Last updated: July 18, 1999

Keep those stories coming!

Due to the volume of stories, I have added a second page. Click here to view it.

Here are some other stories from irate (and a few non-irate) customers, former customers, and Fry's employees:

Aaron Williams (editor)

After a long delay of avoiding Fry's, I decided to drop back into the new Fremont Fry's Electronics store. From my experience, things have changed dramatically for the better. I went to Fry's to look for a network print server box since printing to my Epson color printer is so slow over the parallel port. I looked everywhere but could not find it. I finally asked a Fry's employee where it was. He looked as well and could not find it. He then went and asked several other employees until someone told us where it was. It was mixed in with the hubs (but with dozens of types of hubs it was hard to spot). I also bought a PCMCIA network adapter for an old laptop I have. The Fry's employees were very curtious and went out of their way to help me. They were very professional.

At the checkout the line was not too bad and I had no problems (of course I used my credit card since checks are a nightmare). Again, the cashier was polite and there were no problems (I was shocked by this point). At the checkout, the cashier noted that the price had dropped on the print server and charged me the lower price (which was not on the box).

I found that the print server worked perfectly and was more than I expected. As for the PCMCIA adapter, I found that my laptop is dying (it's an ancient laptop that is pretty beat-up). Anyway, I decided that a 10/100 network adapter isn't worth it for a 25MHz 80486 laptop that is not working very well.

The next day (7/22/99), I went back to Fry's to return it. I had to wait in line about 15 minutes, but it wasn't the chaos I've experienced in the past and the employees were polite and professional. There were no problems.

They gave me a slip of paper with my receipt and told me to take it to the front counter. I also watched them place a sticker on the opened box before the box was re-shrink wrapped (if they do so). I told them that as far as I know that the adapter is good, but my laptop is not. No questions asked. At the front counter (after an extremely short wait), there were zero problems. The employees were polite. The man next to me asked how to get to the San Jose airport and the cashier helping me gave him some directions (his cashier wasn't sure). The customer then went to write a check. His cashier asked him if he was in a hurry and then proceeded to tell him that writing a check would take a lot longer (which is true) and if he's in a hurry to use his credit card. She was very polite and professional.

All I can say is that I was extremely impressed with what I saw. Hopefully the other stores will follow suit with this.

Now the new Fremont Fry's is impressive to behold. The walls are covered with wood paneling and it is well lit (unlike the old store). It is also huge (also unlike the old store). One enters the store through a huge archway with the return counters (yes, counters) on the right and around 60 checkout counters to the left.

The store is well layed out, with computer components on the right, A/V in the back, and appliances and general purpose gadgets to the left. The center has low shelves of software, DVDs, and videos. There are some cool displays such as a GIANT tesla coil (I havn't seen it running) and a huge Jacob's Ladder (where the spark rises between two wires) which must be at least 12 feet high! There are some other high-voltage related displays in there as well, most of them operating. There's also some nice classical music playing softly over the PA system. All in all, a very enjoyable experience. This is NOT the old Fry's I and my friends have always loathed.

I must also say that I went with my father soon after New Years day where he bought a hub. The checkout line, as one can imagine, was quite long but (surprisingly) moved fairly quickly. An employee even went through the line and handed out candy bars to the people waiting.

-Aaron Williams (editor)

Randy Griffith -
When trying to make a purchase at Fry's, I was told that since this was my first purchase at this particular store that they would have to call my bank to verify my check. After the cashier called my bank and used the automated check approval service, she returned to tell me that my check would not clear. I requested that she try it again which she did with the same results. I became highly alarmed because not only was I thoroughly embarrased, I also supposedly had over $10,000 in my bank account to try to cover a $379.84 purchase. I left the store in a rage and promptly called my bank upon returning home. My check passed through with flying colors after I tested the exact same service the cashier had reported had denied my check amount. I later figuired out that the when the service asked for the nearest dollar amount, she entered in the digits 37984 which would have been over $37,000.00. I called and told a non-reponsive manger my problems and informed them that they lost a customer for life, as well as anyone I could inform of their stupidity.

Here's another story of frustration by Sam Palahnuk:

Fry's Electronics
6100 Canoga Ave
Woodland Hills, CA 91367

Dear Manager:

On March 9th, my friend and I ventured to your Woodland Hills store (#8) to purchase some equipment for our businesses. I had never been to a Fry's before.

First we were met by a parking lot that was completely full. We spent several minutes in our car waiting for someone to pull out of a spot before we could finally park. There was a line of several cars behind us as we waited. We noticed several people parking illegally, blocking pedestrian walkways, etc. Clearly we were "lucky" to find a spot at all.

Inside the store my friend found the CD-ROM drive that he wanted, so I ventured off to find the modem that I needed to buy. I found the modem I needed and began to walk away with it when a short rude man wearing a name-badge told me to "stay put" as he had to "write me up". I didn't understand why I just couldn't take it to the counter, but I played along.

While this man started asking me questions (and slowing me down considerably) my friend whispered in my ear that his salesman was giving discounts, and that I should have him write up my order. I felt this was a good idea, and I asked the short badged man to give me back my modem, and that I wanted someone else to write it up. He didn't seem to want to cooperate and proceeded to "explain" why HE had to write up this modem. I practically had to rip the thing from his hands. He proceeded to follow me around the store as if I was some sort of criminal -- making me feel very uncomfortable.

