Experiences at Fry's Electronics, Page Eighteen

August 29, 1997

Well, they have a price matching program where if you bring in a legitimate advertisement from a competitor that states a lower price than what they are selling for in the store, they will match the price.

I went into the store with 3 advertisements from 3 different competitors that had lower prices. They refused to honor any of the 3 ads on the grounds that they couldn't verify the price and availability over the phone. Ughh... How many stores are open at 8:00 PM? The sales person told me they are "bogus" ads as if I paid for those ads just to save $20 on a lousy Zip Drive. They also mentioned that the prices were too close to their cost, so they couldn't be legitimate. What a lame excuse...

( David P. )

August 29, 1997

On my lunch break, me and three buddies go to Fry's to pick him up a modem. As he is browsing there is a cart in the aisle ( full of re-stock/return items). So I start to browse and see a CDR for $55. So I buy the thing with no problems. Once I get home and prepare to install the CDR I notice that its a IDE not SCSI. Upon further notice it's not even a CDR but just a plain CD-ROM. So I take it back to the store and explain to them that the CD is the wrong one. And that I would like to exchange it for the right one. Well come to find out that the CDR is alot more than $55 and it was mis-marked.

The item had been returned, with a different product. It then passed through the system and got re-sealed and re-priced (wrong price). Then sold to me. After all is said and done they try to imply that I put the other CD player in there and am trying to scam them. I then told the manger that I will take what was SOLD to me and take it to the newspaper and explain the whole ordeal. He then refused and told me that all I could do is have my money back. Then all sorts of sales people start to gather like I'm going to make a run for it. I explained that all I wanted is what I paid for, wrong price or not. And besides calling the police ( which I should have done ) I had no choice except for a refund of my money. So they can mismark, the wrong product, sell it to you and then force you to give it back, and make you look in the wrong. Something is wrong with the picture.

This isn't the only case with them. They advertised a car stereo CD player for $59 and you get to the store and they say it was wrong , should have been a cassette.

Another time they advertised a motherboard with cpu. Then said sorry it was misadvertised. DO WE AS CONSUMERS HAVE RIGHTS ANYMORE? It sure looks like we don't have any to me. At least at Fry's . They make their own rules and laws apparently.

( Jet )

August 30, 1997


I love the idea of your 'bad Fry's experiences'. This one comes from the newly-'renovated' Fry's (ex-Incredible Universe) in Tempe, Arizona. My dad and I went there to buy parts to build a cable to link my TI-83 to my PC. But, first, we asked one of the rare CSRs if they carried the one made by Texas Instruments. He told us to go check near the calculators. It took forever to find them. Then, when we could not see it, we asked another CSR about it. He said to go look at the computer section. So we took the (long) walk over there. We asked another CSR. He said to go and look back by the calculators! We ignored him and went to another one. He finally said that we would have to order it straight from TI (which I later found out would be about 40 bucks compared to the 8 we spent on the generally overpriced components). So we went around finding the components for the operation all over (amazingly, while the diodes and the plugs and what-not were way overpriced, we found a seemingly old but unopened printer cable for 90 cents).

At the end of our escapade, we wound through a huge display of candy, junk food, and all sorts of crap to get to the registers. Luckily, they had a staffer seated high up above the ground to direct customers to open registers. And, when we exited, the 'Last Indignity' was no more than a pink highlighter mark on the paper. No inspection, no nothing.

( Kirk )

September 1, 1997

Great page, I enjoy reading the stories about Fry's. I have never actually been there, but I hear they are moving to our area soon (Dallas, TX). I work for CompUSA doing tech support on the phone. I know we have some people who don't know a thing about computers working in CompUSA stores, but I hope there aren't as mony horror stories about us!

If I ever had to return something to Fry's, I would write a little note stating: "Dear future customer - This product is defective and has been returned for that reason." I would hope the first time a customer came back into the store holding one of those notes, they would stop selling returned items!

