So Long, Fry. I learned all about gadgets thanks to you

For the umpteenth Over the past year, a wave of sadness has hung over my family’s group chat. This time it is not about tense elections or the woes of the ongoing pandemic. That’s because Fry’s Electronics, the West Coast’s premier suburban electronics supermarket, has announced it will close all of its locations soon.

I took the news hard, as if a major chapter in my life had closed. But when I tried to deal with my grief aloud with my fiancee, I was greeted with deaf ears.

“It’s just a stupid electronics store,” she said as she walked over to the kitchen for a cup of coffee in the morning. “Why does anyone even care !?”

I was stunned. How could anyone do not care? Fry’s was the magical electronics store where so many of us purchased our first CD burners, flat panel monitors, cordless vacuums, wireless printers, or ATI Radeon 9800 graphics cards. Fry also sold more than electronics. . You might find bone-handled pocket knives there next to DVD trays that you never – ever – want to look at. I bet if you surveyed 100 Fry shoppers, at least 90 of them walked out of the store with something they didn’t come for. Midwestern people can’t say that about Micro center, their own regional electronics retailer.

Fry’s has been sliding downhill for a long time. For a company whose sales motto seemed to be “If it plugs in, we sell it,” perhaps it was inevitable that it would slowly bleed in the Amazon era. I am a little surprised that it has lasted this long. And yet, I’m now sad for the next generation who won’t have a place like Fry – with its aisles of cables, computer parts, and unnecessary gadgets – to spark practical inspiration.

Chips Ahoy!

My family’s Fry outings always started on a whim. My dad would randomly find a trinket we needed – a new TV remote, a hard drive, the latest version of Quicken – and our collective engines started to spin.

We stacked in the wagon and took the hike path through the Portland, Oregon suburb to the giant red and taupe building, my two brothers and I, heads spinning, as we thought about the ways. from which we would divide our meager budgets.

Fry’s was one of our favorite places because we had the freedom to rule. It was just too big and our interests too dispersed for us not to have a timer and a meeting place. And so, for an hour, we could play with anything under the fluorescent sky.

All the latest game consoles, computers, headphones, speakers, and even pre-built gaming computers were just sitting there waiting for our greasy fingers. Fry’s was one of the only places where you could see the whole home tech revolution spread out in front of you. And you could experience it without spending a dime.

New technological breakthroughs were appearing in my life for the first time under this domed ceiling. Fry’s was the first place I saw Wi-Fi, HDTV, Xbox. I remember seeing the first VR headsets out there and hearing shaky surround sound for the first time. It was exciting to see the future scroll down to your feet as the following sequence on the Guitar Hero screen.

It was also at Fry’s that I learned first-hand that emerging technologies – in this case, a glove-based controller that my brother sadly squandered $ 100 on in 2002 – are sometimes too good to be true.

Bits and bobs

These crowded aisles fostered a surprising sense of community. After all, most normal people really had no reason to go to Fry’s. Our family outpost in Wilsonville, Oregon was the birthplace of apology-based e-shopping for the entire Portland area. Along with the sea of ​​dads obsessed with touchscreen remotes, you’ll discover a nerd-kid fellow powering the latest DDR demo, a lookalike in a Star Wars T-shirt also buying cheap LAN hardware, and someone else obsessed with the new Nvidia card.

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