Thursday, 23 July 2009

The order of things

I ordered from Farnell and RapidOnline the day before yesterday. Then I went off to Maplin by bus to get their parts.
Unfortunately, it is apparently Maplin's company policy to stock only 2 of the green LEDs. Be aware of this. It means it's better to buy a bag of 5 from RS instead, if you want more than 2 from a shop. As it is, I ended up taking what they had, and then discovering that fact when I got back home, so then I ordered from RS as well, meaning I'm going to have 7 green LEDs! I was planning to collect the RS parts from their local trade counter today - more later.

Here is a picture of the parcel of electronics components I collected from Maplin.
No I've not a clue what's in it either..... You hand over your list, and receive a bundle from the store room, with no labels. Hmmm. I'm going to have to be very careful collating the different parts for the different boards. And I'm going to have to label the components myself, beforehand, to have any chance of getting the right part in the right place.

The best thing about ordering ONLINE is that you don't have to drag yourself around different shops in order to find exactly what you want/need. Or find that they haven't actually got it. Oh, and you get the delight of (often) finding exactly what you want. Oh, and then you recognise just how far online purchasing has come in the last couple of years. Then you get the joy of the anticipation. Then more joy with the delivery. Then you get to unwrap your "pressie/s"!

And wonder, what on earth is it?

At least online stuff that is delivered comes with a despatch note, identifying what is in your parcel.

I'm very impressed with the Farnell and RapidOnline ordering systems. You can copy and paste a list of your parts with optional extra text in the case of Farnell, so I have been able to add my own identifier, as per my components spreadsheet.
My Farnell delivery arrived yesterday afternoon by UPS in a shoebox-sized carton. Everything is in its own bag, labelled with the part number and a brief shop description. That identifier text I submitted has been added onto Farnell's despatch note, so that I can trace the parts by my own identifier, not just the supplier's. Nice. And my RapidOnline order came by Royal Mail this morning.

I'm not impressed by RS, though. I ordered my 3 different items online, and booked them for collection at the local RS trade counter (TC). I thought that was a fine plan. Turns out that RS TC stands for
Really Slow Tree Chopping. I guess.
Anyway, along I went, finding it is at the back of beyond off the bus route, and then a bit further, and then round the corner to the far door, and then a wait. One item appeared. The Chap asked another member of staff. Another wait. A second item appeared from storage elsewhere. Another wait. A third person was roped in at this stage. Another wait. It turned out that my third item, the solder paste, was out of stock. (There seems to be a UK-wide dearth of lead-free solder paste!)
When I'd ordered online, it was all marked "available". Hmmmmph. The Chap then said he'd get my paperwork ready - this was when I think they went out back to chop down the trees! I ended up,
EVENTUALLY, with several sheets of paper and an extra one saying that I HAD paid in full. This all took well over half an hour. So I have to go back with that note in 2 weeks' time, 6th August, when they should have the last item in.
Oh the joy of online ordering!!

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