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Maplin about to go toes up?

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Maplin about to go toes up?

Postby Mixedup » Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:07 am

It shouldn't come as a surprise as I've bought nothing from them in about a decade. But it was always handy knowing you could drop in for an emergency part or a cheap camera case!

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/feb/19/troubled-electronics-chain-maplin-in-talks-to-find-buyer
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Re: Maplin about to go toes up?

Postby Forum Admin » Tue Feb 20, 2018 10:02 am

Shame, though a mixture of Edinburgh Woollen Mill one half and electronics/gadgets the other might prove an ideal mix for ‘family’ customers? :smirk:
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Re: Maplin about to go toes up?

Postby Alba » Tue Feb 20, 2018 10:24 am

That is a shame, but we were only talking at the weekend and wondering how they survive. I'm quite a big user as Mrs Alba pops into one of the west end branches next door to her sometimes workplace. They are really nice in there. She always comments on how helpful they are when she goes in bewildered with her scrap of paper.

But i increasingly use CPC farnell, they do free delivery over a fiver and the webisite is very easy to search... way cheaper than Maplin.

I liked Tandy, gutted when they left the high street.
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Re: Maplin about to go toes up?

Postby garrettendi » Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:04 pm

Part of the problem is that Maplin can't (or don't) compete with Amazon on price. A simple cable on Amazon can often be bought for half the price of Maplin's offerings. Until they can compete on price, they will suffer.

It's a shame because there's something to be said for going in a shop, buying what you need, and coming out with your sparkly new purchase, ready and waiting to be used. But these days people prefer Amazon, especially if they have the Prime service.

But this is happening everywhere. These days the only new shops that survive in my location are usually coffee shops. Everything else just can't compete with online.
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Re: Maplin about to go toes up?

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:09 pm

True, running a retail shop is a lot more expensive than a mail-order facility for many reasons. To make a profit the margins have to be there so stuff has to be more expensive on the high street....
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Re: Maplin about to go toes up?

Postby garrettendi » Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:11 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:True, running a retail shop is a lot more expensive than a mail-order facility for many reasons. To make a profit the margins have to be there so stuff has to be more expensive on the high street....

Exactly. And so many people (myself included, I'm a hypocrite here) forget to support the small businesses. We get so wrapped up in how much something costs, we forget to keep "Chris who runs the hardware shop round the corner" in business.
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Re: Maplin about to go toes up?

Postby garrettendi » Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:13 pm

I know Maplin isn't a small business, but the principle is the same. The people that work there 5 or 6 days a week, dealing with rude entitled customers lose their jobs over our obsession with price
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Re: Maplin about to go toes up?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:30 pm

Tiz the modern way, sadly.

There was a very disturbing feature article in The Times last week written by a journo who got a job working in an Amazon Fulfilment Centre. He made out it wasn't far short of slave labour conditions and I don't think there was much exaggeration involved. Mostly staffed by Eastern Europeans on zero-hours contracts working huge hours with few amenities and fired without compassion if they failed to hit the required targets.

...and all so we can fool ourselves into thinking we've saved a few bob while Amazon make billions in profits and take it all taken overseas, largely tax free.

We are the harbingers of our own doom. :o

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Re: Maplin about to go toes up?

Postby garrettendi » Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:43 pm

Scary stuff. Really scary.

I'm going to give some serious thought, that next time I need a new adapter, or a surge protector or something of that type, maybe I should deliberately go to Wilko, or Maplin or similar to support them.

You are right, Amazon are getting far, far too big. And the tax avoidance does leave a sour taste.
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Re: Maplin about to go toes up?

Postby James Perrett » Tue Feb 20, 2018 4:14 pm

The reason I don't use Maplin much is that they mainly stock bottom of the range stuff. That's fine for our 6 year old's disco lights for his bedroom but not so good if you want something better.

CPC serve a similar market but much better, as they have a wider choice of products which are often well documented and also cheaper. I realise that CPC's costs are lower as they don't have a network of branches to maintain but their free delivery threshold seems ridiculously low which you see the sort of packaging they provide.
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Re: Maplin about to go toes up?

