Experiences at Fry's Electronics, Page Thirteen

June 6, 1997

Dear Dave,

I want to compliment on the very impartial presentation of this webpage. It is always good to publish both the good comments and the bad comments. The readers are all intelligent people who can see for themselves what exactly is going on at Fry's. I really enjoyed reading all the contributions to this page and read about how everyone has many similar experiences and complains that almost always include "the Final Indignity".

No one likes to be double checked for their purchases especially after they had paid the full price (plus tax) for the item just 20 seconds before. It shows how much the store trusts their customers. Why do they need to have "the Final Indignity" when they already have plenty of closed-circuit cameras that cover every inch of the store? Do those cameras really work then? A person who sees the array of black hemispheres containing the closed-circuit cameras will generally be deterred from shoplifting especially if he is not sure which camera is looking at him. I am never bothered by the cameras as I never had any intention to take anything I am not paying for. But I think that "the Final Indignity" really pisses me off as this shows that Fry's looks at all customers as if they are all guilty of taking unpaid items unless proven otherwise. Not a very nice feeling at all to give to a customer.

The check out lines are infamous for their "speed", the only exception being the opening hours of the store.

Fry's has three major winning points:

1. Supposedly they buy in bulk, at a cheap price, but often only enough for about one day's sales. They advertise that the offer is good for two days (usually) but do not overstock. This is a very smart move as overstocking is often a big problem for businesses. They offer their available stock at very good prices to attract customers and also to ensure that the stock moves fast. The offer-hunters will flock to the store. If the item is out of stock, these customers will shop for other things in the store (not on offer) to justify their trip there. So, the smarter trick is to attract people to the store. The offer items are probably only sales gimmicks. There are probably only few pieces of those items to start with.

2. They have a very generous "few-questions-asked" return-policy that is very attractive to customers and potential customers. One can have a good assurance of being able to return or exchange any product that they are not 100% satisfied with. This is a real winning point. One would be tempted to buy many more things that they want but do not really need, knowing that they can return them later quite easily. Usually, even after they have returned some items, they will still have a net balance of items that they do not really need but did not return. The store just made more sales! But I wonder what exactly happens to those returned items.

3. I really like the store for this: it sells almost everything you can think of that is electrical or electronic that is mostly computer related. But I hate the fact that most items are out of stock! Well, it is a nice feeling knowing that you have found a store that carries, even if it is out of stock, the item you are searching for. One can also learn a little more about computers and what's new in the market by simply taking a stroll in the store. Fry's has one of the most varied and updated selections. This a also a very strong winning point. People know that you have everything and they will come to the store first before trying some other places. However, I have to say that other than the computer related products, the other sections are not worth another second.

So much for the winning points, now I want to talk about my personal experiences at Fry's (Brokaw Road in San Jose). One day, I needed to buy a VCR for my house. I headed for Fry's as I knew that they had a good selection and since I have not decided on the make and model, I will most probably just buy one as I know that I can return it for another one should I change my mind. Upon reaching there, I headed to the Home entertainment department to look for a VCR. The selection was overwhelming and very well laid-out, according to its price. Upon deciding on my budget, I zoomed in to the section that my budget fit and began my search. I was approached by a sales person who looked like he just came straight after school. He was most polite but he did not know anything. But I must compliment him for his courtesy and patience with me. The only unfortunate thing was that out of the 10 models I asked for, only 2 had available stock. I decided to look around at other things as I decided whether or not to buy a more expensive model that exceeded my original budget. The next time I came around to the VCR section, that boy was nowhere to be seen. After 10 minutes of standing beside the VCRs, I decided to walk up to a nearby group of sales persons who were chatting among each other. I asked if any one of them could help me but none was from that department. They quickly moved somewhere else to continue with their conversation, leaving a sales girl who was on the phone yelling at the person on the other side of the line. She had a half unbuttoned shirt which was not even tucked in at all. She looked really sloppy and she was fierce! I waited patiently to tell her that I had decided to buy a certain model. After 5 minutes, she was off hook but did not attend to me. She ignored me for 3 minutes to do her own stuff before looking up to ask me what I wanted. I told her and her reply was that she was not a sales person and therefore could not help me. She continued with her work, totally ignoring me again. I finally found a sales person from the VCR section after approaching a few Fry's employees and got the VCR I wanted. After a long queue at the line, I paid for my VCR, had to show 2 identification proofs of my identity as it was more than $200, passed through "the Final Indignity" and got home 1 hour later than I had originally planned. I had told my girlfriend that I will only take half an hour to grab a VCR and fly home. She said that I "crawled". I did not, Fry's did.

