Not signed in (Sign In)

Welcome, Guest

Want to take part in these discussions? Sign in if you have an account, or apply for one below


Vanilla 1.1.4 is a product of Lussumo. More Information: Documentation, Community Support.

Welcome Guest! Want to take part in these discussions? If you have an account, sign in now.
If you don't have an account, apply for one now.
    •  
      CommentAuthorCharlie
    • CommentTimeJul 19th 2019 edited
     permalink
    1. Amazon / online shopping.  
    2. The Omar Sidiqqi scandal.  
    3. Consistently pissing off customers.  
    4. Not paying their vendors off in a timely manner / loss of industry reputation.  
    5. High turnover rate of talent.  
     
    The third one is interesting because I have never thought of Fry's as a customer-friendly environment, yet it was in business for decades. I'm really wondering how a business could flourish that long while simultaneously giving their clients every reason to never come back. I think the term that business universities use to describe that kind of management is "incompetent douchebags." Anyways, it finally caught up.  
     
    What's your take on this? Let's hear it.
    •  
      CommentAuthorasdf
    • CommentTimeJul 21st 2019
     permalink
    I'd say all of the above plus running the company on antiquated software
    •  
      CommentAuthorflea
    • CommentTimeJul 21st 2019
     permalink
    Ya'll don't understand. I work in Texas where the fry's have their ranches, and a whole sort of other ventures. One thing I learned from working in this area all these years, having seen the fry's visit lots of times:  
     
    Fry's does not exist to profit and grow and develop the company. It might have at one point. Golf courses, ranches, islands, whatever else, fry's exists to fund the life of the fry's people. Straight up.  
     
    So till the fry's people stop or don't want those things, fry's electronics will be around, in some form to bring the money in.Fry's is corrupt I am here to talk about it.
    •  
      CommentAuthorValve2000
    • CommentTimeJul 21st 2019
     permalink
    Flea that is very true. I've been to the ranch before back when they would bring top gp store managers and sales men, ATVs , guns, any type of beer or liqour you could ever want, plus a full time guy running the place. Looked very expensive to keep up. Sometimes they would Mopar dfw or Houston markets just to head to Camp for the weekend lol
    •  
      CommentAuthorItsyaboi
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd 2019
     permalink
    Mostly amazon from what I noticed. The customers in my store were for the most part level headed and content with what they got. I never even heard of the Omar scandal, had to ask a friend what that was and he didn’t know either so I had to google it. Everyone was just ordering everything off of amazon.  
    Also moral was pretty low with the way management worked. The Av manager and supervisor never did any work and disrespected people so much. But they never got in trouble because of management having each other’s back when someone reported it.  
    We weren’t making any money too so a lot of people would quit after a couple of weeks. No ones coming in, we didn’t have product, we didn’t make any money. And the one person that does come in asks for something we don’t have so we have to tell them try Best Buy.
  1.  permalink
    Charlie:1. Amazon / online shopping.
     
    IMO it's not just that Amazon and smaller companies like Newegg crush Fry's with their online presence. It was Fry's utter lack of an attempt to set up a functional website that could even dream of competing. Frys.com always seemed like a side show. Like "hey look at us! We got a website too!" Instead of taking ecommerce seriously, they dropped the ball big time and never even really tried to catch up. Frys.com has always sucked ass and was virtually unusable for the entirety of it's existence.  
     
    Charlie:2. The Omar Sidiqqi scandal.
     
    Probably not. Even Fry's could absorb that loss at the time it happened. That was 11 years ago.  
     
    Charlie:3. Consistently pissing off customers.  
    4. Not paying their vendors off in a timely manner / loss of industry reputation.  
    5. High turnover rate of talent.
     
    I'll just lump all this together. Fry's always treated both the employee and the customers like they were the enemy. Obviously this kind of relationship has no chance of working out in the long term so they fucked up big time there. Not paying vendors in a timely manner probably played a part but it's hard to say how much without knowing more. Turnover rate was always hit or miss, in my experience, depending on both the department and the store.  
     
    I don't think you could easily pin it down to one thing but a combination of incompetent management from the top down + not understanding and adapting to the era of ecommerce are probably the biggest contributors to the end of Fry's.
    •  
      CommentAuthorgarbanzo
    • CommentTimeJul 26th 2019
     permalink
    IMHO Fry's is at least 10 years too late.  
     
    Never had a good online presence; mostly just the local newspaper ads. When was the last time you picked up one of those?  
     
    Fry's hiring process:  
    You barely have a grasp on the English language? You're a cashier! Fuck that up you get moved to Returns.  
    You know what a TV is and what 1080p means? You work in AV!  
    You know how to bullshit specs on ignorant customers to make sales? You work in Computers!  
    You know how to use a washer/dryer? To the AT department you go!  
     
