Experiences at Fry's Electronics, Page Eight

March 5, 1997

Dear Dave,

Although most of my experiences reproduce, in whole or in part, those of yours and other contributors, I do have one positive Fry's story (well, positive for me, at any rate, not necessarily for Fry's).

Several months ago, I decided I finally wanted to upgrade my computer, so I went to Fry's during a motherboard sale and bought a motherboard, CPU, video card, RAM, cache RAM, and a new hard drive, intending to yank my old, obsolete equipment and replace it all with the new stuff. To reduce my own pain, I paid cash. Well, the motherboard had no cache in it, of course, so I installed all 18 SRAM chips myself, at home. Now, as anyone who's ever done this knows, the pins on new SRAM chips are bent in such a way that they have to be manipulated before they can be jammed into the sockets on the motherboard, a time-consuming, tedious, and laborious process. So, I spent a great deal of time doing this. Then, I mounted the motherboard, attached it to the power supply, plugged in the various boards and the RAM, flipped the power switch . . . and nothing happened. I thought, "Okay, there's plenty that could be wrong," so I combed the manual to verify all the jumper settings were correct, changed a couple of them, flipped the power switch . . . and nothing happened. After a few iterations of this, I gave up and decided to try again the next day. No dice.

Well, rather than endure the endless hassle of trying to get a working motherboard out of Fry's, I took everything back. It was remarkably quick and straightforward, I thought. An employee looked at my equipment, asked me what was wrong, and I told him. He looked as though he were about to comment on my statement about the motherboard, and I envisioned scenes from the Dead Parrot sketch by Monty Python: "It's stone dead, matey!" Then he thought better of it, signed off on my receipt, and I laid in a course for the check stands. After a not unreasonable wait, I brought my receipt up to the check stand and gave it to the clerk. Naturally, a supervisor had to be summoned, and the two of them went over the receipt like archaeologists poring over some heretofore unknown dialect of Sanskrit. After several minutes of this, the supervisor okayed the transaction, and I was sent to another check stand for reasons which were not immediately clear. As it turned out, however, the reason for moving was that the original clerk didn't have enough cash for the refund. At the new register, I received a full, on-the-spot cash refund, which, as anyone who shops at Fry's should know, is almost unheard of.

So, despite the fact that almost everything else about the process was typical of Fry's, I still got back all my money immediately and with a minimum of pain, so I guess it wasn't so bad.

( Tom )

March 5, 1997

I spent both Saturday and Sunday of this past weekend shopping at Fry's for the raw components to build my new computer. I was very apprehensive to begin with since I have had experience purchasing trivial items such as software and computer cables in the past with a little trouble. Now I was spending over $1000 and was wondering what type of hassle would I receive from the cashiers at the front of the store when it came time for me to check out. I won't even go into the detail of trying to pick out my motherboard, memory, and hard drive...let's just cut to the chase of the checkout counter.

I placed all the items onto the counter for the clerk to enter into the computer. I purchased a Diamond Stealth video card and a Western Digital hard drive, both of which had rebates on them. I received the WD rebate form that was a photocopy and so unreadable that it was sure to warrant it being returned to me from WD if I did mail it to them asking for the rebate. And to my non-surprise they didn't have a single rebate form for the Diamond stealth video card. You'd think they would have the correct ratio of video cards to rebate forms in that store but I guess that's too trivial for those geeks to think about. Now I have to check back with the store to see when the rebate forms are going to be in. That's one hurdle crossed.

Now comes time to pay, so I give the clerk my VISA card. He swipes it and the wait is on. I'm imagining the information having to go through every police and FBI computer in the country due to the length of time you have to wait in line. In the meantime the clerk hands the piece of paper containing all the items such as the CPU, memory, and cooling fan that have to be retrieved from the cage by some lackey. After about 15 minutes the lackey returns and wants me to sign the form stating that all items given to me are in proper working order and condition. Luckily I had my friend with me or I would not even have thought about checking these items before signing. Fortunately he noticed that the CPU chip that they gave me was *USED*! Before my friend says anything the lackey notices the look on his face and says "They're all like that" My friend says "They all have bent pins and scratches on the back?!" The guy looks at him with disgust and takes it back to the cage for a new one. Whew! That was close. Just think if I tried to return that later...what kind of hassle would I have gotten.