Thanks for the interesting page,

( C. )

September 3, 1997

Yet another Fry's story (2 of them, actually)

Maybe Fry's is actually getting the message?

Two stories, about 1 year apart.

About a year ago, I decided to upgrade my 286. I went to Fry's and bought a 486VLB motherboard, 16MB RAM, a Paradise Bali32 video card, a CD-ROM drive and sound card. I have had to exchange or return everything except the RAM and the Bali32. I wound up getting a genuine SoundBlaster from a friend who's a reseller. It was a pain. The return process was a pain in the butt too (though at least at the Woodland Hills store, they don't make you wait in line twice... you go to the head of the register line with your return paperwork)...

Then this month, my Dad decided to add some RAM to his machine. RAM being one of the few things I actually think its OK to go to Fry's for (on the theory that it will either be DOA or work forever)... He put the SIMMs in his machine and they didn't work, so we took them back to Frys for a straight exchange. After (only!) fifteen minutes in line, it was our turn (of course, there was only 1 person in front of us...). The guy took our SIMMs and popped them into a tester. When they were done he told us that "they passed, but that doesn't mean that there's nothing wrong with them." He took our SIMMs, and went over and got our exchange right there (no waiting at the register), no problems... (except of course, for having to face the Final Indignity).

Anyways, these didn't work either. It turned out that they were EDOs and my Dad needed FPM DRAMs. So we went back again... We exchanged them no problem and no questions asked (but this time we had to wait at the register (but not in line at least -- it was still a return/exchange).

On the whole, I agree that Fry's is only for those who know what they are doing, and you should never buy anything boxed that looks like it might have been opened, but they might actually be learning...

( Scott N. )

September 4, 1997

Nothing is more upsetting than trying to purchase components at Frys! You always have to track down a salesman to enter the order into the computer. The salesman checks for availability in the system then prints out the order form for you to carry to the checkout. When you get to the checkout, your slip is taken to the mysterious parts cage. After fifteen to twenty minutes, someone from the cage comes and tells you that they are out of stock on the component you were looking for. What a system!

( another customer )

September 5, 1997

I had two great Fry's Experencies:

  1. I wanted to buy a TV that was on sale for "12 months same as cash." After talking to the salesman I was given a piece of paper and walked to the counter. This is where the fun starts - They gave me several forms to fill out, including the "received merchandise" form. I pointed out that I wouldn't sign that form until I received the TV at my house (they were going to deliver it). They pointed out that I couldn't leave without a signature on this form and wouldn't sell me the TV until all of the forms were filled out. After talking to the first "person in charge" and asked again to sign this form I was getting very frustrated. I again pointed out that "received" means that I actually got the thing, and since it is very large and will be delivered to my house, all I have received is a piece of paper. I was told to "just sign the paper" so we can deliver the TV. I pointed out if I signed this paper and the TV wasn't delivered, the paper that I had signed would show that I received it and I would be screwed. Then the second "person in charge" came over and agreed with me. The first "person in charge" argued with him for a while, then gave in and I left without signing.

  2. I went to buy a computer system that was advertised in the paper. When I asked to see the computer, I was shown a computer with a desk-top case. I pointed out that the ad said it would have a mini-tower case, and I would like to see the mini tower, not the desktop version. He said that it was the same, and just put it on its edge.
    "Why can't I see the actual mini-tower?"
    "They are all in the back."
    Well, here is where it gets good. Despite the bad treatment, I bought the thing. They messed up and gave me a mid-size tower (versus a mini) for the same price. They couldn't even put together the system advertised.

( M.O. )

September 7, 1997

Fry's Friendly Sales Staff

So I go into the Sunnyvale Fry's on a nice sunny Sunday for some bits and pieces. I get a couple of hard drives, some RAM and a few other things. I had brought my check book rather than use plastic thinking this would be a "good idea". -WRONGO-

I am writing a business check, with my business name at the top. The sales geek has to go and confirm the check, but she figures that since it is Sunday, she can't call the bank. (Citibank has a 24x7 phone force.) She gets the bright idea to call the company phone number that is printed on the check. I am a sole proprietor and answer all my own calls. When I'm out in the field, like shopping, my calls forward to my celphone. This sales drone is at the far end of the counter (I think it may be in another area code down there, its at least a different zip code at the far end.)