    You don't know any of this shit? Ay, you can be SM or ASM!
  2.  permalink
    Randy Fry Did 9/11:
    Charlie:1. Amazon / online shopping.
     
    IMO it's not just that Amazon and smaller companies like Newegg crush Fry's with their online presence. It was Fry's utter lack of an attempt to set up a functional website that could even dream of competing. Frys.com always seemed like a side show. Like "hey look at us! We got a website too!" Instead of taking ecommerce seriously, they dropped the ball big time and never even really tried to catch up. Frys.com has always sucked ass and was virtually unusable for the entirety of it's existence.  
     
    Charlie:2. The Omar Sidiqqi scandal.
     
    Probably not. Even Fry's could absorb that loss at the time it happened. That was 11 years ago.  
     
    Charlie:3. Consistently pissing off customers.  
    4. Not paying their vendors off in a timely manner / loss of industry reputation.  
    5. High turnover rate of talent.
     
    I'll just lump all this together. Fry's always treated both the employee and the customers like they were the enemy. Obviously this kind of relationship has no chance of working out in the long term so they fucked up big time there. Not paying vendors in a timely manner probably played a part but it's hard to say how much without knowing more. Turnover rate was always hit or miss, in my experience, depending on both the department and the store.  
     
    I don't think you could easily pin it down to one thing but a combination of incompetent management from the top down + not understanding and adapting to the era of ecommerce are probably the biggest contributors to the end of Fry's.
     
     
     
    Agreed that I don't think that there was any one factor. Having worked in sales at Fry's back when they were a far more successful company I do have a couple observations though. Amazon, Newegg, etc. have certainly hurt them albeit it has hurt all brick and mortar stores so I'm not sure that is as significant as some might assume. Best Buy has certainly closed underperforming stores, but they're still profitable last I checked while I'm skeptical that Fry's has been profitable for a while. Fry's is private so nobody outside their accounting, senior execs and maybe a couple investors/creditors knows how bad things really are, but I seriously doubt they are making money with how empty the parking lots look. I think the difference is that Best Buy invested a lot more in their online presence. E-commerce as you said has always been an afterthought to Fry's. It took them **years** to rebrand Outpost to Frys.com. Even then it took even longer to integrate inventory or online will call to their website, which many other retailers had years earlier. Fry's has consistently been a few years behind on their website against their competitors. That wasn't as big of a deal in 2005-2007 back when I worked at Fry's, but as more purchases even those done with brick and mortar stores are done online that has certainly hurt them. Many of the customers that I used to sell to may be dead already or are well into retirement counting their pennies to pay their bills rather than buying things at Fry's. Those old people's place in the economy has been replaced by younger adults where Amazon, NewEgg, etc. have always existed and in many regards are more competitive. They do still buy from retail, but they have higher expectations for retail websites and the retail experience. As the quality/quantity of Fry's inventory has declined the likelihood that you are going to need to go online to buy something has gone up. Even 4-5 years ago the selection at Fry's to say nothing of before 2008 increasingly has become thin outside a few weeks of holiday shopping season.  
     
    Another factor is that compared to Best Buy many of their stores are larger so their fixed costs of running the store are higher. As entire categories (e.g. software, DVDs, CDs, etc.) became obsolete they struggled to find a way to generate profit out the same floor space. Retailers are evaluated by investors upon their revenue/profit per sq ft and compared to other smaller more focused retailers Fry's struggles in that metric. Worse I think Fry's was slow in getting out of dying businesses. Even when I worked there they still dedicated a lot of floorspace/merchandisers to categories like software/CDs/etc. that you didn't need a crystal ball to see were dying. I can remember them holding onto obsolete books that were pushing a decade old that should have been fire sold years ago to recoup at least some of the cost of buying them and freeing up shelf space. Some products they were ok of turning over for new inventory, but some sat there for years gathering dust and creating work for merchandisers to straighten them out whenever a customer moved them. You can't fall in love with inventory needing to get a min margin on each sale. If an item isn't moving in a timely fashion you need to move it. Occasionally I saw Fry's firesale old inventory, but they were often slow to do so. Back in the day fast moving items would make up for the duds that Fry's would hold onto, but Fry's kept too much money locked into slow moving or effectively dead inventory. In the pre-internet era or even early internet era being a big box superstore that had almost anything imaginable was a boon in that people would go there with the idea that almost anything that they wanted would be there, but that model is increasingly obsolete. A brick and mortar store will struggle to ever compete with a mail order warehouse whereas total selection and most items in retail electronics nobody needs today. Due to the store size it is much harder for Fry's to pivot to a more focused store and still cover the fixed costs.  
     
