RadioShack is on the way out, another giant retail dinosaur killed by the asteroid that is the Internet. (Or Jeff Goldblum.) Approximately 1,800 of its 4,300 U.S. locations are closing this year... after 11 straight quarterly losses they've filed for bankruptcy protection... and, from all reports, the Tandy brand isn't poised for a Lazarus-esque comeback.
But no amount of "statistics" or "facts" illustrate RadioShack's Darwinian downward spiral better than an anecdote from a story about a goofy Florida criminal. Goofy Florida criminals are one of America's greatest assets.
Police in Weston, Florida recently released images from a RadioShack surveillance camera from February 26th.
Around 12:30 P.M., a couple walked into the store. The woman was wearing a long, flowing, flowery dress. She sort of looks like a bride in a cult wedding.
Well... as they walked through the store, she started shoving boxes up her skirt. (And, I guess, squeezing them between her legs?) She managed to jam seven boxes up there -- then she casually walked out.
So how does this illustrate the plight of RadioShack? Take it away, South Florida Sun-Sentinel...
The theft of $1,140 worth of electronic kits for making specialty music, automated appliances and remote-controlled toys wasn't discovered until an employee noticed an empty shelf about an hour later.
That's right: Merchandise moves so rarely that it an employee found it jarring to see a shelf in need of restocking.
The police are still trying to track down the woman.
I will be a little sad when RadioShack is gone. I'd call it "favorite sports team loses a regular season game" sad. When I was a kid, I got my first (and only) transistor radio there. Never really got into it, but I remember thinking it was cool conceptually. Through the late '80s and early '90s I would also wander through, usually picking up a headphone jack splitter or some other cord -- and maybe, yes, some of their signature "we need your phone number" batteries. There's nostalgia there, at least a little. Or perhaps the peculiar psychological urge for the status quo of childhood to persist as the status quo of today and beyond, despite the unrealistic impossibility therein.
Of course, I'm the reason RadioShack is going under. We all are. I'm waxing poetic about the place, but I haven't been to one in years (perhaps decades). I needed a cord two days ago and didn't go to the RadioShack that's a five-minute walk from my house -- I didn't even consider that option. I bought it from Amazon, like I always do. It's what happened to Blockbuster, what happened to Circuit City, CompUSA, Borders. The Internet is wiping them out and they aren't adapting fast enough to avoid it. That sounds like blame, maybe it's not even possible to adapt? RadioShack's survival this long could almost be construed as a its Final Destination moment. Can't outrun fate forever.
So I'm making a mental note to pop into a RadioShack before they're all gone. Maybe I'll even buy a little something, for old times' sake, help them out. Or perhaps it'll better serve them if I fly to Florida to hunt for a woman with mediocre fashion sense and powerful thighs?
Either way, I got you. And I wish I still had that transistor radio so I could hop on and tell other seven-year-olds and shut-ins to do the same.
This post was originally published on Tuesday, April 28, 2015 at 11:00:00 AM under the category Web & Tech.