Chain Built Itself as Hub of Leisure Activities Enjoyed to a Degree Now Hard to Fathom
In 1963, the year his company bought a nine-store chain then known by the two-word name Radio Shack, Charles D. Tandy explained to the New York Times why it made perfect sense for a retailer of do-it-yourself leather handicrafts to buy an electronics distributor.
“Leisure time is opening markets to us,” he told the Times. “The shorter workweek, human curiosity, idle hands—all offer opportunities in this business. Everyone’s spare time is our challenge.”
What Mr. Tandy couldn’t know was that the real challenge his company would eventually face was the slow erosion of the very leisure time his company profited from by filling. The company, now known as RadioShack , filed for bankruptcy protection last week.
It’s not just about how our free time has evaporated as we work more to make ends meet, with more than three quarters of Americans living paycheck to paycheck even if time wasn’t an issue disposable income is.