What Happened to America's Electronics Stores? 

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Mar 31, 2021




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Comments 100   
Fyre 41 minute ago
8:18 Godayummm O_O
Chris Gonzalez
Chris Gonzalez 2 hours ago
SYS 64738
Perogi Palooka
Perogi Palooka 2 hours ago
I get there's some setup involved, and you're trying to set the scene- but you don't even begin to answer the question until 10 minutes into a 15 minute long video. I did find it neat learning about what electronic stores used to be, but perhaps that could have been a separate video?
Adam B
Adam B 3 hours ago
liked and subscribed for the Armatron!
james lawrence
james lawrence 3 hours ago
As an older dude this was SO much fun to watch 8~D
james lawrence
james lawrence 3 hours ago
As an older dude this was SO much fun to watch 8~D
Cratecruncher 4 hours ago
I used to miss the "physical shopping experience" until one day I took stock of all the wonderful unique things that I can discover and I can now afford! I have tools for pulling an engine and rebuilding it. I have table saws and drill presses - even a mini-lathe! I have hundreds of pc games that were purchased online for a fraction of what they used to cost in shops. I read many more books than I used to now that I can download and read them on my phone. It's a new world and I don't miss '80s stores. I really miss hot '80s girls though! I wish big hair, colorful makeup and angora sweaters would please please come back.
Jak3 5 hours ago
Amazon happened... they end
Rychotech 5 hours ago
The GameStop at the mall where I grew up at shut down during the pandemic, and when they removed the GameStop logo from the wall you can see the pencil outline of where they had installed the original Babbages logo.
yizzer2 6 hours ago
In my opinion, there was never much to be made on electronics, the bread and butter for electronics stores was consumables; cassettes, floppies, cd's. Demand for these dried up with the Millennium Copyright Act, no one buys cassette tapes and later cdr's/dvd's in large quantities unless you're bootlegging something. Finally when Napster died so did the line-ups for MP3 players and headphones. I'm sure these stores can sell modern electronics however tech has become more proprietary and the same cord for one gizmo won't work in another etc... De-incentivizing hobbyists and DIY'ers, all in the name of Apple profits.
john mortison
john mortison 7 hours ago
One big factor was the demise of electronics as a hobby. Back in the day, audio equipment and ham radio equipment could be built from kits or parts by the amateur hobbyist. The equipment was made of discrete components that you could buy from Heathkit, Allied Radio, Lafayette Radio, Radio Shack and other places. The advent of microminiature devices replaced vacuum tubes, transistors and made electronics no longer something a hobbyist could deal with, so people's interests went elsewhere.
Elian 8 hours ago
Well said 👍
Dan Chiasson
Dan Chiasson 9 hours ago
I'm really going to miss Fry's. It was my absolute favorite store in the Bay Area. As a Canadian (with nothing comparable to a Fry's back home) I remember my first business trip to San Jose where I must have spent at least 4-5 hours at Fry's, browsing and looking at basically every item in every single aisle. On every subsequent trip my suitcase was always chock full of gadgets, parts, tools, toys for the kids, candy, etc. for my trip back home.
Luigi 9 hours ago
Does anyone remember the Layette and Allied stores, which were competitors to Radio Shack?
rick hayden
rick hayden 9 hours ago
bottom line, computers and the internet shut down all stores. sears not only shut down their electronics dept, they are just gone completely, like many businesses.
Tim Johnson
Tim Johnson 11 hours ago
Poor fish. :(
Michael Giordano
Michael Giordano 12 hours ago
There was no greater wonder as a kid than going to Toys 'R Us's video game section. Sensory overload every time.
OldCountryman 12 hours ago
“What happened to America’s electronics stores?” They were terrible and never had anything you wanted to buy.
there will be a price to pay letting all these shops close down amazon and ebay are killing small buisness and thats not good for a small community
Richardofdanbury 14 hours ago
One store you didn't mention was Lafayette Electronics a hard competitor of Radio Shack. This and RS were a electro-nerds paradise as you could buy component electronics and make your own devices from radios, CB's, HAM radios, electronic kits and much more. You also failed to mention that a large factor in the demise of electronic shops is the conglomeration of small Mom-n-Pops buy big box stores. Unfortunately today monopolies are in while Mom-n-Pops have gone the way of the Dodo!
