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Maplin

Posted By: Geoff Hannis

Maplin - 28/02/18 12:26 PM


I'm starting to feel my age. I can remember the small Maplin shop at Burnt Oak, Edgware.

Back in those days you could pick up some useful (and "competitively priced") bits and pieces in there. But that would have been (in my case) 26 years ago.

Unfortunately, I never visited the original shop in Southend-on-Sea (where the name, from the Maplin Sands mudflats, came from); but I remember their magazine adverts.

The last time I went into a Maplin store would have been nine years ago in Doncaster. They had a flashy (big) place there ... full of over-priced stuff that I didn't want; but hardly anything of the things I actually needed (what we might call "service consumables").

Thinking about it, I may have called in at their place in Stevenage since then (but still a few years ago); nice for a browse around, but not much else.

Following the demise of Maplin, hopefully a new "back to basics" business will emerge. Or better still, a string of small local independents.

Meanwhile, any bets being placed on "who's next"? How about Halfords? frown
Posted By: Dustcap

Re: Maplin - 28/02/18 12:54 PM

RIP London road Maplin in Westcliff, Southend. Yes the original first store and the size of garage. When i was studying electronics all those years ago, we would often "need to visit Maplins" for a component, it had nothing to do with the variety take aways located nearby or the very good army surplus shop just further up the road.
But it was better than Tandy.
However it did go a bit strange when they tried to compete with the likes of the gadget shop and began selling everything and anything, normally powered by solar energy?
Buy your Polymorph now!!!
There were some very helpful staff in the many stores but the majority could not help when requesting components, they would invariably go on the website in store, then the internal site and come back with nothing. Best plan was to find the oldest person (normally bearded) and ask them.
RIP high street.
Posted By: Huw

Re: Maplin - 28/02/18 12:58 PM

I used to use Maplin's mail order service back in the '80's for my earliest hobby electronics projects. I seem to remember their prices being quite fair and they sold virtually everything you needed. I must have spent a small fortune at the time - such was my geekiness (enthusiasm?)
I remember ordering some components around 4pm one day and they were delivered before I went to work the next day. (Normal postage.)

Quite sad to hear of their imminent demise. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-43223175
Posted By: Geoff Hannis

Re: Maplin - 28/02/18 3:06 PM


I wonder how and where they are going to sell off their remaining stock (presumably at "fire sale" prices)? think

Originally Posted by Dustcap

RIP high street.


Maybe it deserves to die; you can travel around England and sometimes forget where you are. Just the same names, and often the same poor service, wherever you go.

Let it be reborn with local shops run by small local businessmen. smile

Where I am at the moment, apart from the usual charity shops, takeaway joints and the odd convenience* store, I would say that only about 10% of shops are vacant. However, I have noticed quite a high turnover of enthusiastic start-ups (many, it has to be said, disappear after only six months). Not actually "thriving", but not really "dying" either (not yet, anyway). Rents (and possibly Business Rates) are the killer, apparently.

On the other hand, there is a large Tesco supermarket within walking distance (but M&S is one of those listed for closure - not that I've ever been in there).

But the Good News is that there is a "traditional" (junk shop, Aladdin's cave, car-boot sale under a single roof) electronics shop about five hundred yards away from me at the moment. The bloke has been hanging in there thirty years, and deals in second-hand, "surplus", gear like old PC's. Ideal for me. I have even shifted some of my own surplus stuff in there!

On the other hand, at the Retail Park on the edge of town (home of McD, Aldi and similar), there is a large Currys PC World (or whatever they call it these days). Last time I wandered in there for a browse I was intercepted by a young "Here to Help" person who, as I quickly established, knew next to nothing, and (worse still in my opinion) seemed completely disinterested anyway. Another place that won't be missed, then. whistle

* Most of which are supplied by the Big Names (Tesco, Morrisons et al, apparently)
Posted By: Geoff Hannis

Re: Maplin - 28/02/18 3:29 PM


I see that the CEO is blaming Brexit. frown

That's not among the reasons that I would have listed. But there again, he didn't ask me. whistle

Meanwhile, this is the future, apparently. As usual, the Comments section is the most informative.

(not that you'll ever see me in a place like that, of course)
Posted By: Dustcap

Re: Maplin - 28/02/18 3:30 PM

I always like asking the ever so eager staff in Currys about radiation leakage alarms on microwaves. Gets them every time.
Posted By: Geoff Hannis

Re: Maplin - 28/02/18 3:38 PM


I was genuinely interested in (as in, "ready to buy") a new UPS for one of my computer rigs.

Not one of the (half-dozen or so) Eager Beavers in Currys PC World knew what I was talking about.

OK, they were all "young", maybe on Minimum Wage (more than me, then) or - for all I know - "zero hour contracts" ...

[Linked Image]

... when I was their age (and even now), I would take pride in "knowing my brief"; and if I didn't know something, I would darn well find out!

