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Frys electronics is Closing.

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First post, by Intel486dx33

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This was a BIG computer and electronics store in Silicon Valley and American west.
A guess they could not compete with Amazon, Newegg, and eBay.

Americans are lazy and just prefer to shop online today.

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Last edited by Intel486dx33 on 2021-02-24, 17:26. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 1 of 26, by CrossBow777

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I really like Frys! The problem is that there weren't any near me physically. But anytime I visited relatives where they had one nearby they would go out of their way to take me there so I could look at stuff and maybe even stock up. Quite a bit of my electornics gadgets I have on my bench came from them during those visits so I will miss them.

But... lately it is better, easier, and cheaper to just place orders for stuff at Digi, Mouser, Allied, etc... so I you can't put all the blame on ebay and Amazon here. Mouser is especially nice because they have good prices for stuff I need, fairly cheap shipping options and since they are literally one state away, I get most of my orders from there within 2 days.

So this isn't surprising to me but I do find it sad. Some have mentioned that Microcenter still has some similar hobbyist stuff on hand but again, nearest Microcenter is 4 hours away from where I live.

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Reply 3 of 26, by Unknown_K

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None around here but I do recall people complaining returns were just chucked back on the shelf to sell again as new.

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Reply 4 of 26, by shamino

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The Fry's near me (before I moved) seemed to stop restocking it's inventory over a year ago. It was increasingly turning into an empty building. That made it seem like a wasted trip to go in there, and so people stopped going in. The lack of inventory led to people wondering what was going on, but the company insisted they were staying in business and were just "changing" something about how they operate or whatever. There's no way the store could still be standing if they didn't restock by now - but I think they permanently lost credibility by letting it run empty like they did.

I haven't been in that store for almost a year myself so I don't know how it is at this point. The last time I was there I was looking at PC cases, measuring if any could possibly fit a slightly odd-sized PSU I had. The only one that would fit was some modern flat monolith design that had no drive bays.
That same trip I may have bought some 99.9% alcohol (only place I've ever seen that for sale) and other odds and ends, but nothing big.

Fry's was the ultimate for physical retail if you wanted to buy electronics and felt self assured that you could make your own decisions when you got there. I loved shopping there in the 2000s.
In the last few years I started going there to buy low level electronic components (ICs, sockets, etc) loving the fact that there was still a local store where you could buy such things, and the selection was actually pretty good (way better than Radio Shack was in any recent memory). But just as soon as I started doing that they started shrinking that area of the store, and the selection got a lot less good. It no longer felt like it was worthwhile.. and I started ordering everything again.

In their heyday a common complaint was that they didn't have enough salesmen to "help", but that was their business model. It was perfect for people who didn't want help and just wanted a huge selection to browse and pick out at your leisure. They had everything. I remember reading about the company's history that they started in the silicon valley region catering to customers who usually had plenty of technical knowledge, so their strategy from the beginning was to not try to "help", instead assuming most customers knew what they were doing and keeping their own operating costs low. It was basically a self-serve electronics warehouse, and they were cheaper than any conventional retail store. If you wanted help you went to Best Buy, if you wanted warehouse selection and low prices you went to Fry's.

HP apparently had an agreement to send some of their own sales reps into Fry's stores. I remember there'd sometimes be an HP guy in the laptop and printer area, talking to customers about those items.

It was fun to be able to drive down there and buy everything you needed to build a PC, go back home and put it together that same day, and if something was wrong you could go right back to the store without needing to deal through the mail.

In the last few years they were matching internet prices, but I don't think they were making any money doing that. It was just a desperate attempt to keep people going into the store instead of ordering online.
I used to think that Best Buy was under threat from Fry's, but it turns out Fry's failed first. The thing with Fry's is that the stores were huge and spread out so their customers on average had to drive further to get there. People had no problem doing that as long as it gave them a superior selection and saved them money, but internet retail beat them on both those points. This left "get it today", "see it in person", and "retail shopping is fun" as the remaining advantages, but that wasn't enough. Best Buy stores are more expensive but it's also a lot easier for most people to get to one.