Otaku_GameFan 15 hours ago
Fry's Electronics is gone? On no. 🙁 Also I use separate calculators in case of emergency.
P S 17 hours ago
A live fish? That is inhumane not funny. Get a shrink.
Tito Tim Travels
Tito Tim Travels 17 hours ago
I liked the Incredible Universe. The Dallas location (NW Hwy) got replaced by Fry's. Not bad... but nothing compared to Universe. I remember Radio Shack just became a phone store, before they finally went away. My childhood malls were Bigtown (long gone) and Town East (still in Mesquite, as far as I know). When I went back to visit the US a couple years ago, I tried shopping locally. It did not go well. 3 weeks before christmas and the Galleria and Northpark were mostly empty. Nothing I wanted was available, and I finally had to get an Amazon account. I love the malls here in the Philippines! They are a major family hangout: aircon, food court, and grocery store. There are actual stores too, but most people do not actually shop much... 😎
Mx. Struble
Mx. Struble 17 hours ago
Hey! Nice cameo by my PXL-2000! I feel like I contributed.
D J W 19 hours ago
#4. Not respecting their customers.
Fat Biker
Fat Biker 20 hours ago
It is so incredibly frustrating that we are having to shop on line more and more out of necessity. I was always one willing to pay more to be able to walk into a store and browse through aisle of physical items. Find what suits my needs and take it home with me.
SalvadorMonella 20 hours ago
For pictures of AT&T store try getting in touch with the AT&T Pioneers. It was called the Pacific Bell Pioneers, but when SBC (who would have been your local telco in Texas, the old Southwestern Bell) bought Pacific Bell the two internal Bell Co. Pioneer programs merged and then when SBC bought AT&T their version of Pioneers was subsumed. Pioneers is an outfit comprised of Telco retirees that operates as a not-for-profit adjunct and keeps a lot of historical information and ancillary things, like AT&T-branded clothing.
Dominus Umbrae
Dominus Umbrae 20 hours ago
The into is so loud compared to the rest of thevideo im not even going to watch it sorry made me turn it down too much
Nate Reynolds
Nate Reynolds 20 hours ago
Basically the society has become more anti-social
Brutal Chif
Brutal Chif 21 hour ago
i remember when i was a kid you could make plans with friends for a whole saturday around going to the mall... or when you got to school on monday you could tell them about your adventure around going to the mall... its an experience that is truly lost to the ages...
bekincai 21 hour ago
i miss the 80's and 90's
radioshack was the best in the old days not just because it sold pretty much any component you'd need but also because the workers there had the knowledge and could help you diagnose and fix a problem, you could come in and say you had x problem and a good majority of the time they could recommend a part,you'd buy it and then fix the issue you had. I miss that place for the convience because if some criticcal part broke in anything your car, tv, stero system etc you could go in buy that 10cent capacitor that busted go replace it and boom whatever it was that failed was back in business. Now? if aything breaks go wait a week or 3 to repair as you wait on shipping from amazon or whatever
Wolfgeist 21 hour ago
The first computer game I bought with my own money (X-Men: Madness in Murderworld for C64) and first console game (LoZ: Link to the Past) were from Babbages in our mall. Nice memories.
Ren Ishii
Ren Ishii 21 hour ago
Growing up in the 80s is the perfect time to experience all of these electronic sensory overload. Whenever passing by these stores, my mind would run the thoughts of something like " what is there to solder or to assemble?"