With the modem written up (with a $10 discount) I ventured off to find some radios. There were no sales people anywhere around the area, so I began the search myself. Finally, after what seemed like a very long time I ran across a very nice sales person. He was nice, but knew considerably less about the radios than I did. He didn't know about frequencies, range, batteries, chargers, or anything else relevant to the radios. I explained to him the difference between citizen's band, and VHF band. He seems most interested in learning about the equipment he was selling me.

I made my choice and he went off to find "the key" to open the cabinet. After about 10 minutes he returned with the key, and proceeded to search the cabinet for the radios of my choice. I noticed that the radio I wanted was right in front of him, but I watched as he literally dumped the contents of the cabinet out -- not seeing what was directly beneath his nose. I started giggling, and pointed to the radio of my choice. He asked me a variety of personal questions, which I answered in good spirits. He wrote me up and I was off again.

Next my friend and I reached the registers. My friend told me that the registers "in the back" were less crowded, so we walked all the way around and waited in line behind a woman. After a wait, the man behind the counter told us that he was indeed not open -- the woman had been a friend of his. In fact, he told us that none of these registers were open. We had waited in vain. I wish one of them had told me that 10 minutes earlier!

We were forced to walk all the way around and wait in line again. We noticed an employee who was directing customers to the registers. We wondered why he hadn't warned us about the closed registers when we walked past him earlier.

After a twenty-minute wait in line we finally got to a register. We squeezed into the tiny space allotted at the counter, and attempted to make our purchase. To my amazement, the clerk would not allow me to buy my modem and my friend to buy his CD-ROM separately because they were on the same "write up". This policy makes no sense, and the clerk had no clue why the policy existed. He struggled to defend the indefensible.

We spent quite a bit of time trying to work with him to find a solution to our quandary. Finally he suggested that he tear up the "write up", deny the salesman his commission, and invalidate the discount he had given me. We found this whole ordeal to be inexplicable and ridiculous. Seeking a solution -- any solution -- I volunteered to pay for the entire order myself -- my friend would reimburse me later. I didn't want to do this, but it was the only sensible choice available given the bizarre circumstances. I wondered how he, without a receipt, would find a way to explain this deduction to the IRS!

Eager to move things along, I presented my American Express Corporate Card -- the card I make all my business purchases with. The clerk told me that he could not accept that card. At this point I must confess I began to lose my temper.

I make all my company purchases with that card -- that's MY policy.

I was torn between giving up at this point, and just doing whatever it would take to end this nightmare. Finally I gave in, and offered to write a check. I pulled out my personal checkbook. I had left the company checkbook in the office, thinking I could use my AMEX card.

The clerk then told me that the check would take, and this is a quote "about an hour and forty-five minutes to clear". I didn't even ask why at this point. I looked around to see if I could spot any flames as I had begun to wonder if I had fallen into hell.

At this point I was red-in-the-face angry. This was the third time in my entire life that I've felt this level of rage. I slapped down my personal Visa card (not even knowing if it had enough remaining credit for the purchase). I just wanted the ordeal to end. The clerk sensed my mood and apologized over and over.

With the luck of the gods my card was approved and I stepped away from the register.

As a last insult -- as a final rub of salt in my wounds, a rude woman stopped us at the door. She appeared to be some sort of "security" person. Obviously assuming we were thieves, she made us unpack the bags the clerk had just packed 10 seconds ago. She examined each item, comparing it to the receipt. Finally, once she had been fully satisfied, we repacked the bags and we were allowed to leave.

I want you to know that I have never been treated so poorly by a vendor in my entire 18 years in the computer industry. I want you to know that I've never run across more obscure, illogical, and bizarre policies and procedures in my life. I want you to know that customers don't like being treated in this imprudent and uncivilized manner! It takes a lot to make me lose my temper, and you're store accomplished the feat with ease.

My purchase that day was for about $1,000.00 worth of equipment. I purchase about $25,000.00 of equipment each year. I assure you that I will NOT be purchasing that equipment at your strange and condescending store.

Why not splurge and hire a competent and friendly staff. The money would be far better spent on improving service than on a bizarre and meaningless "Alice in Wonderland" decor. I hate to think how much was spent on those huge statues.

I may even share this story on the internet with my industry colleagues. Maybe if we stand up to this kind of treatment, you'll be forced to do something about it.

I welcome a response to this letter.


- Sam

NOTE: I never received a response to this letter from the store manager. I did receive a letter 11 months later (no joke) saying they'd "changed the management" and wondering if I had any outstanding issues.

Marty reports:

I saw a picketer in front of the Fremont Fry's store. The sign said that Fry's cheated him out of his money.

