Experiences at Fry's Electronics, Page Four

This is part of a letter I sent to Fry's.

Dear Melcar:

Taking advantage of Fry's Electronics' free installation of the Pentium Overdrive processor I decided to upgrade my 486 computer. Fry's Electronics Service Department said they it could be installed while I wait if I brought the system in at the right time. I had my Dad take it over to them on a Wednesday morning, October 2. He was met by Service Tech One, who preceded with this "simple" installation. However, as he pulled out the old processor, he forgot to pull away the retaining arm...OOOPS! "But not to worry", he said, "Even though the chip came apart, it can still be reused!". When he installed the Overdrive processor, it failed to boot up, so my Dad decided just to leave it. By Friday, after three technicians got their hands in it, Service Tech Two informed us that The Pentium Overdrive Processor would not work with my mother board, so I had him to just put the 486 back in. When I got it home, it booted slowly and wouldn't go into Windows. When I brought it back, Service Tech Two became perplexed, so I left it again. Sunday night, I got a call stating the problem was caused by a defective power supply that just happened to go out. They said that if I just purchased a new one, they would be happy to install it with a labor charge. I bought the power supply and told them to just get it back together and working...please!

On Monday, my Dad and I left for Ottawa Canada for several days to attend the CorelDRAW! 7 Kickoff and Gala. When we returned on Wednesday and came to the store to pick up the machine, it was still laying on the counter in pieces. Service Manager said they installed the new power supply but it still wasn't working and were having trouble diagnosing the problem.

At this point, I got the Store Manager into it and demanded they do whatever it takes to get my computer back to the state it was when I brought it in. Store Manager came across as quite cooperative and hinted that if they damaged the mother board, Fry's would cover it or give me a good deal on a PCI and Pentium Processor. Apparently, Service Manager found this quite amusing as he exchanged winks with Store Manager as if I were using this as an opportunity for free parts and service. That night, they mysteriously got it working and said the mother board was fine. Store Manager agreed not to charge for parts or labor on the power supply. Store Manager stood by and watched as I checked the system out on the counter. I checked all of the drive letters in File Manager assuming it not necessary to put a CD into that drive. However, several days later when I attempted to put in a CD into that drive, I found out it wasn't reading files. After all of this hassle, I decided it was time to bite the bullet and upgrade to a PCI mother board with Pentium 166MHZ, Scuzzy controller, 4 V RAM Video card and increase the memory from 32MB to 64MB of RAM. Store Manager agreed to knock $100 off the price to make up for the inconvenience of the last go-around, so I asked them to check the CD Rom drive also from the prior service. They said this could all be done in 5 days, which seemed reasonable. Several days later, Service Manager said the CD Rom drive checked out bad but refused to take responsibility for the attempted Overdrive installation since I supposedly checked it in the store before bringing it home in front of store manager; however, Store Manager later admitted he only saw me check the drive letter from File Manager and no data from a CD. I purchased another drive, but had them write the serial number of the "defective" drive and indicate it on the invoice (Invoice #13510 S/N SY60B15531). Eight days later, it was ready, so I once again checked everything I could think of in the store. Meanwhile, Service Manager commented to my Dad that I was trying to get something for nothing because of our deal with the labor. When I got it home, the mouse didn't work. I called the service department and spoke with Service Tech Three, who stated that because I checked everything at their store, the computer was no longer their responsibility - direct orders from Store Manager.

When we returned to the store, Service Manager found a wire disconnected from the mother board to the serial port for the mouse. But he found that windows was locking up when trying to access the capture board. Store Manager instructed Service Manager to contact their troubleshooter on call; this was beyond their scope of expertise and that they would assume responsibility under the labor warranty. Several days later, Service Manager seemed to figure it out and solve the problem, so I once again checked it at the store. However, when I got it home, the mouse once again didn't work. By this time, I finally realized that the Fry's Electronics Service Department could not be trusted with my computer, so I took it to HKG Computers in Sunnyvale, a small shop I've done business with in the past. The technician found the mouse wire again disconnected and returned it to me at no charge. When I got it home, I found DOS wasn't reading the SyQuest drive and Windows NT wasn't reading the CD Drive. I brought it back to HKG and left it for several days. They found that when Fry's installed the Scuzzy card, they forgot to install drivers so certain drives could be read. They also found the CD drive that Fry's determined "defected" working and functional and indicated this on the bill per serial number. I was charged $100 labor (2 Hrs.) The owner of HKG stated "Fry's Electronics shouldn't have charged you any labor. They didn't do anything!"