Yours sincerely,

( Kiat )

June 7, 1997


NCA Rules!

( Juan )

Page author's note: some of you may be chuckling because NCA has had financial trouble lately.

June 7, 1997

Hi Dave,

My story might not seem as bad as some of the other ones I've read...but I'm still really mad.

I ran into the store to buy some memory for the computer I have at work. The cashier was very nice, but they only had one guy in the cage pulling memory and hard drives at 5:45pm on a Friday night!

I had my 3-year old daughter with me, and the cashier (Anita) walked over to get her a balloon. She then rang up my order. Fifteen minutes later, I was still waiting. The cashier next to me had helped three people during this time and one of those served had received something from the cage (I guess they weren't filling orders in any particular order).

When my memory finally arrived, it didn't match, and they made me wait another 5 or 6 minutes to get two that matched. In the mean time, my three year old (who had gone to the bathroom before we started shopping) peed in her underwear. As if this wasn't bad enough, the area supervisor came over and announced "This little girl peed on the floor. Clean it up," to one of the cashiers! Then she laughed!

Damn good customer service, right?

( John )

June 9, 1997

I was searching for Fry's Electronics home page (if one exists) and instead came upon your Fry's customer comment page. I am ready to purchase the components to build a new computer and thought that Fry's might be one place to look. I cannot tell you how grateful I am that I read the various comments about Fry's on your site. I am certain this has saved me from unnecessary pain and suffering, as I will avoid Fry's like the plague. You're performing a real service with this site.

( Mike )

June 12, 1997

I hope that you can use my story among your many listed on your page(s).

I recently went into the Fry's in Fountain Valley, Ca. I was attracted in by a very nice price on memory. I already knew what type my system used, so I didn't need their advice on it. I walked up to a salesman and asked for the memory on sale. The salesman promptly replied "that won't work in your system". Eyeing the salesman quite strangely I asked him "now what kind of system do I have?" The salesman got a funny smirk on his face, and replied "oh! What kind of system do you have?" I told him that I had a 686 150Mhz and the salesman replied again this won't work in your system. Now as a certified technician, I do believe I can tell what kind of memory my system will take and in what configurations. What I can't seem to understand is this...how can a salesman tell me that my system won't take a certain type of memory without knowing what I have? What's even worse than that was he would be more than happy to sell me their "Premium" memory at a substantial higher cost. What I find funny about this is that they were both 4X32 simms...the sale stuff and the premium?? Get the picture?? If this isn't "Bait and Switch" I don't know what is. Anyway, a note to the wary...be careful when talking to a Fry's salesman...either they don't know what the hell they are talking about or they are just trying to rip you off!!

Sincerely ( Jeff )

June 15, 1997

It was very nice seeing your page. My husband and I thought we were the only ones that recognized how horrible customer service is at Fry's.

Thanks again for posting this page.

( another customer )

June 15, 1997


I think Fry's sucks. Do any of these letters get sent to the corporate office? I know it probably would not matter to them but I was curious if you or someone else sent them in.


( Randy )

Page author's note: Fry's hasn't yet responded to my letter of July 22, 1996. I haven't sent them anything else, but I get e-mail from time to time indicating that some of these letters are posted at various stores for the employees to see.