This horror story comes from Ron & Sue:

My dad and i go to Fry's all the time. This final time was the last time for me. We had decided to go for sattelite TV instead of cable and since they were having a sale on Dish TV we mosied on down to Frys. When we FINALLY got a salesman and decided whish particulat system we wanted it took him forever to find it in a box. The one he fnally did find had been opened (it was a return). "Don't worry the guy says" and rings it up , a total of $308.00. So we purchase the dish and a second receiver, go home, watch the install film, and then climb up on the roof. 5 hours later we are ready to go. I call up DishTV and give them our access numbers. Dish wants to know where we bought the main receiver. I tell her Frys, and she is thoroughly confused. It seems that a man in Anaheim had owened the receiver FOR 6 MONTHS, ran up a service bill and never paid it. She said our 2 options were to either pay this mans past due bill or return the system and get a new one. She also said she couldn't believe Fry's didn't check it out before accepting the return or reselling. So we disasembled the dish (alot quicker i might add) and trek back to Frys where they tell us .....OH WELL! The man in charge of electronics tells us we got a $100.00 discount on it because it had been used and that we could either shell out another $100.00 (so that it would total $400.00) and get another one or go home and try to get another access card from dish (if it worked it would cost us 20 more and take up to 2 weeks). I start yelling at the guy that 1. he had not disclosed the fact that we were getting a discount on the product and 2. we had spent 5 freaking hours up there on that hot roof and we were due some compensation (a straight trade). Side note to this story, today i went to the dish home page and guess what, the particualr series we bought (4000) is listed at $299.00 . HE was smiling and telling us that was all he could do and we were getting a real deal in the long run.... A raw deal more like it. We argued back and forth for 20 minutes untill finally I told him I wanted to see his manager. He smiled wider and said sure no prob and wandered away for about 15 minutes. When he eventually came back he said the manager authorized a trade but it wouldn't be until monday (2 days later) because they didn't have any on hand. By this time we were worn down said fine and left. I hate Frys! And you know what? I am going to tell everyone at the corporation I work for that Frys sucks and they should buy all electronics elsewhere.

Sales Tax problem

My name is Terry and I purchased equipment worth about $600.00 from the Woodland Hills Store. The equipment would not work so I returned it to my nearest store in Anaheim Hills. Here is the problem: Woodland Hills is in LA county and Anaheim Hills is in Orange county, the taxes are 8.25% and 7.75% respectively. The computers at Fry's can not compensate for this difference. They kept my excess sales tax money. I feel that I was robbed and the State of California says they can do nothing but make sure the money is returned or paid to the State.

I pointed out to the Manager that if I purchased $10,000.00 worth of equipment and drove it to a LA county Store I could make about $500.00 dollars. It would be a nice daily income and he had nothing to say. The Fry's corporate office said they would let me know and I am still waiting for this call.

Ontario California

Line from hell

I recently had an incident with the Fry's store here in Phoenix, AZ.

I needed to return a modem that I had purchased and found that someone else had bought a better one for big I thought.

I proceeded (just as you did) to stand in line for about 1 hour! This is no joke. When I finally was able to reach a human at the other end of the counter I was told that I would have to go to their "other" department for a refund or store credit. You can imagine how I felt after waiting this long....

When I went to see the credit dept for my return I had to wait in line for only about 5 big I thought. They told me that I would have to go back to the same line I just came from!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This scenario played out about 4 times before a "manager" stepped in and started to give me a refund.

First...they tried to charge my card again....not refund....
Second....they couldn't figure out how much tax to refund me because our state tax had just gone down(stadium was finally built) they spent the next 30 minutes trying to figure that out!!!!!!!

By the time I had everything taken care of I had been there for about 2 hours and 45 minutes!!!!

I don't think I will be shopping at their store anymore....besides shopping of the "net" is a lot easier and I haven't had a single problem with anything I have purchased....

Very pissed!!!!

Dan P.

I went to Fry's to buy a new black ink cartridge for my Epson Stylus Color 800 printer. Fry's price on the black cartridge was exactly the same as the color cartridge. I knew that this could not be right, so I went up to the counter to complain.

The people I spoke to at Fry's could not understand that my printer requires two cartridges, one black and one color. They did not understand that a color printer could take a black ink cartridge. I finally managed to convince them that I needed a black cartridge.

Fry's then suggested that I buy this no-name Taiwanese cartridge which I knew from past experience would not fit my printer.

After around 45 minutes of trying to straighten this out I left in disgust. I drove down the street to Central Computer where I was greeted at the door. The salesman knew exactly what I needed, and the price was significantly lower. Total time to purchase the ink cartridge, including some not so complementary comments about Frys: 3 minutes. I havn't been back to Fry's since.

A Fry's Employee Speaks - anonymous:

I work at Fry's and I'd have to agree with most of what you said. I often am appalled at the state of merchandise that I put back on the shelf. As for the waiting we have so many customers (many have said and still say they'll never be back) and our policies for doing anything are so complex and time consuming it takes forever to help anyone. Most people complain about the lack knowlegible service from the floor. Fry's does not distinguish it's employees from box boy to supervisor. Ask the person if there a salesman, not "Do you work here"? We wouldn't be wearing the name tag if we weren't fucking working there. We get most of the whiners up at Check out.

They like to jump in our face because they think their lordship has been violated in some way. To tell you honestly if you come up to me with an attitude I'm not going to give a flying fuck about you and pretty much show you with my uncaring and mocking behavior. I would have to say that 50% of complaints come from nerdy little fucking losers that just killed a level 2140090 dragon, got done polishing their rod, and decided to power trip on down to Fry's.

