I really wish Sears and Radio Shack would re live there glory days permanently. However I think that at this point doing so would be damn near impossible. Both companies seem to be in serious enough financial trouble that they cannot reconcile the damage done.
I would dare to say (and you may correct me if you have more accurate information) that the death spiral of these two retail companies began in 2004, give or take a year or two. This is mainly because Sears began contracting cheaper foreign companies to produce their tools which built products of a lesser quality. As for Radio Shack, pretty much the same thing, but also they began to sell mobile phones. They focused more on these mobile phones instead of their niche products: scanners, two way radios, and broadcast receivers. Their selection of those three products dwindled smaller and smaller in the coming years. Furthermore these were made with cheaper parts which put a damper on their performance.
BUT: As early as the 1990s and before these two entities sold awesome goods. That’s right they sold them. There is no Radio Shack factory and there is no Sears factory. Both companies have always contracted other manufacturing companies to make their products.
I didn’t shop at Radio Shack on the regular until about 2001, so I witnessed their pre downfall glory, albeit very briefly. Not to mention, many times I reference their catalogs when doing various types of product research. God I wish I knew the Bible like I knew the Radio Shack Catalogs. I remember in 2014 the Super Bowl commercial where Radio Shack had a commercial that was about their glory days in the 1980s. However, they never materialized on building any electronics with that robust 1980s quality. I was sure disappointed too. I heard through the grapevine that all Radio Shacks might be shutting down for good. Please someone confirm or deny this for me. I have come across a few vintage Radio Shack electronics and I must say they sometimes outperform their modern day counterparts.
On the other hand though, I’ve shopped at Sears since before I could walk. My parents established their credit at Sears and many of their original household appliances, electronics and tools were purchased there. We would also have our pictures taken there and much of our clothing was also purchased there. Both my parents’ first color TV (purchased before I was born) and first cable-ready TV (purchased in 1992 when I was five going on six and I later was handed down) were purchased at Sears. In 1989 my two year old self saw a computer for the first time in Sears and I’ve wanted one ever since. It was probably used for credit checks and other in store use, but that was the first time I saw a computer. Now in 2017 I use one in some way shape or form on a daily basis. I definitely witnessed the decline in quality of Sears first hand and it is quite depressing to me. There is still a handful of Sears Craftsman tools which are still of a decent build quality, but they are becoming more few and far between as the years go by. More and more of the tools are being made by foreign contractors and fewer and fewer of them have a lifetime guarantee. Although I must admit, in 2013, I was using a Craftsman claw hammer to remove nails from a fence post and the handle broke on me. I took it to my local Sears Hardware (which closed in 2016) and they gave me a brand new claw hammer no questions asked. I have some Craftsman Philips, Flat Head and Torx screwdrivers which I use as my tools. In addition there is a Craftsman electrical multi-tester, two Craftsman LED flashlights all carried in a Craftsman satchel.
Will Sears and Radio Shack ever relive their glory days? I doubt it.
It would take something of epic proportions to revive these two stores and I don’t think the economy (especially where consumer confidence is concerned) has what it takes to bring about this revival.
So for now I reminisce about the good old days and realize nothing is forever…