Here I am standing at her register and my phone buzzes. I answer and here she is asking if I work for the company. I reply, "Marty? Oh yeah, he is the owner, but he just went to Fry's to pick up some disc drives and REM. Who wants to know?" She says she is from Fry's and is verifying a check. I tell her, "Oh cool, would you tell him to bring back a pizza for lunch?"

When the drone returned, about 10 min after leaving and making copies of my check, CDL, and whatever else, she says all is well and that the guys at the shop wanted a pizza.

There are days when it is cool that the Fry's drones are dumb as rocks.

( another customer)

September 10, 1997

I saw your web site yesterday and I must write. Many people will write about bad experiences, but few will write about good.

I shop at the Manhattan Beach Fry's often and I like it. The only consistent complaint I have is the parking is inadequate, but if I choose the time that I go, it is ok.

I have had many good experiences there with helpful sales people. Sometimes I note that the sales person is not a knowledgeable as I would like, but if you were a very knowledgeable computer person, would you be selling at Fry's? I doubt it, I am and I wouldn't.

I particularly like their low price guarantee. It works. I have used it several times. I like Fry's.

( Roy )

September 11, 1997

I work at Fry's and I understand all about the problems people have there. There are definite reasons for this.

First, the company doesn't pay well enough or take the time to hire competent help. Many of the employees where I work speak English relatively well with a few exceptions.

The delays at the checkout line are caused by a ridiculously complex cash register system. The system which the Fry's brothers set up has way too many checks and balances in it. Not to mention the fact that the registers are mostly 386s running on a 486 server with 32 megs of ram.

It is not fair (for the most part) to blame the help which Fry's hires. They hire around 5 new people per week per store! Their standards are very loose when it comes to employees.

Anyway those are my thoughts.

September 15, 1997

My heart lept with joy when I accidently came accross the pages and pages of horror stories concerning Fry's Electronics. I just knew I couldn't have been the only one out there. These pages need to be left on this site for ALL to see. Consumers should never have to live through a shopping experience like these. We need to let people out there know that many of the same items they go in there to buy can be had by local, smaller, neighborhood merchants that not only need the business but will offer nearly as close prices and provide better service.

( another ? customer )

September 16, 1997

Got one over on Fry's

Well, after looking at your web page and with my own experience I will not willingly return to Fry's! I went there one day to purchase an Iomega Zip drive...(another company we should discuss [still waiting for your $50?] ) and I also purchased two Zip disks.

After being escorted to the front desk so that I would not rob them blind, I was finally asked "Cash, check or charge?" "Check," I replied (big mistake). Once the FBI background check came back, it was decided that I could write a check (this whole process took about 45 minutes (yes I was in a hurry I had to go to work from there).

After finding out that the Zip drive will not serve my purpose for the reason that the parallel port zip is too slow (the IDE works much better and is a lot faster), I return it for a refund...I expect the third degree but get very little fuss about returning it. After following around the rep for about 20 mins., we get to the checkout so I can get my refund (yeah right!)

"I see you paid by check" she says. (uh oh) "Ah yes." I reply. "Well it will be no problem if the check has cleared." (2 weeks I think it has by now!) So after consulting with her supervisor, she says she will have to call the bank to verify. Sure, whatever. This whole process is now going past 1 hour that I have been in the store.

She finally comes back to the counter and says that I will have to wait for a check to come in the mail.. Fine, I want to leave now, been here long enough. I get my receipt and notice that my address is wrong, so I point this out, she gets her manager and after 20 mins. of not being able to figure out how to change my address in the system, announce to me that the main office goes by the refund sheet that I filled out, not what is in the system. WHAT!! Do I look that stupid to you? I must! So reluctantly I leave but will no doubt return in the 14 days you must wait for the refund not to arrive.