And therefore be able to "Meet And Greet" (and who knows, even impress) old sods like myself with new-found knowledge when (or if) I next appeared! smile

@Huw: I doubt that Mrs. Evans would have been too impressed with that last sentence! tut
Posted By: Geoff Hannis

Re: Maplin - 28/02/18 3:49 PM


Originally Posted by Dustcap

RIP London road Maplin in Westcliff, Southend. Yes the original first store and the size of garage.


If I remember rightly, the early Maplin adverts (in electronics hobbyist magazines) made a play about Maplin being "the site of the Third London Airport" ... yet here we are, still waiting. frown

Southend was also the home of Solidisk Technology; I visited those "genius guys" back in 1986 (Sweyne Avenue, IIRC) - and still around, not far away, apparently.

Not so sure about Watford Electronics in, er, Watford, though. frown
Posted By: Huw

Re: Maplin - 28/02/18 3:53 PM

Originally Posted by Geoff Hannis

Not one of the (half-dozen or so) Eager Beavers in Currys PC World knew what I was talking about.

It's always been like that in PC World.
However, the guys in Maplins were generally (in my experience) quite knowledgeable.
Posted By: Geoff Hannis

Re: Maplin - 28/02/18 4:01 PM


When I was "on the road", I used to call in at quite a few Maplin stores, here and there - mainly to top up on "service consumables".

To be honest, I found the staff to be "variable"; but there again, I don't much like being pestered when out shopping.

At Doncaster (referred to earlier), there was an "older guy" who always used to welcome me, and I enjoyed talking with him. But, as for the younger ones, I don't remember getting much joy from them. Maybe it's just an age (generational) thing. smile

And I guess I missed the (endless) glasses of sweet chai I used to get in the souks.

Originally Posted by Huw

I used to use Maplin's mail order service back in the '80's for my earliest hobby electronics projects.


Maybe they should have stuck to mail order (and now, of course, on line), and selling components, kits, tools, test gear, and books. No need for large stores scattered around the country; they could have stayed in Southend! smile
Posted By: Geoff Hannis

Re: Maplin - 28/02/18 8:29 PM


Check out the Maplin website ... especially the small print at the bottom. frown

Meanwhile, someone has just recommended Bob Potts on Babington Lane, Derby to me. "Selling obscure bits and bobs since 1933"!

Perhaps we need to start a new thread for local component shops. smile

Anyway, Jessops came back ... so maybe we shouldn't give up on Maplin just yet.
Posted By: Geoff Hannis

Re: Maplin - 01/03/18 8:56 AM


There's a good analysis here. With some interesting (and accurate) comments, as usual. smile

Originally Posted by Geoff Hannis

Perhaps we need to start a new thread for local component shops.


Rapid Electronics. Great if you live in or near Colchester (just off the A12). But they also do on-line sales and delivery, of course.
Posted By: Malcolm

Re: Maplin - 01/03/18 10:03 AM

Essex boy !!!!
Posted By: Geoff Hannis

Re: Maplin - 01/03/18 10:17 AM


Ha, ha. smile

Not me, Malcolm ... when I was stationed at Hyderabad Barracks (now a housing estate), that "business park" was just a green field. frown

Instant trivia:- the original Maplin business was started from a bedroom in Rayleigh (Essex).

More trivia:- Colchester has the longest railway platform in England (for the troop trains, don't you know)!

Meanwhile, any decent electronic components shops in Rome? think

Here in the UK (outside of Essex, that is) it seems that on-line has to be the answer now.
Posted By: Malcolm

Re: Maplin - 01/03/18 10:49 AM

You asked....

When in Rome....
Giupar Elettronica Pastorelli Srl
Gamar Srl
GB Electronica (various locations)

ps...
longest platform, probably in an effort to get all the drunken soldiers returning from the Smoke (myself included) off the train in one piece whilst it's still moving...
Posted By: Geoff Hannis

Re: Maplin - 01/03/18 11:16 AM


Any links (for our collection - and amusement)? think

Meanwhile, here's another from The Shires. smile

[Linked Image]

In January 1974 the whole battalion marched (with the Corps of Drums leading) in "Full Scale Marching Order" (including rifles) from Hyderabad Barracks all the way through town to the railway station, whence to travel across the country by Special Train to Liverpool ... to embark via the Grey Funnel Line to You-Know-Where. That march through town, with (most of) the locals standing and gawping - and some even cheering - was the most inspiring occasion of my (less than) illustrious career. It felt (and must have looked, and sounded) like something from the First World War!

I wonder which unit (barracks) you "enjoyed" serving with there, Malcolm?
Posted By: Huw

Re: Maplin - 01/03/18 12:56 PM

This resonates for me... (from Geoff's link to The Register)

Quote
Maplin died years ago when it stopped stocking components, its prices became less competitive and staff less informative.


