Good-bye, Fry’s

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I moved to Palo Alto in the summer of 1984. The next year, only a few blocks from the condo I was renting, a new store opened up called Fry’s Electronics. Here’s a photo:

Depending on where you live in the country, you may or may not have ever heard of Fry’s. The first store, in Palo Alto, had a Western theme. It was intended to give the feel of the late 19th century Old West. As Fry’s opened up other stores, they each had their own unique motif. One of them was like an Aztec temple……….

…….another was like an oscilloscope……….

……….and so on.

Thanks to a combination of Amazon, Best Buy, and Covid, the Fry’s across the nation have begun to look more and more like this:

In this area, Fry’s was infamous was terrible customer service. God help you if you wanted to actually return something there. They got better over the years (I visited the place probably 100 times in my life) but there were hilarious parodies on the early Internet with hypothetical Fry’s employment applications, requiring the prospective employee to be absolutely horrible at everything they do.

One particularly extraordinary tidbit from their history was this item:

In 2008, Fry’s vice president of merchandising and operations, Ausaf Umar Siddiqui, was charged by federal prosecutors in an illegal kickback scheme involving Fry’s vendors, fueling sales with mail-in rebates. The alleged scheme was designed to defraud the company in order to cover Siddiqui’s gambling expenses. Siddiqui used the funds to supplement his lavish gambling habits in Las Vegas where he lost approximately $162 million

In fact, Fry’s had a lot of issues. i saw list snippet to give you a taste:

Still, it’s kind of bittersweet that they are gone. It’s just one more piece of the “before-time” that is about to disappear forever.