15 days have gone by.

I decide that I will give them a break and call on the phone and settle it that way. Well after a long wait on the phone, I finally talk to a live person, I am told that I cannot talk to a manager, they will have to call me back.

Trip to Fry's because I can't believe this! The "person in charge" is there, suprise!) so after I get handed off to someone else, we get to the checkout and now we know how to change the address in the computer, this is no longer an option. I tell them that I am not going to leave without cash!! The manager comes over and says that he will have to verify that the check has cleared! Again with this!

Now he has to call corporate to see if the check was returned to them. After waiting for almost 2 hours since I got there I tell him that he needs to make a decision and give me my money back before I kill him! He does...I leave!

6 days later in the mail I receive a refund check in the mail for my Zip drive...I cashed it. I consider it compensation for one the worst customer service experiences that I have ever had.

I will not ever return to Fry's as long as I live near one; I don't even care if it's next to my house. The "final indignity" is just one of many problems that they have...if you believe that it is worth the insult you get from that store, for sale items that they never have in stock, then more power to you! I have a good relationship with a "mom & pop" computer store in the valley and give them my business.

The American public has been putting up with all sorts of indignities from big business for to long, and as long as we continue to let it, it will continue to happen...It has to stop!!! We pay there bills and until they realize this, BAD customer service will continue to happen. The clerks at Fry's have no clue what is happening and most of them do not care!!

Continue shopping at Fry's and places like it and dealing with them and they will continue to prosper. Or find another place to shop. I have found local computer suppliers that have the same or lower prices on the same part that is at Fry's!! I will drive to 3 or 4 places before I will give Fry's my hard-earned cash! Period! I will not be treated like crap by some place that I am buying goods or services from!!

Thank you for your time.

( D. )

September 19, 1997

Letter to Fry's--re: Captioned TV

I tried "Yahoo" to find an e-mail address for the "Fry's family" and Yahoo came up with your web site. I haven't read all your pages, but will after I get some sleep. (3am here)

If you could forward the following note to one Randy Fry and his family for me, I'd appreciate it--and it might also help a few million other people like me with hearing loss. Read on! and thanks!

To: Fry's electronics

  A recent Fry's ad in the S.J. Mercury offered a TV/VCR combination, with the
statement "closed captions when muted".   Does this mean that in that
particular model, the closed caption signal is decoded and displayed ONLY
when the audio is silenced with the "mute" button??  I hope not!, but, if
that IS the way it works, the designer, manufacturer, and you retailers are
in need of a better understanding of the entire subject of closed captioning.
I suspect (I hope I'm mistaken), that somebody ASSUMED that the closed
caption decoding function was used ONLY by Deaf consumers--who, have no use
for the audio--so a few lines of coding in the digital remote program was
saved, thus letting the mute button serve the additional function of turning
on the captions.   Logical, common sense,? but WRONG!
    While the "culturaly Deaf" consumers (less than 2 percent of people with
defective hearing) have no use for the audio and want only the captions, the
truth is that the other 98 percent of people (including one out of three
senior citizens) have some amount of hearing difficulty--and the COMBINATION
of both the captions and the audio make a dramatic improvement in
comprehension. "What their ears miss--their eyes pick up!"
   The fact is that very few people read fast enough to read every word of
the captions; but, for the person with a partial hearing loss the captions
are a very much needed supplement to the audio.
    Now, from a marketing viewpoint, consider the fact that there are over 10
million people in the nation with a significant level of hearing difficulty.
and with the rapidly growing percentage of people in the "senior citizen"
category--the potential, but untapped, market for new TV receivers with
closed caption AND audio --is something you should be taking a closer look at.
   To sum up, then--closed captioning is not only for "a few Deaf people"--and all
facets of the electronics industry should be aware of that fact--and "muting" the
audio to get the captions is a horrible step in the wrong direction. (IMHO)


( Paul Stein )
Self Help for Hard of Hearing People (San Jose)

