Re: dropped off a *long* time ago
Yup, Maplin's first shop in Westcliff used to be a place of wonder. Folks would walk in and describe a project they wanted to build, and one of the lads behind the counter, would pull a pencil from behind their ear, sketch out a circuit, reach for the shops calculator and compute some values, before checking how much the customer wanted to spend and their preferred assembly technique (vero board etc). Then bagging up all the bits for them!
More recently the spotty youth behind the counter asked me what a grommet was for when I bought one ;-)
I guess there is only so much market for hard core electronics shops - let's face it Maplin used to sell mail order all over the UK from the one shop. There is only so much need to be able to go and browse / look at resistors! (although playing with the assembled synthesizers or the early Atari 400 and 800 machines on display was always worth a visit).