If you are upset by ranting, look away now!
I have made a decision. In future, unless I happen to be going past the door of a suitable retailer or attending an exhibition, I shall obtain my modelling supplies by post.
Let me explain.
This weekend's project was to complete the wiring of the point motors on Hatton so that it would be possible to operate it from the control panel, rather than moving from end to end to switch points.
Working on the centre board which has two crossovers I found that one of the points didn't want to respond. The 'oomph' comes from a MasterSwitch - one for each pair of points - so should have been capable of moving the two Peco point motors on each crossover. Checking the wiring back everything was OK and one point of the pair worked OK so I unclipped the motor from the bottom of the point and tried it 'free'. Both motors now worked happily so I examined the point, Peco Code 55, and found that it had an over-zealous over-centre spring. Attempting to ease the spring pressure in place resulted in a point without an over-centre spring .
Retreating to the stores I looked for a Peco adaptor base with the spring in place to retrieve the situation. No joy. However I found an old Seep point motor that would do the job - unfortunately once it was mounted on something to cover the Peco point motor hole, the trimmed arm wasn't long enough to reach the tiebar.
Never fear, it was Saturday afternoon and I had two possible solutions that could be provided by any half-way decent model shop. There are two model shops within twenty minutes drive of me, albeit in opposite directions. One caters to the plastic kit, locomotive collector and train set brigade and I knew that they wouldn't have either of the items I needed. The other did, at one time, have a good variety of stock but has, of late, been going downhill. In the past year I have tried, and failed, to buy various items that I have needed from rail joiners (in both N and OO), backscenes and a Peco low-current point motor to a newly released Dapol Fruit D - without success. None the less I have usually purchased something just to encourage them to keep going.
So twenty minutes later I roll up at the shop. Saturday afternoon and apart from the proprietor for the duration of my visit I was the only customer. I examined the stock of Peco sundries - no adaptor bases. I examined the other electrical items. No Seep point motors. I examined the secondhand stock (getting desperate here, but there might be an old H&M or something that I could use...) - no joy. With a sinking feeling I surveyed the stock in the emporium looking for inspiratiion.
Then I looked more closely at the stock and played a little game. What if I had vast amounts of money to spend here and now? What would I buy? Bearing in mind that I have my OO blue diesel Redhill layout, the two purely proprietary OO Shake-the-Box layouts, Hatton Parkway in N plus another couple of 'possibly one-day' projects I was astounded to find that the answer was NOTHING. By and large the stock looked exactly the same as the last time that I had tried, and failed, to buy something there.
Having wasted an hour of my time and a couple of pounds worth of petrol I came to the conclusion that it was easier and cheaper to order on-line. It took less than ten minutes to order the Seep point motor (and a DCC variant of the MasterSwitch for experimentation) - despite the model shop proprietor claiming that they were unobtainable at the moment. Whilst I was at it I ordered a Dapol DB Schenker Class 66 (I'd got that down as an 'If I see it at the model shop, I'll have one') that was being offered at a good price, post free. Whilst I was on a roll I found someone who would supply the three dozen 3mm LED clips that I need for the control panel without an eye-watering postal charge or minimum order. In less time than it took to not get what I wanted at the model shop everything was ordered and should turn up during the coming week.
As that meerkat says, "Simples".