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1980s UK Maplin Catalog Covers


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#1 Steve Mynott OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Oct 6, 2017 4:12 AM

The UK "Maplin" store was a large Atari 8 bit mail order dealer (and electronic components) back in the day.

 

I noticed a page of their catalog covers:-

 

http://70sscifiart.t...9-1990-via-this

 

They also had a Maplin Magazine and I remember reading an interesting 1200XL review in it.

 

Wonder if the magazine has any online scans?

 

Oddly Maplin still exists as a large chain of over priced electronics stores whereas Tandy/Radio Shack were killed by the internet!



#2 Mclaneinc OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Oct 6, 2017 5:02 AM

Yes, our catalogue covers initially were fantastic, no idea who did the art but there were superb, Atarimania has some scans of the catalogues, I myself only have what they have, I tended not to collect the catalogues as I worked for them in London, bloody things were every where in the stock room :)

 

We had a Tandy opposite that wanted me to join them as a manager but no ta, awful company that were just uneducated box shifters, Maplin have semi morphed in to a Tandy variant where they have extended their range of over expensive tat and trust me it was tat. Roger the director used to fly to the far East on stock trips and basically if he got a good deal we stocked it. One of the things he brought in was a range of remote control cars and a boat which were shown off at a managers meeting, the cars were fragile rubbish and genuinely, the boat sank, seriously...

 

It was fun for us managers until we had to sell this stuff..

 

Last I heard they were taken over by a German bank and from my rare visits to the shops the epic tat sale continues as do thee staff who bar the odd one who know little about electronics let alone the guff they sell, at least my guys bar one all had electronics qualifications..

 

Paul.



#3 Steve Mynott OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Oct 7, 2017 2:30 AM

I found some pdfs online of "Electronics - The Maplin Magazine" but not the 1200XL article I was looking for (probably an issue in spring 81 or 82). I remember them being fairly unimpressed with it compared with the 800 but pointing out reduced chip count meant reduced costs for future models which was accurate enough with hindsight.

 

The current shops don't even sell computers much although they do sell some overpriced accessories. Most of the sales staff are aggressive and clueless but occasionally you meet someone interesting with knowledge. They have some PIs and I did see a modern Spectrum clone in there recently.

 

I was amazed on a visit a year or two back to find a poorly stocked Radio Shack in San Francisco (Tandy in the UK died years ago) but I think even the US ones are dead now.

 

And on Twitter this morning I was amused to see the Ada Fruit lady waving around some Radio Shack certs suggesting she had bought it! 

 

Bizarrely "Craplins" seems to go from strength to strength and has stores everywhere.


Edited by Steve Mynott, Sat Oct 7, 2017 2:31 AM.


#4 Level42 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Oct 7, 2017 7:25 AM

Awesome artwork, thanks for sharing that !



#5 ilaskey OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Oct 7, 2017 10:11 AM

My pet hate of the modern Maplin shops is they insist on someone by the door to greet and ask if they can help, as soon as you arrive. It might work for some people but I'd much rather wander around then ask if I need anything. As it stands, as soon as you arrive, your forced to mutter 'no thanks' and then immediately, your shopping brain is in no mode which really isn't good for the shop. Plus 99% of the stock is overpriced crap. You can tell it's the same stuff that's 99p inc P&P on eBay yet Maplin charge £24.99 or somesuch.



#6 Mclaneinc OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Oct 7, 2017 10:22 AM

Maplin back in my time was very different, no pressurised top up sales, I had a strict no bother the customers thing because like you Ian I hate being harassed in a shop, if I want help I'll ask..

 

Sadly as I've said before, the main buyer / director Doug had a very market stall approach to new stock, the cheaper the better and then punt it out at OTT prices. All this happened after the computers were dropped, it amazes me they still survive. It seems if you put some flashing lights in the windows its like a light bulb to a moth, the public roll in like zombies wondering what's in here..



#7 kiwilove OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Oct 7, 2017 1:18 PM

Must be Dec 82 that I popped into the Hammersmith store in London with a list to buy?  That ended up with an Atari 800 48K machine, 410 cassette recorder, Star Raiders, PacMan, BASIC, Shamus, Baja Buggies, MatchRacer and Race In Space.  Can't remember much of the staff there - as I had to get in and get out with what I wanted - didn't know London at all - but somehow ended up at the Hammersmith store OK.  Didn't know the cassette titles that well - only that the last 2 were budget titles and weren't much fun at all.

