation to keep saving and how to continue to invest. Wired Magazine is just to keep up with trends and get some fun reading. Linux Journal is just a true love. No matter what I am doing, I enjoy reading LJ, it has so many cool ideas and gadgets.

This week while traveling I read the most recent copy of Wired. There was an article about Radio Shack. How it has changed it’s name, image, and what it sells. What I found interesting was how the franchise is changing what it’s focus is. They are moving away from hobbyist and moving to be a mobile device seller. The basis for this change is that the margin and the sales commission on a cellular phone is great money.

The change in focus means that the Do It Yourself hobbyist and tinkerer loses out. The “Shack” as they are re-branding themselves are continuing to drop inventory of the items that people have known them for. Soldering irons, transistors, circuit boards, and connectors are going away to make room for cellular accessories.

This is very sad for me to hear. After reading the article it sounds like most of this change has already happened. The article focused on one small shop that is ignoring the change and catering to the core customers that radio shack has had for years. This shop happens to be right down the road from Make (makezine.com). The “Shack” is exactly the type of shop that readers of Make, Popular science, and DIY require to do projects. The trend these days is to use and throw away. If your printer breaks, I’m guessing you are not going to spend any time trying to fix it. You will probably just junk it and buy another one. That is what most people do these days, no one tries to fix anything any more.

I realize that retail is changing, but a Radio Shack that does not carry a connector or soldering irons is really not that useful to me. If I need mobile accessories or a mobile phone, I’ll get that over the internet. I could order most of the supplies I need (connectors, circuit boards, etc..) online but is always costly to ship and also make sure I have the right size. I am sad to see a store like the Shack change.

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