( Mike Carroll, Jr. )

Besides the long lines and then longer wait at the checkout (Up to 1 and a half hours total waiting to give them my money), Fry's dishonesty with their advertising should be addressed.

How many times have you gone into the store on the first day of the ad for that great priced item only to be told "out of stock"? Check the sister stores, drive there and they are out of stock.. NO.. No. no.

I got mad, I gave up. I will NOT shop there when I am treated so badly. Who would name an electronics store "Fry's" anyway.. The time wasters...

Thanks for the vent,

( Stan Horstman )

I have been dealing with Fry's in Canoga Park and, so far, though a bit slow at times, they have been prompt to help and then refund when necessary. The only time I've really had any trouble is when the front clerk didn't seem to notice the crutch I was leaning on and said I had to go stand in the line! My Irish son got in the clerk's face and reminded him of the store policy that handicapped can take their purchases to the first few clerks for immediate assistance!

( Deedee Shelton )

Here's a good one, but it's sorta my fault it happened...

So it's my birthday, and I get a 8X CD rom to put in my computer. Well, as it turns out, my dad gets a PCI instead of a SCSI (or something like that). So after fooling around with it for a while, i decide to return it. So my dad goes without me, (I'm in school) and then when he gets back (a 1 1/2 hour drive), he's all pissed at me cause they won't take back the CD rom, because the board that goes with it is missing. ONE PROBLEM! THERE WAS NO FRIGGIN BOARD!

If there was one, then I wouldn't have had the problem in the first place. Those idiots could've read the box and found out that it didn't come with a board, but no, they were too stuck up to even do that.

So, my dad goes back there, raises hell with them, and finally returns the stupid CD rom, and gets me a nice one. Those people there were so sure they were right, they had to end up going and opening a perfectly good one, just to see if they actually didn't come with a board. Yeah sure, they got good prices, but do they got ANYTHING else?

( PyroSpud )

December 26, 1996

Boy, you have a jackpot with this page! Let me tell you my most recent experience with Fry's. About five days ago I received a call from Fry's Electronics in Fountain Valley. It seemed they were looking for my mom as they gave her the wrong memory for "her" computer. Now we live about 20 minutes from Fry's and it's no picnic driving out there, not to mention the fact that the idiot completely gave away my Christmas present and ruined any chance of surprise since the memory was for me. So my mom made a second trip and I opened (w/ much feigned surprise) my memory on Christmas morning, only to discover (NOT to my surprise) that it was still the wrong thing. So I made the 20 minute trek today *myself* to stand in a 15 minute line and return my memory. That was only half the battle. Once I got to the memory aisle, I quickly found the memory I needed but it seemed no sales personnel were available. One associate was on the phone and another was "with a customer". As the latter began to walk away from his terminal, I flagged him down and told him I needed memory. "Just let me finish with this customer," he replied. Fifteen minutes later and with a line behind me, our slimy "holier than thou" salesperson returned complete with his Iranian accent, but not after several others had passed down the aisle with various excuses. During our wait, my friend and I had begun shouting Fry's expressions like "Customer service" and "Riot on aisle 13" in hopes of drawing attention to ourselves. The only results were a few chuckles from the people in line behind us. We determined that we might have had a better chance of prompt service if we were female and not wearing any clothes. Everyone around seemed to agree.

( another customer )

I've got two recent tales of fun from the Fry's in Burbank.

First, I recently purchased Quicken 6, standard version. A week went by without opening or installing it, and I decided to return it and pay the difference for the deluxe version. I headed off to the store figuring this wasn't too big a deal. When I got there I realized I had forgotten the receipt. Oh well, I was just doing a simple trade & besides, my name is in their computer.

