I've almost got through most of The Register
comments, and there are some really spot-on ones there; but (so far) this one is my favourite:-
Me and Maplin go back a long way. To about 1978 to be precise. Those were the days of "PO Box 3, Rayleigh, Essex SS6 8LR". The catalogue better than any reference book. The flimsy separate price list. The coloured vouchers you got with each order (which could be exchanged for more bits). The photos of all staff in the catalogue, from Doug to Ivy the tea lady. The two shops in Southend and Hammersmith.
Maplin had a brilliant mail order business. They could have built on that, over and over, and when the web came along they could have made a modest mint out of it. Instead, they took the retail shilling, opened up a multitude of - let's be honest - tat bazaars, and the rest is sadly now history.
There were some genuinely great people at Maplin, so thoughts go out to them all today. And I'll raise a glass tonight to the old days, where between Practical Electronics and Maplin I wasted enough pocket money to get me where I am today.