Postby Forum Admin » Tue Feb 20, 2018 4:46 pm

James is right - you all are.

Maplin's range seems to focus primarily on 'home networked IoT' stuff, like web-enabled thermostats, IP cameras, etc - and some of that crosses over with what PC World stock.

Having said that, I do like to go into Maplin and browse every six months, after which I feel guilty :angel: and end up buying another of their el cheapo small LED torches. :headbang:
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Re: Maplin about to go toes up?

Postby OneWorld » Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:20 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Tiz the modern way, sadly.

There was a very disturbing feature article in The Times last week written by a journo who got a job working in an Amazon Fulfilment Centre. He made out it wasn't far short of slave labour conditions and I don't think there was much exaggeration involved. Mostly staffed by Eastern Europeans on zero-hours contracts working huge hours with few amenities and fired without compassion if they failed to hit the required targets.

...and all so we can fool ourselves into thinking we've saved a few bob while Amazon make billions in profits and take it all taken overseas, largely tax free.

We are the harbingers of our own doom. :o

H

I worry for these zero-hours people when we leave Europe as a lot of working conditions legislation was introduced by the EEC, once we leave and we are at the mercy of megalomanic companies like Amazon a lot of employee protection will go out the window too. The EEC thus far is the only organisation that has called companies like Microsoft, Google, Facebook to account.

I once got into a dispute with Amazon over £40.00, ok, not a king's ransom, but the issue was, I did not order the goods in question and I was determined to get my money back - goodness me it was like pulling teeth, I was even phoned by Amazon to ask if I wanted to re-order the item, endless emails asking for customer feedback, and I even got 2 emails apologizing for their error, and I would be recompensed.

Needless to say I never was paid so I went to my bank. They pledged to get my money back, and they did. But about a month later I got a letter from a compliance officer at the bank and they said they were obliged to deduct the money from my account and pay it to Amazon - seems even our banks are beholden to Amazon, they, Amazon seem to be above the law. I got in touch with Trading Standards and they said considering the small amount I might as well roll with the punch.
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Re: Maplin about to go toes up?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:27 pm

OneWorld wrote:...once we leave and we are at the mercy of megalomanic companies like Amazon a lot of employee protection will go out the window too.

It won't make much practical difference -- there are so many opt-outs and workarounds in widespread use that most employee protections can already be circumvented quite easily in the interests of profits regardless of the EEC's well-meaning bureaucracy.... as that Times article described.

The EEC thus far is the only organisation that has called companies like Microsoft, Google, Facebook to account

Can't say I've noticed a lot of difference...

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Re: Maplin about to go toes up?

Postby ef37a » Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:33 pm

Funny that. I was in there about a week ago and the usually very helpful, happy staff seemed a bit, er, 'reserved' shall we say? Might have imagined it or maybe they knew something and could not give a ****?

However, I have been emailing Maplin customer service for YEARS. Telling them that I WANT to use their store (30 min walk, 10 in car) but they either don't have what I need (when I want it!) or they have too few in stock. Just 2 days ago I wanted 3 10W 10R resistors. Maplin stock them but none at Northampton store and the nearest, Kettering only had two.

A year ago I wanted an SSD. The only affordable ones, around 240G were 'Web only' . Why? I have asked this times online and in the store. "We do have it online" They do not seem to grasp that I KNOW THAT! In the end I did order from the Almighty Amazon.

It is not as though the shop is bursting at the seams, it is VAST. I could understand them not stocking a range of electric kids cars in 17 colours but a few hard drives and components?

This is not limited to Maplin. I always try to get stuff locally even if I pay a bit more for it but sadly the answer often is "not stocked" or "we can order it in for you". Well I can do THAT!

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Re: Maplin about to go toes up?

Postby Folderol » Tue Feb 20, 2018 6:20 pm

I try very hard to avoid Amazon. The only reason I use them sometimes is that what I want simply is not available elsewhere (or if it is, it's extremely well hidden).
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Re: Maplin about to go toes up?

Postby Dr R » Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:14 pm

I have bought a fair few odds and sods from Maplin over the past few years, simply because the one in the centre of Brum is a convenient walk from the office. But it's a high rent location and they can't be making much money out of me.