California has been among the most aggressive in their political reaction to Covid, and that surely helped accelerate Fry's demise. Fry's did spread to several other western states but I'm sure California was still a critical market for them.
I saw a depressing number of local businesses near me in CA go out of business or sell to major chains before I moved, but I think Fry's is the first large chain I've seen. Unlike some of those smaller businesses though (which had been there a long time), I think Fry's was probably going to fail regardless due to their impossible fight against Amazon.

I'm not living in Fry's region anymore, so even if I thought of something I wanted to go buy before they close, it's too late for me. 😀

Last edited by shamino on 2021-02-24, 23:18. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 5 of 26, by shamino

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Unknown_K wrote on 2021-02-24, 22:13:

None around here but I do recall people complaining returns were just chucked back on the shelf to sell again as new.

They'd reseal them with tape and put a reduced price sticker on the box. It was a large sticker, almost impossible to miss.
Often you'd find a shelf full of opened items with those reduced stickers, and struggle to find one that was actually new.
Once I was in the store with someone who asked a sales clerk about what was in the box. We were surprised when she opened it to answer the question, then resealed it with a reduced price. We felt guilty about that and didn't intend her to do that, but she acted like it didn't matter.

I remember returning a Gigabyte motherboard that was definitely defective. I tried to give the returns guy a clear but brief description so that their service dept would recreate the issue and not just put it back on the shelf. I wanted to check back in a few days to see if it landed back on the shelf, but I didn't. It wouldn't surprise me if that happened though.

Reply 7 of 26, by wiretap

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I'm glad I got to go to a Fry's in Texas when I went on a business trip. I'm still pretty lucky though, since I have a Microcenter about 40 minutes away from me.

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Reply 8 of 26, by SodaSuccubus

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As a Canadian, I only got to experience Fry's once when I visited my partner, but it was pretty bare n' empty. Very few actual computer parts lying about. More Pre-builts and TVs than anything. Even the shelves of keyboards was empty.

We have a local chain here in Canada called Memory Express. Allways had a pleasent time with them.

Amazon might have lax policies, but atleast with physical stores you know (most of the time, anyway) what your getting is fresh supply. Iv had a few "NEW" amazon orders that where obviously tampered or used returns.

I got a burnt looking Intel processor instead of a Ryzen 2700x once 🤣.

Reply 10 of 26, by chinny22

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My main concern with physical shops closing down is when I'm sent to a site, often couple hours away and find out I quickly need to buy a cable or adapter or other low value item.
It's getting harder and harder to do this.

Problem is shops cant survive on these kind of sales alone and I buy just about everything accept grocery shopping online so I'm in no position to complain either.

Reply 11 of 26, by gerry

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Intel486dx33 wrote on 2021-02-24, 16:33:

This was a BIG computer and electronics store in Silicon Valley and American west.
A guess they could not compete with Amazon, Newegg, and eBay.

Americans are lazy and just prefer to shop online today.

is it laziness? If so, what is the virtue associated with going to a store?

I will miss big box stores as they all inevitably disappear, it reminds me of the (what seems on reflection to be) guilt free and optimistic later 80's and 90's when to get things it was completely normal, and very modern and cool, to drive yourself to various places and wander round looking at the wonders on offer, something no online experience can come close to. I suppose it had to end, the writing was on the wall with the advent of the internet for the masses.

Reply 12 of 26, by Intel486dx33

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gerry wrote on 2021-02-25, 10:30:
Intel486dx33 wrote on 2021-02-24, 16:33:

This was a BIG computer and electronics store in Silicon Valley and American west.
A guess they could not compete with Amazon, Newegg, and eBay.

Americans are lazy and just prefer to shop online today.

is it laziness? If so, what is the virtue associated with going to a store?

I will miss big box stores as they all inevitably disappear, it reminds me of the (what seems on reflection to be) guilt free and optimistic later 80's and 90's when to get things it was completely normal, and very modern and cool, to drive yourself to various places and wander round looking at the wonders on offer, something no online experience can come close to. I suppose it had to end, the writing was on the wall with the advent of the internet for the masses.

