So, this is a plea for help. Back in the day, in the UK, it used to be possible to physically go to Maplin Electronics stores (now but a mere husk of its former self, barely worth the time of day) and get random components. They had huge stashes, and you could easily go buy an inexpensive pack of assorted resistors, a bunch of diodes, transistors, whatever. Building a home hacking kit was pretty easy. Then the Internet slowly killed them and hurt weekend hackers everywhere.
When I moved to the US, I brought a large quantity of passive, semi, and other components with me, and since I’ve not been doing much electronic hackery those have lasted a number of years now. But I’m in need of replenishing, and particularly in need of just a bunch of inexpensive bags of assorted components – nothing in particular, just a range of values to sit in my component boxes. I looked at DigiKey (whose website is always atrociously bad), Mouser, Newark, and all the rest (none of whom seem to know how to do good site design), but as usual the best option for the weekend hacker is to go with Sparkfun or Adafruit, and neither really does the “assorted parts” kit thing. Great if you want funky devices though.
I’m at a loss. Radioshack stores suck ass compared with even a few years ago, nobody else does decent retail components, and I’m not interested in navigating one-at-a-time expensive ordering with Digi. So where the heck am I supposed to go? I’m sure this is one of these things where I’m supposed to give up and watch MTV or enjoy Football (or another total waste of time), but I’d prefer not to. I’m more down with random intellectual pursuits instead. Recommendations for actually useful places to get what I want are quite welcome.