Also a book with BASIC programs in it.

Later on I did manage to score well in Baja Buggies - sent in a photo with my hi-score and got a plastic keyring back.

 

Harvey


Edited by kiwilove, Sat Oct 7, 2017 1:22 PM.


#8 IndusGT OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Oct 7, 2017 3:10 PM

Yes, our catalogue covers initially were fantastic, no idea who did the art but there were superb, Atarimania has some scans of the catalogues, I myself only have what they have, I tended not to collect the catalogues as I worked for them in London, bloody things were every where in the stock room :)

 

We had a Tandy opposite that wanted me to join them as a manager but no ta, awful company that were just uneducated box shifters, Maplin have semi morphed in to a Tandy variant where they have extended their range of over expensive tat and trust me it was tat. Roger the director used to fly to the far East on stock trips and basically if he got a good deal we stocked it. One of the things he brought in was a range of remote control cars and a boat which were shown off at a managers meeting, the cars were fragile rubbish and genuinely, the boat sank, seriously...

 

It was fun for us managers until we had to sell this stuff..

 

Last I heard they were taken over by a German bank and from my rare visits to the shops the epic tat sale continues as do thee staff who bar the odd one who know little about electronics let alone the guff they sell, at least my guys bar one all had electronics qualifications..

 

Paul.

Hi do you have a link to the scans of the catalogues at atarimania, looked all over, thanks



#9 Mclaneinc OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Oct 8, 2017 5:20 AM

Must be Dec 82 that I popped into the Hammersmith store in London with a list to buy?  That ended up with an Atari 800 48K machine, 410 cassette recorder, Star Raiders, PacMan, BASIC, Shamus, Baja Buggies, MatchRacer and Race In Space.  Can't remember much of the staff there - as I had to get in and get out with what I wanted - didn't know London at all - but somehow ended up at the Hammersmith store OK.  Didn't know the cassette titles that well - only that the last 2 were budget titles and weren't much fun at all.

Also a book with BASIC programs in it.

Later on I did manage to score well in Baja Buggies - sent in a photo with my hi-score and got a plastic keyring back.

 

Harvey

 

You probably met me as I was there at that time...



#10 Mclaneinc OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Oct 8, 2017 5:24 AM

I just looked and I swear they had some of our catalogues, seems not now...Odd....

 

Here's the links to the adverts etc...But nothing from Maplin there...Very odd....

 

http://www.atarimani...xl-xe-___8.html



#11 Tickled_Pink OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Oct 8, 2017 9:13 AM

I hadn't bought anything from Maplin for years. I always thought their stuff was overpriced, even the electronic components once I found another company in Newcastle (which I think are still going).

 

Back in the summer, though, I had a bit of a bargain from there. We went to Llandudno because a new Primark had opened there. So I decided to go for a wander into Maplins. Found a Thrustmaster TMX wheel for the Xbone at around £120. That was £20-£30 cheaper than anywhere else I could find (e.g. £150 in Argos). I missed having no driving games so of course I picked it up.



#12 lbaeza OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Oct 9, 2017 7:27 PM

That Maplin catalog art seems to be inspired on the works of Chris Foss.

 

Regards,

 

Louis BQ



#13 DGS-Atari OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:09 AM

My pet hate of the modern Maplin shops is they insist on someone by the door to greet and ask if they can help, as soon as you arrive. It might work for some people but I'd much rather wander around then ask if I need anything. As it stands, as soon as you arrive, your forced to mutter 'no thanks' and then immediately, your shopping brain is in no mode which really isn't good for the shop. Plus 99% of the stock is overpriced crap. You can tell it's the same stuff that's 99p inc P&P on eBay yet Maplin charge £24.99 or somesuch.