Well, as you might expect, things didn't go quite that simply. First, when I didn't have the receipt, the clerk looked at me like I was trying to crack the company vault or something. I explained that I just wanted to trade up, and he began entering stuff in their wonderful computer setup. He typed for around 10 min. and couldn't even locate me in the system using my driver's license. I was in a fairly forgiving mood, so I let another 5 min. go by before nicely asking if there was some kind of problem. He explained that they just started using 'the new system' earlier that day. Lucky me. He finally had the manager come over to reboot the PC(!) and started entering again. Well, basically 15 more minutes went by until he was at some point where he needed the manager's password or something. 5 min. later the manager showed up, entered the password and walked away. About 10 keystrokes later the manager's approval was needed again! This time he was nowhere in sight. It's interesting to note that I looked around the returns area and everyone was just standing there waiting for manager approvals! Great system. Ten minutes later the manager returned and they both kind of frowned and looked blankly at the screen. At this point I asked if they really needed me to stand around, or if I could go get my freaking deluxe Quicken. They said to go ahead, so I did. 15 minutes later I returned to find that they had to process my return 'the old fashioned way', on a paper form with about 3 lines filled in. I felt really terrible that they actually had to pick up a pen! I took my credit & got in the checkout line to round out my experience with another 20 minute wait and 10 more min. for the checkout clerk to verify my $15 check. In case you're keeping track, that's an hour and a half to return an unopened item and give them more money for a different version!!!

Here's experience #2 if you've got the patience. This was my proverbial straw--- it's back to the computer shows for me. I purchased two 8 MB EDO SIMMS, the cheaper Korean variety. When I installed it my PC sensed it correctly, but the memory test failed. I checked the seating etc. & tried again. Memory test failed again. I went into CMOS & disabled the 'halt on errors' setting & thoroughly checked the memory with AMIDIAG. The diagnostics showed pretty consistant parity errors centered around a specific address.

All this along with the fact that Windows 95 wouldn't load pretty clearly told me that one of the chips was bad. Off I went to Fry's expecting the worst (see above story). When I got to the 'returns engineer' he tested the chips in one of those portable SIMM checkers. Of course, they checked out fine. At this point he just stood there for a minute with a dumb look on his face before saying "What now?" I said that I wanted to exchange them, to which he replied, "According to this they're OK." At this point I was kind of getting pissed & repeated my request to exchange them. He was even beginning to make me doubt myself, so I asked how much more the Japanese chips were, but apparently this was too difficult a question for him. When I saw that he wouldn't be able to answer that question without divine intervention I simply said for him to give me the credit toward the more expensive memory & I'd handle it myself.

When I saw that the premium memory would cost me around $30 more I decided to get the same kind I got before. At this point I had to endure some 16 yr. old loser first telling me that I was crazy because I "couldn't possibly get parity errors on a Pentium" and then saying I should get the expensive memory because the chips I had purchased were probably not compatible with my motherboard. I said no, I wanted the Korean chips. I do this crap for a living and didn't need his advice. He sarcastically said, "You're the boss, but you'll just have to come back again to get the premium memory."

Well, the cheaper memory worked just fine, and has the unique distinction of being the last thing I'll ever buy from Fry's. It pains me to think of how many people have probably trusted the salesmen's advice and paid more than they had to for things they didn't need. This along with their blatant bait and switch advertising (or "printing errors" as they call it) makes Fry's a place to be avoided at all costs!

Thanks, Dave, for letting me vent!

( Kevin Conklin )

I have one more Fry's story for you..

The day they had the "Four hour sale" from 6PM until 10PM, a few of my co-workers and I decided to go to Fry's and pick up some last minute Chrismas presents. We got there at 5 PM, one hour before the sale was to start. I was looking at getting one of those $88 VCRs as a present. I pulled one of the clucking hens away from their little flock and asked him which VCR was going to be on sale, so I could check it out and see what it was like. He promptly replied "We are all sold out of those VCRs." I asked him how he could be sold out when the sale didn't begin until 6 PM. He said they didn't have any in stock, but he would be happy to sell me this brand I never heard of for forty dollars more. I said I wanted it for $88 like advertised. He got snotty and asked me if "I wanted this damn VCR or not." I nearly punched the guy. Then I went to pick up a flatbed scanner for $159. It's still before 6, mind you. Out of stock. Last one sold this morning. I've had our Chief Financial Officer try to call their Corporate Accounts guy five times because he's always hassling me when I go in to buy something for the company, but he has never returned any of her calls. Anyone got the number for the CA Attorney General and the BBB?

