Tips for shopping at Fry's Electronics
(I mostly familiar with the Fountain Valley
store, but judging from reports on the web, they're all about the same)
- Never buy items with restock stickers on them. There's virtually no quality control on what gets restocked. On the other hand...
- If you need to try out several different items to make up your mind, Fry's liberal return policy is exactly what you want. (However, it will often take an hour of waiting in the return line first.)
- Don't ever bring in anything for repair. You'll never get it back. Return it if you can, preferrably not for "store credit"
- Loss-leader sale items are often worthwhile, but regular prices are, well, regular-to-expensive. Don't buy stuff that's not on sale unless you can't get it elsewhere.
- Be pushy. In order to buy a bare CPU, memory or hard drive, you need to get a sales slip from one of the salespeople in the components isle. Be ready to tell them exactly what you want, and don't accept substitutions of more expansive upgrades. The salespeople are stupid and couldn't care less, but they do get commission.
- Be prepared to spend a long time there. For example, if you wanted to buy a stick of SDRAM, you'd first have to get the attention of one of three salespeople being swarmed by a dozen or so customers in the components isle. After arguing with him about what you want and receiving a sales slip, you wait in a long line to get to the checkout, where the clerk takes the sales slip to the "cage" where someone will bring out the SIMM for them. You write a check, so the clerk raises a Customer Service sign to wait for the supervisor to come by, who then takes your check over to a podium where they call your bank to see if you've got enough money. If you're not a regular customer, you'll also have to give your address and show several forms of identification. After you finally check-out, there's another long line at the exit where you wait for another bored clerk to initial your recipt.
- Feel free to open up the boxes and take a look at the mouse, keyboard, CD-ROM, or whatever else you're planning to buy. If the salespeople even notice, they won't care.
- If you're planning to buy bare components as well as boxed parts, get the components first. Otherwise the salespeople will insist on adding all the stuff in your cart to their sales slips in the name of "faster checkout", meaning the checkout clerk gets confused and they get commission.
- There is a single long line for a row of checkouts, with a clerk at the front of the line who tells you which checkout to go to. The checkout clerks hold up numbered signs when they're free, so ignore the clerk at the front of the line and just go to the closest checkout.