    One very specific way that I think that Fry's really got rid of many of their customers was making their return policies bordering on taking back almost nothing and most things that they do take back they only do with a hefty restock fee. Back in 2005 I can remember that Fry's return policy was only maybe 7-8 bullet points most that were fairly reasonable (e.g. no returns on opened software/CDs/DVDs/special order items, etc.). Slowly their return policies have become a joke that I struggle to see wanting to shop there even though I generally didn't abuse their return policies. Best Buy meanwhile improved their return policies such that you feel more likely to make an impulse purchase. I know that Fry's did have some people abusing returns especially on some items (e.g. projectors, AC units), but while I can understand needing to tighten return policies a bit to make return lines move faster and have fewer people trying to "borrow" items they pretty much made it such that Best Buy has better return policies. I remember back when I sold computers that was one reason many shopped there over Best Buy. You could return a computer without a restock fee whereas Best Buy had a restock fee. I can remember going to Fry's shortly after they implemented restocking on computers and I swear that that department turned into a ghost town. While the return rate no doubt fell so did sales. Some bad customers left, but so did a lot of legit profitable customers who decided that Best Buy's better return policies made them feel less concerned about their purchase.  
     
    IDK how much it cost them, but Fry's sponsoring a Golf tournament seemed silly. Nobody seriously was going to shop at Fry's based upon a golf tournament sponsorship. I think some corporate person just wanted the company to buy them free tickets to the event and way overpaid for it. IDK how much inventory Fry's could have bought with that, but I'm sure it would have been enough to keep some customers to keep shopping there for a couple more years.  
     
    While I won't put this as a huge factor the quality of employees has really gone down even by Fry's standards. Fry's was never MicroCenter whereas the quality of employees, but compared to when I worked there the quality of employees is way down. Back in the day there were a couple guys in each department that knew their stuff. The earning potential has gone for Fry's went downhill fast after I left. I remember back in 2006-2007 there were guys in AV/computers that were earning $1000 in commission a week. A couple top salespeople were making that just off PSCs nevermind commission off items. For retail the pay was decent. While turnover was still high most departments had people that were there for 5-10 years that knew what their departments sold. There were enough people working there that if the first person you talked to wasn't worth talking with there was somebody who was more your style.  
     
    Even had Fry's had kept more customer friendly policies I think that they still wouldn't be doing as well as they were 15 years ago, but I think had they had more competitive return policies, a better website, the right mix of inventory and slightly better staff they would be in a better place.
  3.  permalink
    I thought of 2 more reasons that they have gone downhill: store hours and losing so many lawsuits.  
     
    whereas hours back in the day Fry's being open at 8 made them a goto for many desperate people that needed something (e.g. swapping dead drive, lost laptop power supply, etc.). I can even remember selling multiple laptops in the 8am hour back in the day for salespeople who were desperate to replace something that failed. Desperate people would pay retail markups because they were desperate and Fry's had virtually no competitor for these customers.. It gave them a competitive advantage over Best Buy and others. Now that advantage doesn't exist anymore. This is probably somewhat minor compared to others and for some locations that may have not been enough demand to justify being open that early, but I can remember back in the day making decent money in the morning hours.  
     
    The other reason that maybe was more notable was all the lawsuits that they have lost over the years. There were several suits where they paid out millions in damages. Many if not most would have been entirely avoidable with better management practices. Some of the things that screwed them in the Lopez suit years ago would have likely cost some money, but the cost of avoiding the lawsuits likely would have been less and they would have made retaining their employees easier. Even if it would have cost 70% of the cost to avoid the suit in the first place they still would have saved millions that they could have used for new inventory and refurbishing infrastructure.  
     
    Back 15 years Fry's had better return policies, better hours, far better selection, and typically better prices than they do today or what most of their retail competitors of the era had. While they outlasted many other retail competitors except Best Buy, they made virtually everything about themselves worse. Except for starting to take Amex almost everything about Fry's has gotten worse in the last 15 years. Amazon, NewEgg and other online competitors certainly hurt, but Fry's did a lot to shoot themselves in the foot to speed their demise. Maybe it isn't as bad as the self inflicted damage Sears did to itself, but it seems like Fry's could be a case study in how to mismanage a business. Had they tried to be more customer friendly they could have carved out a niche.
    •  
      CommentAuthorflea
    • CommentTimeAug 6th 2019
     permalink
    Has any executive of Fry's been fired? If not how can they still have a job after making so many mistakes? The low level employees are the ones paying for their mistakes. Fry brothers wake up and take ownership of your own company. These worthless executive lived the high life while everyone else suffered. If they are still "working" for you is not that they want to turn things around is because they have absolutely no talent or skills. :face-monkey: Brown-nosing is not a skill I will be proud of.Fry's is corrupt I am here to talk about it.
    •  
      CommentAuthorflea
    • CommentTimeAug 6th 2019
     permalink
    since when does being "customer friendly" make a business profitable?  
     
    you can spend all the time in the world helping people, they will showroom you. its no wonder i am hearing of frys cutting the workers. spending hours on end helping every customer that is unporfitable, that hunts ad items, only wants the discounted cheap merchandise. these are the customers that hurt all retailers.Fry's is corrupt I am here to talk about it.
  4.  permalink
    Obviously you can't run a profitable business if you try to make everybody happy as some people want to always buy things at prices that you couldn't ever make money, but that doesn't mean there isn't any value in trying to make a reasonable effort to help customers.  
     