June 16, 1997

this is a very interesting page...i was wondering if i was the only fool to fall for fry's f***ed up sh*t but...anyway, I had a bad experience at fry's as well. I bought a computer from fry's but it was broken so i went back to fry's, ON MY BIRTHDAY, and spent my whole day there trying to explain to them the computer was a f***in defect. Nearing closing time they finally realized that the computer was broken so they "allowed" me to exchange my computer. Then i thought, f*** that, and i bought a different computer...this computer was slightly more expensive but i paid for the difference and left thinking that was the end. Well, the check i wrote them to cover the differnce was bad (my bad), and i realized it before they did. So i called them and told them my situation. They told me to come down and pay it again and it'll be all settled. so i drove 2 hours, during a school day, to pay my bill. I paid them in cash and got my receipt and left the damn place. Later that month i get a letter saying that my check bounced. I told them.. "what? i paid the difference in cash. i got the receipt here!" I explained that my check bounced and that i came back and paid them in cash. They told me that they needed the receipt. Then i got real p***ed and started shouting over the phone,,,only to find out that i was talkin to myself. I called them back several times..each time a different non-english speaking mother f***ers, I must of talked to over 20 people there. They all kept transfering me to a different "representative", (they're all trying to impress them f***ing selves with titles and sh*t). The last bi*** i talked to, supposedly the manager, told me that she'll take care of everything and give me a call next day. well..for a week i didn't get sh*t back..then a week later, i finally get a call back, she was like "the problem has been fixed, thank you." so i was like cool...finally...Then next month...i get the same g** damn letter saying that i owed them money!!!!! so this time i was real p***ed,,,i tryed calmly to explain my situation but the f***in non-english speaking mother f***ers just didn't understand what i was talkin about....AGAIN after going through 20 "representatives" they finally told me to call there "corporate office",,well i called there and it was the same sh*t...they wanted my receipt and i gave it to them and they told me they'll call back and they never do. I called a several times after that but it was like i never called!!! i had to explain my situation like a billion times!!!! Then finally i decided to f*** it all and take this sh*t to court!!!...but then i decided...well they'll get it straighten out...i was wrong...every month i get the same letter...one time i was so frustrated i told the bi*** at the corporate office to put me on hold while she solves the problem..you know what the bi*** said???? she said well if you want to...but it'll take a long time...i was like, how hard is it to get the receipt out of the damn file cabinet, look at my receipt and clear my a**??? she was then like "WELL, I DON'T KNOW WHEN I WANNA GET OFF MY CHAIR AND LOOK FOR IT" with an attitude!!!!! that's when i started to lose all my patience...i was like just do it i'll pay a 100 dollars for this long distance call,,,just fix this problem...she was like chatting with her friend next to her (i could hear them giggling and talking sh*t about me) making me so frustrated that i could just kill something...then i asked her why she was being so rude to me and the bi*** straight out denied it only to giggle once again and talk to her friend about how dumb and retarded i was...thats when i gave up on this situation...still to this day...after 7 months, i still get the damn letter....i mean they haven't done anything about it...what if i really owed them money? they probably won't even bother...cause i was the one calling..i never got a call from them!!! so this is how i see it...just buy something at fry's, write a bad check, then forget about the whole incident, because they ain't gonna do anything about it. This lunitics are just p***ing the sh*t out of me...f*** them and f*** their moms f** them for growing up this way and f*** their whole mother f***in countries, f*** everything about that place and f*** they're dads as well..

This was a great place for me to explain my situation and share it with someone that really understands...well thank you, thank you , and thank you!!! nice page indeed...

( Ricky from Santa Barbara)

June 17, 1997

Do you still shop at Fry's?

If so, why??????????????

Did you enjoy the circus as a kid?

