Jefe's House

Tag: trs-80

Eulogy for Radio Shack

by on Aug.12, 2017, under Pophood, The Sixth Boro

trs80-iI confess. I’m one of the five remaining nerds who’ve been keeping Radio Shack hanging on by a rapidly fraying thread these past few years and have been heartbroken watching them pop like bubbles in NYC and Philadelphia. This unique electronics chain brings back childhood memories in Virginia.I first saw and used a computer, the TRS-80, there, and my poor mouth watered. I knew I would never be able to own one.

It has been a mainstay these days for components my young son and I use in our electrical crafting projects.  Sure, you can get that stuff online but it’s so much fun going through all the little drawers  at Radio Shack, browsing for various colored LEDs,  different sized toggle switches and numerous knobs.

The lone holdout in Philly, to my knowledge, was the one at 1616 Chestnut in bustling Center City. Imagine my shock when I finally went there again last week after months of carrying a tattered Post-It shopping list around in my wallet that read “Blick” and “wire” in my nearly illegible lefty scrawl, to find that yet another Radio Shack had met its maker. Blick is Dick Blick art supplies just a few blocks away at 13th and Chestnut. At least I’d be able to stop in there soon and cross that one off my shopping list.

A few days later I had wheels for the day to go fishing in southern Jersey on Long Beach Island about 90 minutes away.  I swung by the sad, abandoned Radio Shack again on my way out of town, hoping maybe there’d be some info in the window along the lines of, Please visit our nearest location at… but the bereaved staff hadn’t even tried. Here’s all I found:

radioshack

That left me with two choices; spend my day, and my car rental, tracking down Radio Shacks, or spend my day fishing.  According the web, the nearest Radio Shack was way off in northeast Philly on Aramingo Avenue. It was listed online as open, but then again so had this one been.

I didn’t bother calling to check but opted for a compromise instead, reaching for my phone. Perfect, there was a Radio Shack listed as open on Route 70 in Marleton, New Jersey, directly en route to LBI.  I kept my eyes peeled as I cruised past and, sadly, it was covered in SPACE AVAILABLE signs from a realty company.  I didn’t even need to slow down. In the end, I came up empty-handed on both the Radio Shacks and the fish, but nonetheless what a lovely summer day to have tried both.

20170813_083458   My son’s latest crafting project:  an electrical birthday card for a friend complete with on-off toggle switch and an LED bindi (or teep as we say in Bengali). Components: two CR2016 button batteries in a holder, a two-position toggle switch, red LED and small gauge single strand wire.

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