    Whereas execs getting fired I think short of being taken out in handcuffs (e.g. Siddiqui fraud) I somehow doubt many incompetent people at Fry's corporate get fired. If they do it isn't before it should be transparent that they should have been fired years ago. While the Siddiqui fraud didn't kill the company it certainly didn't help. For a company the size of Fry's even at the hey day I think getting embezzled $65 million over several years before the market crash and facing multiple lawsuits from vendors definitely hurt them with both customers and vendors. I imagine Fry's would still be struggling even with less incompetent or ethically challenged buyers, but it wouldn't have been hard to do better where buying inventory.
  5.  permalink
    Omar took more than 65 Million. That was just what they could find the evidence for. He lost over $200 Million in gambling losses and who knows how much he had stashed outside of the US jurisdiction. I wonder what he's up to now that he is out of prison.
    •  
      CommentAuthorgarbanzo
    • CommentTimeAug 8th 2019
     permalink
    Fry's corp mostly kept it "all in the family" and never hired from the outside. That's a fuck up.  
     
    You had to either personally know someone at corp who strongly favored you or had to work a store for several years.
    •  
      CommentAuthorironj01
    • CommentTimeAug 8th 2019
     permalink
    Adding to that, they took managers and supervisors from high volume stores up to corporate, thinking they were super stars and once up there, the true colors came out...but when you have a thief friend (not sure what qualifications Omar had) in charge of purchasing, that's the cherry on top.  
     
    In reality they never put a dime into sales training ( a weekly v-con meeting, doesn't count ) or investing back into the stores (lights out, old fixtures, old computers, inefficient POS and inventory systems, on and on).  
    Just took and took. Hogs.
    •  
      CommentAuthorCharlie
    • CommentTimeAug 8th 2019
     permalink
    FormerFryGuy: Omar took more than 65 Million. That was just what they could find the evidence for. He lost over $200 Million in gambling losses and who knows how much he had stashed outside of the US jurisdiction. I wonder what he's up to now that he is out of prison.
     
     
    See my other post:  
     
    https://bit.ly/2yOYsRa
  6.  permalink
    FormerFryGuy: Omar took more than 65 Million. That was just what they could find the evidence for. He lost over $200 Million in gambling losses and who knows how much he had stashed outside of the US jurisdiction. I wonder what he's up to now that he is out of prison.
     
     
     
    Good point. We all know with how bad Fry's legal team is that they probably failed to discover even more losses. Even assuming that they weren't more direct losses that isn't even considering the indirect losses. Fry's had at least seven of their vendors sue them and they Fry's had to pay damages for those claims. Many of them were for confidential sums, but at least one Fry's paid $10 million. We don't even know what the indirect losses were worth from vendors after that story broke either refusing to do business with Fry's or only doing business with them on incredibly undesirable terms (e.g. paying most if all of the purchase price upfront as opposed to net terms). The direct losses from Omar were easily above $100M and with indirect losses easily more than $250M. That obviously didn't kill the company as they are still in business a decade later, but I wager that they would probably be in less dire straights today otherwise. They probably would still be in decline without much better management, but they would have a lot more months of money that they could burn before needing to close the business.  
     
    ironj01: Adding to that, they took managers and supervisors from high volume stores up to corporate, thinking they were super stars and once up there, the true colors came out...but when you have a thief friend (not sure what qualifications Omar had) in charge of purchasing, that's the cherry on top.  
     
    In reality they never put a dime into sales training ( a weekly v-con meeting, doesn't count ) or investing back into the stores (lights out, old fixtures, old computers, inefficient POS and inventory systems, on and on).  
    Just took and took. Hogs.
     
     
    The lack of good training really annoyed me back in the day because it could have been so much better without much effort. Management was so focused upon PSC sales that they forgot training people how to sell actual products. We used to joke that they wanted us to ask customers if they wanted a product with the PSC? With how little product there is left in many stores I imagine that is what V-Con would look like these days. I remember one case where John Gamet asked "I'm a customer why do you want to sell me X?" Employee said "... because I want $5 commission..." IDK remember what answer that they wanted, but it was only slightly less mindless. It was hilarious that they talked about how you should look at a customer as a long term investment to want them to come back for years to come, but there were all sorts of employees that treated customers like suckers that were a dime a dozen. One of the last employees I saw still working at my local store is a guy I know that has worked there for >15+ years and was always scummy as heck. Any competent manager would see that he was making short sighted sales that hurt the company in the long run, but nobody ever became a Fry's manager thinking about long term relationships.
    •  
      CommentAuthorhappy9
    • CommentTimeAug 9th 2019
     permalink
    Charlie: 1. Amazon / online shopping.  
    2. The Omar Sidiqqi scandal.  
    3. Consistently pissing off customers.  
    4. Not paying their vendors off in a timely manner / loss of industry reputation.  
    5. High turnover rate of talent.  
     
