A world without Maplins...

Discussion in 'UK politics, current affairs and news' started by ska invita, Feb 28, 2018.

  1. kabbes

    kabbes "A top 400 poster"

    I mooch round the Great Tower Street branch quite regularly. There are always way too many staff knocking about with nothing to do, which means you feel very hassled when you are looking at stuff — and who can blame a bored sales assistant for trying to assist? But then they have very poor knowledge when I have actually asked them questions. In many cases, they flat out contradict the information I have patiently acquired myself via the internet. So the last thing I want to do is actually engage with the staff.

    Then the product range is poor and overpriced. Once you do know what you’re looking for, you quickly realise this isn’t the shop to get it from.

    I really want to buy stuff from them, for the sake of my younger self as much as anything else, but they just don’t provide a good service on any axis I can measure. I did buy my Echo Dots from them because they were standardised in price and Maplins were doing a £10 voucher for spending £100, which I could spend on my third Dot. But anything else was too expensive or not the right thing.

    Shame, but inevitable.
    SpookyFrank likes this.
  2. Lord Camomile

    Lord Camomile Lemonade socialist

    That's definitely part of it, but there are Amazon alternatives (which are obviously varying degrees of good/bad themselves). But it's also just that although I don't use high streets a lot, I like that they are there, and they can be convenient when you want something immediately (again, don't use Amazon or Deliveroo types) or want to check it out IRL first. Plus, like I said, nostalgia. A lot of the stores I grew up going to are closing down, and I know that change is just part of life but it still leaves me a little heavy hearted.
    Again, curious as to whether this government would do anything. That's honest curiosity rather than a rhetorical question, I don't know how they'd respond. Yes, people are going to bemoan the loss of high street stores, and the loss of jobs, but enough to make the government respond with actual action? Given how they generally deal with unemployment, I don't have high hopes.
  3. maomao

    maomao 四月她爹

    I was quite happy when I moved here and found out there was a Maplins round the corner but I've used it twice in four years and each time felt ripped off because I'd paid over the odds for something just because I couldn't wait.
  4. bogbrush

    bogbrush Active Member

    Maplins staff are not knowledgeable, and it is hard to get their attention. The stock is overpriced.
    TopCat likes this.
  5. ska invita

    ska invita back on the other side

    of course theyll do nothing
    and youre right, im not making a case for 'ethical' corporate alternatives...but Amazon can go fuck themselves first ;)
    teqniq and Enviro like this.
  6. paolo

    paolo Well-Known Member

    I also used them in the 80s for components. They were far cheaper than Tandy. And back then you couldn’t easily buy, as a consumer m, from RS.

    Then, over a decade or so, they turned into Tandy. Full of crap quality gadget cack, and the old hobbyist component side faded away. And at the same time, for components at least, anyone could order from RS.

    The ‘gadget’ stuff I bought from Maplin was appalling. I think every device failed within a year.

    Still, sad to see them go if only because of the memories. As a kid, going to the Hammersmith branch just to play on the 5600S analog modular patch synth. It’s now considered a classic.
  7. Sprocket.

    Sprocket. Time’s Up!

    Maplin’s head office and distribution centre is just around the corner from where I am currently working.
    The staff in the warehouse are nearly all on zero hours contracts or minimum wage.
    The premises are built on the site of the former Manvers main colliery and coking plant, in its time the largest plant in Western Europe. The developers expected these establishments to remain in business for years. With the increased sales on the net, Maplin are yet another victim of the way shoppers buy their goods, usually cheaper and not having to venture out into the real world.
    So sorry that more jobs will be lost. Though I understand all the warehouses are on 25 year leases from a company based in South Korea.

    Maplins at Manvers.

    ETA. The grey warehouse beside Maplins is one of two Next clothing warehouses. Allegedly the third biggest in Europe at the moment.
  8. redcogs

    redcogs in the gutter beholding the stars

    If Maplins shuts we will have to go to Woolworths, which has a good electronics section :)

    It makes you wonder whether the free market is fucked :D:facepalm:
  9. hash tag

    hash tag Pedicabo omnes

    ska invita likes this.
  10. HoratioCuthbert

    HoratioCuthbert I had estates!

    Once a cashier said to me "SENNHEISER! GOOD CHOICE!!" when I was buying headphones. This will never happen in Tesco.
  11. Saul Goodman

    Saul Goodman It's all good, man


    And this.

    I'm surprised they lasted as long as they did.
    Their staff were, on the whole, clueless, and their online store was an absolute nightmare to navigate, and they were selling cheap shit at top dollar

    I feel sorry for the staff but fuck the company.
    likesfish, bogbrush and UrbaneFox like this.
  12. Slo-mo

    Slo-mo Banned Banned

    Yes, I don't think they ever properly understood geeks. Most of us just want to browse in peace. We probably know at least as much as the average Maplins staff member and if we don't we'll ask.

    My local branch never recovered after abandoning its city centre store popular with local nerds for an out of town retail park which was miles from anywhere. Many younger geeks can't drive or can't afford a car.
    William of Walworth and paolo like this.
  13. teqniq

    teqniq DisMembered

    Got me out of trouble when I needed stuff at short notice but yes, vastly overpriced. And now I read above that their warehouse staff are on zero hour contracts. Arseholes then, much like amazon who when I found out about the way they treated their employees no longer had my custom.
    likesfish likes this.
  14. toblerone3

    toblerone3 Grrrrr

    I bought a Bluetooth transmitter/converter from their Tottenham Court Road store only last week. Customer service wasn't bad when I questioned whether they could be connected to a RCA connection on the back of a Pioneer Mixer, the guy I asked said no but had a check inside the box and discovered that it could. Price yes well yes it could have been cheaper to buy it online perhaps from Chinese outlets, but I valued being able to go into the store and have a conversation with an at least semi-informed shop assistant who was willing to check his knowledge or in this case wrong information.