Collin Gray
Collin Gray 22 hours ago
Man I was bron in the late 90s sears and toys R us used to be tow of my favorite stores in the early 2000s it sucks there both gone today
Sharon z
Sharon z 22 hours ago
I was a young adult in the electronic different stores era😊 So I remember and even worked at a Sears Store for awhile too
Cranky Fox
Cranky Fox 22 hours ago
"Who uses that?" Welp loads of people. Honestly tech can be convenient, but a good alarm clock has woken me up consistently whereas my smartphone will die overnight, if I forget to plug it in. Also landlines still exist. They can be convenient for emergencies, and for when you don't want to fuck about with your smart phone. I honestly just miss the reliability of old tech. So much is put into the hands of fucking awful softdevs who don't aim for efficiency and reliability. Let's put it this way. My phone is relatively new. It is constantly bogged down by bullshit app design and ridiculous inefficiency. It takes up to 2 mins to boot from a dead state to unlocked and ready. If someone breaks in and I am holed up with a gun, it takes 2 secs to pick up the landline and get help. This is to say nothing of the fuckery of mobile transmissions. Some areas no reception. Some areas great reception. My work has terrible reception because of the amount of steel and concrete, plus "noisy" devices that all take up bandwidth for their work. Sometimes you just want a thing to do one thing well and do nothing else. I don't want fucking alexa in my goddamn microwave or my tv. Not because I am some luddite; but because I don't want corporate parasites sucking up my cycles when I want it to do what I want. The new age sucks for efficiency. Everyone talks endlessly about being effective and not wasting energy, when companies are pushing for "always on, always connected, we own everything, you own nothing tech". We struggled for decades to get away from the age of the centralized mainframe and now companies are leading us right back.
Cranky Fox
Cranky Fox 13 hours ago
@Star Gazer It's pure frustration. I have dealt with corporate bullshit for years. In the industry I work in we constantly work with vendors who: A. Constantly misrepresent what the actual capabilities of their hardware is. B. Add features that cripple basic functionality for the sake of "security" or DRM that in the context of any practical analysis, is neither the attack vector, nor is pragmatic in attacking. (Eg. Drm like hdcp which is to "prevent piracy" which doesn't prevent the pirate from just breaking the media encryption, but the industry still thinks it's 1995 where the only way to copy is to play the tape to another recorder. This combined with the fact that when I drop a grand on a device, I expect it to be selfcontained and controlled by me. Not by something or someone trying to fish money out of my pocket.
Star Gazer
Star Gazer 13 hours ago
You should see a doctor about your Tourettes
Luke Williamson
Luke Williamson 23 hours ago
At suncoast or sam goody I use to buy ranma on vhs.
AB 23 hours ago
c 2001 some schools would just go to Walmart for their computers instead of putting them out for bid.
Cross Link
Cross Link Day ago
There's an independent electronics parts store near me. And I mean PARTS; resistors, ICs, capacitors, relays of all kinds, radio and communications gear, TV antennas (yes! they sell 'rabbit ears!), wire of all types, connectors galore, etc. It occupies a large building because it does mostly internet sales these days, but they do have a small retail store up front with basic parts, and you can go up to the counter and the staff will help you with parts from the warehouse. I went in there a few weeks ago, got a TV antenna for my roof (I 'cut the cord') and some components to make new crossover networks for some stereo speakers. Great place. Name: Mar Vac Electronics.
Ethel Ryan
Ethel Ryan Day ago
The horrible treatment of the employees left them with few skilled sales people. The prices weren't competitive (especially considering the horrible service) with even early Internet venders.\ Radio Shack - which I had loved as a child - turned into a far-right extremist, gay-bashing place where nobody ever felt welcome.
Star Gazer
Star Gazer 12 hours ago
Ah, I wondered what the guys with baseball bats stationed outside of radio shack in the mall were doing.
Dmitriy Bychkov
Why do you think there are practically no b&m stores selling electronic components in US? In Russia all of the regional center cities (like the seat of the county) have at least one such store.
Star Gazer
Star Gazer 12 hours ago
Because you can order anything you want online for far cheaper and have it in a day or two. I can buy a hundred resistors from digikey, or a blisterpack of two at radio shack.