After going through the usual 20 minute wait in line at the Canoga Park Fry's I finally approached the check out counter. The clerk stared at me for a moment and then took the computer paper that I wanted to purchase and began to ring it up. I noticed that the price that he was charging me was different then what the shelf price said, and told him so. He called for a manager, from Siberia I think, and then continued to stare at me. He then began to ask me personal questions which I declined to answer. I was getting very uncomfortable. Finally, after some time the manager decided that I hadn't been lying about the price and approved the ring up. At this point I wrote a check for the purchase. This was a horrible mistake. The clerk took the check and disappeared. I thought I saw him using the copy machine at the back of the check out area. This struck me as somewhat odd. When he finally returned, he kept smiling at me. As he printed out the receipt he kept telling me to be sure that I held on to the receipt "just in case" . I took the receipt without looking at it and left the store. Later that evening as I went to file the receipt for tax purposes, I looked at it. The clerk had printed his name, address and phone number on the receipt and had written "call me" on it. I could not believe it. Even more incredible was that about a day later I received a call from the clerk had apparently copied my name, phone number and address from my check. I gave the phone to my husband who quite forcefully threatened the clerk and then called his manager. The manager told he would look into the situation and call us back. He never did. I have never been back to Fry's!

Name witheld

I bought a modem at Fry's that said: "33.6 ready", but it was only 28.8.

When I returned it in Palo Alto, I decided to buy one that did say 33.6 without the "ready". The box felt light, though. I had customer service open it. It had all the documentation, but no modem inside.

Submitted by T. Albert

Sorry for the caps, but this person couldn't find the caps-lock key.
Submitted by D. Duque
I used to work at the Frys in Campbell, California, and only after 3 weeks I quit with disgust because the internal and customer policies implemented by upper management. These policies, which evolved from paranoia and fear of employee theft border on idiocy and inefficiency.

First off, no matter how experienced you are, you have to start off at the cash register. On top of that, they don't train you too well. They just let you watch a few veteran (the term 'veteran' refers to anyone working there for more than 4 weeks) cashiers and you try to mimic them the best you can. This attributes to even longer wait times at the counter when customers throw a curve ball at some of the new employees.

To delay the buying process even more, nothing could get done without approval from a supervisor or manager. Why this policy is in place I don't know, because the manager could give a rat's ass about what you're doing. Most of the time they just run around punching in their password without even looking at the screen or paying attention at why you need a password in the first place.

It only produces delays and more delays for all the customers as employees are helpless to do anything. I hated the stare of frustration and disgust from the customers who have waited for eternity in front of me as I anxiously awaited someone, anyone, with a damn password so I could get the purchase done with. Luckily there were some merciful souls out there that could sympathize at how helpless I was to finish a simple transaction. At other stores, a single employee is allowed to handle a transaction whether it's check, credit card, or large purchases. At Frys, it takes 2-3 people as each have to approve the other. I remember one transaction which required 4 separate supervisor passwords! Imagine the time wasted in tracking down even 1 supervisor and multiply that by 4! I'm surprised no one has come in with assault weapons and hosed down the place out of frustration.

And the return procedure? It's a joke. It's merely a marketing tactic to discourage people from wanting to return products. I mean, if you had to go through such a hassle that would make even the most patient Buddhist monk go freaking nuts, you too would be reluctant to return anything. Oh, it's also meant to stop employee theft at the price of driving away the customer for good.

This is all too ironic because during the new employee orientation, the Frys family focuses on keeping existing customers. They tell you that it costs millions in ads to attract a new customer, but costs little to keep an existing customer. So the most valuable customer is the one they already have. Yet, all store policies point at driving away any shred of dignity and patience a customer came in with.

Luckily I'm technically endowed, so I don't require the assistance of any of the employees I come across. So the only time I will ever go to Frys is if I already know what I want, know Frys has a good price, and never ever want to return that item ever again. Otherwise go somewhere else for better, more efficient service and lower prices.

Randy writes:

I was arrested at Fry's because I took a sampler cd to complete the last working CD-ROM bundle pack from another defective bundle pack. The Security there are ass-holes. The judge threw the case because it was so ridiculous.
Last week I went to Fry's to purchase some DVDs since Fry's has a good selection. While there I saw that they had a special where if you buy two DVDs you get a free CD. I could not believe what the guy running the software section had to do to implement this special. He could not just say that the CD was free. Instead, he had to go and discount two DVDs by the same amount the CD was worth! While my experience was one of the most painless ones I've ever had at Fry's, I could not believe the stupid policies that the employees of Fry's are expected to follow.

For instance, why doesn't Fry's implement bar codes? I'm sure there's a lot of mistakes caused by the cashier having to enter every product in by the numbers on the price tag.

I don't blame the Fry's employee for what he had to do. I'm sure he is also frustrated with the system he has to work with. If Fry's had a proper inventory and checkout system like major grocery stores then all of these things would be handled at the cash register through the computer system.

