Today we went to the new Fry’s in Seattle (Renton, actually). I’ve been to the one in Silicon Valley in 1996 and was amazed, but never got to enjoy having a Fry’s until now. The store is huge and the parking lot is like two football fields (it’s the size parking lot that Costco should have). In fact, the place is like Costco without being a warehouse. This was the Grand Opening weekend so it was just packed with people; people who blocked all the aisles with carts so you could barely walk through the store.
It’s basically a super Best Buy or Circuit City but what really impresses me is the breadth of stuff for PCs. You can buy every piece of a computer and assemble it entirely from this store, including specialty cables, cooling fans, tricked-out cases, etc. Seeing an aisle of motherboards with about 30 on display is something I’ve never seen anywhere. And the prices are great if you know what you’re looking for; I got a 200GB Western Digital hard drive for $95 after rebates. That’s less than 50¢ per GB which is easily half the best price I’ve ever seen for a hard drive.
They even have a separate Apple area (with an Apple logo’d archway) with all the Apple hardware, including the extras (we got a replacement iBook battery too). A G5 was on display, so I got to see that for the first time in person.
The employees seemed overwhelmed by the number of people and they weren’t familiar with the store, but there are lots of employees — it was easy to find one to ask a question. For example, it took a good 10 minutes and three employees to find a power cord (not located anywhere near the power supplies). To get out we had to be herded through an amusement-park-like line to get to the 65 (!) cash registers. But it was pretty quick process to get checked-out.