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Where To Get Sets and Parts For discussions about swapmeets, rallies, NVCF and BVWS, car boot sales, antique and charity shops, dealers, newspaper adverts, the local tip and just about any other source of equipment (other than eBay).

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Old 2nd Mar 2018, 11:41 am   #201
Nickthedentist
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Default Re: Maplin stores

I found the shops a waste of time, even 25 years ago.

When I was a student in Birmingham, I needed a handful of odds and ends but was too impatient to wait for them to come by post and too hard-up to pay the p&p charge. I had a season ticket for the local trains so fought my way to their Erdington shop, expecting to be in and out in a few minutes.

They took the best part of an hour to get my order together, and not all of it was in stock so I had to make a return journey.

I think I always went mail-order after that.

Nick.
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Old 2nd Mar 2018, 11:41 am   #202
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Default Re: Maplin stores

There are some people not too pleased with the resurrection of Jessops. They'd been saving Jessops gift vouchers towards new cameras and some of them had thousands of pounds worth each. They lost the lot and the new Jessops say they are nothing to do with the old Jessops whose name is on those vouchers.

Hopefully no-one is in so deep with Maplin vouchers.

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Old 2nd Mar 2018, 12:12 pm   #203
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Default Re: Maplin stores

One advantage to selling the low value stuff is it gets people through the door. I once went to a hi-fi shop to buy a couple of blank audio CDs at 75p each and came out with a 30 video recorder.

As I said before, people who buy things like Arduinos and Pis need little bits to go with them and are more likely to buy from somewhere where they can get everything at once. So not selling them a few shillings-worth of components could well cost them the sale of a more expensive item.
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Old 2nd Mar 2018, 12:29 pm   #204
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Default Re: Maplin stores

It may be productive to have a poll of the members of this forum as to who has bought from Maplins shops and on line in the last year and how much they spent in a store and on line.
I think that will show that the business for our sorts of bits and pieces is not viable, whether in store or internet.
I have purchased once, on line, about 22 if I remember correctly.
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Old 2nd Mar 2018, 2:00 pm   #205
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Default Re: Maplin stores

I'm very surprised they did not fold years ago. The New Malden branch was devoid of customers on each of my rare visits.

They were expensive and that didn't help but how do you keep huge High Street branches open selling a few odd components and popular leads with ever increasing rents and rates, building maintenance, wages, insurance, security, more and more daft legislation, health and safety, shoplifting and fraudulent claims for customers slipping on floors etc?

I can see many more retail outlets of all types closing. The multiples are probably walking a tight rope. It will only take a breeze to blow them off course to their deaths.

It would have been impossible to have continued my television and electrical business for 38 years had I not purchased the premises Freehold as a young man but it meant giving up many things that are considered 'must have, so called entitlements' today, far too many to list.

RIP the retail trade. It served us well. John.
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Old 2nd Mar 2018, 2:07 pm   #206
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Default Re: Maplin stores

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heatercathodeshort View Post
I'm very surprised they did not fold years ago.

It would have been impossible to have continued my television and electrical business for 38 years had I not purchased the premises Freehold as a young man but it meant giving up many things that are considered 'must have, so called entitlements' today, far too many to list.

RIP the retail trade. It served us well. John.
Hear, Hear John. Today I would not consider investing 2p in a business. It was a grand day when we sold all our accumulated assets and property and got out from under.
I was sad to make all the staff redundant but as least we had the cash to do it properly.
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Old 2nd Mar 2018, 2:12 pm   #207
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Argos & other stores have this sorted. It's called "click & collect". Buy on line, and item is sent to store of choice at no extra cost.
Maplin had something like this, but it didn't work. When they were running down their stocks of useful items like aluminium boxes they were advertised as click and collect (or something like that) on the website. Minor snag was that they expected the customer to click at home, then travel to collect from one of the few shops which actually still had the item in stock - all of which seemed to be the opposite end of the country from me. It was actually just 'click and reserve'. Items in stock which people wanted to buy could not be bought because they were in the wrong place and Maplin seemed to have no mechanism for moving them to the right place. I gave up and managed to find someone on ebay selling old stock from Italy.