In the midst of all this, the clerk has called over the manager and she takes my card an proceeds to call my credit card company. After about 15 minutes of conversation on the phone she comes over to me and says, "They want to talk to you." I say, "Who wants to talk to me?" She says, "Your credit card company." I take the phone from her and I can barely hear the other person on the line. The lady asks me for my home address and last four digits of my social security number. I give it to her and she says she wanted to verify it was me due to the large dollar amount being purchased. I guess I should be thankful that my bank was watching over me. After I give the phone back, the girl looks at me like I've just committed some sort of heinous crime. It's now about 45 mins. later and the receipt starts to print out. A person can go and have dinner before this thing finishes printing. You'd think that a store with all this technology would update their receipt printer to go a little faster.

Well that was done and I was on my way to the "Final Indignity". To my amazement, the idiot at the podium took my receipt, didn't bother to look in my 6 bags of merchandise, and simply signed off and let me out the door. I breezed right through without a single question...unbelievable!

I will admit they have great prices and a great selection, but I will be hard pressed to go back there again after this last experience.

( Greg )

March 5, 1997

I'm sorry. I have to say that I have NEVER had anything but bad experiences with Fry's. All I have to say is I was accused of stealing and threatened to imprison me, twice!

I had brought my own CD-Player in 'cause I didn't want to leave it in the car. Got dinged! They said that they sell that particular model. I proved them wrong.

I had also bought an old MFM controller that no one makes or packages anymore. The controller I bought was bubble-wrapped and sold for $50. I bought one. It didn't work. I returned it, and they claimed that I obviously "packaged" it myself. I told them to go to isle 1 and look for himself. There enough, they found a whole shelf full of them.

Both times, they called security and threatened to put me in jail. I don't know if anyone out there can top this in bad experiences at Fry's. No matter what happens, my view of Fry's will not change.

( Todd )

I am a medical student of NTU
I saw a lot of articles about fry's electronics co.. on your homepage
I just bought 4 GSM telephone in the fry's.
They guarentee me that I can use it in Taiwan....but
It's totally different system!
They cheated me!!
It cost me 600$ to buy them and I cannot use them under the guarentee???
Can you give me their email address so that I can get refund!
thank you very much!

( Aaron Huang )

March 5, 1997

I have had several bad experiences with Fry's. I went 6 different times to get mother boards and all of them were bad, they did not work, but they were in factory-sealed packages.

I asked to speak with a manager, and I guess he was out to lunch.

At check out, when buying a hard drive, memory, cpu and a mother board, I had to wait 45 minutes. I got out to my car and the CPU was cracked, I walked back in the store, demanding to speak with a manager and guess what, "please, sir, stand in this line" (that was 25 people long) "and wait for a customer return rep. They will take the item and give you store credit."

I tried to tell them to take everything back and take the charge off of my credit card, but could they do that, no! They gave me store credit.

I had lots of problems at the check out because the credit card machine was down, they could not verify that it was not stolen, they started to ask me where I worked, what I do for a living and what is the credit limit. I told them, in the way they asked the questions, none of your f***ing business, if that was your concern, I would have given you my business card, I spend my hard worked f***ing money for a living and it is none of your g** d*** business what my credit limit is.

Then they were barely hanging on by my last nerve, I was asked to show another proof of ID for the credit card, I showed them my CDL and credit card, that was their policy, I was told, well the machine is down and we can't verify that this is you, I said "look here b****, my f***ing picture is on the back of the credit card, my photo is on the CDL, what more do you want, my f***ing finger prints?" Under her breath she said, "maybe I should get them too." And really f***s up when she turns and mumbles to another service rep, A**H***!

I was asked to calm down, that these questions are asked everyone, but this other customer, which the cashier and customer was aribian, had no problem, the card was imprinted and the sale was continued, but no not me, a american born in the US, apparrntly has no money.

I was really pissed then, I made a comment, I wish I would have never steped foot in here. I told the manager how much of a pain in my ass he is, in other words, the company wastes their $6 .15 an hour for a manager that does not know customer service.

(note: he gets an extra 15 cents).

Sence then, I have never went back to Fry's, got my credit card creditied by Fry's.

( Lucas )

March 6, 1997


While this is a funny page, seriously you guys are a little over the edge. Fry's has clearly peaked in the late 80's. Its a sub-terranean consumer electronics hell hole. So what? Move on, ignore it, don't shop there, lament the loss. Why subject yourself to unnecessary stupidity?

( d )

March 6, 1997


MERCHANT 174163476990

March 6, 1997

Hi there Dave. I was pleased to find your web page at the suggestion of my co-worker. Iım a manager for a company that is connected to Fry's. Your page is dead on and Iıll just share my 3 cents for what itıs worth.

