The Casualties of Rebranding

“Will I be making Micro RC Cars? I have arthritis and the little tools are hard to hold.”

“Let me put it this way, Gramps. Do the horses “make the glue” at the glue factory?”


NOTE: There will only be 2 comics this week due to my daughter coming down with strep throat, and me having to completely remake the covers for the book because of a stupid miscalculation on my part.

RadioShack changing their name to “The Shack” makes me think of a guy that buffed up over the summer, got a new haircut and asked all his friends to start calling him “Dutch” or  “The Wedge” of  “Big Geef” or something.

I wonder if they are putting 5000 “Radio” signs on Craigslist. Those would be a good collectors item, or a great gift for fans of that movie where Cuba Gooding Jr. was the black Forrest Gump.

If you find this comic confusing, then perhaps you didn’t spend much or your teenage years trying to build your own distortion pedals and a/v switch boxes. All you need to know is that every RadioShack had 3 types of employees:

The RadioGrandpa (illustrated above) remembers what it was like when everything ran on vacuum tubes and God’s will,

The EE Major just needs the job until he graduates. He brought his own multi-tool (it’s in the holster on his braided belt) and he knows how stupid your question is going to be before you ask it  and finally

The Battery Douche. This motherfucker doesn’t know his ass from an ethernet cable, but he knows where the batteries are. THEY’RE EVERYWHERE! Once the rebranding is complete, he will likely be the only one of the triumvirate to survive. The other two will be replaced with corporate cell phone rate plan jockeys and cute girls.

None of this matters since no one in their right mind still shops at RadioTheShack. Every single item they sell from adapters to TV’s can be purchased for roughly 20-90% less online. You really only go there for an adapter or cable emergency anyway. Might I suggest you check out MonoPrice? Just to give you an example: 1 6ft 1/8th inch headphone extension cable is $6 at The Shack. At mono price I got 12 for $4 with shipping and they arrived in 2 days. I also got a 50ft HDMI cable for $25, and as we all know HDMI cables are spun from Faberge Eggs and baby panda intestines (why else would Best Buy charge $14 a foot for them?). I say let The Shack burn, get your adapters online and happy nerding.

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  1. I really should get bluetooth headphones for my ipod… but I won't be shopping at "The Shack" for them.

    Poor granpa, he belongs in a exhibit.

    really? The Shack? isn't that like… old?? It's currently competing with SyFy for worst rebranding of the year.

  2. He needs Bluetube for Cat party.

    Anyway, I thought this was an unofficial rebranding. They just want you to call it "The Shack" even though that is wholly unindicative of what they sell there. No one wants to go to "The Shack". That's where the winter stuff is put.

  3. Is it just me or does the enforcer sound like a Half life 2 metro cop in your head too?

    After saying that i could see grandpa as a aged Gordan Freeman.

  4. Another funny rebranding ran into unintentional synergy recently. (you know, the annoying high school reunion site from 1995) is rebranding as MyLife just as is coming into prominence.

  5. Somehow, this reminded me of the "Sunset Squad" from that episode of Futurama when they take the professor away for being too old… but probably the cloak and sickle are too much.

    BTW, the name of the place where they took them was the "near death star", how incredibly-geek-yet-incredibly-awesome is that?

  6. I'm only surprised (A) this didn't happen sooner and (B) they didn't pick an even more modern-sounding name. "Radio Shack" to me still connotes a purveyor of putterware for electronic engineers, even though they've long since shifted focus to being Best Buy's Mini Me. As for the equipment they used to sell, yes, that stuff is best left to specialty retailers online at this point. Lord knows there's few enough people left who have a clue what that stuff is, much less want it.

  7. I really do know a kid who tried to change his name when he entered high school. He started calling himself Santino (His real name is Kyle), started pretending he could speak Italian, and claiming he was an exchange student. Needless to say most of us had gone to school/church with him for, oh, his whole life.

    Radio Shack is a figment of your imagination. We don't have any within, like, 10 miles of my house. All of the ones that show up on their store locater function closed, like, 8 years ago.

  8. I used to love going to Radio Shack with my dad when I was a kid—I knew exactly where to buy anything I needed to do anything! I wandered in recently for the first time in years and didn't see anything I recognized—just cell phones and douchebags. They died a long time ago, but I guess they're still kicking.

  9. To me, having Radio Shack (as it existed when I was a kid, with no TVs or phones but 10 different kinds of electronics kits for kids and all the components you could ever want) go away is like having hardware stores go away. How will we fix our electronic shit? The difference is that nowadays, if you need to fix a pipe, you go to Home Despot, get what you need and fix a pipe, whereas if you need to fix an FM radio or landline phone, you throw it away and (maybe) buy another one, and if you need to fix a computer your local options have already been limited ever since CompUSA went under.