-Aaron (moderator)
Hey there... my name is Paul... and I work at Fry's Electronics in Wilsonville, OR I hear about this page awhile ago but never seemed to find time to check it out.... well i think that most of what everybody here says... is true... Fry's Electroincs is WAY too strick on their rules... We have to go through all different types of authorization all of the time.... For instance the stupid check system that we have.... why call the bank... a customer could go and close the account anytime after they have written the check... or even withdraw the money... At Fry's, we like to joke around about all of the stupid things that we have to do... when somebody uses a check.... sometimes the cashiers will even say... do you have your birth certificate, ounce of blood... and social security card.... Or when returning something.... you have to sign like 100 different things.... first you have to sign at the return area that you are bringing back an item... then you have to go to the registers to sign that you returned the item... I try to not buy much from Fry's becasue i know that it is a waste of money... it is mostly junk.... esp if you are going to buy something that is cheap. PS... DO NOT BUY THE BTC 56K MODEM FOR $29.00 it will probably not work with your computer.... or it probably has been returned about 2 or 3 times

Editor note: The last time I was in the Fremont Fry's (7/20/99) returning an item (which actually worked but wasn't what I wanted) I saw two people standing in the return line returning BTC 56K modems.

Also from Paul...

NEVER buy ANYTHING that has a return sticker.... always look for these stickers.... i bought software that was about $100 (I don't want to give the name of the software company) and a CD out of the thing was missing.... at first i didn't notice the sticker... but when i got home and opened it..... i saw the CD was gone... THEN i knowticed that there was a return sticker on it... it was very tiny... probably about one centimeter by one inch.... I work sometimes with the returned items at fry's and sometimes i will see an item comming back and back and back..... most of the time they will have something missing.... or the item will not work.... but they still stick it back on the shelf..... I once heard this..... sometimes we, at frys, will sell something really cheap that we know is crap.... that way.... they stick it in the ad.... people see it.... people come to the store and buy it... , BUT they ALSO buy other items.... , well..... when the costomer gets home.... finds out the product will not work.... Fry's counts on them to return it.... so... the costomer goes back to frys.... returns it.... BUT BUYS MORE STUFF.... Fry's figures that .... the more times somebody comes in.... the more they will spend.... and this is very true.... My name is Paul and I am a cashier at Fry's Electronics in Wilsonville, I ALWAYS HEAR from customers... I HATE THIS PLACE.... because I aways spend more money then what I planned on.... so be careful of what you buy....


I went to the Anaheim Fry's to purchase a CD Recorder with my nephew. We talked to a salesman regarding amount of returns and quality of certain CD recorders. We eventually picked out a recorder. He then told us that they had a five pack of CDR disks for $1.95, we thought that was a great price so we each bought one. (of course he said there was a limit of one per customer) Of course then we had to wait for the salesman to go write up the paperwork. Looking at the paperwork I noticed that the disks were $5.95. I asked the salesman about the price and he stated that, "They will adjust the price at the register." We proceeded to the checkout line, and when we got to the register they would not change the price. I told them to get the salesman over here, so he came over pulled out a peice of the Fry's advertisement and says they are 5.95. I told him that he misrepresented the price to me. He then replied, "Sorry it's their policy I'm just a salesman. A word to the wise: If you need to purchase a more costly item from Fry's don't accept a print out of the merchandise from the salesman. That form they give you is for commission on the sale of that merchadise. It means nothing. I'd rather see fast food burger flippers get commission on the burgers they sell, because their service is far superior to that of a Fry's salesman.

The other day I had to get a new hard drive for one of the servers at work. It was needed right away, so the closest store was fry's. I go in, took about 5 minutes to find a drive, and get my "quote". Now I it was time to wait in line (which wasn't very long) I stood in line for 20 minutes (meanwhile our primary corporate server is down) I finally get to the register. The "Monkey" stares stupidly at me when i hand him my "quote", and off he goes to find a manager. 5 minutes later he comes back with a manager, who inquires about the "quote", who gave it to me, when did i recieve it, etc, etc (all this info is on the stupid "quote"!!!) this lasted about 10 minutes, now finally he goes off to get the drive. he comes back and stands over the "Monkey" like a guardian while he rings it up, now i have to sign about 4 different papers. i told them "...look, I'm just buying a hard drive, not financing a house!" (I paid cash) after all the "legal documents" are signed they now try to sell me a fry's gurantee, ", no, no I don't want one bye!!!". now comes the security check which i had to stand in line while some other "Monkey" makes sure everybody got what it says on the reciept. I will refrain about the stupidity of this person. In the meantime it must hae taken me about an hour to buy one simple hard drive.


I'm truly amazed at the Ignorance in you're page on Fry's. First you should blame the manufacturer, not the reseller for the quality of the product. The worst customer service and employee knowledge I've seen has been located at CompUSA. At least at Fry's there are over 10 registers open, instead of 2 at a place like CompUSA. As far as employee knowledge goes, I wouldn't expect them to know everything about EVERY product they sell. I would like to see you explain everything about all the products they sell. Considering how rapid technology changes, I would really be supprised to see anyone to keep up with it. I've purchased hardware from Fry's multiple times and NEVER have had a problem with ANY of it! CompUSA sold me a SCSI adapter, which when cross- referenced with a distributor, was a model which was only supposed to be sold in South America!

