Fry's Employees Sell Opportunity To Cut Black Friday Line

Fry’s employees in Renton, Washington sold Black Friday aspirants the chance to cut to the front of the pre-dawn line for between $108.79 and $200, including tax. Puzzled shoppers were assured that the money went to Fry’s, not the employees. A Fry’s worker explained the situation with disarming naiveté:

When KING 5 asked about this at the customer service desk, one employee said: “Oh they stopped doing that. They weren’t supposed to.” The employee said the store manager put a stop to it.

Anyone who paid the advancement fee will receive a full refund. The rogue salesmen will be sent to the back of the unemployment line.

Fry’s shoppers offered chance to cut in line – for a price [KING 5 News]
(AP Photo/Don Ryan)

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  1. headon says:

    The real violation here is taking advantage of the mentally challenged. I mean these people lined up at 3:00 AM to get into a store. So the clerk figures, hey, theses people are crazy I’ll try to make a few bucks off em. Shamefull.

  2. chartrule says:

    it would be interesting to know how much these “rogue” salespeople ripped people off for in total

  3. doormat says:

    Not surprised this happened at Fry’s, home of selling returned items as new.

  4. hardisonthefloor says:

    doesn’t this completely defeat the purpose of being there to get a good deal?

  5. itmustbeken says:

    My mind boggles at Fry’s ability to hire the worst people in the world.

    It must be a corporate strategy so complex and far sighted that us mere consumers just see it as complete incompetence and a hatred of the customer.

  6. jamesdenver says:

    That’s malicious, greedy, and wrong. But I kind of like the guy’s ingenuity.

  7. Brian Gee says:

    @hardisonthefloor: I suppose it would really depend on how much of a deal you are getting. Certainly it offsets the discount, but perhaps the suckers… i mean customers make up for it in volume. Plus you save time that can get you to your next stop that much sooner. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a customer who initiated the practice (ie. “I’ll give you $100 if you let me cut the line.”), and the opportunist employee took it from there. (Disclaimer: i was not shopping at all on friday.. that’s just insane).

    @itmustbeken: My guess is they’ll hire pretty much anyone who is willing to work there, and they adjust benefits such that only the bottom of the barrel is willing. I’ve never seen anyone that looks happy to be working at Fry’s. They’re all clueless and bitter, in contrast to the clueless but friendly workers I tend see at Best Buy.

  8. joebloe says:

    If people are stupid enough to pay for it, then maybe they desrve it.

  9. trollkiller says:

    The concept works at Universal theme parks, why not retailers? [www.universalorlando.com]

  10. XTC46 says:

    One of my co-workers decided it would be a great idea to go through the long lines people were waiting in and as

    “Do you want to buy the extended warranty for this product?”

    when they would say no he would ask

    “Do you want to wait in this long line?”

    When they would answer no again he would say

    “Do you want to buy the extended warranty for this product?”

    a lot got his hint and when they said yes he would walk them to a register that isn’t used by the cashiers and ring them up him self.

    very shady, but it worked. This kind of stuff is why I am not a sales person.

  11. VaMPKiSS1 says:

    So essentially what ended up happening in the end is that the people who paid whatever fee got moved to the front of the line… and now they’re getting a refund.

    So they got moved to the front of the line for free.

    So the people who were smart enough to figure out there was something fishy about this ended up being penalized. And those who were either greedy enough or clueless enough paid to get ahead of those who had been waiting longer, and then get to turn around and get that money back.

    Something just seems so wrong about this, other than the obvious. LOL

  12. trollkiller says:

    My question is if they fire the employee(s) that did this how will they know who paid the “cut fee”? Unless… it was a manager that thought this up and they really did put the money in the register as a sale.

    Sounds to me like Fry’s was testing a concept that the theme parks use (pay extra skip to the front of the line) and had a bit of back lash. So true to corporate culture, they will blame the low man on the totem pole.

    Think about it, if the employee was pocketing the cash the bribe amounts would have been even numbers, not $108.79

  13. Sonnymooks says:

    @trollkiller:

    I think your right, since last time I checked, when people were taking bribes, they didn’t charge a sales tax as was done here.

  14. Televiper says:

    @trollkiller: Or you go out with a cash drawer, or change purse and claim to be charging sales tax as part of the hook.

  15. joebloe says:

    Get a Mexican to wait in line for you for only $40 bucks.

  16. trollkiller says:

    @Televiper: Possibly but I think that is giving too much credit.