Yes, i think it is LAZYNESS with allot of Americans.
Americans work long hours and dont have time to go to the store after work.
So they shop and order online during there free time.
Also the Availability, variety and price comparison of shopping online almost guarantees you will get the product you
Want at the best price.

Personally, I like going to Brick and Mortar stores.
If you need something right away your best choice is to drive to the store.
If you have questions about an item a sales person can help you.
I know Frys electronics had an internet price comparison guarantee.
Where they would match any price from most stores on the internet.
So it must have been hard to try to turn a profit.

Americans just dont shop at brick and Mortar stores and malls like they use to.
Even grocery shopping is done online.

This will be the Next store chains going out of business is grocery stores.

Americans are even too lazy to go out to eat at restaurant. They order online and have it delivered.

Reply 13 of 26, by VileR

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Are you really unaware of a certain tiny problem over the past year, which has been killing retail businesses (and grocery stores, and restaurants) all over the world on an unprecedented scale? Your thesis aside, it's far from being an American-centric issue.

As for Silicon Valley... as someone said elsewhere, it's been a few decades since they actually used to make things there. Not that surprising that there's little demand for electronics there in recent years.

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Reply 14 of 26, by gerry

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Yes, i think it is LAZYNESS with allot of Americans. Americans work long hours and dont have time to go to the store after work. […]
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Yes, i think it is LAZYNESS with allot of Americans.
Americans work long hours and dont have time to go to the store after work.
So they shop and order online during there free time.
Also the Availability, variety and price comparison of shopping online almost guarantees you will get the product you
Want at the best price.

Personally, I like going to Brick and Mortar stores.
If you need something right away your best choice is to drive to the store.
If you have questions about an item a sales person can help you.
I know Frys electronics had an internet price comparison guarantee.
Where they would match any price from most stores on the internet.
So it must have been hard to try to turn a profit.

Americans just dont shop at brick and Mortar stores and malls like they use to.
Even grocery shopping is done online.

This will be the Next store chains going out of business is grocery stores.

Americans are even too lazy to go out to eat at restaurant. They order online and have it delivered.

that doesn't sound like laziness but being very busy and making best use of limited time, as you say they can pick and choose in short order what would otherwise entail a couple of hours of driving around

you're right about the beneficial immediacy of physical shopping and a knowledgeable sales clerk is better than a 'chat' session for sure, but i don't blame busy Americans (or anyone else) looking to save precious time and money even if the consequence is the loss of some businesses. I don't see it as laziness in the same way that i don't see going to a store as virtuous

with every progression in modernity there is also something lost, the whole thing has been accelerated by the pandemic too - compacting several years of steady changes into a much short time

Reply 15 of 26, by Intel486dx33

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Well if you dont support local retailers they go out of business.
The retailers I see with allot of shoppers are Walmart, Costco and Bestbuy.
I think allot of people are buying TV’s and computers from Costco.

People just aren’t building there own computers anymore.

Apple and Microsoft computers are basically non-upgradable.

Apple app-store and Microsoft app-store purchases is all done online.
Software purchases are all done online today and downloaded over the internet.

Reply 16 of 26, by rmay635703

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Intel486dx33 wrote on 2021-02-25, 15:25:

Well if you dont support local retailers they go out of business.

People just aren’t building there own computers anymore.

Software purchases are all done online today and downloaded over the internet.

No people are buying any new computers anymore .

I’ve never “bought” a downloadable
(probably never will)

In reality if we exclude toys like cell phones / tablets the number of PCs sold per capita (private sales) has dropped dramatically since peak.

If we exclude netbooks and laptops things look abysmal

This has been true since we were retailed out of business into the malaise era we are still in.

Many people are reverting backwards into not owning a PC due to cellular devices and workplace security requirements . Others are sticking with ancient equipment.