1. I was a college student in San Jose and was trying to make a living as most college students do. I had a connection to a Fryıs big wig (baboon) and he was able to get me a job. I talked with a manager type person (monkey) who interviewed me and asked me for my schedule. I made it pretty clear that I was unable to work during the day and he said that was no problem. "First thing Monday morning youıll have an orientation" he said. Perhaps I hadnıt made myself clear. He assured me that it was a one time thing and I bought it. So that Monday I went in. There was a hand full of new employees (lemmings) there and we were all ushered into a small conference room in the back of the Fryıs Campbell store. I was given a stack of paper work and left to fill it out. I was also told that I was to wait there for another manager type person (ape) who would make all things known. Two hours and several yawns later, I got fed up and left. Fryıs customer service problems run deep throughout the company. I was never told what my job would be or what wage I would be making.

2. I did finally get a job at a deli that was located near the Fryıs Campbell store and we had a large influx of Fryıs employees (chimps) that eat lunch there. I canıt tell you how many conversations I listened to from Fryıs employees, saying how much they hated their jobs and what a horrible place Fryıs was to work at. Yet they also talked about how little they cared about the Fryıs customers.

3. As I said, I am still connected to Fry's but not directly employed by them. I can tell you that getting office supplies and computer equipment is an uphill and eternal struggle. The big problem is that Fryıs has developed a sort of monopoly here in the Bay Area. Egghead Software is gone and Software Etc. is struggling. The reason Fryıs is still so popular is that folks really donıt have a choice. Such is communism. Anyway, keep up the good work on your web page and when the time comes for a revolution, I have lots of clubs and oily rags to add to the cause.

Best Regards
( The Mole )

March 8, 1997

I used to go into Fry's frequently for various things. What I've always noticed is that the people who work there have all seemed to successfully (sic) passed the "Rudeness to Customers 101" course that apparently is a prerequisite to working there, as well as the "We Won't Serve You Unless You Are Mega-Rich 101" course, as well. I have gone in there to purchase a computer, with cash, and had to spend over half an hour getting a salesperson to even come close to helping me, and I am figuring it is because I am a female. They helped my husband no problem, though. We used to go there for their advertised specials, yet even though I have been one of the first ones in the store on the day that the special starts, they are always out, but they do offer me an upgrade at a substantial price increase (can you say "Bait and Switch?"). But, I would have to say that the absolutely most ridiculous thing that ever happened to me was this: A few days ago (in 3/97), I purchased almost seven hundred dollars worth of stuff...including a 4 gig hard drive, and a few software programs. I paid cash...not check, not credit card, just plain old cash, in twenties and four hundred-dollar bills. The cashier proceeded to take that yellow marker thing and write on the hundred-dollar bills (I am assuming it enables them to tell if they are counterfeit or not), and that passed (I had just gotten the money from the bank), but she had to call over one of the extremely friendly (said sarcastically) customer service supervisors to see if they accepted that amount of cash. The supervisor began questioning me....wanted my address and phone number in case any of it came back (cash coming back? wasn't aware cash could bounce), as well as my employer's name and number. When I pointed out that I wasn't going to give that information, and anyhow, I was a housewife, a manager got called over. I then told the manager that if they weren't going to accept cash, then fine, give it back, and I would go to a competitor and spend it, and more. They finally accepted it. But I still don't understand what the problem was with cash. I purposely withdrew such a large amount so I wouldn't have to go through the hassles of paying by check or credit card that they feel they need to impose on everyone. However, on a good side, their television commercials fascinate my 10 month old son...he'll stop what he is doing just to stare at the tv when one comes on...it's cute :)

( Carrie :) )

March 9, 1997

I don't know if anyone is aware of this but FRY's has it's own shrink-wrap facility and when you return a defective product they shrink-wrap it and return it to the shelf as new. In dealing with FRY'S in Fremont I noticed a lot of the boards I was buying had many scratch marks on them where you insert them in the motherboard. Where I live in Antioch it's quite a ride to Fremont to buy and return used parts to FRY'S. On the third trip there to return a defective sound card I asked a person in customer service if FRY'S has it's own shrink-wrap facility and he said, "YES." Now I know why I was getting a lot of used merchandise. Even the interior packing was all messed up. I will never ever shop at a FRY'S again !!!!!

( Bob )

March 10, 1997

I'm curious to know why all the Fry's supporters on this page refuse to include their names or E-mail addresses?

My experiences with Fry's are too numerios to mention. I now make a habit of going in and pretending to buy the most expensive computer or video system they can put together. When it comes time to pay for it, I casually change my mind and walk out. It's particularly effective when the merchandise is already pulled and ready at the check out line!