September 21, 1997

loss of any potential purchase of fry products

i live in long beach, cal and drive to irvine,(fry's) to prurchase a 56x2
modem on 09-08-87,after having my son attempt to install said modem over a
two day period, took it back for the $107 refund. i had anticipated
purchasing other items for the same value.on 09-21-97, we drove to irvine
approx 40 miles with the item and receipt.upon arrival in the store at the
return counter, we were met by a surly clerk, who made it somewhat appaent
that he was too busy or unconcerned about my situation to give it a priority
attentit was 1100 am and i was the only person a his counter. i told him that
the item did not work, and that i was not interested in a replacement item.
he then demanded that i give him my calif driver's license, to which i
objected, the posted refund policy at the counter said nothing of having to
provide such identification upon refund. fry's did not ask for my id when i
purchased said item. i refused, demanding to speak to a supervisor, who said
basically the same thing, i stated that there is information upon my license
of which is no business of fry's or anyone else, the supervisor said that he
would need a photo id to allow refund, in amazement and anger i produced my
retired police officer's badge and id, which has my photo on it. this was not
acceptable to the clerk, as i had my 15 year old son with me and did not wish
to embarass him by involving myself in a load arguement i finally showed the
clerk my cal driver's license and not he wanted me to take it out of my
wallet, which is difficult as i have one arm paralyzed,finally to avoid
futher contact with this person, im got it out and let him run it through his
machine so that i could get my refund. as of today , i will make it a
personal commitment to influence any and everyone i can to boycott fry's.
unfortunately, fry's now has a photocopy of my driver's license, its address,
number and various other information that is not their concern. as far as i
am concerned they can give away their product, but they'll never get me there
to grt it. dave

( a former customer )

September 22, 1997

"Bad & Good Times at Fry's Manhattan Beach"

I have had many bad and good times at Fry's. Every time I have a question, I can't find someone that knows their stuff, and when I do find someone, they don't work in that department. Why can't they hire people that can handle the customers' needs? I don't have time to look for someone that can help me. I think we all don't go to a store knowing what we want. I sometimes have in mind to buy a computer part and have many questions. I sometimes dread going there but sometimes they do give good prices, on the other hand they sometimes have lousy parts but I guess that's cause they only stock them.

I like the variety of products but hate the prices sometimes. I'm no rich guy and sometimes have very little money. I wish I could set-up a way to pay without having to pay all the money at once. I don't have a credit card cause I'm only 19 and go to college.

I once had a very bad experience there. I had a question and finally found someone (lady) and she was rude she just went off on me and my only question was "Where can I find RAM?" Finally she apologized to me and said she was having a bad day (I think she was on her u know what).

Fry's has its good times and bad ones. I also hate the pricing of installing hardware $50.00 just to look at the computer and $50.OO to install the damn hardware. That's 100 bucks just to get some hardware in your computer, that sucks big time. I sometimes go somewhere else to get my stuff done. I shop there just about 2x a week. I spend money there, at least they can do is give better prices.

( another customer )

September 25, 1997

I hope you can post this in your web page.

People of California, you do not have to suffer anymore the indignities you
have endured at Fry's Electronics.

