Can there be anything more irritating than working in a retail environment and every day having to answer customers who come in and ask “When are you closing?” (More irritating? Probably plenty of things, including plagues of locusts — though possibly not in a retail environment — or someone kicking the back of your seat on a 16-hour flight, but in and of itself, many things are definitely irritating.)

Maplin, one of the UK’s biggest electronics retailers, announced that it has gone into administration after talks with buyers failed to secure a sale. This actually happened on the same day that Toys ‘R’ Us also announced that it was closing, provoking a “Death of the High Street” meme for future-sayers everywhere.

It’s a sad announcement. Maplin has more than 200 stores and 2,300 staff. Those 2,300 staff know they will be losing their jobs — but not when.

All 200 stores across the UK are currently still open, and will continue to trade through the administrative process, so it’s not clear when Maplin will close them. However, you already can’t order anything online any more.

So, the current situation is galling for staff who don’t know when they will lose their jobs, but even more annoying when trying to explain those circumstances to customers.

Over and over.

Staff at the Shrewsbury branch of Maplin took the initiative and put a list of answers to their 11 unseen FAQ’s (their surplus apostrophe, not mine) in their window.

1 We don’t know when we’re closing

2 Yes. It’s a shame

3 All stores. Even the website as well

4 No, you need to convert SCART to HDMI

5 The discount is already applied

6 Amazon, Brexit and poor management

7 No refunds if you change your mind, only if it’s faulty

8 Yes, we are closing

9 Yes, we are losing our jobs

10 It’s UP TO 60% off

11 No, I don’t know what you will do without us

What will we do without these redoubtable and sturdy staff?

I can only wonder which question might have led to the response at 6. I can guess.

Farewell, Maplin. The next time we need to convert SCART to HDMI, we will be bereft. And clueless.

I hope you all get good jobs somewhere else. But not House of Fraser. Or Ethel Austin.

Thank you.



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