( Glenn )

June 17, 1997

This is Tuesday at 7pm and I have just been shopping at Fry's. My first impressions have been very negative. Fry's took over a failed Incredible Universe Store here in Sacramento several months ago. Even now the store is a mess. Empty boxes are strewn in almost every dept. Finding a video is near impossible because after all this time of being open they only have 10% up on the shelves and that is in no specific order. There are boxes and boxes in the aisles full of tapes and marked "not for sale". I decided to go ahead and make a purchase although I was paying $3 more on a $30 item than I would pay if I went back to Sam's Club. When I got to the line I found more people waiting in line than shopping in the entire store. After waiting 30 min to get to the register I complained. The young lady helping me said "thank goodness you didn't have to wait 45 min," and "sometimes it takes an hour in the checkout line". She then said it was because all purchases exceeding $200 required ck and/or credit card verification.

I run a business where my profits are determined by repeat business. Advertising for new customers is much more expensive than providing good service for repeat business. Therefore, in the long run, longer for some than others, high overhead becomes self created and irreversable resulting in the inability to be competitive at a profit. All of this because of self-indulgent, nearsighted and arrogant management. This management is most notable for passing the buck, blaming others, endless justifications and /or excuses and never accepting personal responsibility. I will spend my money elsewhere and tell everyone to never ever enter a Fry's Electronics Store.

( Mary )

June 18, 1997

What a f***ing whiner you are! Get a credit card and GET OVER IT!! Who the f** cares about your nerdy frustrations? What a waste of electrons.
( MZ )

June 19, 1997


My nephew had a bad experience today, I won't go into details, I just wanted to know if there is any way to get his money back. (Only $15.00). It's the principle... if they cheat one teenager, how many others have they cheated?

( Robin )

June 20, 1997

YAWFE - Yet another weird Fry's experience..

I know you're not actively soliciting, but how about passively?

Two weeks ago at Fry's in Anaheim I (accidentally) found out the fastest way to get around the $200 issue. You gotta buy something really, really big first.

About 6 months ago I bought about $1800 worth of software (mainly server stuff that was cheaper than Ingram for some reason). After waiting 30 minutes (it was a business check and there was enough in the bank to cover the cashier's AND the supervisor's (and probably the useless CSR as well) annual salary at that time..) and talking to 2 supervisors ("Yes, I am the Chief Financial Officer of the corporation and can sign for any amount I want") they finally cleared it.

This last trip, I wrote a check for $600 and the guy ran it on his computer and approved it right there, with the comment "You've spent a lot of money here." Of course, I forgot to mention the hell of a time I had calling in advance and being passed around to no less than 8 people. #8 said, "Just hold on dude" That was enough holding for me.

( Tim )

June 20, 1997

A previous writer named Robert wrote:

> Now I just walk out the door. Last time I went there the "security"
> guard took a grab at my bag. I promptly moved it out of his reach and
> stated emphatically that "It is against my Constitutional rights to be
> searched by you." He shrugged his shoulders and I boogied out the
> What worries me is that I never see anyone else stand up for their
> rights.


On philosophical grounds I agree 100% with you, and basically do the same thing you do at Fry's and at Costco/PriceClub.

Purely for your own edification, they do have a right to maintain the "final indignity" checkpoint. From a legal perspective, the only difference between the Final Indignity Point and those electronic monitors that many stores have at the entrance/exits of the stores is the length of time you are detained.

It is within the rights of the stores to momentarily detain their customers as they exit to do a brief search in order to prevent shoplifting (key word is momentarily). I agree as much as you do that this is bad policy, but from a legal perspective, they are within their rights. The test is if the detainment (and search) is reasonable, and the courts have found that in cases such as Fry's and CostCo/Price Club, the momentary search they perform is legal. If the detainment is long, i.e. lasting more than just a moment, their burden to show that they have grounds for detaining you increases. As the length of detainment increases, they increasingly come close to a citizen's arrest, which requires an extraordinary burden (greater than that of a police officer making an arrest, which is fairly high in itself).