    @Sonnymooks: The sales tax part is making me think that it was someone above the floor personnel.

    @joebloe: $40… your illegals make more than our illegals. Where do you live, I would recommend they move there.

    Seriously joebloe was that necessary?

  17. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    OK, what’s wrong with this refund thing? This is what’s wrong: The customers who paid got what they paid for, a trip to the head of the line. Now they get their money too?

    That’s just like if a kid was selling dope, and their parents made them stop and give back everyone’s money. Way to reward bad consumer behavior.

  18. 2point8 says:

    $108.79 = $99.99 before tax here in WA, so I would guess the employee wanted that exact amount so they could buy something for themselves

  19. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    I’m sure that the refunds will be paid out as efficiently as Fry’s rebates are.

  20. I was walking by those people when they came up with the idea. It was more like 3 or so, I’m guessing the one with the sign is the one this story is referring to. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a store-planned thing. I heard the people behind it talking about it before it started while I was there.

    They were walking around the entire store with a hand-written sign and yelling quite loud. How any manager could not know they were doing that is beyond me.

  21. Alos, I’ll be sure to check if any of the employees mentioned have actually been fired next time I’m over there.

  22. alhypo says:

    I don’t quite get it. How did the “rouge” employees benefit from such a practice if the charge was included with the bill? Just as they said, that money would go to Fry’s, not the employee. It seems like they would have asked for cash. And I can’t see any reason why they would charge sales tax except that the register forces them to. Plus, most computerized registers that I’ve seen require a floor supervisor or manager override to charge an amount other than the cost of the scanned items.

    I don’t think we are getting the complete story here.

  23. K-Bo says:

    @alhypo: “And I can’t see any reason why they would charge sales tax except that the register forces them to.”

    Or to give the illusion the register forced them to so that the story that the money goes to the store appears true.

    A lot of stores also have a throwaway sku that the register will accept for any price, simply because it’s not always possible to get a manager to the register every time you need a override in some understaffed retail stores ( and for once that doesn’t mean Wal-Mart )

  24. B1663R says:

    @trollkiller: have you ever seen the line for the guys who skipped the line? is just as long. another scam.

  25. Chairman-Meow says:

    Ok color me stoopid but….You are standing in-line to get a bargain on Black Friday. If you pay a $100.00 fee to jump ahead in the line kinda negate the bargins you are standing in line for in the first place?

    Stupid tax anyone ?

  26. kellsbells says:

    I went to the Renton Fry’s last night and was greeted with the worst.setup.ever. in regards to processing checkouts.
    I waited in line to buy a flash drive, that I thought was on sale. After I was rung up and didn’t get my rebate, we realized, at the counter, that I had grabbed the wrong item (my mistake). Instead of just returning the item then and there, that she had just sold me, the sales clerk informed me that I would have to go to the Customer Service line to return my item, and when I”m done, she’ll have the correct item waiting for me at her checkstand and I can bypass the cattle corral. Ooookaayyyyyy. I waited 10 minutes before I could return my item, and went back to Checkstand #25 to get my correct item. The clerk was helping someone else, who also had a problem with an item’s price, and just when I thought they were done with their transaction…the oh-so-helpful clerk volunteers to go to CustServ herself and have the barcode’s price changed on the electric shaver! Never mind the hordes of minions literally milling around behind her and talking about the shoes they just bought, no joke. So I wait another ten minutes for her to come back, and she never does, so finally I went to the back of the store, retrieved my item, and walked back to the check-out area. Her checkstand is finally cleared up, and she greets me cheerily, hi have you been waiting long? Yes I say between gritted teeth. She apologizes for the wait and I take the moment to say, “Look, I realize that it’s not your fault and you have been quite helpful, but the whole checkout system that you have here is one giant cluster-eff.” And I felt a lot better. Poor thing. Time elapsed from initial purchase to walking out the door: 30 minutes.

  27. FightOnTrojans says:

    @Front_Towards_Enemy: It’s all about risk vs. reward. If the item you intend to purchase is more than $100 off the normal price, then you would have to evaluate your risk of the store running out of the item due to your place in line. So, if you are in the back of the line, and the object you want is at least $150 off the normal price and is likely to be sold-out prior to you being able to purchase it yourself, it may be in YOUR best interest to pay the $100 fee. You end up saving only $50 off the item, but at least you got it, and still for less than the regular price. Anything less than that and I don’t think it would be worth it.

  28. StevieD says:

    @joebloe:

    The going rate is $12 per hour.