    I'm pretty sure the rebranding will fail and so will the chain. When that happens, I have no idea where I'll get a shitty, overpriced but nonetheless invaluable patch cable for my guitar on a Sunday afternoon (the time I most commonly have free to work on music projects as well as the time music stores are most likely to be closed while the sun is up.)

  10. Here in Canada they were all re-named "The Source" a couple of years ago.
    I don't know if that is better or worse.
    "The Shack" seems sadder some how…
    Like they didn't even try.

    Turns out Radio Shack was bought out by Circuit City and renamed "The Source"
    Now it's like Radio shack calling themselves "The Shack" is almost plagiarism.

  11. I remember going with my dad to pick up circuit components at Radio Shack, then wandering down the strip-mall to Auto Shack (now Auto Zone) to get oil filters and spark plugs. I always thought it was funny that two "shacks" were so close to each other. The last time I encountered an experienced associate was '98 when getting parts for my senior project.

    Personally, I'd like for them to go away. Dropping the "You've got questions, we've got answers" tag-line and re-branding won't get me to buy anything other than the occasional "need it now" component.

  12. LOL – last time I had a need for what you think Radio Shack will have (I don't remember, but it may have very well been a headphone adapter of some sort for all I remember) they DIDN'T HAVE IT…

    But it mostly makes me think of my grandfather going to get his free batteries at Radio Shack thanks to the Battery club… who knows when the last time they had a battery club, but if they still had it, and my grandfather was still alive, he would still be taking all his battery club cards in to get his free batteries…

  13. radioshack has actually been recording near-record profits for the last few quarters, they're just trying to make sure people know they're still open. hell i work at radioshack and the last commercial i saw had ving rhames in is and god knows how long ago that was.
    They've gotten to where they're kinda in the middle of what people expect them to have and what they want to sell (GPS, phones, cameras, phones, tvs, and more phones), so they still have capacitors and resistors and everything, but if somebody wants a speaker or god forbid, a radio, no dice. The amount of times i hear "but you're radioshack, radioshack's supposed to have everything!" is ridiculous.

    • Radioshack found themeselves in the shitty position of being a leader in a dying industry. It would be the same if they sold supplies that only worked with print newspapers. Once the demand dies, so should the supply. Now that they want to be "mini best buy" and hock satellite TV and cell phones they are a jack of many trades and a master of none.

  14. and a lot of people do still come in, not everybody who tinkers has a computer, there are a lotta old guys that come in and buy cords and parts and stuff, sure, its not a huge number, but there are enough of em.

    and for the record, we've got a stack of 50 ft HDMI cables that are 25 dollars right now, no sale or anything, thats just the regular price

    but i will admit, a pack of 2 LED's is like 5 bucks, which is ridiculous

  15. I remember as a kid begging my parents to go to RadioShack every time we went to the mall just so I could play with the R/C cars.

  16. What the…. DAMNIT, I just spent twice that much for a KVE switch at Worst Buy!!! ARRgghh my soul aarrgghllbllgl….

    Also… Radio shack?! Do they still MAKE those? I thought they were like long john silvers's… Lost to thar sea… she be a fickle mistress… yar…

  17. And nobody's mentioned the goofiest part of this rebranding yet: The Radio Shack pro cycling team, featuring newly un-retired Lance Armstrong. Apparently, the news about dropping the "Radio" hasn't made it over to the cycling world yet.

  18. Maybe they are trying to keep within the Truth in Advertising, by glossing-over the Radio in the name. The closest thing to "radio" in the store (oh, sorry..Shack) is 'Radio"-controlled..well, everything. I work at a Ham Radio Store (Ham Radio Polish <3!) and if we don't have a part or connector, and I suggest the Radio Shack nearby… we *try* to keep a straight face, but soon my customer and I are giggling. "Yeah, riiight!" What is funny…Hams call their room full o' radios: Ham Shack or just the Shack! (we, Ham stores, are known as The Candy Store.

    -Merbrat (KE5OLY)

  19. Maybe they are trying to keep within the Truth in Advertising, by glossing-over the Radio in the name. The closest thing to "radio" in the store (oh, sorry..Shack) is 'Radio"-controlled..well, everything. I work at a Ham Radio Store (ham radio polish &lt;3!) and if we don't have a part or connector, and I suggest the Radio Shack nearby… we *try* to keep a straight face, but soon my customer and I are giggling. "Yeah, riiight!" What is funny…Hams call their room full o' radios: Ham Shack or just the Shack! (we, Ham stores, are known as The Candy Store.