Granted, there customer service is not that good. It is no worse though, than any other retailer I've seen, and better than some, namely CompUSA. They do have a large selection. I, and those of my family and friends who have purchased products there, have had a grand total of 1 problem with hardware we've purchased. I don't think that constitutes a store selling crappy products. As far as there prices, sure there are other stores that carry similar prices. Do you really want to go to ten different places to take advantage to their prices, or one? I think you really sound like someone who has had 1 or 2 different bad experiences, and now you have a vendetta agianst them. The page you created is just electronic ignorance....grow up!

Enjoyed your Fry's page - found it during a search. A couple of items for your interest:

(1) We lived in Oregon 3 years - the Portland Fry's was really bad - far worse worse than even teh San Diego one (which i am told my Bay Area people is pretty bad compared to the SFO ones). They *don't* refund you - period - even for completely defective merchandise. At best they'll give you a store credit so you can buy more defective merchandise. That store is part of the imaginarium chain (or whatever it was called) that Fry's acquired. The returns counter was staffed by specially-chosen monster-looking people, who tried to intimidate us when we returned faulty stuff. They claimed that I couldn't prove that the product (software) didn't work because it would have to be run on a computer, and they refused to run it on theirs. So I produced my computer, but they objected to my computer because (!!) it had a post-it note on the side (maybe they thought it would interfere with the electrons inside the computer?). Then they wouldn't supply elecctricity to my computer because of 'fire liability' or something.

(2) Prices - try paying 30% more for a WD hard drive than the price fromm the computer store up the road (literally). So much for guaranteed lowest prices. In fact most stuff that isn't on sale, I find, costs more than it would in a proper computer store - that goes for things like electric drills, too, not just computer items.

(3) Another trick - stuff *advertised* "$29 after manufacturer's rebate" - then when you buy it, you discover that the rebate expired a month ago. I've personally seen this in the San Diego store.

Foreigners like me will find Fry's reminds them of the lousy service typical in places like England. This interesting mutant form of retail store provides Americans with a glimpse of what they're missing out on, so they can be grateful. Or not, depending on which type of economic culture you prefer.



I went to the Fry's store in Fremont, CA. with my father to purchase a hub on the after the new year. As you can imagine, it was mobbed. The new Fremont store is huge compared to the old one (but the amount of parking is about the same). The new store has over 50 registers and most of them were manned. What shocked me was that while waiting in line, which stretched most of the way across the store (and this store is bigger than Costco, Price Club, or Sam's Club!) a Fry's employee came around and handed candy bars to everyone waiting in line. I was shocked. My father was shocked. The person standing in line behind me couldn't believe it. Could Fry's be... changing? I still saw what appeared to be previously opened boxes, but they all appeared to be marked. I'll have to wait and see if things are indeed different, or if they revert to the old Fry's most of us are familiar with.,

Anyway, to make a long story short, the line actually moved pretty fast. Instead of the usual 1-2 hour wait at the old store it only took around 15 minutes. When I got up to the cash register I saw that the bottleneck was the guy who tells the person at the front of the line which register to go to. Apparently he couldn't keep up. I saw several registers waiting for customers!

Overall, this visit to Fry's was actually enjoyable. I have never seen a Fry's like this. It is totally different than the old Fremont store (which was one of the worst). Their prices still are not the best. While looking at X-10 stuff their prices were actually pretty high.

-Aaron (moderator)



Moderators note: Due to the content of this letter some words were edited. I will not tolerate such language on my web site.
I have received a request to list alternatives to Fry's and I welcome other recommendations as well. Here in Silicon Valley I have been going to Central Computer for the last six months. Not only are their prices usually better than Fry's, but their service has been excellent. I have also heard good things about FineTech Computers. Even better is the fact that Central Computer has their catelog on the web with prices at Fry's, on the other hand, offers a content-free web site at Central will match Fry's prices if the Fry's price is lower. I have also exchanged a pair of computer speakers that developed a buzz several months later and no questions were asked.
Mr. Cole writes:

About a year ago I went to work for Fry's over my summer break. Boy, was this the worst experience I've ever had in my life!

First of all, after they hire you for a position in Customer Service, you have to go through a week of training. There were six trainees in my group, and by the end of the week, three of them had already quit. This wasn't because the training was to taxing on the brain, it was quite the contrary. Four out of the five eight hour days were spent watching movies on "Fry's Policies," and "Fry's Restrictions." Even a fast food worker had more experience in their first week of work, I'm sure.

Well, after the "Initiation of Hell," I went to work in Customer Service just to find out that 40+ hours of video-watching didn't quite pay off. The videos must have been Archaic, because nothing we were taught was put to use. Therefore, it was like training hell all over again for another week after. Pretty Scary if you ask me.

I really got used to it after a while, but there were those days where having to empty your pockets at the door, and being asked why you weren't at your station every hour, got kind of crazy. I swear, they must have enough cameras in that place to watch every associate every minute. And the Loss Prevention is even worse. Get this, the Loss Prevention Associates are not to associate with any other associates in the store, whether it was inside or outside of work. That really made tension in there worse, if you could believe. I took about three months of that place, and I Couldn't Stand No More!!