    The third one is interesting because I have never thought of Fry's as a customer-friendly environment, yet it was in business for decades. I'm really wondering how a business could flourish that long while simultaneously giving their clients every reason to never come back. I think the term that business universities use to describe that kind of management is "incompetent douchebags." Anyways, it finally caught up.  
     
    What's your take on this? Let's hear it.
     
     
    Former_Frys_geek:
    FormerFryGuy: Omar took more than 65 Million. That was just what they could find the evidence for. He lost over $200 Million in gambling losses and who knows how much he had stashed outside of the US jurisdiction. I wonder what he's up to now that he is out of prison.
     
     
     
    Good point. We all know with how bad Fry's legal team is that they probably failed to discover even more losses. Even assuming that they weren't more direct losses that isn't even considering the indirect losses. Fry's had at least seven of their vendors sue them and they Fry's had to pay damages for those claims. Many of them were for confidential sums, but at least one Fry's paid $10 million. We don't even know what the indirect losses were worth from vendors after that story broke either refusing to do business with Fry's or only doing business with them on incredibly undesirable terms (e.g. paying most if all of the purchase price upfront as opposed to net terms). The direct losses from Omar were easily above $100M and with indirect losses easily more than $250M. That obviously didn't kill the company as they are still in business a decade later, but I wager that they would probably be in less dire straights today otherwise. They probably would still be in decline without much better management, but they would have a lot more months of money that they could burn before needing to close the business.  
     
    ironj01: Adding to that, they took managers and supervisors from high volume stores up to corporate, thinking they were super stars and once up there, the true colors came out...but when you have a thief friend (not sure what qualifications Omar had) in charge of purchasing, that's the cherry on top.  
     
    In reality they never put a dime into sales training ( a weekly v-con meeting, doesn't count ) or investing back into the stores (lights out, old fixtures, old computers, inefficient POS and inventory systems, on and on).  
    Just took and took. Hogs.
     
     
    The lack of good training really annoyed me back in the day because it could have been so much better without much effort. Management was so focused upon PSC sales that they forgot training people how to sell actual products. We used to joke that they wanted us to ask customers if they wanted a product with the PSC? With how little product there is left in many stores I imagine that is what V-Con would look like these days. I remember one case where John Gamet asked "I'm a customer why do you want to sell me X?" Employee said "... because I want $5 commission..." IDK remember what answer that they wanted, but it was only slightly less mindless. It was hilarious that they talked about how you should look at a customer as a long term investment to want them to come back for years to come, but there were all sorts of employees that treated customers like suckers that were a dime a dozen. One of the last employees I saw still working at my local store is a guy I know that has worked there for >15+ years and was always scummy as heck. Any competent manager would see that he was making short sighted sales that hurt the company in the long run, but nobody ever became a Fry's manager thinking about long term relationships.
     
     
    Indian buyers. Indians are the worst buyers in the world. They don’t buy good product just good deals/ what they think is a good deal. I was almost convince they were buying that shit from amazon. Perfume, as seen on tv, garden equipment, grills, mattress, small appliances, karaoke and speakers, and other stupid shit in department 3. If they realize grills don’t get people to come to frys but Corsair, Razer, hp, Microsoft, lg, and actual tech brands do. My location is in the nicest area in the whole state by we are trying to push returbished laptops and desktops. Also not punishing corporate for their mistakes. Every buyer should have been fired two months ago. Everyone in finance department should have been fired. Ken lutz should have been fired. They failed by attacking the lowest level workers. Frys will collapse from the bottom because of the top.
    •  
      CommentAuthorCharlie
    • CommentTimeAug 9th 2019
     permalink
    LOL happy9, my dad worked for an independent electronics store and HATED Indian buyers for those exact reasons. He isn't a racist by any means and neither am I, but I found your opinion to be hysterical.  
     
    And who is Ken Lutz? Please share the gossip.
  7.  permalink
    IDK that I would say selling refurbished computers was such a bad idea. Back in the day I remember they often had awesome margin and were easier to sell to cheap customers. My local Microcenter will often sell through refurbished machines quickly. If anything my observation was that Fry's could have sold more refurbished machines. I would criticize that since the recession there's way less high end machines, which I think would make upselling harder.  
     