ARRL Member
ARRL Member Day ago
1. Smart Phones are something I will NEVER own because of the danger they have created. Far too many people keep them in their shirt pocket, allowing microwave energy to get to their heart. They are also the reason that I stopped riding motorcycles. Far too many people that prefer automatic transmissions to actually learning how to drive tend to hold their steering wheel in their left hand and their cell phone in their right hand, right in front of their face so they can not see where they were pointing their 2 ton deadly weapon. 2. Cost Reduction of electronics is due to the fact that there is built in "planned obsolescence" which allows the manufacturers to continue to sell new products. One reason that I am a gun collector is that I know the difference between an appreciable asset and junk whose value nosedives. Before I knew better, I traded a commercial Colt Series 70 Government Model for a used Yaesu FT-101 (ham radio) transceiver. Since that time the value of the 1911 has gone up multiple times and the radio is almost worthless. Lesson learned. As an accountant, I should have known better. Online Shopping has followed in the footsteps of the bank's ATMs. The ATM saves the banks the cost of live tellers, which provides more profit for the banks. Online shopping has gone far farther than ATMs in the number of jobs that have been lost. Included among the stores I miss are Heathkit, Dick Smith Electronics, Radio Shack and of course Fry's Electronics. The main Fry's store in SillyCon Valley had an Egyptian theme, as every store had an individual theme. The store in Palo Alto had an old west theme, where wooden tops were put on old ore carts and used for display tables for computers. The walls were filled with antique firearms of the period, which was quite unusual for an area that is infested with leftists. Another store that I miss is HRO (Ham Radio Outlet) even though they are still available online. My problem with them is the rapid decline in value of their electronic products. I believe that ham radio equipment (and computers) should be made to last (like guns) so that we do not have to keep buying new ones to keep up with the times.
Tahngarthor Day ago
Aside from MicroCenter, I think Best Buy is really the only one left aside from mom and pop shops. Of course, Best Buy sells appliances and some other stuff that are still a pain to buy online so that may be one reason for their continued survival.
Anti-Islam Day ago
I live in South America, I can't find any electronics to buy in my city also, the only thing I buy locally is food. All the rest I buy on internet.
Anti-Islam Day ago
What Happened to America's Electronics Stores? China and E-bay.
Jean-Claude Van Damme
Duuuude! Blow your nose! My ears are sticky with your mucus! 🤢
Mark Crites
Mark Crites Day ago
I am pretty sure that the issue with pictures and filming in the stores was an issue of making it more difficult for potential criminals to case out the anti-theft measures.
scott rodger
scott rodger Day ago
radio shack was still cool when i was a kid in the 90s
Rich Rich
Rich Rich Day ago
It's not just an American problem! UK subscriber & our malls are dying rapidly. Its basically charity (thrift) stores, £1 stores or pharmacies now. The electronics, toy & high end shops are gone all over.
Fa Q
Fa Q Day ago
Recently removed both dvd rw dl etc disc reader writers from my custom build since i really have no need for em they r old bulky not used eat up juice too bad they never stuck with mini disc format to begin with
AD P Day ago
A lot of great stores mentioned here that aren't around. Amazon is cool and all but it's nice to actually hold and try a product before buying it.
Ray Brown
Ray Brown Day ago
Why no photos, have you ever heard of China theft they do it all the time...
Tevin abeysekera
Also, you don't need to ask the store person for help now that there are many forums and US-first videos and reviews section to get your questions answered.
PickelJars ForHillary
ToyR'Us is reopening a small number of stores in selection cities.
Jon Maksin
Jon Maksin Day ago
I kind of miss the malls of the '80s & '90s. Yeah, I'd skip over the clothing stores, jewelry stores, and so on too (unless I was there with my girlfriend), but going to the mall to hang out was a fun thing to do with friends.
Ninja Nerd Student #69
“I like the stock”
Ninja Nerd Student #69
It seems like Brookstone and Sharper Image replaced Radio Shack.
Star Gazer
Star Gazer 13 hours ago
Not hardly. Those have always been overpriced gadget stores.
CF542 Day ago
I love that you still have this stuff. I still have that Radio Shack sensory chess set I bought when I was a kid.
iφhi Day ago
i memba
John Bucki
John Bucki Day ago
But... I need a portable cassette player to play my planet x3 soundtrack, I need a landline for when the power goes out, and who doesn't use batteries? The tv remote for one thing.