    Will be sorry to see them go.
    farmerbarleymow and Slo-mo like this.
  15. Ted Striker

    Ted Striker Foot's on the other hand

    I have a fair bit of sympathy for them tbh. Whilst the criticisms that they are expensive (vs online) and the staff* 'clueless' might be valid, its a bit like complaining there's no wildebeest sweeping majestically in front of my Torquay hotel view.

    It's an ambitious ask to have a strong high st presence, yet rely solely in emergency/noob electrically types for your custom. Tho without any decent modernisation plan I suppose they'll be doomed to fail.

    They actually weren't offensively overpriced on more expensive stuff IMO, but the £9.99 3m RCA cables (14.99 for the gold plated if you really want the best :rolleyes:) (or a couple of quid anywhere online) will give them the overpriced rep they had.

    *I doubt they're on any more than standard retail money, it's a big ask for them to have every answer covered for every niche enquiry (on a broad and technical spectrum).
  16. Sue

    Sue Well-Known Member

    Used to go in occasionally, generally found the staff a bit useless though sometimes downright patronising. Sorry people are losing their jobs though.
  17. stethoscope

    stethoscope Well-Known Member

    Admittedly not used them for ages, but still kinda mourn their passing - a bit like Tandy shops years ago.

    Shit of course those losing jobs at both Maplins and Toys R Us.
  18. Lord Camomile

    Lord Camomile Lemonade socialist

    But that's on the company. I would think/hope most of the "the staff don't know anything/are shit" are implicitly acknowledging that it's not really the staff's fault.

    If the company wanted to give people a reason to visit their shop rather than go online, knowledgeable staff should have been one of the top priorities. It's not a big ask to have knowledgeable staff, but as you say, it is at those wages.
    Sea Star and UrbaneFox like this.
  19. ska invita

    ska invita back on the other side

    The workers at Maplins I've ever met have almost to the last been excellent, knowledgeable and helpful. Often geeky, yes, some socially awkward even, but that's a good thing. It's the staff that make me feel a little bit emotional about Maplins. I really wish them all the best.
  20. farmerbarleymow

    farmerbarleymow Sweetcorn, Seagulls and Wasps are Brilliant!

    I've only been in a branch now and again, but generally the staff were helpful if advice was needed - and they sold the odd stuff that is difficult to get on the high street. They always seemed overstaffed for the size of the local branch though.

    Shame about the staff losing their jobs of course - the demise isn't their fault.
  21. ska invita

    ska invita back on the other side

    Other shops are under staffed and we've gotten used to it, I reckon
  22. farmerbarleymow

    farmerbarleymow Sweetcorn, Seagulls and Wasps are Brilliant!

    Possibly. But it always felt a bit weird in the small shop - you were invariably seriously outnumbered by staff, and understandably they always asked if you needed help and I don't like talking to people if I can help it. :hmm:
  23. ska invita

    ska invita back on the other side

    Saturday afternoon when there's a rush on though... The buzz in the room ;).....:(
    farmerbarleymow likes this.
  24. farmerbarleymow

    farmerbarleymow Sweetcorn, Seagulls and Wasps are Brilliant!

    That sounds scary. :(

    Another thing I remember - although this may have been a peculiarity of the branch near me - was that all the staff were men. Maybe it fits with the general trend of geeky and slightly socially awkward people working there (not that women can't be geeky/awkward of course).
    William of Walworth likes this.
  25. Saul Goodman

    Saul Goodman It's all good, man

    Do you think it's too much to expect people in an electronics store to know about electronics?

    There are other electronics shops with both bricks and mortar and online shops, and they seem to be doing just fine. The problem with Maplins is that everyone can buy online now and have it delivered tomorrow, but Maplins were ridiculously expensive compared to the likes of Farnell, so they were never going to get the online market, and having 10 sales people hanging around in a shop, to cater for a handfull of people who might walk around for an hour looking at overpriced tat from China, and walk out with a 2 quid patch lead, doesn't make for a great business model.

    I'm actually really surprised they lasted this long.
  26. campanula

    campanula plant a seed

    O horrendous. There has already been the closing of the beloved Gees (in my town). I
    have been resigned to paying inflated Maplin prices because I am tremendously thick ('can I get some of those things that go on a battery with little ends shaped like spades') so online ordering is a horror of uncertainty whereas I can grill the staff at Maplins and see an item IRL...plus I guarantee they all know shitloads more than me.
  27. Cid

    Cid 慢慢走

    I think components are particularly well covered in internet buying, no need for Amazon; RS, Farnell for all things electronic/fiddly, places like Scan for computer components. I'm also surprised Maplin lasted... though it was nice to have a browse.
    Badgers likes this.
  28. Calamity1971

    Calamity1971 If Mr Peanut says It's okay, then it is.

    I still miss Tandy's. Internet maybe cheaper, but you can't beat looking round a good electrical/gadget shop.
    Slo-mo and Badgers like this.
  29. I’d go there infrequently usually for a cable of some type. The staff could be terrible; there’d usually be at least one who knew what you were after but they generally weren’t one of the ones on the shop floor. You’d think they’d at least given them some training on understanding their products. That said, it’s still less painful than having to search online for something you don’t know the precise name/model of. That’s going to be a joy now that they’ve gone.
    Slo-mo and Badgers like this.
  30. Slo-mo

    Slo-mo Banned Banned

    Agreed. It's an underrated and fast disappearing geek pleasure.

    Up here we've got a decent indy called Potts who've been around since the stone age. But everything is behind the counter so you can't really browse as such.

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