    Whereas cheap customers from certain races that's always been a challenge. I think there just are fewer good customers shopping retail and Fry's gives those customers no reason to shop there.
  8.  permalink
    One thing that shopping at Microcenter recently made me realize how little things Fry's could have done would have made it a less annoying experience. Putting a sticker on an item was way less time consuming than Fry's quotation system. Microcenter last I checked still ran commission sales, but my local Microcenter easily looks like they will be in business for the foreseeable future.
    •  
      CommentAuthorCharlie
    • CommentTimeAug 13th 2019
     permalink
    flea: since when does being "customer friendly" make a business profitable?  
     
    you can spend all the time in the world helping people, they will showroom you. its no wonder i am hearing of frys cutting the workers. spending hours on end helping every customer that is unporfitable, that hunts ad items, only wants the discounted cheap merchandise. these are the customers that hurt all retailers.
     
     
    I don't entirely agree with this. Fry's was able to get away with shitty customer service for decades because they more or less had a monopoly on the big-box specialty electronics market. When that started changing, the only incentive for customers to keep coming back - the service - was never there and they never bothered to think that it was important.
  9.  permalink
    Charlie:
    flea: since when does being "customer friendly" make a business profitable?  
     
    you can spend all the time in the world helping people, they will showroom you. its no wonder i am hearing of frys cutting the workers. spending hours on end helping every customer that is unporfitable, that hunts ad items, only wants the discounted cheap merchandise. these are the customers that hurt all retailers.
     
     
    I don't entirely agree with this. Fry's was able to get away with shitty customer service for decades because they more or less had a monopoly on the big-box specialty electronics market. When that started changing, the only incentive for customers to keep coming back - the service - was never there and they never bothered to think that it was important.
     
     
    YMMV, depending upon the local market, but very few items did Fry's really have a local monopoly upon. If anything there are fewer retail competitors in most categories today than there were 15 years ago. Fry's did well because back in the day the selection was great in many different categories so it was often a one stop shop and provided you understood the store layout, ignored the shady salespeople, and were dedicated you could find some decent deals. A major problem is fewer people care about dealing with retail in general, the advantages of a huge big box store often 2-3 times larger than Best Buy just isn't as compelling, but you are right that those shopping in retail have higher expectations. The problem is what things Fry's actually did well compared to Best Buy (e.g. return policy) they have gutted over the years. A few changes like charging a restock fee on a projector might have seem reasonable moves, but many changes scared away many good customers along with the bad customers. Many good customers just liked the comfort that they could get their money back and buy something else if they changed their mind. Outside some cheap accessories I'm not sure that there is much that you could return anymore. Last I checked you couldn't even return a non-defective video card that you opened. While selection isn't as critical as it used to be they really have failed in keeping basic items in stock. I tried stopping by there a while back for canned duster and they didn't have any in stock. I could see struggling to keep some hot new video card in stock, but I don't understand how something so basic they would struggle keeping in stock.  
     
    I think a big problem is that general falling margins have made running a profitable retail electronics store much harder in general even without considering online competitors like NewEgg and Amazon. I remember when Circuit City went under many of the analysts noted falling margins for TVs as a factor. While the rise of 4K has given a reason for some people to upgrade their TVs in the last 10 years it is a much less compelling upgrade than the upgrade to 1080 was. In addition it is a category that where the margins have become much thinner than they once were so resellers are more forced to compete on price to entice impulse buys. Over on the computers side where much of the rest of Fry's profits were in the heydays the story probably hasn't been much better. Netbooks and then tablets after that have made highly profitable laptop sales harder. The only mfg that sells many >$1K laptops anymore is Apple and their margins have historically been much thinner than other mfg. Add the rise of more Apple stores and Best Buy selling Macs and I have to imagine it would be much harder to sell many Macs there anymore. Best Buy managed to effectively lease out their floor space to Apple and other vendors to market their products. Fry's never had a good enough relationship with vendors to pull that off.
    •  
      CommentAuthorCharlie
    • CommentTimeAug 15th 2019
     permalink
    FormerFryGuy: Omar took more than 65 Million. That was just what they could find the evidence for. He lost over $200 Million in gambling losses and who knows how much he had stashed outside of the US jurisdiction. I wonder what he's up to now that he is out of prison.
     
     
    I don't think he'd be able to keep any money with his gambling addiction. But if he really did make off with that much, now living it up somewhere, he's my personal hero.
  10.  permalink
    Former_Frys_geek: Obviously you can't run a profitable business if you try to make everybody happy as some people want to always buy things at prices that you couldn't ever make money, but that doesn't mean there isn't any value in trying to make a reasonable effort to help customers.  
     
    Whereas execs getting fired I think short of being taken out in handcuffs (e.g. Siddiqui fraud) I somehow doubt many incompetent people at Fry's corporate get fired. If they do it isn't before it should be transparent that they should have been fired years ago. While the Siddiqui fraud didn't kill the company it certainly didn't help. For a company the size of Fry's even at the hey day I think getting embezzled $65 million over several years before the market crash and facing multiple lawsuits from vendors definitely hurt them with both customers and vendors. I imagine Fry's would still be struggling even with less incompetent or ethically challenged buyers, but it wouldn't have been hard to do better where buying inventory.
     
