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Dear RadioShack, This Is Why We Adored You.

The time is near to bid farewell to that old security blanket, RadioShack. When the remote control broke, it was there. When we needed a cable or 20, it was there. But soon, it won’t be. The company is about to file for bankruptcy. Shares of its stock have been suspended from trading. We are forced to acknowledge that the era of personal electronics championed by the franchise stores that sold soldering gear and robots and had a Battery of the Month Club is really and truly over. Of course, we already knew that. When you can have exactly the thing you need over-night delivered to your door, there’s no reason to endure the actual social contact required of going into a store. We here at WIRED are feeling a little blue about this totally foreseen turn of events. Where will our reporters run to when their tape recorders need a new tape in the middle of a Pulitzer-worthy interview? Oh, right. Everyone uses iPhones or Livescribes to conduct interviews now. Come to think of it, we haven’t seen a minitape in over a decade. Are we part of the problem? (Of course we are.) Oh, RadioShack, thank you, we’re sorry, and goodbye. Here are some of the reasons we loved you. RadioShack Was Great for Nerdy Pranks Mark McClusky, WIRED’s current head of operations, had this Despicable Me–branded megaphone thing. It was horrible. Made ripping wet fart sounds. He kept trying to get me to take it home, but the last thing I need in my house of one husband, an aging dog, and two young boys is a gun that makes fart sounds. But when we moved offices, he left it on my desk in the dark of night. When I discovered it there on the morning of moving day, inspiration struck. I put the fart gun in my banker’s box and carried it home. That Saturday I went to RadioShack and wandered vaguely around the store, fumbling with the little blister packs, trying to figure out how to make my scheme a reality. I asked the two guys up at the counter for help. I told them about the awful fart gun. “And what I want to do is record the noise onto a chip and attach it to a motion activated sensor that I tape under his desk. Then, whenever he sits down, it’ll play the fart noise.” They cracked up so hard and immediately collected up parts I could daisy-chain together; they were helpful, kind, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable. I brought my loot home but the bits and pieces of it quickly vanished into the chaotic mess that is my six-year-old’s room—I never ended up visiting my revenge on Mark. Which is too bad, and even this act of writing it out has made me want to go back to the South Shore RadioShack in Alameda and get another tutorial and bag of electronic components. Watch where you sit, McClusky. — Sarah Fallon 9 more via WIRED.

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