I too hit the problem of low stock levels. This could again be the result of using off-the-shelf software. If the computer knows you sell only four 1k resistors a week, on average, then it might only stock 5. If 'just-in-time' is used with fast distribution to shops then it might stock only 2. The computer is too dim to notice that most weeks you either sell none or 5 (or 2!) and it may have no way of knowing what out of stock items could have been sold if only they were in stock. Hence it ensures that you always have stock, but rarely enough stock. A feature of modern business (and government) is that the people specifying computer systems know nothing about computers (and sometimes not much about the actual business) while the people delivering the systems know nothing about the business. Then computer problems don't get escalated to the level where things can be corrected, instead staff just live with it ("It always does that, I don't know why; we get round it like this").
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Old 2nd Mar 2018, 2:15 pm   #208
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Default Re: Maplin stores

Despite their high prices, I shall be sorry to see them go. It is always handy to be able to buy single items sometimes, not in packs of 5 or 10.

But I see one of their main problems here. They have TWO shops in Norwich, why? It would be much better if they had fewer shops and better staff, run like Cricklewood.

Trevor
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Old 2nd Mar 2018, 2:33 pm   #209
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Default Re: Maplin stores

I saw an earlier post where someone stated most of their profit is supplying "last minute" cables at a premium. At a time I could understand that. Working in IT, if we're doing last minute data centre work and find ourselves short of patch leads, or RJ45 plugs if doing our own, we would typically go to Maplin for the convenience. But once again, they've been outpriced in recent years. Do I want to buy RJ45 plugs in lots of 4 @ 3 each? Or shall I just go to screwfix and get 100 for 10. Same with leads, which screwfix also do cheaper.
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Old 2nd Mar 2018, 4:51 pm   #210
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Default Re: Maplin stores

To be fair, Maplin do 100 packs - but my nearest shop with stock is 40 miles away and they're 19.99. Screwfix have them in stock at two shops within 6 miles.
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Old 2nd Mar 2018, 5:03 pm   #211
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Default Re: Maplin stores

Quote:
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Despite their high prices, I shall be sorry to see them go. It is always handy to be able to buy single items sometimes, not in packs of 5 or 10.
However the cost of components is a lot less now than it was in relative terms. The days of schoolboys saving up their pocketmoney for a transistor are gone. Single resistors at 2p each are unprofitable in any quantity. Sell them in multipacks of 50 or 100 -- I just bought 100 3k3 for use as telephone bell resistors, far more than I will need in my lifetime (probably) but it's not worth buying a smaller quantity and I can afford the initial outlay -- or in mixed cases of preferred value sets for people who need different values.

Screwfix manage to handle a lot of low-value slow-moving ironmongery type items in their inventory with a split between always-in-store and in-store-next-day stock. And they're encroaching on Maplin territory of home automation, audio etc.
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Old 3rd Mar 2018, 1:25 am   #212
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Default Re: Maplin stores

The problem with ditching the components is you're then left wondering what Maplin are for at all. If they're just selling complete consumer items, they're now Currys, and Currys are better at that anyway. It's like a bespoke walking stick shop that start selling mobile phones because they're more popular. Then they end up wondering why they still stock walking sticks, a bean counter ditches the walking sticks, and now they're a mobile phone shop.

Electronics went through a doldrums after the 80s when it got to the point (I remember discussing this over a pint with BroadGage) there was no point building anything for yourself. We tried to think of something you should build and the best we could come up with was a specialised power supply.

But there's been a renaissance with the advent of all these little single board computers and microcontrollers and so on. Also, the ubiquity of ultrabright LEDs, strangely enough, which seem to be an endless source of new hobbyist applications, most of which involve turning LEDs on and off. I sometimes suspect that our society may collapse into a dark age and the only practical skill anyone will have is turning LEDs on and off. But I digress.

The resistors, caps, LEDs, transistors, perf board, LEDs, hookup wire, glue logic and LEDs are essential purchases for all that, and I do think Maplin could actually make a living selling them alongside the controllers and boxes and stuff if they weren't so badly stocked, which actively dissuades one from visiting if their stock of 1 potentiometer of the correct value means you need to order anyway. As I said above, the wait for delivery "next day" can be several days from Farnell or RS, and ebay is mostly longer still. Once Maplin have to order ("what, you want three?!") it's no better.