The employees are ignorant and rude, most don't speak adequate English, which I find particularly offensive in my own country. Their policies are arcane and overly frustrating. Much of their merchandise is defective, returned goods or even factory seconds. I once bought a supposedly "new" hard drive at the Sunnyvale store. When I got it home and hooked it up, I noticed a sticker from Seagate stating that this drive had been reconditioned several months earlier. The "PIC" claimed ignorance of this practice. All in all, there are probably over 100 cases, all of which are more than suitable for a small claims dispute. If anyone wants to kill a week (or a month) in small claims court, drop me a line and I'll send you my file!

( Predator@earthlink.net )

March 10, 1997

I believe I understand the problems that most of these people are having. They seem to think that Fry's is an electronics and computer store, rather than the temple of a neo-platonic mystery religion, which is what it is. This fact may be obscured in several stores, but is made plain in the Campbell store, which openly reveals it's temple-like aspect.

Now, in order to understand the nature of neo-platonic mystery worship, one must understand the concept of platonic forms, which are based on ideal objects, rather than objects in particular. For example, if you go to find a particular part, you are already in trouble, because a particular part is simply one aspect of the all-transcendent univeral part ideal. Thus, when one attempts to query one of the temple priests as to the nature of the part, the priest will assume that you are on a search for the great ideal part, and not the particular part in question.

This is particularly important when looking for systems and components. In this conversation, note that the priest answers correctly, and has mastered the doctrine. The spiritually blind customer thinks he has a word processor.

Customer: Does this use standard batteries?

Priest: Yes, it does.

Customer: Will it read DOS formatted disks?

Priest: Yes, I think so.

Customer: Will it read MAC formatted disks?

Priest: I think it does that also.

Customer: Can you get more memory for it?

Priest:(not as well versed in the platonic doctrine of eternal memory): I'll have to check.

Customer: Will it receive cable or satellite?

Priest: Yes.

Customer: Will it toast bagels and print in color?

Priest: In stereo.

Customer: Will I need the optional cable?


This is the typical result of such inquiries. Only the occasional querent, who proves him or herself exceedingly worthy through the manifestation of eternal patience, and unquestioning silence, is admitted to the mystery of the purchase. Within the inner sanctum of the checkout stand, the seeker must wait, and then attempt to find the holy grail: the available cashier. This is not an easy test, because as if in a hall of mirrors, hundreds of false cashiers appear to be available, but they are actually waiting for customer service. The seeker who wrongly chooses a false cashier, must re-enter the line until he or she can pass the test, and be admitted to the supreme test of payment. It is at this time that the reason for placing all of the pharaoh's belongings into his tomb with him is known, because the seeker must now produce these things as proof of his identity, and worthiness to make the sacred purchase.

This is followed by the test of the false price. Like the pearl of great wisdom, the seeker, who thought he would be making a cheap purchase, must now pay dearly, without knowing what the outcome will finally be. If the seeker can get through the tests of purchase without invoking the dreaded supervisor, then he/she is well on the way to acquisition of the object of their desire.

The final test is the recognition of the object as reentering the world. The bag checker looks down into the holy sack, containing the object(s) of acquisition. If your mind is yet defiled by thoughts of carnal bliss, thinking you could leave with such ease, the guardian of the door will actually read your receipt, weighing the deeds of your life within the temple. If your mind is free of desire, due to the purity of platonic rage which removes all thoughts, then the guardian only performs a symbolic look at your bag, but tries not to actually see anything, which would be a slanderous act in the presence of the singlemindedness of purpose you have demonstrated.

For those who wish to undertake this arduous path, here are some words of wisdom:

1. Know exactly what you want. Needing to ask questions is a sign that your mind is still polluted by particular thoughts.

2. Only talk to a priest if you cannot grab the object of your desire due to it's being locked. You should not ask more than this lest the priest, in his wrath, actually answers you.