We have a small minority that get big graphics cards and build their own but since most systems these days are even more proprietary and even less upgradable than ever before the average Joe building a modern PC isn’t very common and honestly the parts market is so jacked up buying a disposable name brand on paper seems like a better deal until the cheap power supply dies and you find nothing off the shelf fits the system .

Cough my HP/Compaq core2 duo I barely use now won’t post but reports power good and it has a god awe full PSU setup with the motherboard powering drives.

I seem to find more folks “building “ antique core2 i5 and i7 with a combo of new and used parts than actually buying all new these days.

In so far as online purchases
I only buy online if I have absolutely no other choice, fraud is so difficult to avoid it’s not worth it.
My experience also is that although online is a good way to find a cheap car, my actual purchases happen in person or over the phone and most everything I buy is much more expensive on Amazon than in store.
$1.99 Beef Roast, $1 jugs of oil
cloths and other staples have always been more expensive on line and extremely painful to purchase.
The convenience of Amazon is mostly about laziness and actual studies on the matter show that it actually takes most people a LOT more time to purchase on Amazon than in store.
The exceptions are folks who buy EXACTLY the same things on a schedule but these folks usually pay 2x-3x as much for the privilege as Amazon can charge random prices based on your previous behaviors.

When I go to a physical store I’m actually looking for new things and buy things I would never even think of buying online and usually on sale.

I weep for the next generation that will be stuck with the illusion of online choice but no real deals or choice and no real means to find anything new/unusual.

Your ability to “shop around “ is nearly non-existent online due to being tracked and sandboxed into what results you see at a particular price point.
Go off the usual sites using a google search for something to buy and you take your life into your hands if your not careful what site shows up.

Reply 17 of 26, by creepingnet

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I came late to Fry's. When I moved to....dare I say it, Reno in 2018, part of the perk of living there was being able to visit Fry's on my way to and from our travels to see family in California. I've been to San Jose, I think Vacaville, and another one off of 680 somewhere.

San Jose was my favorite and near my auntie-in-law. They actually still had a lot of stuff, but that was back in 2018 or early 2019. I bought my SATA to IDE adapter there, and a bunch of components for prototype light pens for my Tandy 1000A, and a couple other things.

Vacaville, at least I think that's where that was - it was the train themed one - was the $200 trip to buy up piles of project enclosures for guitar pedals. I also bought a heaping pile of LEDs while there.

The one off of 680 was the most dissappointing. It was a HUGE Fry's somewhere north of San Jose, and god, it was empty. Entire aisles - nothing. 100 pins for pin-through-hole components - gone. Apparently some retro-gamer came in there and snagged up all the SATA to IDE adapters. The best score was the happy wife when she found some perfume and cologne there. The computer section was a joke.

I Think COVID-19 was really the stake in the heart of an already swiriling business TBH. Esp in California where the Governor has been putting in some pretty strict restrictions, and they have had wildfires and other events making it hard for anyone to get out of the house and go there. My in-laws have mentioned having days where nobody is to leave their house.

COVID I think is really going to expedite how business is changing to a more remote and online thing. People are going to be working from home more and relying on online ordering to do what is wanted and or needed. It was already heading there before, it's only going to get "worse". I think among the last to go will be grocery stores nad places like Wal-Mart or Target.

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Reply 18 of 26, by NovaCN

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Aw man, that's really upsetting. You never see anywhere else in retail with the kind of selection you'd get at Fry's. Sure, online shopping exists, but if you need something right away, or if you don't know the name of something but you'd at least recognize it if you see it on the shelf, you kind of have to go brick and mortar.
I don't have a whole lot else to say. I'm just sad.

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Reply 19 of 26, by Intel486dx33

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I liked that fact that you could go to Fry’s to purchase a capacitor or fuse if you needed it right away.
I think the Smart home devices and smart appliances and home theater will be the next BIG electronics sales.
Allot of people are buying home theater equipment today and this stuff does not last forever and upgrades are always
Wanted and needed.

I am still working on my home theater setup.

As for smart home I try to keep it simple but sure would be nice to be able to visit a store to this stuff in action.