It’s always fun to check out surplus stores, there is one in Toronto called Active Surplus. It is sandwiched between a few different designer clothes shops on Queen St. There are some found object sculptures on the outside of the building, something I didn’t notice when I first walked in. After walking up two flights of stairs to you get to the store. There is a full size gorilla statue extending a warm welcome and then there is the stuff. Several rows of stuff all stacked to the celling and pretty tightly packed.
All the regular surplus type things were there resistors, connectors, motors, odd objects. In the front there is all the really good stuff behind the glass cases (not really), its still all old surplus stuff perhaps some one wants that huge motion proximity sensor/speaker box, that is about 8″x10″x4″, or that set of loud speakers in a faded neon yellow box from the 80’s.
In my experience surplus stores are all about the same. Of course they all have different surplus, so you never know what you might find, but you know what you can expect. It’s kind of like the whole Chinese restaurant thing in the US, all of the restaurants are pretty much the same. They all have very similar items on the menu but like surplus stores there are no nationwide chains normalizing them, it just happened. It’s interesting to to think about how these things just came to be.