    -Merbrat (KE5OLY)

  20. Further evidence that culture is collapsing. And now what am I supposed to do for a job when I'm old? RadioGranpa was my retirement plan.

  21. It is kinda silly to call a tech store Radio Shack. That's kinda like me starting a store with electronics and calling it some other obsolete tech like Typewriter Store, or Telegraph Shack.

    I always kinda wondered what they did with those old guys. Now I know. They recycle them into tech parts. TECH PARTS ARE PEOPLE…..THEEEERRREEE PEEEOOPLEEE!!!

  22. Hey, Guest–They're still Radio Shack at the corporate level. So the sponsorship will be Radio Shack. It's just the storefronts that are Shackin' up.

  23. Maybe they are trying to keep within the Truth in Advertising, by glossing-over the Radio in the name. The closest thing to "radio" in the store (oh, sorry..Shack) is 'Radio"-controlled..well, everything. I work at a Ham Radio Store (ham radio polish, love it!) and if we don't have a part or connector, and I suggest the Radio Shack nearby… we *try* to keep a straight face, but soon my customer and I are giggling. "Yeah, riiight!" What is funny…Hams call their room full o' radios: Ham Shack or just the Shack! (we, Ham stores, are known as The Candy Store.

    -Merbrat (KE5OLY)

  24. That's like "Pizza Hut" changing its name to "The Hut". It's like dropping your first name and adding "The" to the beginning makes you appear as some sort of force…a BUSINESSY force…that means BUSINESS!

    Just imagine, you could be "The Ensue" brought to you by "The Watson."

  25. The Grandpa's responses made me think of the (now fairly old) British television comedy The League Of Gentlemen.

    "This is a local shack, for local people!"

  26. Finally…Radio Shack (er, "The Shack") is going to have cute girls! If they are cute enuf, I won't even mind the stupid "what's your zip code and phone number" inquisition!

    • One time a girl at Toys R Us asked me for my phone number and zip and I told her no. She was completely flabbergasted.
      I told her to just make one up because they didn't need to know my phone number to sell me things.

      • Heh heh, Flabbergasted, what a word…"flabbergast" would be a cool slang word for cunilingus:
        "yeah, I went out with my new girlfriend last night…I had her completely flabbergasted before the night was through"

  27. Aw, RadioGrampa looks sad. Does he know he's getting obsolete? Well, I'm a Cmpe (Computer Engineering) major, kinda offshot from EE, so I'm a semi-frequent RadioShack customer. I can tell you they still have the plethora of cable connectors, multimeters, tools, and parts by the drawerful, so no worries for the DYI crowd. But I understand their need to stay in business by appealing to people who like buying fully-built electronics (TVs, phones, & yes, RADIOS), as disturbing as that sounds.
    Give our best to your daughter. Take it from me, strep throat totally sucks for everybody.

  28. I'm a little unclear how rebranding themselves "The Shack" is supposed to give you more confidence in their product?

    I might have thought items at a store called "Radioshack" were outdated, but I'm pretty sure any items I but at "The Shack" are going to be straight up rusty!

  29. Heh. I went to Radio Shack recently when I needed new headphones. My old ones broke, and I could not find other muff style headphones (the only ones I can use with my hearing aids) -anywhere-! None of the other major retailers had them; it was all wireless, in-the-ear or behind-the-ear pieces.

    Radio Shack not only had what I was looking for, but they let me exchange a headphone set I bought that clenched my head like a vice grip. After I told them how painful it was, they let me try out another model right there in the store (they took it out of the package!), and it was much more comfortable. They're a really nice set of headphones, and they fold up too, for added portability.

    Radio Shack nowadays is still pretty different than what it was in my youth. Back then it was seen as more of a hobby shop; a place where you could go to get hardware for science fair experiments, or when you wanted to build something yourself. Today, it is a retailer just like any other place. We probably have the cell phone revolution to blame on that.

  30. We've got pretty decent prices on cell phones…

    That's probably about it.

    RadioShack, at the corporate level, is run by idiots who think that doing something stupid is better then doing nothing. They can't settle on a marketing scheme. They re-arrange store layouts several times a year (which is a pain in the ass, and detracts from customer service); this is always planned out by a fucking idiot who just pulls the new layout from their ass, and we spend 2 months fixing their bullshit because it doesn't work in the real world. They literally shrink the size of products in the diagrams just to make it fit.

    They are pretty profitable right now, but this has more to do with the guys on the ground. Most the store managers are pretty good at their jobs, as are district managers. If I were as bad at my job as the corporate people are, I'd be out on my ass.

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