Fry's Home Electronics: Between Heaven and Hell

Store Profile

  • Location: multiple locations
  • Website: frys.com

Store History

  • Founded: 1972
  • Founded by: Charles Fry
  • Headquarters: San Jose, California, USA

The original Sunnyvale store (located near the intersection of Oakmead Parkway and Lakeside Drive) stocked numerous high-tech supplies such as integrated circuits, test and measurement equipment, and computer components, as well as software and various other types of consumer electronics.

Oh, Fry's, how we love, yet also hate you! With your aisles upon aisles of everything and anything our tech-loving hearts desires, alongside magazines, candy and miscellaneous items we had no idea we needed. Fry's Electronics, for those of you who haven't had the pleasure/horror of experiencing, is to electronics as Costco is to food/home items; a warehouse sized store, each decorated with their own wondrously unique theme that ranges from Alice in Wonderland to a 1950's Alien Invasion...and also happens to sell electronics.

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Fry's Electronics reputation is bookended by two popular opinions: 1) it's where you want to go when you want something Best Buy doesn't carry, usually at a (much) cheaper price, and specifically for those who're are apt to take their tech challenges into their own hands (geeks+hobbyists), and 2) where some of the worst customer service in existence exists today. We're talking about retail floor sales representatives who've been known to exhibit a magical quality of disappearing into thin air when you even glance their direction; when you do happen to find someone and ask them a question, we've had them answer product questions by reading off the copy from the box of the item we're asking them about. And don't get us started about the product displays/shelving, which can often turn into a game of "which product was returned and put back onto the shelves". But then again, price and selection keeps us coming back for more, being the tech masochists we are.

That all being said, any trip to Fry's is usually a fun one. Perusing the seemingly acre wide selection of popular and obscure DVD titles, browsing through a solid selection of computer books, and eyeing a car lot of audio/video gear side by side makes it a destination for hands-on comparison for most major brands. If and when you know what you want, it's likely there to be found at Fry's, from an assortment of CPU mod components, networking equipment galore, a candy aisle that puts many grocery stores to shame, and an impressive selection of magazines (some of questionable subject matter, though we did find one called "The Good Ole Days" and often find model railroading titles at locations). Just don't expect any help.

[Creative Commons Photo: Steel Wool; other images from Fry's Forum]

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