Will be sad if they go.
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Re: Maplin about to go toes up?

Postby James Perrett » Tue Feb 20, 2018 10:18 pm

Dr R wrote:... the one in the centre of Brum is a convenient walk from the office. But it's a high rent location and they can't be making much money out of me.

And that's something I don't understand about them - they don't really know what they are trying to be. Are they a home entertainment shop catering to the general public or are they catering to electronics/gadget enthusiasts? In Southampton they have a store on the high street in a prime retail location with high car parking charges and another not far away in what property agents call a secondary retail location with free parking in the local streets. I would have thought that the typical Maplin customer wasn't your typical high street shopper so Maplin would do better to concentrate on their other shop which is in an area with other specialist shops (although the other electronics shop in the same street seems to be closed most of the time).

Maplin are handy when you need something the same day and aren't too fussy about quality - but there is also an RS Trade Counter not too far away too...
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Re: Maplin about to go toes up?

Postby wireman » Wed Feb 21, 2018 1:14 am

I do feel sad if Maplin has hit hard times. However they annoyed me in recent years:
  • Lost my original customer account
  • Refused to take web orders unless I added a "Nickname" to my address.
  • Removed the very useful technical information/guides from the catalogue.

I used to purchase cable, leads, adaptors, plugs, multimeters, project boxes, small tools, fuses, and small batteries. The most expensive thing I ever purchased (except noted below) was probably 50m reels of various twin and earth.

In the early days there was no choice, RS/Farnell were business only and I don't think there was a Tandy store anywhere near me for a long time (and even when there was I didn't like the shop).

Best one-off Bargain: HUMAX HDR-FOX T2 (500GB) £84.99

I started using them in the era of mail order and Postal Orders, at least 35 years ago.
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Re: Maplin about to go toes up?

Postby zenguitar » Wed Feb 21, 2018 2:12 am

A couple of afternoons a month I head for the small city (Plymouth if you must know) by train. I stock up on fluid for my vape, check out the market bookstall and charity shops to see if I can fill some gaps in my library and grab a coffee in Cafe Nero while I check the SOS forums on my iPad using the free Wi-Fi.

That always leaves me with an hour or so to waste before I get the train home. So I fill that time alternating between a number of stores keeping myself up to speed on what they have in stock so I know where to go those handful of times a year when I need to treat myself or buy a present, and to grab a bargain when it crops up. The big Asian Supermarket is always popular, reminds me of all the things I like to eat that are off the menu because my elderly mother (who I care for) would turn her nose up at. Flying Tiger always reminds me of The Covent Garden General Store in the late 80's. The Apple Store is on the map because my iPad is long overdue an upgrade and I'm tempted by an iPhone and an iMac.

But Maplins is almost always on the agenda for a browse. I rarely buy, but I do spend on occasion. And while they are over-priced, there are few other places on the High Street where you can buy a decent semi-pro ultrasound tank, a GPS shield for an Arduino, an Arduino for that matter, a bag of capacitors, a solder station, replacement batteries for your knackered house phone, m/m or f/f co-ax cable adaptors, Super Servisol 10, and countless other useful bits and bobs.

So, my first desire is that they get through this and remain on the High Street. But if that doesn't work I am hoping for some good deals in a closing down sale.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Maplin about to go toes up?

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:19 am

Maplin's website is very poor, and the search engine truly appalling. A search for "Shure microphone" produced 74 results including ear buds, laptops, desktop PC, action cams, headphones (with and without microphones), webcams and loads of other stuff but only 6 in the microphone category..... I couldn't check if any of those were Shure mics as the website wouldn't let me past the first page in the search......

If they put some effort into their online service maybe they wouldn't be in this mess now.

Last visit to the local store to buy a box of 250mA fast blow fuzes for my Kef monitors, none on the shelf so I asked the young guy floating around, he went and confirmed the hook on the display was empty checking the label to be sure I had looked in the right place, asked me to confirm what I needed (250mA fast blow 20mm glass) and got me some out of the storeroom. When I got home they were 375mA..........
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