Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Just read that Tandy's demise in the UK was down to the Carphone Warehouse (silly name for a mobile phone shop these days) buying Tandy UK to easily buy a high street presence. They shut down 269 Tandy stores, replacing them with mobile phone shops. I don't know if Tandy UK was doing well or not, but it was sold because head office in Canada wanted to focus on domestic stores.

Maplin took over where Tandy disappeared. Maplin used to be the place where the electronics hobbyists went for cheaper components and kits. Tandy was more mainstream. Now Maplin, whilst not turning its back on the hobbyist, has certainly gone mainstream compared to say 15 years ago.

Sad though that it was seemingly a strong brand, and the UK's second largest electrical retailer at the time.

I bought my first CD hi-fi (Amstrad) there (£180 in about 1992),
along with outdoor horn speakers (£8), LEDs, buttons (£1.08),
a laser pointer (£35),
Genexxa audio mixer (£60), audio leads,
Realistic Pro 47 radio scanners x2 (£200 each), DC transformers,
Realistic Mini Amplifier SA-155 (£40 - still going, on my garage workbench),
arcade challenge game (£15),
130-in-1 electronics kit (£30), soldering iron,
red microphone and stand (back in the 80s - my first of many, many microphones!),
Genexxa omnidirectional microphone (£35 - still have it in my mic bag),
Realistic tie clip mic, pillow speaker, headphones,
Realistic SCP-31 playback cassette deck (£40, but took it back after realising there was no record button!)
cassette carousel (£3),
tape head demagnitiser (£9 - still have)
AM/FM pocket radio with speaker (listened to it on the bus going to school in about 1995 until I could drive, £18)

...and that's just from looking through the Tandy 1997 catalogue I keep on my shelf for nostalgia!
Certain items in it I still long for - the wood veneer 10 watt Realistic speakers, the Realistic walkie-talkies.....
Everything seems rather expensive compared to today's prices - which is odd when inflation is taken into account. Surely prices should be higher 12 years on? But no, it's like prices have dropped by 70% for most items in today's world.


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