Also my earlier point about some things being difficult to order without physical examination, like the right sized box, or switches, or indicators. I had a heck of a job recently trying to confirm a power connector was going to fit in the little plastic box for the power supply circuit I was building (which by the by contains a beautiful teeny toroidal from RS. Which I had delivered to work and which even my female colleagues thought was cute).

If I were them I'd offer a rapid turnaround PCB fab service as well. And maybe tutorial type presentations in the shop space to attract youngsters in. And bespoke walking sticks.

And a decent website for God's sake.

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Old 3rd Mar 2018, 10:32 am   #213
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Default Re: Maplin stores

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boater Sam View Post
It may be productive to have a poll of the members of this forum as to who has bought from Maplins shops and on line in the last year and how much they spent in a store and on line.
I think that will show that the business for our sorts of bits and pieces is not viable, whether in store or internet.
I have purchased once, on line, about 22 if I remember correctly.
Ive spent about 100ish over the past year there all in the store but nothing online as I live not too far away from the shop so its a 10min drive for me.
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Old 3rd Mar 2018, 10:49 am   #214
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Default Re: Maplin stores

Zero.

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Old 3rd Mar 2018, 11:38 am   #215
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Default Re: Maplin stores

I would say that in the past year or so I have easily spent a good three figure sum spread across several visits, mainly in the (now vanished) store on Teesside Retail park. That's why I was so irritated to find it gone: I really did use it.
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Old 3rd Mar 2018, 11:44 am   #216
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Default Re: Maplin stores

I guess I've probably spent about 20 with them in the last year: for some of the banana-plugs-that-fit-wander-plug-sockets, a laptop DC-lead plug, and a replacement battery for the central-locking on my car (this latter was a distress-purchase when the thing started flagging 'low battery' while I was at an out-of-town shopping place and the Wilko there didn't have the right type of battery).
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Old 3rd Mar 2018, 11:51 am   #217
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Default Re: Maplin stores

From what I remember in the last year I've bought rechargeable batteries, a logic probe (invaluable in fixing a Marconi SG) and a high wattage soldering iron.

I've always regarded Maplin as being a sort of "corner shop", somewhere to go when you've run out of something you need in a hurry and don't want to go to the supermarket.

I shall be sorry if they go under.
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Old 3rd Mar 2018, 3:13 pm   #218
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Default Re: Maplin stores

My interest is in repairing test equipment from 60's to 2000 ish (all solid state )

I will certainly miss the ability to drop into Maplins at a moments notice to buy the odd logic chip/transistor/connector/box etc instead of waiting several days for an on-line order.

I dont mind paying a little over the odds to be able to instantly verify if the replacement part fixes the fault or not, or if there are more faults to diagnose.

Yes not the cheapest, but very convenient.
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Old 3rd Mar 2018, 3:32 pm   #219
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Default Re: Maplin stores

There used to be a very good stall in Swansea Market, he may have got his stock from Maplins! I enjoyed visiting this stall during lunch time and bought many a component from him, not sure if it is still there, it was a long time ago, does anybody in Swansea know?
Cheers
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Old 3rd Mar 2018, 3:51 pm   #220
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Default Re: Maplin stores

I used to go in a Maplin's shop quite a bit in the early to mid-'90s. Circumstances then curtailed my hobby activities and it was when I stated messing about with old radios that I went in again; that would have been 2011. I found, as has been said ad nausium, that they'd greatly reduced their range and upped the prices, as a result I got about half the things I'd gone in for. I think I've been in once since but came out empty-handed.

I now buy things in fifties or hundreds from China as they keep alright and even if I ultimately throw forty or ninety of them away I'll still be on the right side.

Luckily I very rarely need anything urgently so am happy to wait a few days, or weeks, for delivery. I'd have to be very desperate to pay 4 in 'bus fare to go to Maplin's specially, and if I leave it 'til I'm in the area that negates any speed advantage.
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