 

I had worse than that once. After going around the store for 10 minutes having a giggle at the prices, I attempted to leave without buying anything when a member of staff said sarcastically 'well thanks for looking anyway'. I went back in and said 'what the hell's that supposed to mean? If your prices weren't such a joke I might have bought something!'. That shut him up! ;)



#14 Mclaneinc OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:24 AM

Don't worry, us managers were well aware of the price issues and we constantly attacked the buyers over this but they just carried on like a they were still running Maplin from a flat above some shops (how Maplin was founded) stock wise. Matters got badly worse when Maplin announced the MPS brand which was Maplin Professional Services which was their utterly calamitous attempt to steal trade from RS Components. Now shops always had a back order list for stock and it was fairly large and contained really basic components like radical 10uf 16v caps etc and also the shops got small shipments of stock so when an MPS customer came in with an order it was IMPOSSIBLE to fulfil because of the low quantities we carried and telling them we could order it for next week was as much a piss take as it sounded, people wanted the stuff NOW.

 

Needless to say there were many very frank and very loud calls to head office by us managers...Eventually they admitted their mistake and stopped the bulk order side..Its also didn't help that trade prices were only marginally lower than standard retail with head office admitting they didn't have the buying power of RS.

 

See, its wasn't all fun and games :)



#15 Mclaneinc OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:30 AM

 

I had worse than that once. After going around the store for 10 minutes having a giggle at the prices, I attempted to leave without buying anything when a member of staff said sarcastically 'well thanks for looking anyway'. I went back in and said 'what the hell's that supposed to mean? If your prices weren't such a joke I might have bought something!'. That shut him up! ;)

 

My staff would have had a verbal warning for something like that, I prided myself that we had amazing good return trade, staff were told to never be flippant with the customers no matter how annoying some could be, it was drilled in to the staff that their wage and bonus depended on the return trade so just grin and bare it with the trouble customers or come and get me if its really bad. Thankfully my staff were polite and helpful without being in your face, the base customers liked that..



#16 Steve Mynott OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:58 AM

I did some quick searches and found the following Maplin/Atari images

 

http://atariage.com/...-1484516145.jpg

 

Very early since it headlines a 800 "console" with 16K for £645! I suppose not quoting the 48K model was their attempt to make the price look more reasonable.

 

Also mentions a club which I don't remember.

 

I do remember later prices on another  ad were £299 for a 48K 800 (probably about the time it was discontinued). I remember sadly looking at that ad and it still being too expensive.

 

Ironically £299 still seems to be the going rate for a 2nd hand Atari 800 on UK Ebay and I still think its too expensive :-) I suppose the things are still expensive because they are rare because noone bought them in the past (US prices seem better).

 

My friends mostly had 400s with 48K (one even had a better kb fitted) and those who stuck with Atari mostly went to the 800XL (which I got when it was discounted).

 

The main reason the Atari never took off in the UK to the degree the Spectrum and C64 did was price.



#17 Kyle22 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:19 PM

I sure wish REAL computer & electronics (including components) stores still existed.  It seems to me that as society is dumbed down by the big corps and the big box stores trying to flood us with their BS lying adverts, that we are being forgotten.

 

Not only forgotten, but being looked at with suspicion for even daring to dabble with electronics.  I read an article (several years ago) that a college student got in trouble because he was seen using a <gasp> Linux Command Shell Prompt. He wasn't using the approved GUI, so he *MUST* be a 'Hacker'.

 

If you are caught building something unknown to "them", then you may be accused of building a bomb or something (in this day and age).  It's really sad how stupid society has become.



#18 DGS-Atari OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 12, 2017 3:28 AM

I sure wish REAL computer & electronics (including components) stores still existed.  It seems to me that as society is dumbed down by the big corps and the big box stores trying to flood us with their BS lying adverts, that we are being forgotten.

 

Not only forgotten, but being looked at with suspicion for even daring to dabble with electronics.  I read an article (several years ago) that a college student got in trouble because he was seen using a <gasp> Linux Command Shell Prompt. He wasn't using the approved GUI, so he *MUST* be a 'Hacker'.

 

If you are caught building something unknown to "them", then you may be accused of building a bomb or something (in this day and age).  It's really sad how stupid society has become.

 

Yup, if it doesn't have that magical little letter 'i' in front of the name then it's got to be rubbish, even though you're paying a 500% premium for that 'i' and there are plenty of other alternatives without the 'i' which do the job just as well, and usually better! :mad:






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