Brian Wood
Brian Wood Day ago
To me, none of what you showed is electronics. I go to electronics stores for parts. ICs, resistors, capacitors, inductors, wire, connectors, transformers, etc. To get those now, I use Mouser, Digikey, Newark, Allied, etc. But I miss being able to go in and look around. Yes, I'm a DIYer. We do still exist!
bioxjester Day ago
I prefer getting my stuff in person in a store like Walmart then it is to order it because I want to get my stuff the same day not wait almost a week before I can get it from when I order it
Pilot_Doggo Day ago
I miss the days when I could go to a store instead of buying stuff online, I still have the windows xp cd somewhere.
MacZack87 Day ago
Dude I totally agree. I miss going to the store to check out the latest electronics. The one thing that I miss that online shopping can’t help me with is instant satisfaction. Sometimes when I want something, I want it NOW or sometimes I NEED something right away. Something that can’t wait till tomorrow or whenever the quickest shipping option is. There are times when something is going wrong with a computer hardware and I need to get a replacement part right away to get it back up and running and now that Frys is gone it’s impossible to get electronics right away, same day. Very depressing...
Unnamed Day ago
i have a mall close in there is a phone store, media markt (general electronics store) and a saturn (the same as mediamarkt) this is germany btw the nr 2 and 3 are realy big acctualy
lyohus Day ago
I've always liked to visit American electronics stores when I was on a business trip. It is a pity that there are fewer and fewer places where you can watch electronics live.
Yabba Dabba
Yabba Dabba Day ago
Libertylute Day ago
Looking forward to the demise of the Apple Store!
W R K Day ago
The "electronics" store today is Best Buy. And yes Micro Center is still around but not where I live in Las Vegas. The closest one is in Tustin, CA which is reachable by car n about in about 5 hours.
Mobile Filmmaking
I used to love Radio Shack. I had a Color Computer 3 in high school and used to sell share ware games for it. Even got a write up in Rainbow Magazine. I used to love looking at their catalogs.
Aniwayas Song
The only value they had (prior to the internet/online happening), was in CUSTOMER SERVICE. Not one of them ever did that, in my experiences. Not 'Circuit City', nor 'Best Buy', and a few others not worth mentioning. They promise you everything to get you to buy, but if there's ever a problem with the product, or you have questions about it, you're S.O.L.. Good riddance. Not, of course, that this online/internet buying model is any better, but at least returns are usually simple/straight-forward.
BM1DAS601 Day ago
Same thing happened here in Germany. There are still two quite big retailers for electronics and household electrics around (MediaMarkt and Saturn, actually with the same owners) but it is a matter of time when they also will vanish into the air. In my younger days in the 80s and 90s I also loved shopping around, but that is history now.
Mark P
Mark P Day ago
Sure brings back memories. In 1983, I salivated over the Radio Shack catalog, and finally for Christmas, under the tree was my COCO 2. I miss all those stores. I would spend hours in the bookstores and computer stores saving up my pennies to buy the next game, or a Rainbow magazine, or wanting this or that. I am 51 and I am still that 13 year old nerd. Made a career out of it as Network Administrator. But I miss the magic of those early years.
John Marzulli
I just installed a CB radio in my Jeep! They are still used by the offroading community.
Star Gazer
Star Gazer 13 hours ago
Yeah but you haven’t been able to buy a decent one in decades.
dhy5342 Day ago
Well, we still have Best Buy and, to some extent, Office Max for electronics. It is a shame however that you can't go into a store and buy resistors, capacitors, switches, circuit boards, and the like any more.
Christian Löfqvist
9:11 - I'll bet the fish didn't find it quite as funny!
Dan M
Dan M Day ago
Still got ToysЯus in Canada!
Thomas Reese
Thomas Reese Day ago
It really is a shame. Now you can only gift live fish to Amazon delivery workers
Lucky Penny
Lucky Penny Day ago
dam you know when your old when you had most of those items. LOL
Nabi Butterfly
Just finished your "What Happened to America's Electronics Stores?"video. One store that I did not see mention was the Video Concepts Store. When I was station in the Army I use to go to the Tyson Corner Mall & they had a Video Concepts Store. First time seeing a Laserdisc being played on a big screen tv. It was the 1983 Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever Laserdisc. A few weeks later brought me my first Pioneer Laserdisc player along with that laserdisc & a big screen tv, ouch!!!
