[OT] Re: Reminder about MythTV Meeting (Rant about Fry's)

Michael Halcrow mike at halcrow.us
Wed Feb 15 21:19:00 MST 2006

On Tue, Feb 14, 2006 at 02:31:58PM -0600, Michael Halcrow wrote:
> And to be fair, I have 5 high-load PCI devices (drive controllers
> and multimedia cards) in my MythTV box. That ECS board is working
> fine in my other workstation, which has a different set of
> peripherals.

Okay, I just finished putting the MythTV box back together with a new
mainboard/CPU from Fry's that I picked up on my way home from work. I
splurged on a an Athlon 64 X2-3800+ (dual-core).

All DMA problems are now resolved (hard drive and PVR-250). And I am
finally getting decent performance from the RAID.

Okay, time to vent about Fry's.

Fry's only had one mainboard in stock with 5 PCI slots that would
support the Socket 939 Athlon 64 X2 -- the Gigabyte K8 Triton. The
salesman was, as usual, less than worthless (he sold me a heat sink
that would not even install on the board, and I bought them both
together -- the heat sink's going to have to go back). When he
delivered the mainboard, he even had the gall to hand me a box that
was half destroyed. And that wasn't the first time it has happened. I
suspect that it's a running inside joke among the sales staff at
Fry's. ``Hey, let's see what kind of crap we can get this guy to

I opened the box to find that the static protection wrapper on the
inside had been damaged too, right were the box was ripped apart! And
then, to top it all off, when I opened the box to look for damage, I
found that the IDE cable had been removed from its sealed bag and
crimped sharply. The clerk apologized, ``Yeah, I used to work in
returns. They can get a little over-zealous with the machines they use
to seal the boxes. The guy who sealed this box probably didn't put a
sticker on the box to indicate it was an opened-box return because he
was embarrassed about what he did to the box.''

Great. We all know what kind of crap goes on behind the scenes at
these sorts of retail shops, but to have the clerk come right out and
admit it to a customer...

Reminds me of the opened-box IDE controller card I got at Fry's two
weeks ago. I got it home only to discover a fancy new 40-pin IDE cable
in the box, rather than an 80-pin that should normally come with

Also reminds me of the Maxtor 200GB drive I picked up from Fry's three
weeks ago. It was sitting in a pile of 200GB drives, all wrapped like
new. I actually got 5 of them. Four were as expected; I discovered
that the fifth drive had been removed from its static sleeve and the
IDE bag was ripped open. No labeling to indicate that the box had been
opened. When I mentioned this to the return guy as I returned the IDE
controller card (see previous paragraph), he said, ``Yeah, sometimes
customers ask to see the product while in the store, and as long as
they don't purchase and take it home, we don't label the item as
returned.'' I tried to imagine the sequence of events in the aisle
leading up to the removal of the drive from its static sleeve and the
removal of the IDE cable from its plastic sleeve. ``Well, gee, this
thing sure LOOKS like a 3.5" ATA hard drive, just like every other one
in the world. But I wanna make SURE. Let's just cut open this static
sleeve and remove the drive... yessiree, that sure is a 3.5" ATA hard
drive, and the sticker on the drive says 200GB, just like the box
says. But is this really an IDE connector? Better cut open this IDE
cable sleeve while we're at it...''

When I had the clerk run back to get me a new box, she returned with
the news that *all six* mainboards (of that brand) they had in stock
had been returned! Okay, whatever. I got the box that had the least
evidence of having been handled. Then she said that *all* the Athlon
64 X2-3800+ boxes that they had in stock had *also* all been opened
and returned!

I was flabbergasted. So I wanted to buy this high-end microprocessor
with a decent mainboard, and *every single one* of them were returned
items. None discounted, of course. They are overpriced in the first
place. I could have walked out of the store right then and ordered it
all from NewEgg, *with overnight shipping*, and still saved around

But, ironically, the ability to walk into the store and return the
item if it didn't happen to work under Linux with all my hardware was
worth the $50, I guess.

Of course, as my luck would have it, it all works now...


Collect call from Cthulhu, do you accept the charges?
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