     
    I worked at one of the stores in the Phoenix metro area back in 98 through 2001 Shortly after I quit my manager got promoted to corporate he worked there for about 10 years and he messed up and got demoted to floor sales in the department he use to manage So no I do not think they ever fired corporate or management just made life hell for them and they quit on there own. Funny thing is that guy is still there 25 years he has given to the store and if it closes he is so screwed lol
  11.  permalink
    Former_Frys_drone is right that I have noticed that Fry's generally didn't fire bad managers. I can remember bad managers getting offered to be demoted to an open supervisor position at another nearby store and a few back to floor sales, but few outright fired unless they were caught embezzling $65M! I'm still cringing upon how somebody scammed at least that much before being caught.  
     
    If we had to give a one sentence reason for Fry's failing I would have to say not knowing when to fire bad employees in general because I think bad employees at both the store and corporate level are the root cause of pretty much everything that was wrong with Fry's. Clearly while retail electronics is a less profitable business thanks to falling margins Best Buy is still surviving and turning a profit. Maybe nowhere near what they would be if Amazon and other online competitors weren't around, but they are surviving. BB had to close some underperforming stores in part because they build some redundant stores, but they're surviving so retail electronics isn't quite a horse and buggy business yet.
  12.  permalink
    Big Box Stores in General have become redundant only reason I recently went to the tempe store was some component part i think was a fan my son needed for his Computer. Sat and chatted with my old friend while he looked and then I roamed and the store was Empty I mean I saw maybe 3 people and there was next to nothing on the shelves DVD section was sparse. I mean they may if they downsize and focus on maybe parts/ components and repair and offer decent products again they might pull themselves out but I can not see management doing that as I do not think they have evolved at all. Seems they are still operating in the same mode as they did when I left in 01.  
    Offering the crap they are now is only because of high profit margin IE the cheap perfume at cost might be 50 cents then they sell it for 15 hence why they have all the dumb crap and no one goes to a electronic store for that crap we go to get a computer or a TV or a fridge but they seem more focused on the dumb crap and then it sits there. They had the same issue when I worked there 20 years ago the OK we bought all this garbage product put is the wait line area because its cheap with a 75% profit.  
    Greed really just plain dumb Greed  
    Also soory if this doesn't quite make sense dealing with a migraine
  13.  permalink
    Former_Fry's_Drone hits the head on the nail. Even if they spend 25c for some cheap perfume or made for tv junk the reality is that virtually nobody is looking at that junk. It sits there gathering dust. It is so worthless that they probably have had more kids stealing that junk on a dare than actual people buying it. I do think Fry's corporate buyers frequently are asking what the margin off MSRP something is then whether their customers actually would want to buy something? Fry's could get away with that back when HDDs, computers, TVs, etc. were moving quickly, but when customers are less plentiful mistakes like that are more painful.  
     
    I would disagree that having a thin DVD section is a mistake. In 2019 in an era where Blockbuster has been dead for years and streaming services increasingly how most people consume films at home the idea of selling DVDs, DVD players, etc. is increasingly quaint. It only makes marginally more sense to carry than VHS tapes would have been 15 years ago. DVD sales are still a thing, but they are fading in relevance of how people view films in their homes rapidly. Maybe you sell a couple Avengers films, but the cost of merchandising, shrink, etc. makes most of what was the software department of yore obsolete.  
     
    I will say one thing that until recently I still saw some Windows XP POS terminals. While Fry's has done a few things differently since 2001 (e.g. creating actual gift cards, accepting amex, etc.) since XP was released in 2001 some aspects of the store didn't change much.
    •  
      CommentAuthort0rrent
    • CommentTimeAug 21st 2019
     permalink
    They never wanted to fire managers and staff in part that unemployment costs would go up for them. I was out on short term medical leave and when I came back and was cleared, I was still on a part time schedule. Even after countless notes and meetings, a month later they were still only giving me part time hours, cause they thought I was still on work restrictions. It took me filing for partial unemployment to get them to fix that. Second the state contacted them, they had me on the phone apologizing.  
     
    As for shitty management at #21, I could go on and on. It's been 10+ years since I left so I forgot most names, but Khaliqi, who was Computer DM when I started and was front checkout DM for a while was the absolute worst. His cousin flat out got caught redoing quotes under his employee # to steal commissions and never fired him over it. Was swearing up and down me and another friend were committing time fraud, and he was hell bent on trying to fire me. Found out after I left he got demoted and shipped out to another store for committing time fraud.  
     
    Then there was the front check out DM (whose name escapes me) who they had to transfer to Concord cause they decided to promote his x gf/wife and mother of his children to a senior management position and transfer her to 21, so they had to get rid of him. Less than 2 years later, he died in a solo DUI accident.  
     