Charles Owsley
Man you know exactly how to make a person born in 1984 feel old I feel extremely old after watching this and the only thing I used this smartphone for is to watch videos like this LOL
ZIX Day ago
Enjoy your capitalism working as intended.
Gary Rebe
Gary Rebe Day ago
I don't recall a time that I went, probably no more than 10 at 2 stores in Houston, that I was not annoyed by the group of people behind the counter with no regard for my wait much less the 1 to 3 actually working a cash register. The almost acted as though I was an inconvenience to them. Add to that, the paranoid scrutiny as I enter and exit the store. On the floor, it was pretty much vacant of employees. They seemed to gather near registers registers and preoccupied with each other or some less than apparent task more than customers. Micro Center, EPO, and other stores for me!
I hate Fry’s.
Geoff Allan
Geoff Allan Day ago
I worked for Radio Shack from 1979 to 1991. I worked in almost every mall in my city at some point. A whole generation IS missing out on an important part of culture. Actually interacting with product before buying it, getting clothing advice from store staff, eating what was often surprisingly good mall food, being able to make a day of browsing a new mall. Several of my friends even met the girls they later married at malls. Letting malls and mall culture die will be seen as a major step in the fall of our civilization.
valcaron Day ago
The world is turning into the one in Ray Bradbury's "The Pedestrian"
Kevin B
Kevin B Day ago
Big box stores and online shopping have virtually wiped out electronics stores. The primary exception is Micro Center that is located near colleges and universities. Best Buy box stores are on their way out because it's all throw away or cloud software products. When Radio Shack went from selling quality electronics and parts and equipment to cheap import flashy things they went bye bye.
anameof somesort
anameof somesort 2 days ago
I used to get 3D printing filament at the Fry's here in Indy. It was a great place to go, the prices were better than online and they always had different material and color types avaliable. After Covid the shelves started to go empty, it was clear they were gearing up for the closing before they announced it. I could also find odd video game accessories that you wouldn't find at Gamestop or Walmart. When I was a kid I would GBA and DS games there too. Man, I'm gonna miss em.
Peter Walker
Peter Walker 2 days ago
They have all gone in the uk Maplin Electronics closed 2 years ago I can remember back in 80s Tandy Stores (Radio Shack) in the uk and they went in the 90s and pc world have reduced it's stores so are they next ? It is a specialized market and some over expanded the number of stores and over diversified into selling other items like drones and mobile phones but it did not work
NickBush24 2 days ago
They probably didn't allow photographs because of the threat of people casing the place and stealing expensive electronics.
Alex Alekos
Alex Alekos 2 days ago
it's impressive how almost all the devices of this catalog have been replaced with just one smartphone
Alex Alekos
Alex Alekos 12 hours ago
@Star Gazer what do you doubt?
Star Gazer
Star Gazer 13 hours ago
Poorly replaced.
SWFL Fishing
SWFL Fishing 2 days ago
They were looted because a Drug addict overdosed
Jermy Johnson
Jermy Johnson 2 days ago
Forum 303 was my childhood mall. Many birthday parties I had in the 80s at their arcade: Yesterdays (at least I think it was called Yesterdays). The movie theater there had a free summer kids movie program that I remember fondly too.
TRANS AM 79 2 days ago
I too really miss them days going out walking shopping hunting down items and ur video tells the truth of their demise .nice video
stampscapes 2 days ago
That Radio Shack flip through sure made the point.
Nya Stclair
Nya Stclair 2 days ago
I miss the 80s and 90s.
Abus 2 days ago
hurts every time he says "who needs that?" :(((((
Servant Status Ministries
So if I wait like 35 years I can afford the OLED Tv displays lol
Outlet 2 days ago
I think you missed one of my mall favorites-Victora's Secret. Don't believe they are still around, or maybe they are getting ready to be booted. A mall without one of these can't be called a mall. The purpose of today's malls is to give pretty, young things a place to show off their beauty and outfits that almost cover their bodies. Gee, I love going to the mall.
Star Gazer
Star Gazer 13 hours ago
They’re still in our mall. Or they were, last time I was in there 1 1/2 years ago.