Radio Shack, phones and money all still exist today as they did in 1987, and while every year that Radio Shack continues to exist it boggles the mind of all those who thought they understood how the world worked, it keeps chugging along, as does the lightning quick advancements of technology which make this commercial as confusing as the continued existence of the electronics chain promoted therein.
It’s pretty amazing how quickly technology advances, and it’s pretty mind boggling when you take just a quick glance in the rear view mirror to see where we were not so very long ago. Today you have a phone–more powerful than most personal computers from just a few years ago–in your pocket. You have unfettered access to the entire catalog of the collective knowledge of mankind at any time you desire. And a lot of us can get them for FREE with a two year contract agreement. But this wasn’t always the case. At the dawn of the cellular communication age, Radio Shack, the self proclaimed “First name in Cellular Telephone technology” gave people access to the “new generation of affordable cellular phones” at a price that they “dare the competition to beat”. This is what cellular technology looked like in 1987, and how much it cost.
These marvels of modern technology were affordably priced at just $1399 for the car phone and $2495 for the “totally portable phone,” both of which were gargantuan monsters of design and both harnessed less technology than an e-cigarette today. And just to give these crazy numbers more context, according to the Department of Labor Statistics own Inflation Calculator, those 1987 prices translate in today’s money to $2880.71 and $5137.50 respectively. So just think about these prices and design next time you’re complaining about the buffering speed of that cat video you’re trying to watch on your magic pocket super computer that you got for $1 at signing. Then imagine how laughable they’ll seem when we look back at them in 27 years. Today’s amazing future technology is tomorrow’s quaint curiosity.