    We could go on and on about how shitty management and managers were at Fry's, but in the end, there was absolutely no accountability at the top. I mean, it took Omar being caught embezzling at least 65 million to get fired, so why would there be any accountability at the store level. Fry's really was a textbook example on how to not run a multi million dollar company.
  14.  permalink
    Fry's missed the gravy train of Dot COM era. They should have gone IPO in 1998, and cashed out their billions from Frys as a public company during that boom. Had they gone public, Frys would have been run a bit more professionally
  15.  permalink
    raindoctor01: Fry's missed the gravy train of Dot COM era. They should have gone IPO in 1998, and cashed out their billions from Frys as a public company during that boom. Had they gone public, Frys would have been run a bit more professionally
     
     
    IDK that Fry's would have gotten a overinflated IPO price in the dot com era because they didn't have much internet presence before buying Outpost.com, which they dragged their feet on integrating into their brand. That was another mistake imho.  
     
    That being said going public might have been a good move for Fry's insofar as it would have given them more capital to ride out the recession and invest in their infrastructure and added more stores before the recession to improve their economies of scale for purchasing inventory. That being said unless Fry's did some small format stores they could have easily built stores that were never profitable. Whether the board of directors in a publicly held company would have picked better management or just short sighted management to please public shareholders isn't clear, but it probably wouldn't have been hard to have made some better decisions even without hindsight. Having hindsight there are plenty of things we would have done better. We know in hindsight which products and product categories were duds, but Fry's was certainly slow to certain industry shifts that you didn't need hindsight to see.
  16.  permalink
    Former_Frys_geek:
    raindoctor01: Fry's missed the gravy train of Dot COM era. They should have gone IPO in 1998, and cashed out their billions from Frys as a public company during that boom. Had they gone public, Frys would have been run a bit more professionally
     
     
    IDK that Fry's would have gotten a overinflated IPO price in the dot com era because they didn't have much internet presence before buying Outpost.com, which they dragged their feet on integrating into their brand. That was another mistake imho.  
     
    That being said going public might have been a good move for Fry's insofar as it would have given them more capital to ride out the recession and invest in their infrastructure and added more stores before the recession to improve their economies of scale for purchasing inventory. That being said unless Fry's did some small format stores they could have easily built stores that were never profitable. Whether the board of directors in a publicly held company would have picked better management or just short sighted management to please public shareholders isn't clear, but it probably wouldn't have been hard to have made some better decisions even without hindsight. Having hindsight there are plenty of things we would have done better. We know in hindsight which products and product categories were duds, but Fry's was certainly slow to certain industry shifts that you didn't need hindsight to see.
     
     
    Frys brothers followed their dad's strategy: own a chain of grocery stores privately, and sell it to another grocer chain. That script failed in the case of Frys electronics. They should have IPO'ed it in 1999, and should have cashed out 50% of their stock for billions during that DOT.COM boom. At least they would have made money in that matter, irrespctive of whether they would have been forced out. Frys electronics HQ is located in the heart of silicon valley. But they have made a regrettably mistake.
  17.  permalink
    IDK that Fry's would have gotten as crazy of dot com valuation being a retail store with a weak online presence. That being said the Fry's bros could have cashed out a decent early retirement. Had they gone public the major shareholders that took over ownership of Fry's likely couldn't have done much worse picking a board of directors that would then pick a CEO/COO/etc. that had relevant experience to manage a retail store chain or similar or larger scale. I think that the Fry's brothers are an example of guys that did ok running a few stores at most where they could be more actively involved, but didn't know how to pick people to delegate, which is critical to managing anything at a large scale. This is why it isn't uncommon to see large businesses where the original founders are pushed out of any significant role in the company. The skills to launch a small business and manage a multi-Billion dollar business are different. Some people make the leap and some can't.
    •  
      CommentAuthorKinzu
    • CommentTimeSep 9th 2019
     permalink
    #1. Lack of Investment  
     
    That's the main reason Fry's is dying, and outside of selling the company to someone willing to invest a sizable amount I don't see a way to save Fry's anymore. They're like Sears and Kmart at this point. Once big top flagship stores that simply grew old and faded out of public favor due to lack of investment. Internet shopping didn't help Fry's, but it didn't help any brick and mortar stores.  
     
    Prime example of what I mean by lack of investment is Target. Target was heading in the same direction as Sears and Kmart. It was an aging brand being stomped on by Wal-Mart, Amazon, and online shopping. Target invested heavily in updating their stores and quickly growing their online business. Target is still around and once again updating their stores to be even more modern. They made the right decision to stay a float by investing into the brand long term over seeking short term solutions.  
     
    Sears, Kmart, and Fry's tried every quick fix scheme they could think of to turn quarterly profits without a care to the world of what those schemes were doing to their long term future. Now it's basically to late for these companies. They've traded in all of their goodwill for those quick fixes. Whatever gains they garnered from them would have to be paid back ten fold now to even have a chance of turning their misfortune around.