Fry’s — A Dork’s Wonderland

So, this evening, Holly and I took a drive up to Fishers to visit the new Fry’s Electronics store there. We have heard of Fry’s from our friends who live in California… vast cornucopias of computers and televisions, at prices that make Sam Walton upset and selection that makes grown men weep. Read on for some more narrative and a selection of the items we acquired from our trek.

First off, this store is hidden away in a maze of hotels. The store has been home to a slew of failed consumer electronics stores, including Ultimate Universe. Not knowing exactly how to get there, I give them a call. The conversation goes something like this.

Me: “Hi, I was wondering if you could give me directions from 465 (interstate that goes in a giant loop around Indianapolis)?”

Fry’s Employee: “Well, from where on 465? North? East?”

Me: “Well, 465 is a circle, and Fishers is north of 465, so I imagine it doesn’t matter what side of Indianapolis I am coming from because I will need to exit off of 465 to head north.”

FE: “Well, you have to take I-69 to exit 3. Then go right at the first light and then left at the next light. But that light is really close so you have to like cut across all of the lanes really quickly. Follow it back and you’ll see the sign past the Holiday Inn and the Hilton.”

Once she got to the “left then right and left again” thing, I gave up and decided to drive around until I found the Holiday Inn (which I did rather easily). Then, there’s a giant building hidden behind the trees… boy, was it beautiful.

Holly was on the phone with her mom, so we couldn’t hold hands and skip into the store together like I had planned. Instead, she dismissed me from the car to enter on my own. From the outside, the entrance is just like any other big electronics store like Best Buy or Circuit City… two sets of automatic doors with a man trap before entering the real store. You couldn’t quite see in from the outside, other than there were aisles of stuff… I walk in and go past the customer service area and land into the electronics section. I was expecting, you know, routers and cables and mice and speakers. No, I found circuit boards, do it yourself spy cameras, bags of BNC connecters and bulk Cat-6 cable. I didn’t know they had that kind of stuff! Wow!

Intermingled throughout with the soldering supplies and model aeroplanes, you see random assortments of wireless routers and external hard drives. One can only assume that they have so many of these items, they don’t have anywhere else to put them but create giant endcaps and parked pallets in the floor. I’d never seen such things.

At the end of the electronics isle, I find their computer components isle. They had a wall of different types of memory (I bought a 1GB module for my Powerbook and moved my old 512 to Holly’s ‘book so we’d both have more RAM. It was Corsair Value Ram, and it was $159.99. The same sized module from Crucial was $196. I could have saved a few bucks at NewEgg, but, I paid for instant gratification. I also picked up a Mighty Mouse and an Apple Bluetooth keyboard for my laptop. Both are really nice and were priced right). Next to that, is the wall of processors. I’d NEVER seen a retail store that sold processors. They had some of them glued to the wall behind the glass so you could see what they looked like! I could have bought a dual core, 2.8 GHz, 800 series Pentium 4 processor for under $300! Next to the processors what do we have? Motherboards. LOADS of Motherboards. A hundred foot long display of real motherboards so you could look at them and see which colour PCB you wanted. They had giant full sized boards, little itty bitty Mac Mini-sized boards… It was crazy. They had a display with all of the black light glow in the dark processor and case fans so you could see which would be the coolest spinning inside your computer. (I personally liked the one that glowed a middle shade of blue, and had green LEDs in the centre hub that made designs as the fan would spin)

I will stop here with the sappy descriptions of this store now. Suffice it to say, it was neat and we will be going back. Their prices rock. I didn’t get tackled by any sales people asking if they could sell me protection plans. Except for the fact that their computer components were split on opposite sides of the store (routers, hard drives, CPUs, ram, cases etc. were right in the entrance on the far right of the store. Video cards, sound cards, complete systems, and other things like that were in the far left back corner of the store), everything was laid out in a nice manor and was easy to find.

There is one more part that I have to go through in detail, and that was the check out process. You follow the signs to “Checkout” and you find a giant wall of impulse buy type items (candies, batteries). They have a rack of magazines that is, hand to heart, 250 feet long, with every type of magazine ever made. You go down this isle to the end, turn a corner, and you are now surrounded on both sizes by impulse buy items. You walk down this corridor to a guy. He looks at the status lights on the register and the items you have, and tells you which register to go to. Each register has a light pole sticking up with a green light and a red light. Green light means they’re not helping anyone and the traffic cop can direct you to them. Red light means unit needs assistance, I guess.

Oh, I forgot to mention. There are 65 cash registers for checkout. Sure, only 15 or so were open tonight, but, imagine how great that will be on Black Friday?

[posted with ecto]