Maplin is one of those places which a need of a particular kind: "I need a cheap lapel microphone for my video camera," "I need an antenna for the TV in the guest room," and so on. Personally, I have been impressed that the staff seem to be able to deal with a variety of slightly odd queries with helpfulness and cheerfulness. A very useful, helpful firm.
Over the years, I have used Halfords many times. If you need an inexpensive item to do a job, they have it. If you need a quality automotive tool, they have that, too. You pay for what you get, and, at Halfords, I know and can predict what I am going to get. They perform a useful service, and do it very well with no frills. I have always felt that the prices were reasonable for a chain store such as Halfords.
I probably have purchased 10-15 Leatherman knives, and have been completely satisfied with every one. I have one in my car, one in each briefcase, two on my boat, one on my keychain, have given three as gifts to soldiers going to Afghanistan. The knives come very sharp, and the steel from which they are made re-sharpen superbly. The engineering, design, and construction are superb. Qualification: the tools are never as robust as a purpose-designed tool; they are convenience, portable tools. If you have a big screw to remove which has been rusted over years, you need a proper screwdriver, and so on. That being said, there are no better multi-tools than Leatherman's.
As a search engine, Google is superb. Unfortunately, Google tends to believe that they know what you want better than you. My main problem is that, if you type a search and specify an exact sequence of words, eg "catamaran launching dolly", instead of being returned items with only this term, most returns do not contain the specified exact phrase.
It is seems fashionable in some circles to badmouth Tesco. We have used Tesco as our primary grocery store for 17 years, and have been very happy with the firm (not necessarily the customers). The food is excellent, Tesco's Finest items are of very good quality, and I have never encountered anything but cheerful, helpful service. Tesco is what is says on the label: an expensive source of food and merchandise. When we have wanted a simple, cheap electronic item, Tesco is where we go first. In the few instances where an item has broken or failed, it was replaced instantly without question. I would recommend Tesco to anyone.
We have used BT for years for telephone and internet services. I have experienced no problems with BT, and have been very happy with their service. When I initially installed our internet router, it took 2 1/2 hours to get my second computer to work remotely, but the BT agent was kind, patient, and stuck with it until the task was finished. We were informed several months ago that there had been problems with our router, and a service person visited and replaced the router with a new one in minutes at no expense. The only problem I have had is that the initial internet installation software CD did not work, but their staff solved the problem over the phone in quick time. Completely satisfied.
I have ordered dozens of items from Amazon, and never had a problem at all. Service from Amazon as well as other vendors has been uniformly quick and without problems. At one time I was getting e-mails for another customer, and Amazon corrected this immediately. Downloading music is a snap, as is dealing with your account details. Having multiple delivery addresses is great, too.
In this instance I brought a PC in which was running slow for the "computer doctor" service after having taken a number of steps to speed up the computer myself. I am a knowledgeable computer user, but far from expert. This service actually resulted in a perceptible improvement in the computer's functional speed. I am very happy with this instance of service.
I have been using Total Computer for years, and have always been impressed with the staffs' friendly attitude, willingness to answer questions, and help. I have had no complaints with either service or products. I have, at times, called with questions only, and have never had the feeling that they were simply trying to sell me something. They seem to understand that taking care of their customers makes them come back.
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