Let me pile on to Kevin’s mini-rant:
The worst offender on this score (to my knowledge, anyway) is Fry’s Electronics: their customer service for returns isn’t bad out of laziness or bad management, it’s deliberately bad because they want to discourage people from returning things. So screw ’em. Their prices aren’t all that great anyway. I do all my shopping at Micro Center, and I do it there solely because they’ve always been decent and efficient at processing my rare returns.
Fry’s maintains the illusion of low prices almost exclusively via rebates. The rebate process is one of the most stealthy scams in existence. And, I have never, ever asked a question of a Fry’s associate to which I received an informed answer. They seem to recruit sales representatives who are almost willfully ignorant of technology fundamentals. And what others say is true – when asked a technical question, Fry’s associates tend to make it up or outright lie rather than admit they don’t know.
Their advertised specials are the only reason to shop there – I watch the ad copy every week in the local paper. So there will always be a reason to shop there. But if you do need to shop at Fry’s, beware. Daniel Fishman’s rules for shopping at Fry’s is really quite good – and, I am sorry to say, entirely accurate. If you’re going to go to Fry’s for any reason, you need to read it. Fry’s goes out of its way to put obstacles in your path, misdirect you, and bank on your laziness. But by far the best advice is the summary:
Think of shopping at Fry’s like a competition. There can only be one winner of a Fry’s visit, you or them. Like any sport you need to be in both good physical and mental condition.
At least the stores are cool. The Clear Lake store has a NASA motif – I’ll try to sneak some pics.