Also this, in the Guardian...
Quote
Connor said he was keeping his eye out for Lego or Star Wars toys for his five-year-old son, but found that – despite the business’s troubles – prices were still too high. “I’ve just compared one item they’ve got over there to what’s on eBay,” he said. “It’s £40 and you can get it for £15 online.”


Goodbye High St. frown
Posted By: Geoff Hannis

Re: Maplin - 01/03/18 1:00 PM


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:-

Quote

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.

Posted By: Huw

Re: Maplin - 01/03/18 1:08 PM

That address is burned into my memory, as (sadly) is my member number - as I used it so frequently. rolleyes


I found an old 1958 version of Practical Electronics in my Dad's workshop, but I remember buying my own first copy of Everyday Electronics in 1974.

Wow! Where did the years go?
Posted By: Geoff Hannis

Re: Maplin - 01/03/18 1:20 PM


Once they had staff who knew an OA71 from a BC108, but most staff today could not even wire their laces, let alone (like most of the population now, I suspect) a 13-Amp plug. whistle

Maybe we were (and I believe we were) the Lucky Ones, Huw. smile

2N3904 these days.

Maybe Ed will be along in a minute or two.
Posted By: Geoff Hannis

Re: Maplin - 01/03/18 1:34 PM


Originally Posted by Huw

Goodbye High St.


... soon all you will be able to get is a kebab and a fight. frown
Posted By: Huw

Re: Maplin - 01/03/18 1:44 PM

Originally Posted by Geoff Hannis

Once they had staff who knew an OA71 from a BC108,


[Linked Image]

Haha yes, these little things conjure up so many happy memories.
Posted By: Geoff Hannis

Re: Maplin - 01/03/18 1:55 PM


Well, I've learned something today (after wading through those The Register comments) ... apparently, these are the best rechargeable batteries around; they reportedly last for ever, and survive many more recharge cycles than you would normally expect.

Oddly enough, I had never even heard of Uniross before. smile
Posted By: Geoff Hannis

Re: Maplin - 02/03/18 12:13 AM


OK ... here we go:- component suppliers. smile
Posted By: Geoff Hannis

Re: Maplin - 02/03/18 2:32 PM


Just for you, Huw. smile

Attached picture 1973.jpg
Attached picture 1984.jpg
Posted By: Huw

Re: Maplin - 02/03/18 2:47 PM

Ahh nice. smile
The '73 was just before I became interested in Electronics, but I would certainly have bought the '84.
(It's probably a trick of memory, but I think I remember that cover.)
Posted By: Geoff Hannis

Re: Maplin - 02/03/18 3:30 PM


I wonder where they got their stock from, right back in the early days.

Government Surplus, maybe. smile
Posted By: Geoff Hannis

Re: Maplin - 04/03/18 8:50 PM


Originally Posted by Malcolm

When in Rome....

Giupar Elettronica Pastorelli Srl
Gamar Srl
GB Electronica (various locations)


Giupar
GAMAR
GBC

... and, for comparison, "balance", and amusement:-

Mejdaf
Newport smile

£ 1 = 1.18 €
£ 1 = SR 5.18
£ 1 = 71.7 ₱


PS: sad to see that (like Maplin) Medjaf seems to have moved away from electronic components and so forth, and are now offering "electronic products" from China. Hopefully, there are still a few more interesting emporiums hidden in the souks of some of the desert towns.
Posted By: Huw

Re: Maplin - 04/03/18 10:38 PM

Originally Posted by Geoff Hannis

Originally Posted by Malcolm

When in Rome....

Giupar Elettronica Pastorelli Srl
Gamar Srl
GB Electronica (various locations)


Giupar
GAMAR
GBC

... and, for comparison, "balance", and amusement:-

Mejdaf
Newport smile

£ 1 = 1.18 €
£ 1 = SR 5.18
£ 1 = 71.7 ₱


PS: sad to see that (like Maplin) Medjaf seems to have moved away from electronic components and so forth, and are now offering "electronic products" from China. Hopefully, there are still a few more interesting emporiums hidden in the souks of some of the desert towns.


I really think this needs a separate thread, Geoff.
Posted By: Geoff Hannis

Re: Maplin - 20/03/18 12:54 PM


Maplin latest:- joint administrators have been appointed; closing down sale is now on (up to 50% off many items). frown
Posted By: exitwound

Re: Maplin - 22/03/18 11:22 AM

Its all too dear compared with the like of eBay.. Shame, but not surprising.
Posted By: Moira

Re: Maplin - 21/01/19 3:26 PM

I happened to visit York recently, and found this lovely shop. Not quite as well stocked as my local Maplins (RIP), but the proprieter was able to sell me all the bits I needed to light up my latest glass sculpture, thus saving me trawling through the online options. He also obligingly took it all out of the excess packaging and put the useful bits into one small bag for ease of carrying.

http://yorkstories.co.uk/items-of-electrical-interest-ernie-roys/
Posted By: Geoff Hannis

Re: Maplin - 16/03/19 8:31 PM


They're back (on-line)! smile
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