3. Pay only with cash or pure gold.

4. Beware the gates of Hell (usually marked "customer service").

( The Fry's graduate, King Ram-sys of E.gypped )

March 11, 1997

I once got a free processor while buying a hard disk. It was an AMD K5 100 MHz. I will decline to specify the exact store, but it was in southern california. I did nothing wrong. I simply gave the cashier the print out that the sales guy gave me. To my surprise, when I went to pay for the merchandise, the lady who brought the hard disk brought a hard disk, an IDE cable, the driver diskette, and a small black plastic square box. While the cashier was looking over the invoice, I said out loud, "What is this?" I opened it up right there and saw a processor of some kind. My friend who was next to me said "Donıt say anything." I casually closed the little plastic box and placed it on top of the hard disk, which was where the lady had put it. To my delight as soon as my credit card cleared, the cashier placed all the items in my bag. I then proceeded to quickly sign the sales slip and walk to the door, my heart racing all the way. Then I let the pretty girl at the door look at my receipt and check my bag. She took the pink fluorescent marker, scribbled on it and I walked out. Needless to say I ran to my car and darted out. I figured if I got though their nagging safety procedures with the aid of three of their employees, I deserved to keep the processor. I later gave it to my brother who bought a motherboard and some card for it and built himself a nice system which he still has today.

( David )

March 11, 1997


Thanks for giving us victims of the "Fry's Experience" a forum for expressing our feelings toward the "world" of Fry's Electronics. From waiting 30 minutes to get a check approved in the Campbell store (the clerk refused to WALK toward the supervisor, and so just stood with his yellow Customer Service paddle held aloft), to waiting 45 minutes in the Palo Alto store for somebody to correct an SKU for a hard drive so that it could be entered into the computer, Fry's has tested my patience to the max many times.

I think their biggest problem is that there are too few CSRs (I mean truly knowledgable ones), and too many checkout clerks who have no sense of customer service. They get paid the same no matter how they do their jobs, and the "supervisors" are of the same ilk.

Thanks again for this page,

( John )

March 12, 1997


"A living nightmare" is how I will describe my experience at Fry's. My story was much too tramatic to try and recall. I really don't want to put myself through it. However, I will tell you that it started with a simple computer upgrade and when all was said and done I spend 4 weeks and 6 round trips from Anaheim to Fountain Valley returning a processor, motherboard, ram and cache memory. In the end, I had no upgrade and a fiery temper! Thanks for providing a place for all of us victims to vent.

( Justin )

March 12, 1997

Can't complain myself with Fry's. I go to both the Palo Alto and Sunnyvale locations. Sunnyvale has faster cashier lines I noted though. Fry's is pretty convenient in having a lot of brands of a lot of components. Not bad in the book department either, but Computer Literacy is the ultimate site for that.

I've had 100% luck with returning items, and they did honor a cheaper price on one item I found in a magazine listing. I guess if anything annoys me there, it's the somewhat "geeky" and short-of-hygiene computer customers littering the narrow aisles. None will temporarily move to let you pass, and ALL will bump you out of their way if you're looking at something they also want to view. My "favorite" (not) customers are those who "bellow" out their explanations of the hardware and software to their shopping companions with full intent of all other customers hearing of their "expertise." More often than not, they're wrong anyway.

Across the street from the Sunnyvale Fry's as of March 1997 is "T-Zone." A very well-lit, spacious store with ALMOST the same quantity of stock as Fry's. I think I've been noticing a trend of their products being a dollar higher than Fry's, but to some, the breathing room may be worth it. They also have some kind of "club" you can join for free which offers premiums of some type for accumulated purchases.

( Neil )

March 14, 1997

I have finally stopped going to Fry's unless every other place does not have what I need. My first stop is the local Office Depot or local computer store. Then on to CompUSA, NCA, then finally Fry's. Between CompUSA, NCA, and Fry's, I will always try CompUSA first, they usually have friendly, somewhat knowledgable people, and checkout is usually a breeze. NCA is now more like Fry's, long wait for one of possibly 2 people to ring up purchase, plus they want my signature in 2 or 3 locations, and almost always have to ask a question of someone else before they can enter a purchase. Fry's is the worst, buying a Hard Drive took 1 hour 20 minutes to find that I needed to ask a sales person to get a piece of paper to give to the register clerk and wait 30 minutes while someone went into some cage and got me my drive, then 10 minutes to purchase drive and listen to all things I can or can't do once I purchase the drive, sign my name to the store policy form, and wait for a manager's approval for a CASH transaction! My favorite is waiting in line for a register and seeing more than 2 people (who work for Fry's) taking a break in and around a register (makes the company look lazy and apathetic - wait, they are!), wish they would take their break somewhere else!

One day after living thru another 1 hour checkout at Fry's a employee said "Have a nice Day", I almost died from the shock.

Two weeks later I had to go into Fry's and someone (worker) ask me If I needed help, I took a double take to make sure it really was an employee (it was).

( Gene )

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 14:35 PST on February 16, 1998.
David W. Schultheis, San José, Silicon Valley, Santa Clara County, California, USA