A Business Technology Place

My experience at Frys

I recently visited Frys Electronics for the first time. I needed to update the video card in my aging desktop and get an external storage device. I’ve had a few friends tell me about Frys but I had never visited.

My first thought was “wow, this is a big place”. I guess Frys is the Home Depot of electronics shopping. The left side of the store was filled with items I wasn’t expecting to see. Furniture, books, and magazines to name a few.  Maybe they put these there so that couples shopping together could each find something of interest?  (Ha Ha)

In any event, I wasn’t shopping for those items so I made my way over to the electronics area. I found the video card area and looked over umpteen different choices. I made my selection and stopped at the laptop display. No, this wasn’t originally on my list, but I wanted to see what the hub-ub was all about on Net Books. I focused in a model from HP and was approached by a sales clerk. What surprised me was that he indicated he worked for HP and not Frys. So I guess the vendors are allowed to put employees in the store in an attempt to sell and educate potential buyers. He went through his sales pitch while I quietly listened. I then asked him if I could get the machine pre-loaded with Linux. That was off his script and he didn’t have an answer. I’m not sure he even knew what Linux was. (Incidentally, you can buy Net Books preloaded with Linux through some retail outlets or online stores). In the end though, I think the Net Books have some utility depending on your intended use. You sacrifice a full keyboard and screen size for light-weight and portability. Not bad if you travel alot, or just need a small terminal for somewhere in your house/office.

After this I picked up an external storage device for system backups and headed to checkout. The checkout area was a single queue leading to multiple registers instead of a queue for each register. It’s hard not to notice because the area for the single queue is a straight path with additive sell items like candy, gum, trinkets, magazines, etc. (Imagine a super market line 20 yards long). As I waited in line I started thinking about queueing theory and which is optimal. I’ve never worked in the retail environment, but certainly there are differences in thought about this. Think about the difference between a Wendy’s and a McDonald’s. A quick internet search on the topic yielded a nice article on retail queueing systems. My opinion on this was that it seems the fair thing to do. I would imagine I’m better for it (when I do shop) because my perception is I’m always in the slowest line.

What are your thoughts on queueing in a retail store? Which type of line do you prefer?

oh yeah, Frys. Good selection. You can find some deals if you search. You can take a date if you like…..