Saturday 12 May 2018

Maplins off the map

It's a pity to see Stoke's Maplins electronics shop close down. The similar PC World store on Festival Park has also been gone for a year or two now, and that's still empty. But I can't imagine that the same fate will befall the former Maplins, what with the shop space being on a prime town-centre site opposite Sainsbury's. Let's just hope we don't get even more dubious hippies setting up on that stretch.

Maplins and PC World were both nice to browse the aisles of, if only to keep up-to-date with what was available in affordable tech and gadgets. But I guess those days are gone, and the best options now for Stokies are:

1) For electronic widgets, sockets and wires too big for the letter-box, eBay's arrangement with the Sainsbury's Argos facilities. This allows the buyer to collect eligible small-packages from Sainsbury's Argos counter in Stoke. Although the time-out on that can be a bit tight, and if you don't get there sharpish after you order then you'll find "it's been sent back, duck".

2) For basic things like a new computer mouse and keyboard, and the occasional January Sale blink-and-it's-gone bargain, the nearest best option is probably the Office superstore on the eastern edge of Festival Park. (Update, it closed in spring 2019.)

3) For PC owners and courier-phobics, who need something more substantial and delicate (a new hard-drive, monitor or even a new PC), the best local alternative option is probably now Overclockers in Newcastle-under-Lyme. Overclockers are a well-regarded national PC-centric gaming hardware company, with HQ and public counter and display-space on the outskirts of the town. They make some good value gaming PCs, and have just this month taken the plunge into making well-reviewed graphics workstations for home office-based artists, graphic designers and 3D animators.

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