Anyone reading this obviously must have an I.Q. higher than that of the average Fry's Associate. So, if any of you are in need of a job out there, heed my words and pass this one up. It's not worth it!!
Vadim writes:

I went to fry's to buy a new motherboard. I bought the one that the salesman recomended. I wrote down the manufacturers web site in my notebook. After I bought the motherboard and installed it, it didn't even work and the web site led to some kind of Mexican light bulb company!!
Last December, my son wanted the Rugrats CD game. I went to fry's and saw two kinds of adventures games. Which was prixed different;y. The newer version which is the rugrats movie adventure is $29.99 and the other one cost $24.99. I didn't buy at that time coz my friend told me that it's cheaper to get it at walmart. But when I went to walmart, they run out of stock already so I had to go back to fry's electronics. To my disappointment all the copies of the movie adventure has been sold out, hoping that my son would at least appreciate the later version, I thought of just buying the other one, to my disgust, they changed the price of the other cd from $24.99 to $29.99. Which I think was really unfair and costing customers lot's of money.

From then on, they lost another customer for life. Not to mention the other stuff that I encountered with this store before this one.

Fry's SUCKS!

My wife is a student and last September needed a tape recorder for lectures. Fry's had the best advertised price on the one we wanted, so we went there. We gathered our three-year-old daughter and went off to Fry's. We found that they were out of the one we wanted, but had a generic brand one for less, so we bought it with cash. Then we were stuck in their "cattle-herding" line for over 20 minutes waiting to buy it, our toddler complaining the whole time.

We tested it in the car before leaving the parking lot and it did not work. It was a tape recorder that wouldn't even record. We went back in the store and explained it to the "hello person" at the door, towing our toddler with us. She said we had to wait in the customer service line, which had 9 people in it, and couldn't just have someone go back and grab another one that worked and exchange it. By this time our toddler was asleep, and I was carrying her, all 30 lbs of her.

45 minutes later, my shoulder aching from carrying my toddler, finally at the front of the line, I thought I could breathe a sigh of releif. Not wanting to exchange the item, or ever shop there again, I opted to return it. The Customer Service kid who "helped" me, had us standing there for seven minutes, whereby someone came by with the same type of recorder, trying to exchange it. I told him NO, I had already said I was returning it, not buying another one there. He then consulted/disappeared with the manager for five or six minutes, by which time my shoulder was really hurting from holding my daughter. Another person came to me and told me the position was closed and to get in line. I was about to chew her out but good, but the person in front of the line said, "No, he was in front of me" and let me go first. I could swear I saw a scowl on the face of the rude female employee.

We thought the ordeal was almost over. We were wrong. During the next 12 minutes the same female employee tried to get me to "accept store credit" or "get a check in 2 weeks". I told her no, that I had paid cash and wanted cash back. Finally she grudgingly gave me a piece of paper, not cash. She told me I had to go to the cashiers to get cash for the piece of paper.

32 more minutes in the cattle-herding line, and after arguing with the cashier, I had my $22 and change back. It took about two and a half hours to buy the recorder we didn't come in to buy, return it because it didn't work and get the measely $22+ back. It took twice as long to get rid of the pain in my shoulders from carrying my daughter. And to this day, my daughter still says "No computer! No computer!" when we pass the store on the freeway.

San Diego
Fry's Electronics
Store #15 - San Diego
9825 Stonecrest Blvd
San Diego, CA 92123

Attn: Store Manager

To Whom It May Concern:

This is regarding our visit to your store this evening at 7pm. We were trying to exchange this 233 MHz Pentium processor w/MMX technology and PCI motherboard that we had purchased on Sunday, May 23rd. This processor & motherboard was advertised in the SD Union Tribune, for the Fry's Anniversary Sale-A-Bration week, for the sale price of $99. We were returning the box consisting of the motherboard, Pentium processor, the manual, and the two disks. The lady customer service rep (her name not known), was asking us for the two IDE cables. My husband stated that there were no cables in the box when he opened it. Then she referred us to Randy Otto, who explained to us that this motherboard is supposed to come with 2 IDE cables, and for us to double check our house to see if it might have fallen out of the box. He said that he was not able to issue a full exchange since the cables were missing. Again, my husband stated that he was very sure that there were no cables included in the box. Randy said that if we would just go home and double check for the cables, then when we came back, he could issue us a full refund if the cables were definitely not there. He explained to us that from his past experience with other customers returning incomplete packages, they found out that the missing items just fell out of the box. The only problem was that we live down south in Chula Vista, which was too far to drive. I gave a hint to Randy that my husband works with computers, but not telling him that my husband is a Network Administrator, who definitely would know what IDE cables are. My husband told Randy that he would not need any IDE cables, because he has his own IDE cables hooked to our computers at home. But even at that point, Randy, stated that he needed to charge for the 2 IDE cables at $7.98. While we were waiting for the credit slip to be processed, another customer was returning the same exact processor & motherboard. When he opened his box, there were no cables included also. The same lady customer service rep told him that there should've been 2 IDE cables in the box. The other customer stated that there were no cables included with the motherboard and processor. But he said that there was another small box that came separately. He went out to his car, brought back the smaller box and it had the cables in it. We examined the small box, and the other customer was right, there was no way that this smaller box could have fit into that bigger box, especially with that huge motherboard. I explained to the lady customer service rep that me and my husband did not have this small box included with our motherboard & processor. She took the IDE cables out of the small box, and placed the cables in the bigger box along with the motherboard & processor, and said that this is how it should've been packed. I looked at the other customer, who kept insisting that the cables were actually in the smaller box, and just explained to them that we were being charged for something that wasn't our fault. Well at this point, Charles, who had been working on our credit, stepped in and said that possibly the cables could've been taken out for use during a demo, and accidentally put in this small box. I confronted him about what he had said. I said, "it came out of your mouth that possibly the cables were not in the box." He didn't say anything, and just continued to process our credit. By the time, I had signed the credit slip, a 3rd customer came up next to me, and was returning the same motherboard and processor. When he opened his box, there was nothing in there but the motherboard. There was no manual, no disks, and definitely no IDE cables. But surprisingly, she gave that customer a full refund, because she stated that this was a "re-pack". Well, in the beginning, my husband had alerted Randy that our purchase could've been a "re-pack", because the sticker seal was broken on the motherboard wrapping, and that another sticker was put on top. You could definitely see that there was another sticker seal overlapping the old one to make it look like brand new. But, since thirty minutes had passed, and we were getting nowhere, we decided to go ahead and accept the charge for the 2 IDE cables. I went to the register, and obtained a refund.

