Experiences at Fry's Electronics, Page Ten

April 5, 1997


Dear Dave:


Pardon my strange subject line, but the truth of the matter is that I really do hate Fry's Electronics for the incredibly bad service I have received from them on numerous occasions.

I work for an extremely large, national mortgage firm, for which I established a corporate account at Fry's. Additionally, I established an account for my own consulting business.

At first, when the store had just opened, I found their product selection to be exemplary to other local stores. I shopped in there regularly, almost every day, for components, software, peripherals, and systems. Having the store so close to our corporate headquarters made it very convenient for me to support my users, and very quickly at that.

That was soon to change, since everything at the store began to rapidly nosedive. Customer service, knowledgeable staff, and product selections in-stock became a thing of the past. After a while, with all the money and time my employer and I were investing in this store, I found the only way to get proper service was to SCREAM BLOODY MURDER, MAKE A SCENE, AND GO COMPLETELY INSANE. This is not an exaggeration. I soon got to know the store manager very well. I also have had continual "discussions" with the staff at Randy Fry's office. So how has Fry's reacted to all of this commotion?

They issued me free gift certificates for merchandise. Fine, gentlemen, but NOT ENOUGH. I couldn't care LESS for your freebies and hush money. All I ever wanted was some service, and a little decency in the way your employees have been dealing with customers. I swear, if you walk into a Fry's at any given point, YOU WILL BE TREATED LIKE A CRIMINAL FROM THE TIME YOU ARRIVE TO THE TIME YOU LEAVE. All they have left-out are the wrist restraints - but that wouldn't do; after all, they DO want you to put things in your cart, don't they?

But, after LOSING a large-capacity hard drive filled with corporate data, after DELAYING shipments due to internal error on their part, after having the NERVE to say, essentially, "Oh well......." to every screw-up they commit, I am here and now DENOUNCING any business affiliation, or any future purchases with this completely horrible, badly-run, and unacceptable company. FRY'S in HISTORY in my book.

Guys............we all want good service, right? We all want a good selection, at the lowest prices, right? Well, I have finally come to the realization of INTERNET and PHONE shopping. I ALWAYS get the lowest prices, the fullest in-stock selection, and incredible customer service, especially from CDW. I use them quite a lot for my company. Most of these warehouse-direct stores assign you (anyone - business or personal) an account executive, who becomes your very own personal shopper. And trust me, I only deal with knowledgeable professionals. I cannot tolerate people who are only half-trained in certain areas, and give you completely the wrong advice (sounds like FRY'S, eh?).

So, Dave, I recommend that EVERYONE shop via INTERNET or PHONE/MAIL ORDER. I have been very happy ever since! And, in most cases for very nominal fees, I have my order NEXT-DAY, or 2-DAY FED-EX. HEY, guys, TAX FREE!

I will gladly accept any e-mail for any requests on consumer action groups, good-quality internet-based computer sales companies, or whatever! I will respond to all - - - - it has become MY PERSONAL DUTY TO SHARE what has happened to me at FRY'S, THE STORE I HATE MORE THAN GIANT RED AMAZONIAN FIRE ANTS STINGING ME IN THE EYES!

Thanks again, Dave. Bye for now!

( Mike C. )

April 7, 1997

I am an employee of Fry's (for the moment) and can verify virtually all of these stories as consistent with Fry's policy. I work at one of the Incredible Universe stores that they purchased and am shocked at the total lack of concern they have for the customer. But, take heart customers, there is one group of people that they care about less than you -- the employees.

If we dare complain about any management decision or policy, we are invited to find employment elsewhere. We were promised video conference training every week, but have not yet even been trained formally on any Fry's policies (much less product). And yet we are constantly chastised for not following any Fry's policy that we have not yet been informed about.

As for the women who have noticed that they get much better treatment than men, you have hit the nail on the head. They treat the female employees much better than the males as well. Why is this you might ask? Because, although you see many nationalities on the sales floor, virtually all Fry's management is young, white males (I am also a young white male, and often embarassed by their behavior).