Thanks for the opportunity to vent.

( another customer )

Hi Dave... love the Fry's stuff. Actually the whole page is great. So personal. Refreshing to see there are still pages out there like this! Unfortunately, I have a bit more to add to the Fry's lists.

A tip... to actually get help from the, umm, well, umm, (for lack of a better, appropriate language sorta word) "salespeople." I found that bringing my wife along to do the dirty work of getting assistance did wonders. An attractive woman who (at least) appears to know what she's talking about can have them jumping to her aid in no time. Unfortunately, the bribes it requires to get this done (in my case, expensive dinners), tends to offset any savings that going to Fry's can provide...

Another tip... when doing returns, the Fremont location has a secondary line (usually considerably shorter), directly across from the return area, that the associates tend not to tell the customers about.

Anyway, last year, I decided on a fairly expensive VRAM video card for my system (Diamond Stealth 3240) with an at-the-time list price of approximately $350. Fry's had it for $329. So, I endeavoured to Fry's in Fremont and made my purchase. (Which, for the record, involved going to an ATM because the checkout humanoid refused to take my check because of my out-of-state driver's license. Amazing. In my checkbook were carbons for $3500 of check purchases made from Fry's in previous weeks. But I digress.) Upon arriving home, I tore into the box (none of the little "previously opened" stickers... avoid those boxes at ALL costs!) and prepared to pop the card into my system. I examined the card to make a quick jumper check, and noticed that the video chipset was wrong, and that the card was actually a Stealth 32 with DRAM, list price of $129, while all the manuals and packaging were for the 3240. So, I headed back *there* again, and made the return with a fairly short 20 minutes or so of yelling and three levels of management, who, needless to say, had absolutely no clue as to what to do in this circumstance. Similarly, I went about six months later to the store in Palo Alto (I've vowed NEVER to set foot in the Fremont store again.) and bought a 6.7x SCSI cd drive. Guess what. In the box was a 4x IDE drive. Granted, these drives are bought in bulk from the manufacturer and packaged/price tagged by some pimplehead in the back, but still...

( another customer )

I used to work in the Upgrade center of Fry's, the Fountain Valley store. I had built up a large "client base" of usual customers who asked for me only BECUZ I was the only one willing to give them the help they needed......

The story I want to tell is...

One day while I was working, a lady came in and wanted some memory installed for her. My superviser put another tech on it. In the course of installing the RAM, [the other technician] screwed up her second HD (which was blank anyway). The supervisor asked me to double-check the other tech's work, so I did, and found the problem with the Hard Drive. I told the Supervisor about the problem and he said NOT TO FIX IT!!!, she didn't pay for that service! I went back and told the customer. She went BALLISTIC! I felt bad for her and I felt that we should make her happy. So, I told her that I'd fix it anyway. (I only needed to repartiton the drive and format it!) The supervisor caught on to what was happening and pulled me aside and YELLED at me in front of all the customers. Needless to say, I yelled back about how the customer was important and then he threatened to write me up and I dared him to do it. I went and finished with the lady and promptly went to the store manager and told him what had happened. He apologized to me and told me that he'd trash the write-up and he felt I was in the right....


( Eric )

OH NO! Today I have just heard that our local Incredible Universe (huge electronics store) is closing. Incredible Universe is going under and Fry's is taking over this location in Sacramento. I thought I'd try to look them up on the Internet to read more about them. This page is more educational. I will probably go there, maybe even shop there, but my guard will always be up.

Thanks, Dave.

