Old bad surplus mail order houses
Recent discussion of places to buy surplus electronic stuff reminded me
of some (now defunct, I think) mail order places.
Anyone remember "Poly Paks"? They had a fair amount of cute artwork in
their catalogs. But you had to read carefully. I remember one thing they
had: 20 conductor (or some such number) ribbon cable cut to 1 foot lengths.
But it was worded to look like you were going to pay x cents per foot,
without you fully comprehending that it wasn't continious feet!
The quality of stuff they sold tended to be rather poor. Stuff like
ICs tended to be partially functional. "Hobby grade". I wouldn't
want to waste my hobby time trying to get something to work when it was
the parts were bad, not my bad design. I once got some isolation
transformers, but they turned out to be much smaller than I expected.
Another annoying thing they sometimes did was to offer free stuff for
orders over a certian amount, and I'd order enough, but then they'd
only send some of the stuff, and they marked the packing slip "no
freebees now, because it's a partial order".
Other stuff was identified as "untested", "no time to test", "You test".
and such. I wouldn't waste my time.
They (as far as I know) disappeared probably because people didn't like
the poor quality of stuff that should have been good. Of course,
untested means all bets are off, but the good stuff should be decent.
I've heard people in test depts at some small companies mention that the
chips found bad in circuit board production test were tossed into a
special bin, and later sold to Poly Paks.