But does it actually move?... Within say a 5 mile radius, how many people do you know who buy components regularly? Not just an emergency resistor or two once in a blue moon.
Chances are it probably doesn't as, like me, the people I know around here who are into electronics don't buy from there because of the limited supply/variety and extortionate prices.
And the back room also attracts rent, heat, light.. A box of cheap nasty screwdrivers will take up more space than a box of resistors, but the screwdrivers will always move. And realistically, it is not going to be one cardboard box with say 50 different values to rummage around in. It will be a rack of bins with a product number that the sales person can pick from. Do you keep all your resistors mixed up in a single box? Even with a colour code calculator, it would take the average sales person at these shops a significant amount of time to pick your order.
Actually, my resistors are all in one big box, but they're split up by value into resealable bags. Rapid ships out strips of 100 resistors in a 3"x3" resealable bag. You can fit a hell of a lot of those in something the size of a 33L Really Useful Box. Even if all they had was a range of 1/8th resistors bagged up in a box, it'd keep most people happy - and I doubt anybody's going to want to go into RS to buy them a 100 at a time (not at their prices), so having a hundred of each, and a couple of hundred each of the more popular values, isn't a huge amount of space.
Electronics shops these days are pretty much Argos without the back room Morlocks. I think Maplin even has those same little pens. If they can't type in the reference number, forget it.
I've been into Maplins near Blackpool a couple of times in the last 5 years, and yes, they're mostly useless too.
Those would be good. And stand a chance of moving. Well.. the cheaper ones that is. Especially if displayed well. With say the Ice Tube clock made up and running to show off what these kits are like. I quite fancy making one of those myself. Also, things like Arduino starter kits. Power supply kits for breadboards and the like. A little transistor tester circuit would be a good enough soldering practice project, and result in a useful tool at the end. Stuff that is pretty much self contained and immediately useful. And importantly.. you can plonk it down on the counter for the salesperson to scan the bar code, and ring up.
Exactly. Having things like that could lead back into them becoming more of the electronics based company we used to love, and lead to carrying individual useful components. With Obama's recent speech about America being a nation of makers or whatever, I can see it extending over here to the UK, and they'd be a good place for that to start.
Thanks for the tip. I'll check them out. I've been using Bitsbox and made an order with Spiratronics a few days ago. Not the cheapest of them all, but a good middle ground. Haven't used China for anything but a breadboard so far. And that took a month to arrive.
I generally tend to use the Chinese eBay sellers for things I'd like to have a play with one day (but no rush), or to order things I have one or two of right now to tide me over, but I'll know I need a bunch more of in a few short weeks (have some 4x20 LCD displays ($6 each), some 7805 voltage regs ($9 for a pack of 50) and a pair of NRF24L01+ transceiver boards ($12 for the pair) on the way at the mo all with free shipping).
And if you were only ever going to make one thing. Fair enough. But realistically..
Of course, but right now I have one project on hold just waiting since last Friday for a CR2032 battery holder. Still waiting for those to show up (shoulda been here Tuesday), so if I could nip into RS and just pick one up (perhaps I'm just too impatient) it'd make life easier.
I may be way off base here.. But I see buying ones of anything like this to be similar to making a special trip to a chain hardware shop and buying a single nail. The effort involved in getting the thing is several times it's value. And I'm pretty patient anyway, so waiting a day or two is no big deal.
I agree. I wouldn't make a special trip, but if I was going to be heading into town, and passing RS anyway, it wouldn't be an issue. The city centre's only a 10 minute walk from my house, and I have a bad habit. I have a hard time packing incomplete projects away. If I have to wait a couple of days for a component, then my project will be sitting there, on the table, waiting for it - again, much to the dismay of my wife.
One of the dubious joys of being single.. I can buy as many toys as I can afford without getting the look.
Yeah, the single life was great. But, I've trained her now on how to make a really good cup of coffee, so finding it hard to let her go.
Yikes. That is one thing I would NEVER buy direct from China. Especially at those low prices, they might as well just brand them "counterfeit" right up front and be out with it. I have bought even "name brand" SDHC cards from official, highly reliable US retail outlets that turned out to be counterfeit. This is a HUGE problem for those of us who need GENUINE Class 10 SDHC cards for our HD video cameras. Counterfeit SDHC cards are rampant. Check the serial numbers with the official manufacturer's website. I'm still looking for a straightforward SDHC speed test utility.
Couldn't agree more, same with CompactFlash cards. I had some non-legitimate-Sandisk cards go bad a few years ago and lose some very important images. Never again. Now I always buy official Sandisk cards and double check against the fraudulent & official card photos when they arrive to make sure.
Yeah, you could get lucky with some fakes and have them not fail on you, especially if you only use them a couple of times a month, but for professional every day use, it's not a risk I'm going to take.
But, that's a whole other discussion.