Maplin gone down the gurgler............

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by ian field, Feb 28, 2018.

  1. ian field

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 27, 2012
  2. KJ6EAD

    Senior Member

    Apr 30, 2011
    They're kind of like a UK version of Radio Shack aren't they?
  3. jpanhalt


    Jan 18, 2008
    Apparently in more ways than one.
    RichardO likes this.
  4. AlbertHall

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 4, 2014
    Surprise, surprise!
  5. jpanhalt


    Jan 18, 2008
    I was sad to see Radio Shack disappear, but optimists point to the fact that such changes present opportunities too. I don't know what will replace Radio Shack or if it should be replaced. On-line ordering, wide variety of name-brand products, competitive prices, and fast shipping by its competitors did Radio Shack in. Look at the rise of Amazon. Basically "free" (actually reasonably priced) 2-day shipping on almost everything. Other vendors need to get on board. As an aside, I am disappointed that DigiKey and Mouser do not offer "free" shipping to residents of the USA as they do to shipments to Canada. Maybe that is one of those "opportunities."

    As for local shops you can walk into and browse? I am fortunate that Cleveland has a great "surplus" supplier ( ). It used to be much more convenient when it was on Broadway. Now it is about 20 miles further East. Not low priced, but a large variety of neat stuff and obsolete chips.

  6. Robin Mitchell

    Distinguished Member

    Oct 25, 2009
    I have been into many Maplin stores and there are almost never any customers in...probably because they charge a fortune! Even simple ICs such as the 4081 Quad AND gate would be as expensive as £1.70 when they are available for 40p online!
    qrb14143 likes this.
  7. jpanhalt


    Jan 18, 2008
    Exactly the same experience with Radio Shack. If I was desperate Saturday afternoon or Sunday, I paid the price. But, you can't build a business on that. All emergency rooms lose money.
  8. spinnaker

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 29, 2009

    And you have to buy online. You pay for convenience. I never once complained about the prices at Radio Shack. I was very happy they were right down the street. I wish they had more to offere because I would have bought more. I am sorry they are gone.
  9. Dodgydave

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 22, 2012
    Not surprised at that, they're too expensive.. .
  10. takao21203

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 28, 2012
    Not just that, people have less and less money + landlord has become a primary job / source of income.

    I have built PCs from Maplin parts back a decade ago and they werent totally overpriced but components you had to order them, wait, very expensive and poor selection. In recent years what they have to offer has been thinned out further and further.

    I bought soldering stations from them, some of which broke down, one of which I still use, of course non standard and charging a premium for a 5 pack of tips, only need the broad one.

    In Ireland they have or had well overpriced component packs on sale, small amount of KEMO parts and also Vellemann, compared to ebay, like 5x to 10x as expensive. They didnt seem to sell much, of course people go online, when the shop doesnt have what they want mostly.

    I think their shop lost money due to larger amounts of tiny and not often needed parts on display, recently they had them thinned out and replaced with more expensive electronics and gadgets. But they had them on display for years.

    Landlords are the only ones making a fortune these days, back some decades it wasnt a single source of income but rather a top up for rich people to rent out some rooms, there was more social housing / government built. In recent 15 years this had changed and rents more than doubled.

    So they pay a premium for the shop rent and try to roll it into the prices, online business dont pay 10k or 20k shop rent so are much cheaper.
    Not to speak the staff, in general its a problem for most retail shops they stand around and arent too helpful but need a salary.
    Online sellers staff are forced to actually pack up orders and work for minimum wage or less than that.

    Then also in Ireland they have a big computers store a few hundred meters away, with all the laptops, while they had all the parts to build desktops. On display for years, not to speak of tablets.

    These factors all add up. They never had the idea instead of single pieces sell 10 packs, so they dont have items that just make a few cents. Instead they markup the price for a single piece 5x to 10x.

    Theres many things you can do if you run a business to make changes, but I guess individual store managers and staff have or had zero or almost none freedome to make changes, take opportunity, all centrally managed, lack of motivation.

    Add poor management to hostile environment, bad economy, stiff concurrence, they can consider themselves lucky they only made some millons loss out of 250 million turnover.

    Rents in general are a problem, a situation where renting out has become the primary source of income. Its almost modern slavery, people spend half their money on rent. If you buy in a retail shop or go to KFC, more than half the money goes to landlords straight, not involved into the sale, not adding any value, having no clue the products.

    As for the ICs you refer to they cost not even 10 cents in bulk quantity (from China). So the markup could be 30x of course not good value.

    Then of course the Euro scam, rents when I was young were 1/5 of what they charge now or less than that, after introduction of the Euro prices have doubled and surpassed that.

    A) theres people on the roof who extract as much as they can
    B) theres cheap goods online
    C) theres price dumping by chinese such as free shipping

    If you look at all this, they are unlikely to survive, other retail shops will follow, besides food since it is not economic to ship.
    Its not only online goods are much cheaper, also people have less and less money + rents are increasing

    Or if you mention Amazon they give like 8p for a package to the worker.

    Just labelling shipping as free doesnt pay logistics, and somehow it has to be paid, be sure others pay for it or it is rolled into the price + interest.
    Theres no free postage, there never was free shipping available to purchase for any chinese, no free fuel, no truck driver volunteers. No free airplanes either for international shipping.

    on ebay the minimum you pay for USA shipping to international is USD 15, of course knocks them out of the international market.
  11. Ian Rogers

    Active Member

    Dec 12, 2012
    When I was teen(ish) A visit to Maplins was like a visit to a sweety shop... Tons of components.. Running around like a looney..

    Now!!! Hobby stuff. The semiconductors ( if you can find them ) are few and far between... Pic16f84a, now considered retro, for double + the price... Places like this ( And toysRus ) don't keep up with the customers....

    I can get 10 pic16f1825's from online stores.... delivered free... for nearly the same price ( not really, but it feels like it )
    cmartinez likes this.
  12. takao21203

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 28, 2012
    I bought this in 2004

    Actually it is utterly crap hard to believe its still on the market.

    It has RS232 and only good for some 16F
    It needs a software piece to transfer via USB, the homepage from the author is long abandoned (back some years ago actually I searched and found some weird place holder).

    It comes with the old MPLAB

    I used it for 2 years or so + learned RISC assembler for PIC

    If you look the chinese shops theres some 1000s and hundreds very large ones, they always quickly adopt the latest modules and parts
    They even have AM radio kits and Television DIY kit and tube amp kits.

    Nowadays many people use Lithium batteries but Maplin doesnt have any voltage converters or charging modules.

    What choice do people have but to buy online?
  13. ian field

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 27, 2012
    Quality was generally better than the Radio Shack I remember, but more expensive than anywhere.

    I can't remember getting all that I'd paid for without months of emails & phone calls. putting faulty returns back on the shelves was fairly common. One visit to the shop (furthest next town) I treated myself to a £50 temperature controlled soldering iron, when I unpacked the bag at home - it had magically transformed into a £15 non TC iron. 20m round trip to get it sorted - their excuse was the box looked scruffy so they got another iron off the display rack. A special offer PSU brick with selectable voltages magically turned into a laptop brick with only one voltage - what I got was worth a fair bit more money, but I wanted the one I picked out of the flyer. If you order a strip of 10 resistors and they send you the wrong value, you send them back with a covering letter - they send you 1 single resistor the same wrong value. I'm convinced their warehouse staff were too stoned to tell what day it was.