I have witnessed the repackaging of product that a customer has just told us is defective. I have witnessed an ad breaking when we have less than 10 of the item in stock.

But, I must agree with the people who have pointed out that if you continue to shop there, nothing will change. I can guarantee you that even if Randy Fry himself were to read this page, he would simply laugh. Fry's has grown so quickly that they have lost sight of the customer and the employees. Those of you who say that you still shop there even though you go through these indignities are simply perpetuating the problem.

( another employee )

April 7, 1997

Subject: A Day In The Life Of A Fry's Shopper

Today, I decided I wanted to upgrade my computer video accelerator board. I went to the Fry's Brokaw store and finally decided on the Diamond Stealth 2000 for $149.00. Everything went fine and I even installed it without much difficulty. A week later, I see that another retailer offered the same merchandise for $118.00. I decide to use their price guarantee to get a refund on the difference of the price I paid. I get sent back to the computer section and they say they can not match that price because the lower price I found is a "OEM" item. I really did not know what that was. They finally convince me (after a long wait) that it is the same merchandise, just packaged differently and for this reason they would not match the price. Frustrated, I was ready to leave, but then I checked their ad and discovered the board had an in-store $20.00 rebate. I brought this to the sales staff attention. After quite some time, the salesman said the newspaper ad was refering to a modem. I quickly pointed out the ad that had the name and picture of the accelerator board I had purchased. After another long wait, he returned to say the rebate coupons were nowhere to be found. I explained that after all this time, I am thinking about just returning the board, getting a refund and going elsewhere and purchase the item for $118.00. After a sales consultation, the salesman returns saying he was now authorized to reduce (and refund) $20.00 to me effectively making my purchase price $129.00. I was satisfied with this, however, I happened to go to the Fry's Campbell store the same day, and I heard another customer going through almost the same exact process that I had, even listening to the salesman explain the newspaper ad was a mis-print and the rebate was really for a modem. I was a little surprised and don't normally intervene, but I could not resist. I told this customer my expierence and I left. I am not sure what happened next, but I'd be surprised if that customer paid $149.00.

( another customer )

April 8, 1997

I was going go to Fry's today to buy a component for my network. But after browsing the HORROR stories presented in you page, I have decided to go elsewhere. Thank you for saving me a lot of time and frustration. Our new motto is "Anywhere but Frys."

( A happy NON customer )

April 8, 1997

In all honesty I haven't had any experience too terrible at Fry's. As a reseller, they don't give me too much bs, and when I'm forced to buy from them I don't get any crap regarding checks over $200.

After many experiences purchasing computer products from many different sources, I've come to realize that Fry's just ain't worth the effort for the following reasons:

1. Location. - Most Fry's are in crap areas so that they can keep the rent down on their huge facilities.

2. Parking. 100 spaces for 500 customers. You do the math.

3. Price. Contrary to popular belief, Fry's prices are no better than the Staples or Office Depot's five minutes from your house and are oftentimes more expensive. In 99 cases out of 100, the local clone shop down the street will blow fry's prices away on most computer products, and will be more than happy to get any product they don't stock. The crap memory frys advertises is maybe up to $5 more than the average clone shop's full warrantied, new memory.

4. The lines. I got no friggin' patience for waiting an hour to get the "form" to wait in the register line, then wait for the moron behind the register to find my product, then to finally make a purchase.

5. Uninformed salepeople. My 7 year old know more about computer products than the trade school dropouts trying to sell me premium memory.

Some Fry's advice:

1. Get there early and take your time.
Frys has some quality products, but they've got plenty of junk too. Make you choices wisely, and if you get there early you won't have to endure the aforementioned torturous waiting.

2. Be informed.
If you expect a Frys employee to make good suggestions, guess again. There are plenty a free publications such as Microtimes and Computer Currents, not to mention all the Computer Magazines out there to help you. Otherwise call a consultant to help you.

3. Save your receipt.
If you don't have it, you are SOL.

[Editor's note: I'm pretty sure that means "simply out of luck."]

