Unless you happened to walk or drive past a RadioShack this weekend, you may not have realized that Memorial Day weekend 2017 marked the end of almost all of the chain’s stores. It once had more than 7,300 locations, and now it’s down to 70 corporate stores and a few hundred franchisees.
RadioShack plans to (maybe) survive with those few dozen stores, the remaining franchisees, and by selling online. Will customers be interested in buying online once the supposed “clearance” sales are over? Does the RadioShack brand hold any value other than nostalgia?
“We have heard countless stories and truly appreciate the millions of employees and customers that have made RadioShack their neighborhood convenience electronics store for the past century,” the company said in its farewell press release, “and we invite every home in America to come innovate with us one last time.”
By “innovate,” the company seems to mean “buy everything that isn’t nailed down,” including whatever you can stuff in a bag. Its Twitter posts have become almost unbearably sad, and corporate social media still frames the closures as “select locations.” That is true in the sense that the chain has selected pretty much all of its stores to close.
If you miss the days when RadioShack sold toaster-sized answering machines and the TRS-80, the company apparently found a cache of old merchandise that would put the Raiders of the Lost Walmart to shame, and is holding an online auction. Want a gold ladies’ watch with the RadioShack logo, or a box of framed stock certificates that are now extra-worthless after the company has filed for bankruptcy twice? Now that your local store has been picked over, the online auction is your last chance.