As we were about to leave the store, we saw another customer return the same 233MHz Pentium Processor with MMX technology and PCI motherboard. But by this time, we did not care anymore. But we did glance over, and see that the customer service reps started to open new boxes of these motherboard & processor units. I guess they were still looking for the IDE cables.

At this point in time, the very minimal $7.98 is not the issue, but rather the principle of the matter. I wrote this letter to prove that not every customer returning an incomplete package is lying. My husband and I are telling you the honest truth. We went home, went directly to his computer desk, and there was no sign of the IDE cables.

Most likely the problem with the motherboard & processor packaging stems directly from the manufacturing company, but I also feel that Fry's has a certain responsibility to their customers. Fry's has the ultimate responsibility to double check all computer equipment to make sure that they are completely packaged with all appropriate parts included.

I was a devoted Fry's customer, and even did my Christmas shopping there last year. But it was only recently that I needed to return a few items that did not work with my personal computer. The $7.98 will not make me rich or poor, and so what if we lose one customer, but word of mouth scatters fast. I am sad to say that because of the unfair treatment I received at Fry's today, I just can't bring myself to go shopping there again.

I used to be a loss prevention agent for several retailers and can tell you for a fact that the Frys policy for checking receipts at the exit is ILLEGAL, if you do not want to wait at the exit for your receipt to be checked just walk out, if anyone stops you, then that is illegal detainment also known as false arrest, because they are denying your your freedom of movement. I purchased several items at the Sunnyvale Frys and when I got to the exit there were about nine customers waiting to be checked so I just walked past them and left. As I exited the security employee came after me and said that I had to go back into the store to have my package checked and I told him that no I didn't. As I began to walk away the employee grabbed my arm and yelled for security. Having been trained in self defense and arrest procedures it was simple to put the employee in a wrist lock and push him away. At that moment security arrived and told me that I was under arrest for shoplifting and they tried to handcuff me but I managed to get the cuffs away from one of the AGENTS (who do they hire for security? rejects from the Keystone Kops???) when A manager arrived I agreed to return to the store and once inside I asked to see the video of my alleged shoplifting and they said that they were not allowed to show it to me. I then told them to call the police because I wanted to file a false arrest report. At that point I identified myself as a retail loss prevention agent and asked again to see their video of my alleged crime stating that I wanted to see for myself the 5 aspects needed for a shoplifting arrest ( to arrest a shoplifter you need to observe them approach the merchandise, select it from the display, conceal the merchandise, pass a register and fail to pay for the merchandise and finally exit the store with the concealed merchandise. If any of these five aspects are not observed then the subject can not be arrested.) At this point the Manager stated that perhaps a mistake had been made and that if I would just sign a statement saying that I would not hold the store responsible then I could leave, of course I refused and again asked for the police to be called. to make a long story short I walked out with a $150.00 credit for future purchases at Frys. However every time that I do venture into Frys at least one LP agent always follows me around, but nobody stops me anymore!!!
Cesar A.
I thought I'd get lucky this time @ Fry's. My biggest mistake was going through the front door. When I saw the Smart & Friendly 4012 CD Speed Writer on sale for $300 I thought it was a good deal. It was supposed to be an internal Quad Speed CD recorder along with a SCSI interface card and lots of software. What I got was a lousy IDE CD reader (36x), no SCSI card and most importantly NO GODDAMN CD writer !! I can't believe these fucking idiots. They can't even read the box when they put things back on the shelf !!! Do they really think people will be that stupid and accept a CD reader when they intend to purchase a CD writer. Let alone an IDE type at the price of a SCSI ? This is absolutely amazing. The first thing that I will do tommorrow is go to Fry's and get a credit on my credit card. If I run into the slightest problem you will hear from me again.

To submit your story or Fry's experience, email me at . Please specify if it is OK to publish your story and if you want your name witheld or not. I will not publish your email address and usually limit the name to just the first name. Also, it is useful if you indicate what Fry's store your experience was at.

I reserve the right to not publish stories based on wording or their content. I will not accept stories that contain what I consider inappropriate language. I will publish stories both pro and con about Fry's as you'll see.