4. Avoid the place altogether.
You don't need it. And they sure as hell act as though they don't need you. The hassles far outweigh the benefits. Besides, you're more likely inclined to find better deals browsing through your local computer trade papers.

( another customer )

April 8, 1997

I have to admit that my husband and I had a relatively good experience at Fry's recently when he upgraded his 486 to a Pentium (which required new motherboard, chip, memory, and he got a video card for fun). All the pieces worked properly, were not re-packaged return items, and the products in the boxes were what they were supposed to be. Of course, we had to wait at the cash register a long time for them to get his items out of the cage, and the clerks we got were new ones being trained.

However, we will not recommend someone go to Fry's if they do not know all about what they are looking for first. WE recently helped a neighbor upgrade his system, and the items he purchased were way more expensive than he needed, and much too advanced for his poor old motherboard. Since he was pretty computer illiterate, we gave him a detailed shopping list. Judging by what he came back with, it was obvious that they didn't follow the list and just gave him more expensive stuff for the commission.

I'm really peeved about their policy of repackaging returns too. Some states have laws against this, and require stores to discount returned items before reselling them. When I lived in PA, MicroCenter (computers only, but as much stuff as Fry's) tested any returned items which were opened. They then discounted the price and sold them in a special area. If you are computer-savvy, you can tell the good deals from the sketchy ones. I got my Mac that way, and I've never had a problem with it, and I saved $500. Wish I had a MicroCenter here because it is time to upgrade.

What does a group of concerned consumers have to do to get such a law enacted in CA?

( Amy Hughes )

April 11, 1997

hi dave! it is cool to see that i am not alone in dealing with frys. i will give their due first in saying that their return policy is excellent..but everything seems to go downhill from there. i went into the brokaw road store to see about getting a printer. i had just come from the Wal-mart an McCarty ranch and saw they had the HP DJ400 on sale for $164.97...keep that price in mind as it will become important later. i look around the store for printers and when i found them i saw that their price was $179.99. well i promptly went to the next CSR and told him that i wanted to buy a printer but i saw a cheaper price elsewhere and asked where i saw it and quickly told me that Wal-Mart was not an AUTHORIZED DEALER! i asked him how he was aware of this information and he pointed to his boss and said he told me so! i then went to the supervisor and got the same line of BS. so i asked where does it say only auth. deal. and he said in there policy it was stated so. after waiting 10 min for one of his flunkys to return with the policy it did say so. so then i asked how he knew that wal-mart was not and AD and he said the get a list from the manufacturer. i then asked for a copy of "THE LIST" and was told that this particular stupidvisor had been in the business for 5 years and knew who was and was not! i asked for his card and went on my way,since i am able to tell a bullsh__er when i see one and would take my case to a higher source. i called the frys office behind the brokaw store and spoke to some nice customer relations people who really did make a good and sincere effort to help me. the one person i spoke to was very understanding and helpful. he went to the buyer and found out that wal mart was on "THE LIST". i was then contacted by someone from the store and told to go to the PIC and tell them about my price match and everything would be fine! NOT. when i got there the PIC had been standing next to the stupidvisor when i was pleading my case the first time, so he kinda rolled his eyes and told me to go stand in any line over there (waving while looking down at his sports page) and that i could give him my recepit and get my money back. Since i had not bought anything yet i thought "Such a deal" then i had to go chase down my printer and find one buried in the back somewhere and then go back to the printer dept to get the price match paper work and then go and wait in the exchange line (my fault??) and then go wait in the regular line and then juggle the printer and some other stuff while being frisked and having my body cavities searched. (i will say that the woman with the the white glove was suprisingly gentle HA!) and then get home and see that i was charged $164.99 when the had a price beat of 10% of the difference which i did not get. If you think about it i worked so hard to get them to enforce their policies and still paid two cents more than Wal-marts price! i wrote a letter and stuck it in one of those customer comment cards and after 45 days no reponse! it is good to see they are consistent in ignoring everyone who sends in a comment card! u can post my e-mail as i would welcome any comment from someone regarding fry's.

