I was just at my favored Fry's location, and it was something of a shock. I've never seen so many of their shelves bare before. Anyone going in to find particular items from their weekly ads would have been puzzled, and would have left empty-handed. So I asked what the problem was, and might this be a sign that they were about to go out of business ? (We do know that Amazon has just been killing off various competitors right & left.) They said 'No', it's just that they were in a major process of changing vendors and distribution. Should all get sorted out within a month, they said. But I had my doubts.
Having bare shelves this close to the holidays can't be a good thing, for any business that is striving to remain viable. One could always order from their online unit, but that cuts out browsing, impulse buys, and a lot of other things driving a bottom line.
The other weird thing I noticed from my recent visit was that they were running a skeleton crew. Hardly any of the usual personnel to be seen, and just a couple cashiers. First time I EVER found no employee at the door on the way OUT, insisting on inspecting your receipt, and drawing that blue marker line across it !
Almost no one else has anything close to their selection of in-store electronics items that you can browse. I've also picked up some components that can be used for the pinball machines there, all manner of computer stuff, some office supplies, etc. I'd hate to lose them as an option.
Then, a quick check online turned up
which tends to support my worst thoughts about this.
I'm now thinking that that "official" story they gave me by way of explanation -- an interim change of vendors and distribution channels -- was entirely bullshit ! Trying to put a brave face on things, for the public.
It wouldn't surprise me if the sales associates that I knew there in a few departments (like the networking dept., or the TV dept.) had all been given their walking papers. Some of them were good -- at least at this location -- and had been there for many years.
The thing is, our options continue shrinking. In those few (office) categories that overlap, if you go to Office Depot or Staples instead -- and those two have closed a lot of stores also, relative to what once was -- what you were looking for usually costs notably more. For example, my favorite 22 lb. bond that I use in various printers was no longer stocked by anyone else. Frys had it in stock sporadically, for $8. / 500 sheet pack. OD can order it, but will charge $15. for the same pack. Best Buy may soldier on, as I think they may have sounder financial underpinnings. (?) For computer stuff and general electronics, it could soon be that Micro Centre is the last man standing . . . ?
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I found things the same here (SoCal) Fry's. They had '3' usb hdds, no internals, where theres usually 50 feet of hdds/ssds. Talked to people in tech dept, (where they add ram hdds etc, + repair), they said ALL vendors are renegotiating new contracts with Frys.
-c-Cranky Old Man
A bit of follow-up and confirmation:
Someone I know speculated as to whether this (demise of competition) would drive up prices at Best Buy ?
And I'm wondering if this trend may claim Micro Centre as well ? Their store is already at an impractical distance for me, for anything but essential and very infrequent visits. BUT, I don't want to have to become an online-only shopper. A major company just shipped me several of the wrong part, so I'll have to RMA it back to them. Being able to get what you wanted right off-the-shelf nearly always solved that issue.
Over the past 6 months all of my Fry's here (4 of them) no longer have blank dvd's. They just have a few bd-r left. Can understand downsizing this area in particular but to pretty much eliminate it seems fishy.if all else fails read the manual
I think they are going the way of online sales only. I was going to buy a big screen TV from them but the only models they had in the store were 2 years old. Going online I see that have newer models. I think their they may be done. They are a shell of their former self.
The last time I browsed the Home Theater etc. dept. -- which could easily be 5 or 6 months ago -- my local flagship Fry's location did have what seemed like current big screen models. Should have taken a look at that dept., when I was there a couple weeks back. If it was much like the appearance of so much of the rest of that huge store, you have to wonder where all that considerable inventory evaporated to ? (Returned by Fry's to the manufacturers, if that's even possible ?) I was in to that Frys like every couple of weeks, and there was no sign of anything like a big clearance sale, just business as usual. But their also suddenly going down to a skeleton crew on staffing was instantly rather ominous and unmistakable.
This is indeed sad news. I was a regular denizen of the various Bay Area Fry's and could drop a bit of coin very easily. The scope of their wares was quite jaw dropping. But I haven't been in one in over 10 years. I guess Amazon and Newegg lured me with their siren's call of low prices, free shipping and easy returns.
Now I am afraid to go see the old girl, as I fear she will not be the one I was in love with back then.