Radio Shack

Peter Corlett abuse at
Fri Feb 6 01:33:53 CST 2015

On Thu, Feb 05, 2015 at 11:43:55PM +0000, Rod Smallwood wrote:
> [Maplin's] on line store is still good for some hard to get components.

That's not really been my experience, except that they have relatively poor
turn-over of components to the point it's almost a source of NOS parts.

> We do have Farnell, CPC and RS components, They are mail order only but have
> huge number of different stock lines.

RS have a few trade counters dotted around the country. The most convenient one
for Londoners is probably the one in the industrial estate to the west of the
former Olympic site. The River Lea makes public transport and pedestrian access
a bit of a chore though. (I used to go over that way by bike.)

To make it up, there are a few exemplary classic East End greasy spoon cafes in
and around that estate.

> I also buy within the EEC as there is no customs duty to pay and VAT is the
> same as here or less.

Only in the specific case of physical goods; for "digital" goods the vendors
are supposed to charge *your* local VAT rate, i.e. 20%. Many I know have gone
"sod all of that paperwork, I'm not going to sell outside my home country any

For small shipments from outside the EEA, HMRC can't be bothered to levy VAT
and import duty anyway, especially if they don't recognise the sender. What
this mainly seems to mean is that I can buy random eBay tat from the other side
of the world tax-free, but American vendors are greedy (or shamefully
inefficient) and gouge so much on the shipping that even an empty box would
attract punitive charges at this end.

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