I've seen some stranded wire advertised as "tinned". That may make an appearance difference, but I'm not sure if that accounts for the "shinyness" you talked about.
I've used NAPA stuff. It's good, and convenient, but you can likely do better for larger quantities if you have a few days to wait for shipping.
AutoZone also has good quality, but you have to pay the price, of course. I believe that a couple bucks extra spent on a switch, for example, might prevent a disaster. Just peace of mind for me.
I use RadioShack only as a last resort! I bought a hooded safety toggle at the store (I already had their part number from online) and had to show the clerk where they were. All he wanted to do (or knew ANYTHING about) was sell me a cell phone plan. I brought the switch home and tried to install it, but it was so cheaply made that I returned it. A plastic threaded barrel with a thin plastic nut. Never could get it tight enough before it jumped a thread. A waste or our resources. Siriusly, we need to stop buying this crap entirely! Frankly, I don't understand how RS stays in business. Has to be a front for something profitable?
BTW, after I returned the switch to RS, I went to AutoZone and bought a similar (but MUCH better quality) switch. Even had a lot more choices on the hooks to see
, as opposed to having to paw thru drawers filled with bags that you can't see what's in them. I wonder if the management ever goes shoppping in their own stores?
Thanks for the post and the links.