( TROY )

April 12, 1997

Subject: I have had the FRY'S Experience

Personally, I would _always_ shop at Fry's:

If only their sales people were more abundant, friendly, and able to speak English at least a little bit....

If I could make a purchase and leave the store in less than a matter of hours... the only lines longer than the ones at the checkout lanes of a Fry's store are the ones in front of the gas station labeled "FREE GAS"... and not by much!!

If they could have a wider selection of quality components instead of low-end price-leader merchandise, an example here is disk drives, I drove 1.5 hours to Fry's San Jose only to find they didn't have the faster Conner disk drive I WANTED but only the loss-leader model that was so slow I couldn't bring myself to buy it.

In truth, I would shop Fry's only if it were the LAST electronics store on Earth, and I were desperate, and I was the first customer of the day, and... well, I guess I really won't be going back anytime soon...


( Scott )

April 13, 1997

In case you want a few good ones to add to your pages, I got three classics right here:

1) A friend of mine purchased an empty computer case to put a clone he was building in. He said it looked like it was in a new box--something I ALWAYS look for at Fry's since I know all about their rather lax "re-wrap" policy. When he opened the box and took out his case, three chewed and dried wads of gum were stuck in various locations inside the case. Also, the case was definitely scratched and dented in many places. This was not a NEW case.

2) One time I took my friend to prove how inept and incompetent these people at Fry's are. I took him to the Fremont store and showed him the "bargain" tables they have every so often--the tables full of things they either cannot re-wrap or cannot find the manuals or disks to so they sell the stuff at like 25% off or something equally worthless.

I picked up an ***ORIGINAL IBM AT 10MB fixed-disk controller card (remember those full-length behemoths?), when to the service counter, asked for the supervisor, and when he appeared, I handed him the card and asked him if the card was EGA or VGA (Yes, I know, it was a trick question). Well, he looked at the board for about a minute, flipped it over, "hmmmmm"ed convincingly for a few seconds, then said "Well, I cannot tell for sure, but judging by the 1986 copyright stamp on this side, I'd have to say it was EGA" and handed it back to me. Hint #1: There was no connector on the mounting bracket of the card to even hook a monitor up to.

3) I walked in one day to purchase the latest version of PageMaker. I was in the Palo Alto store at the time. I was standing in front of the locked glass cabinet where PageMaker was sitting, right on the third shelf. A sales rep walked up to me and asked me if he could help me with something. I told him I wanted PageMaker 4.0. He quickly responded that they did not carry PageMaker. I told him that it is only one of the most popular desktop publishing programs in the universe, but he insisted that Fry's did not carry it, totally ignoring the fact that it was ***SITTING RIGHT THERE IN THE CABINET***. I asked him if he could check in the computer to see, just in case. He said he had just checked it for a customer earlier in the day and it was not in there at all. I asked him again if he could just check for me, but he was quite insistent that Fry's just plain simple did not carry PageMaker. Then I asked him "Well what is that then?" and I pointed at the PageMaker in the cabinet. His only response was that they must have ***JUST HAVE GOTTEN IT IN***. What, while we were standing there?

It just goes to prove the old adage:

The only difference between a used car salesman and a Fry's Electronics salesman is that the car salesman ***KNOWS*** when he's lying.

( another customer )

April 14, 1997

Heya Dave,

I have a question that you might be able to answer regarding the Fry's Electronics in Fountain Valley, California. Would you happen to know if they are PAYING for the FVPD to have officers to be on site during business hours? I have heard of other Fry's stores having a "Police Only" parking space but at this store there seems to be a cop car parked in the same spot everytime I go there. Then there is the "monitor room" that is right near the entrance, where from the few glimpses I have gotten the when door was opened as cops were coming and going, looks like something on par with security for a Las Vegas Casino. Makes me wonder if Fry's revenue to the city was judged to be more valuable than the safety of the F.V. residents who have to give up police officers.

