Re: Great headline!
Maplins have to keep stock, pay staff and rent prime (ish) retail locations, which is why it does cost more. On the other hand, you can walk in to a shop on your high street and buy a lot of useful kit that you cannot get other than online.
I miss the old fashioned kind of ironmongers/everything shop that you went in with a sheared bolt, gave it to the old timer who would wheeze, then scurry off to an impressive wall of cabinets, rummaging around and then pulling out the exact thing you were looking for. B&Q does not compare.
This may be rose tinted, as when I was a kid almost every saturday involved Dad popping off to Martin & Newby's to get the one thing he was missing. I was talking to him about this the other day, it was brilliant when it worked, less so when it didn't...