On Sept. 6, 1997, a friend of mine went to the T-Zone (across the street of
the Sunnyvale Fry's at Lawrence Expressway) and had purchased an IBM 3.6
MB ATA-3 hard drive for his son's computer.  His son loves his new
computer, with the IBM drive, AMD 166 K6 MMX processor, 32 Mb RAM, 12X CD,
Matrox Mystique video board, and a SB16  sound board.  His son also loves
to play music with his 'Midi' keyboard, storing his music in midi format
on the new HD.  Also, he collects old video games.  Recently, his 20
day-old HD died.  I noticed that the disk drive would not even spin.  We
went back to the the T-Zone and spoke to the Retail Manager, Juan Herrera.
We talked to Juan and were informed that the warranty for store replacement
had passed (14 days after purchase).  I explained to him that we really
needed to recover the data in the drive.  My friend's son was really
devastated at the thought of losing his music, games, as well as a story
he was writing.  The manager said that he could only replace the drive with
a new one, anyway.  I asked him we could swap the suspect drive controller
PCB with a new HD, from store stock, to the non-functioning one.  He really
felt they were not prepared to do that kind of work, running the risk of
voiding the IBM factory warranty.  I told him that I could do it.  We went
to the back of the store, and found Ken Day, in Tech. Support.  I explained
to Ken what we could do.  Ken thought that this was a good idea and he was
interested in seeing if this would work.  Juan accepted the challenge and
authorized us to "go for it."  We had to be very careful at removing the
flat 'ribbon' cables from the connectors without damaging the board.  Also,
Ken found the special Hex Screwdriver set, required to remove the
controller PCB without violating the warranty.  We were able to remove the
faulty controller, from the original drive, remove the good controller from
the new drive, and install the new controller onto the original HD.  After
a half an hour of our time, the operation was complete.  We powered up the
hard drive and, voila, the data was there, still intact.

For us, this was a MIRACLE, not because our idea worked, but because it
renewed our faith in the goodness of people.  Juan and Ken both put $200
"on the table" and trusted us in being able to do what we said.  It is
refreshing to see that people, in retail consumer electronics, do still
care and will take risks in helping others, going beyond the rules and
policies.  This is really the ultimate "customer satisfaction warranty"
anyone could dream off.

I know that this story would never have happened at Fry's.  The people at
Fry's would have said: "You should have bought a tape backup or Zip drive.
If we help you, then we would set a bad precedent and people would not
learn that you have to have a back-up device to protect your data."

Fry's, watch the T-Zone, as they have our hearts and money from now on.

( another customer )

September 27, 1997

Dear Dave,
I love your web-page about Fry's. They really give the worst customer service I have ever experienced outside of government-run agencies. I hope you can help me out with some advice. I bought a modem with a supposed rebate about 5 months ago. I sent in the rebate immediately, however, no response. I then followed up with a letter inquiring about my rebate and still no response. So it's been 5 months now. Is there any recourse I should take to get my rebate. Any advice would be much appreciated.

( RHG )

September 30, 1997


I could not stop laughing after reading your page on experiences at Fry's; the sad thing is, I can relate to most of them. Here's another one to add to your collection:

A few months ago, I went into the Campbell store to buy a printer for my new computer. After being completely ignored for 15 minutes while I looked at the printers offered, I approached the venerable "Person in Charge." (Echo sound effect.) He immediately found someone else to take care of me, pulling a clerk out of what I can only assume was the refrigerated beverage or yummy snacks aisle. After explaining exactly what kind of printer I was looking for, the clerk blankly stared at me, with the hope that I would somehow answer my own question and leave her alone to return to her safe haven in the Twinkie section. Seeing I was getting nowhere rather quickly, I asked for a recommendation on what kind of printer I should buy. She looked over and pointed at one of the printers and said, "I have heard some good things about this one." I asked her what made that printer different from some of the other ones I was looking at and was rewarded with the blank look again. After a pause, she started reading me the display card that accompanied the printer. I thanked her for trying to help me and returned to the Person in Charge. (Echo sound effect) He explained to me that he was very busy right now and asked me if I could find someone in the near vicinty of the printer section to help me with my questions. Thanking him for his help, I returned to look at the printers by myself, hoping to make an educated guess. After comparing several prices, I pulled a wad of twenties out of my pocket to see how much money I had to spend. As if I had just rubbed a magical lamp, three sales people came running over and offered their assistance. Seriously. One of them remained to answer questions, leading me to believe he either worked in the beverage department also or had just been promoted from the parking attendant position. I thanked him as well, and went to CompUSA. I have returned to Fry's from time to time to make purchases since then- they do have a pretty good selection of music CD's and Snapple.

( Andrew K. )

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 11:35 PDT on September 7, 1998.
David W. Schultheis, San Josť, Silicon Valley, Santa Clara County, California, USA