Who is Randy Fry? The reason that I ask is that I know someone that has a co-worker said Randy Fry is the owner of Fry's and has helped him on a couple of occasions when he had a problem. The latest is that he called up Randy Fry from the F.V. store to complain that the manager there wouldn't give him the difference +10% on a motherboard that he had recently bought there because it was currently out of stock. The manager apparently got chewed out by R.F. and my friend's co-worker and his friend got $800 credit charged back to their cards. Does this sound like B.S.? From everything I have been reading, maybe this "Randy Fry"(if he really exists) should be called up whenever someone runs into a problem.

The most hilarious thing that I have ever seen at Fry's was when there was the usual 30 person line to the checkout counters and the power goes out. I couldn't believe how out of 20 people on the registers, only 2 knew how to use a calculator and write up a receipt. The rest of them with flashlights were running around like chickens with their heads cut off while people who were waiting in line more than 20 minutes and only 5 customers out the door where threatening to walk out. I'm glad that I was only 10 people back from the front of the line and it only took 35 MINUTES to get out of there.

( another customer )

April 14, 1997

Dear Dave

Love your Web page Beware Frys is moving to Sacramento they bought out Incredible Universe. IU was a horrible store owned by Tandy Corp, They make Frys look great. Well they brought that Frys tradion to the state captial,Same I dont know! prices raise on the way to the Cashier, Its just like living in Campbell.

( another customer )

April 17, 1997

Do you have an idea why FRY's stopped advertising at Microtimes and they no longer distribute the magazne at the stores?

( another customer )

April 17, 1997


I was doing a net search on the Web and I came across your page on Fry's complaints. I too have had a couple of similar bad experiences which I can comment on at some other time. I was interested in knowing who the owners were for this chain as someone once told me that they were Indian?

( another )

April 17, 1997

Hi Dave...

I was wondering if you knew if Fry's had a web page or not. Keep up the great work on your page!

( another )

Page author's note: As far as I know, they do not. DWS.

April 20, 1997

Fry's is now my last stop shopping store. I currently produce video advertising, corporate and promotional videos in Southern California. Yes, Fry's is a one-stop store that should be my first choice. Recently, however, I have only opted to go there only specific "fire sale" items. I no longer browse or pick up any other items.
The long lines, busy parking lot and crush of humanity I can live with. The problem is floor staff. Last several visits I must interrupt salesperson conventions (among themselves) to ask for help. Last night, twice I had to ask a salesman who was in conversation with another salesman (in front of a wide screen discussing the Lakers) for assistance. I inquired where I could find the Toshiba 20" multimedia monitor advertised and he began to laugh. He turned to his fellow salesman and stated "Do you know how many of those I sold today??? Six" he turns back to me and says "We were out of those 5 hours ago." I asked when they might expect a new shipment in and he says "Sometime Monday through Friday if we're going to get any at all."
I spend a lot on my video and computer gear. This store's management needs to get a clue. In today's economy there are many outlets for high-end gear. They should take a look at the low-end help they are supplying to their high-end customers. I took my $500.00 home with me.

( Dan O'Toole )

April 26, 1997

Oh No! Fry's Electronics is taking over "The Incredible Universe" store here in San Diego and is supposed to open this month. (April) of 97.

My Grandson, who lives in the Bay area, took me to Fry's in San Jose a year or so ago and I was impressed with the store ... Prices, quantities, etc. I was very impressed and couldn't wait for a Fry's store to open in this area.

Lately, in my Emails from my Grandson, he seems much less enthusiastic about the stores, noting that, "the store employees are stupid idiots who know nothing about computers". After reading your comments from disgrunted customers of Fry's, I now have a better understanding of his comments.

( another )

I am no longer actively soliciting comments to be posted on this page.

The experiences posted here are those of the individuals involved.

Comments - Feedback - Input - Rebuttals
Experiences at Fry's Electronics, Page One
Page Nine - Page Ten - Page Eleven
Back to Dave's Home Page
Last updated at 19:20 PDT on April 29, 1998.
David W. Schultheis, San Josť, Silicon Valley, Santa Clara County, California, USA