The story of RadioShack’s evolution over the past half century turns out to be the story of America’s changing relationship with technology. The RadioShacks of old catered to customers who could diagnose a busted TV on their basement workbench. They might be messing around with some project on a Saturday afternoon, find that they were missing a part, and hustle out to the nearest RadioShack for some of the very gear Cohen still stocks.
But his shop is a lone outpost; in a single generation, the American who built, repaired, and tinkered with technology has evolved into an entirely new species: the American who prefers to slip that technology out of his pocket and show off its killer apps. Once, we were makers. Now most of us are users.
This article was a great read for me, reminding me of the days I sat in my room trying to program on a Tandy computer, and the crystal radio kits I received for Christmas.