When in a year did the Radio Shack catalogs publish?

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When in a year did the Radio Shack catalogs publish?

Blanka
I am using the Radio Shack catalogs on research to some old toys. They can be handy to get the year of production of some items. But I have the idea the catalogs are +/- 1 year off. So what time of the year did the catalogs show up? Is it possible a 1984 catalog is for example from the holiday season of 1983?
MD
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Re: When in a year did the Radio Shack catalogs publish?

MD
Administrator
You are right in that the year of catalog for the "General Catalogs" (or full-line) on this site, do not state when the catalog was released to the public.  If I recall, typically these catalogs were released sometime in the fall of the prior year.  For example:  the 1983 full-line catalog was released in the fall of 1982.  So you can use that as a general rule.

However, the Sale catalogs/flyers that I list under "Additional Catalogs" more closely depict the release date.  When I did those catalogs, I looked for a valid from & to date (if available).  

I hope this helps you.

~Mike

You've got questions. Someone's got answers.
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Re: When in a year did the Radio Shack catalogs publish?

Blanka
In reply to this post by Blanka
Thanks for the very fast response. That makes a lot of sense. Great website btw!
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Re: When in a year did the Radio Shack catalogs publish?

TRC-209
In reply to this post by MD
Hi MD,

I've seen in the catalogs you've posted statements like "Available Oct, '83" or some such. Not sure of the date but the next time I see one I'll post it as an example of a date that was after the month that the catalog came out.

Sean
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Re: When in a year did the Radio Shack catalogs publish?

TRC-209
O.K., I found an example of an available date:

From the 1983 catalog, page 146, the Chronoset-235 was to be available on November 15th, 1982. It looks neat, too.

On page 147, the Chronomatic-225 was to be available on October 15th, 1982.

On page 28, the SCT-33 was to be available on October 15th, 1982.

On the next page, the SCT-28 was to be available on November 30th, 1982.

On page 33, the Realistic SCR-9 was to be available on November 15th, 1982.

On page 36, the Realistic Clarinette-66 was to be available on October 30th, 1982.

On page 67, the catalog number 12-1899 in dash cassette player was to be available on September 30th, 1982.

So, it appears that in 1982, the new Radio Shack catalog was first available during the month of September. I would intuit that the more recent catalogs would have fewer to no unavailable items at press time, due to improved management techniques.

When attempting to date the release of a catalog it's important to remember that we have no way to know that there was a standard date that the catalogs were released, so checking each year that is of interest is important. Also, I noticed that it seemed that the more complex items and the more specialty items seemed to be the ones that had a delayed release.

Sean, off to find a paper towel for the keyboard, to clean the saliva off
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Re: When in a year did the Radio Shack catalogs publish?

mrjoeliec
MD is correct from what I remember when I worked in the store... I remember the District and Regional Managers would get a box of advance copies.. In Manager Trainee Camp I remember getting the 1995 catalog from my DM 2 weeks before the stores received them... And My Memory says Late September.. And the Stores received their shipments of Catalogs in October.

There were often times especially in the 90's when New catalog items shipped long before the new catalog did. It was kind of a pain for us sales associates who gave a crap because the trusty cheat sheet (i.e. the Catalog) forced us to study a manual a little bit more in depth than we sometimes wanted to.

This was especially true for a lot of Scanners that came out before the catalog did... the dreaded "What Frequency ranges does this one cover vs that one?" If they were all in the Cat you could look at the cheat chart and not have to memorize..

I was lazy like that. ;-)
Cheers!

MrJoelieC
MD
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Re: When in a year did the Radio Shack catalogs publish?

MD
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@mrjoeliec

It's interesting to hear that even the store employees/managers used the RS catalogs as reference material/product specifcation sheets.  That's how I learned about all their products and I (unfortunately) never worked for RS.  Gosh. I used to be able to rattle-off, from memory, the specs on most of the RS electrical products.

And it would make sense in that Radio Shack wanted to have their new products in the store BEFORE the catalog or sale flyer came out so the customers had something to buy when they came in.

Thanks for your perspective!
You've got questions. Someone's got answers.
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Re: When in a year did the Radio Shack catalogs publish?

mrjoeliec
@MD,

Yeah there was a golden time in Radio Shack and I was IMHO a part of the very tail end.. At the time when you got hired they would send you to either District office or a District Store and you would get a full week of Boot-Camp with full on printed material. Really Good stuff..

If memory serves:
Day 1: Telephones.. 43-xxx and 279-xxx learn about ringer equivalence correct wiring standards crimping tools how to use them...
Day 2: Televisions and Home Audio My Favorite day! Speaker wires 31, 42, 40, 16, 15 series cat numbers all about speaker placement and at my time the introduction of Dolby Pro Logic. Television Cable TV Antenna
Day 3: Cell phones Usually led by a local rep from whatever Cell company we peddled at the time...And at the time we only sold 5 phones.... Because then we talked Computers. How to restore a Tandy 1000 to factory I'm an IT guy now because of what I learned at Radio shack about computers.
Day 4: Portable entertainment systems and and radio communications and Automotive stereo.. Lot to cover on that day from 12 series, 42, series, 40, 16, 20, and 21... Fun day Almost as fun as Day 2...
day 5: Parts, Parts Parts Parts and more parts.. Ohms Law WAS EXPLAINED! if you were in a store you were challenged with scenarios like "A customer wants to add a second television in their home what will they need?

End of day 5 was and actual 5 page EXAM that covered all 5 days...

Back then, after that you walked out knowledgeable about all but not necessarily a master of anything... But you could help a customer find what they needed and talk intelligently... Eventually in larger stores you had one guy who was the computer guy and another who was the radio guy.. and then you had the straight sales guy..(Usually the Store Manager) but even those guys back in the day were good....

I dare say the "Jump the Shark" for Radio Shack was when they bought themselves out of Tandy... Suddenly the Radio Shack Brands were "verboten" and you Saw RCA logos dirtying up good products... Then it became what it is now which is a Cell Phone Store...  Hardly any parts...I really Miss being able to buy speaker parts there....

But yeah back then we studied the Catalogs and you couldn't know it all and more often than not I used it to show a customer I was not BS'ing them. I didn't sell a lot but what I did have was extremely loyal customers that followed me to stores I went to.. Sure they might only do 1 large purchase a year but if they needed the "Goes-inta" and "Goes-Outa" part they came looking for me and drove miles out of their way...

I'll admit thought My last 2 weeks I was quite a jerk to my "Not regular customers" or the if they were jerky to me I was way jerky to them...I have some stories that I'm not necessarily proud of, but man are they funny.
Cheers!

MrJoelieC
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