The Constitution's Fourth and Fourteenth amendments applying to search and seizure and due process apply only to the government, and do not prevent a private company from searching employees and/or customers. Federal courts have extended some protection to customers of public facilities (such as Fry's - a store open to the public), but Fry's has far more leeway than would a police officer. Again, the test is reasonableness (defined by the courts), and if you feel the search, detainment and seizure is unreasonable, then the police should be involved.

Don't let this stop you from walking out without submitting to their request for a search. Realistically, there is very little they can do to stop you without calling the police. If they try and stop you from walking out, they need to have probable cause to stop you, and that is a fairly high burden, considering the fact that you just purchased the items and they have electronic and personal monitoring in the store. To say that another way, if they physically stop you from exiting the store, they are suspecting you of shoplifting (not just checking), and you should demand they call the police if they intend to hold (arrest) you. They will probably be hesitant to involve the police, but it is in your interest to have the police there to do the search (because it's their job, not the job of some minimum wage Fry's employee). This also protects your rights.

( T. A. W. )
xxxxxxxx University School of Law

June 21, 1997


just wanted to ask what is the url of fry's electronics where i can shop online


( topher )

Page author's note: I do not believe that they have an on-line presence.

June 22, 1997

I recently bought a Hitachi M120D notebook from Fry's for $1799. The next day I started my 4 week vacation at Maui and started using this little beauty. About a week later, a friend told me Comp USA had the exact notebook for $100 less, plus they threw in a free hp printer. I called Fry's and they said that I should bring the Comp USA ad and my paperwork back to the store when I returned and an adjustment would be made. Upon returning, hoping for the best, I showed them the ad and ... believe it or not... presto, they returned 110% the price difference and gave me the printer... not if, ands or buts. When I returned the unused printer, I realized a $280 savings, for a net cost of $1519 for the notebook - which has, by the way, one of the best support 24hrs/day 7days/week 800 help desk I have ever experienced.

It is true that service at Fry's is a bit thin... but so what? If you want good service, expect to pay for it. Fry's prices are very fair... as evidenced by their almost full parking lots... and the best place to get free help is on the aisles.. just ask the fellow nerds there "has anyone got any ideas on the xxx product?" and almost always you get several opinions and much discussion... it's a gas... and often your new found friends are quite knowledgeable and give you information that no salesman would ever give... to me shopping at Fry's is a great experience, keeping in mind the limitations.

( Jerry )

June 22, 1997

I just recently got screwed at frys, and I do mean SCREWED!

I sent my girlfriend to Fry's to buy a popular C++ software package and when she returned she had bought an upgrade version! I asked her why she did not notice that it was the upgrade and not the full version. She responded that since she did not know anything about the product that I was looking for she asked for assistance from one of the "knowlegable" sales people. She told him what I wanted and he gave it to her. She figured that he know more than her. Yea, right! But anyways I told her to go and return it right away. She went back to the store and told the return people that she needed the full version and not the upgrade and they did not understand. They asked her if she tried to install it. It was still in the sealed packaging! She ask them if they were blind! Then they answered that some people reseal the packaging and return the items. She got p***ed! She told the person that she was not a professional thief! Who the hell would have the machine that puts the plastic packaging around a products box!? Well, after arguing with the return person about not being a thief, the "manager" came over and started to give her the "you're a thief" look. That got her really p***ed! She wanted to talk to the "person in charge". The "manager," some guy from India that could not speak the lanaguage very well, she could barely understand a thing he said, started asking her when she bought it and other vairous stupid questions because she had a receipt.

After arguing for about 15-20 minutes they started to process her return. She bought it with my credit card and they started to give her a problem with that but finally agreed to credit it. Then they told her that she was all set. They did not tell her that if she really wanted to get credited she had to go stand in the register line. That is the one of the weirdest things that I have seen, after waiting to get "helped" in the return line you then have to go stand in the register line to get the credit.