( Jason )

I am a programmer and assistant SA for a Cupertino-based company. The president of my company asked me to replace the hard drive in his personal computer, so I made a trip down to Fry's off of Hwy.17 at [Hamilton]. I chose a Seagate drive from the display and tracked down a salesperson to print something out for me to take to the front of the store. When I got to the register the "representative" took my sheet and disappeared for about ten minutes. She came back with an antistatic bag sealed with SCOTCH TAPE. (An antistatic no-no...) She gave me the total, a number just over $200, and I wrote my check. I, too, had to wait for someone to verify my check. After more than fifteen minutes my check was cleared and I left.

That afternoon I opened the antistatic bag (cutting the tape... Not peeling) and removed the drive. There was a sticker on the side of the drive that had been damaged by a previous installation. I was upset that I had paid for used merchandice that was sold to me as new. Then I turned on the computer. These drives [normally] come formatted with a twenty-megabyte partition that contains some software used for installation and setup. This drive, however, came with a complete installation of Microsoft Windows 95, Microsoft Office 95, and a large collection of spreadsheets and letters from a San Jose company. I was outraged. I had been sold a defective drive that someone else had already returned. There was some hardware problem with a section of the drive that Norton Disk Doctor couldn't fix. Fry's put the drive back into stock without so much as erasing the previous users' software.

I returned to Fry's, only to wait in the return line for another ten minutes, only to be told that it was Store Policy to put returned merchandise back into stock. The 'Manager' who told me this also explained that this drive had passed their quality assurace test which involved making sure they could see something on the drive before putting it back into stock.

I wrote a businesslike letter to the general manager of that Fry's store and (naturally) received no reply.

Since that (my second) visit, I have avoided Fry's stores completely. I can get better deals on computer hardware through mail order without having to show ATM receipts to get checks cleared, and I will happily pay ten dollars more on AV gear to Circuit City or Good Guys to avoid the totally unknowledgable salespeople, the long waits for service and the outrageous store polcies.

Thanks for maintaining this forum for Fry's complaints. I just can't figure out why people will allow themselves to be treated like dirt to save five or ten dollars on a several-hundred-dollar purchase.

( Jake )

Some time ago I needed to return an item at Fry's (I was a virgin to the whole thing). I had filled out my form and was standing in the "computer return" line calmly. A guy came in and with a Diamond Stealth 64 DRAM got his form and was told to go to the Audio/Video return line. This line was long but still 3 or 4 times shorter then the computer return line. 15 mins later he gets to head of the line and explains his problem clearly and calmly. The Fry Guy curtly told him he couldn't help him. The confused consumer said weakly "But I have a receipt, what else do you want?" The employee said, "You're in the wrong LINE!" The poor guy said in his defense that the "Person In Charge" told him this was an Audio/Video item and to come here. His words were cut short by "I Cannot Help You Here, Go Stand in the other line!" At that point the guy went BALLISTIC. He told the fry employee that he'd been in this line for 15 minutes at the instruction of the "Person In Charge" and he WAS going to get serviced in this line, right here, right now. The Fry guy was just being plain rude to the freedom fighter. I stepped in and told the Fry Guy that he should just serve the gentleman and stopped wasting time fighting. The Fry Fool held his hand out (about 6 inches from my face) and told me that this was none of my business. I nearly grabed his wrist and broke his arm, but I restrained myself and said, "It's my business as long as I have to listen to you run your mouth off." I stepped back into my line deciding that I was making things worse. The Fry's employee thanked me for getting back into my line and explained that he was a professional and knew what he was doing. I almost broke the bastard's nose. The poor guy argued a little more and in pure frustration retreated to the correct line. About 15 mins later (45 mins from went I got there) I finaly returned my LAN tester. I had to run around the store a few more time before the return was complete. But I did see video card guy get to the counter, slam down the video card and tell the guy it never worked properly. He signed his paperwork and began to head off when the clerk yell, "Hey, buddy, you still have my pen." He turned around and said as loud as he could, "You and you whole organization can just PISS OFF!"

That's my best [worst] Fry's story.

( Raj Maniar )

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 Three - Page Four - Page Five
Back to Dave's Home Page
Last updated at 15:30 PDT on May 18, 1997.
David W. Schultheis, San Josť, Silicon Valley, Santa Clara County, California, USA