On Fry’s

After leaving Georgia Tech, my first "real world" job was working for a now defunct company called Pacific Access Computers. They specialized in a couple of things: reselling Sun gear and selling their own SBUS card for Datakit. I was hired as an SE for the South East. My work at GaTech had already given my great amounts of skill in managing and configuring Sun servers and workstations. However, as is the wont of most tech companies, I had to get certified to be able to "officially work" on these systems. Back in those days, pre-commercial internet, this meant traveling to the Bay Area so I could attend the Milpitas based training. Back then, getting tech books and tech gear was not as simple as today. Naturally there was no Amazon or New Egg yet. But there was Kepler’s Book Store and Fry’s.

My "training" involved going to Milpitas many times over the first few months of my new SEhood. Every time I flew there, I ritualistically did a pilgrimage to Fry’s. I’d spend many happy hours each time just perusing through the shelves of stuff. Don’t recall buying all that much – mostly because I didn’t have the disposable income back then – but I do recall really enjoying it very much. Many years later, the opened up a retail store here in Atlanta. Then they opened up another one. I was sooo happy and went there many times, but something was gone. It had all the stuff, but the prices where meh. The staff was most definitely meh. I clearly remember several instances of staff either being ignorant about their area of "expertise" or being overtly malicious in pushing unnecessary stuff. They did this to me, despite me clearly letting them know that I was not your average joe when it comes to tech stuff. They did this to several other patrons who clearly were just looking for a little bit of good advise (which I surreptitiously offered after they disengaged from the sales puke that had almost convinced them to buy 2x or 3x what they needed).

Over time, I also noticed that the traffic in the store was much much lighter. Their return policies became onerous. Their supply of stuff very dated. And just a general sense of malaise about the whole place. The closest MicroCenter is further than the closest Fry’s. I got to MicroCenter now. While the stuff is not as abundant – their policies and offerings are more than fair and good enough.

It’s sad. I miss the old Fry’s. And it came as no surprise today that I read this article.

Thanks for the memories. Hope you fix yourself.

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