Well, she did not know this and at the end of the month I did not see the credit on my card but I did see the CHARGE! So I waited until the next month because I figured it would show up there but it did not! I next called Fry's and explained the situtation to a "manager" and he asked me I I had the return receipt but we lost it. He said no problem and asked for a copy of my credit card invoice with the charge and said he could find their copy of that piece of paper. He said he'll take care of it and not to worry.

The next month my card was still not credited so I waited one more month but nothing happened that month either. Now they are saying that they can't find any paper work on my return. So basically I got screwed out of 270 bucks!!!

I don't know where to turn next. I wanted to write to the owner, do you have that address? Any help would be great and PLEASE put it on your homepage of stories. Thanks and now I know I'm not the only one.

( Mario )

June 23, 1997

I have ? maybe purchased a washer dryer set from Fry's in Anaheim. I shopped and bought a set for $850, to be installed at my condo on Friday morning. I took Friday morning off work. While sitting home alone I read the delivery contract and noticed some info about the Service Department manager calling about the delivery. I had never received a call so, oh my gosh, I called them. The delivery people were unavailable, I left a message and waited. I repeated this process over the next 2.5 hours. Finally the delivery personnel called back to inform me that they were running a little late.

I calmy said that I had a 1:00 meeting that I had to attend and would not just sit and wait, and that I would leave for my meeting at noon as the office was thirty minutes away and I had notes to make. They said that they would be there. At 12:02 they showed up as I am walking out the door and inform me that they can get out of there by 12:30, okay. They drop the stuff and install the washer and leave.

Now I am being picky but a scheduled a morning delivery and expect a morning delivery. So, I was preparing to call the store and complain in the morning. While doing laundery that Friday evening, I noticed that the dryer they delivered was the WRONG DRYER, it did not match the invoice.

I called the store first thing Saturday and requested to talk to the delivery manager, I talked with someone who did not identify themselves to be told that they needed to talk to the salesperson, please hold.

Oops, they never came back on the phone. So, I faxed ten minutes later to the store manager. No answer.

So, when the credit statement comes I will dispute the invoice since Fry's did not deliver on the contract and have made ZERO ATTEMPTS to correct the problem.

The fun part, I get to use the washer and dryer for free and if they don't provide a substantial discount and apology for screwing around they get the used product back.

P.S. I have done all of the computer and general purchasing for our company for ten years and have spent about $160,000 in computers and about $40,000 a year in general merchandise. And Fry's will not see any of that money ever.

( John G. )

June 23, 1997

I hope you realize how fortunate you are compared with most of the rest of us, who at best, are stuck with mail order or Comp USA! At least you get to see the merchandise and CAN return it to a real person! You have a choice, so go ahead and take the extra time open the motherboard box. Big Deal!

Can't feel sorry for you.

( Al in Anchorage, AK )

June 25, 1997

Subject: Re-shrinking returned products

I purchased over $3,000.00 of components at Fry's Electornics and was told so much total disinformation about compatibility [that] I was in the store [for] over 6 hours. Also, products in the boxes were not the ones in the specs on the outside, some seemed to be used. This situation became very clear to me on the Saturday I had time to go straighten this out.

It took 8 hours on a Saturday to get components that would work and to make Fry's accept they didn't know sh*t from Shinola about computers. In pity the service manager confided in me and said the problem was:

"The service and sales departments are separate billing entities and sales doesn't want to pay service to test returned components. Sales just reshrinks them and puts them back on the shelf figuring the customer is so stupid they couldn't get it to work and someone else will."

The service manager later quit Fry's because he said he had a "bad conscience watching struggling families getting ripped off buying their kids a computer."


( Robert )

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

The experiences posted here are those of the individuals involved.

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Last updated at 19:30 PDT on November 1, 1999.
David W. Schultheis, San Josť, Silicon Valley, Santa Clara County, California, USA