I could have gone back a third time, but I don’t really have the need for more electronics stuff, even if it is dirt cheap. OK, I’ll probably go back again tomorrow to see if they’re really closed or if they extended the sale to my payday and are prepared to take a load of cash off of me.

I used to work for Radio Shack back in high school and college, and it’s a little sad to see them disappear. Not that I bought much there in the last few years thanks to their ridiculous prices for the same crap I can get over the Internet in just a few days. Seriously - $3.99 for a couple of F-connectors? Really? They sowed the seeds of their own demise with crazy prices for what are not really specialty items.

Today’s receipt was over six feet long. I bought a bunch of crap I’ll probably never use, but I figure that most of it will be resold to support my habit of buying crap I don’t need. There were some things I just could not say no to - a Parallax basic stamp computer with breadboard for a dime? Well, you twisted my arm. A $400 programmable scanner for $8? Sure, if you insist. Various components (switches, LEDs, battery holders, ICs, etc.) from between $0.01 and $0.20? OK, fine - I’ll take them. Jawbone UPmove wireless activity tracker for $2? Well, I’ve always wanted to experiment with one of those.

Despite my occasional dabbling in electronics and circuit design, I still have a ton of parts laying around the house, a good portion of which was from Radio Shack from back in the ‘80s, acquired for next to nothing, of course. At least these components are rather small and shouldn’t fill up more than a copier paper box. Hopefully I’ll remember where I placed this stuff so I don’t have to buy it again when I actually need it.

The scanner came in quite handy, but not necessarily for the expected reason. Last year I found a much better one in a wrecked car at the junkyard and got it for $1. However, it was missing the battery holder and the back cover, and buying those items on eBay would set me back $20-$25 each, rather surprising for just little chunks of plastic (don’t remind me of the $36 plastic disc to cover up the tow hook mount on the front bumper of my Mazda5 - grrr...) I didn’t buy them (or the part for the Mazda - I just painted the foam bumper material black so it doesn’t look as bad) The battery pack and cover from this new scanner fit perfectly on the better one, and it appears to work just fine. I just need to make a USB cable for it and find some programming software so that I can configure it for my neighborhood instead of Chicago. Considering that USB just has four simple wires it shouldn’t be too tough to make a programming cable; I’m certainly not going to buy one for $25...