Fry's Sells Magical Disappearing HDTVs To Customers

The Fry’s store in Renton, Washington, just played a mean trick on at least half a dozen customers. This morning, Jeff successfully navigated through the crowd outside, the crowds inside, and no less than five different lines in order to purchase a 52″ TV. Everything went remarkably smoothly. Well, until the very end.

This was the first ever Black Friday shopping I have ever attempted (at age 24). I felt a little silly, knowing that I should have arrived earlier if I wanted to have the slightest chance of beating the crowds. Knowing that Fry’s is a huge store, I humored myself and stayed in line to at least see if how quickly it would move once doors opened.  To my surprise, from doors opening to me getting inside only took 10 minutes.

I was in, and I was excited.

On the top of my list of purchases, I was hoping to score a very good deal on a Samsung 52″ LCD TV that had been part of the Black Friday Ads.

As I am a frequent buyer from Fry’s, I headed straight back to the TV section, and found the TV.  It was perfect.  I looked around for a sales associate to help me, not realizing another line had formed inside the store for the same purpose.  By the time I figured out what was going on, the line was easily 150 people long. Knowing my chances were slim, I decided to wait in line anyways.  With how crowded the store was, it seemed as though Fry’s had done the impossible; kept a fairly good operation to keeping things orderly and organized.  The line was moving fast, and I wasn’t sure if that was a good sign or not.

I finally made it to the front, and asked the sales associate if they still had the 52″.  He responded with a smile, and a “Yes”, and he handed me a ticket!  I felt like I had won the lotto! After I got my ticket, I waited in another line to be checked out, so I could head to the cashier to pay for my new TV.  I was so excited!  Upon arriving to the front of that line, I asked the sales associate if I could pick up my TV later in the day.  Again, he too responded with a smile and a “yes!”.  Everything was going my way!

After I checked out with him, I headed to the front of the store, with invoice in hand, to pay for the TV.  I arrived at the cashier’s, and told him I would like to pick up the TV later.  He told me he would have to ask his supervisor if that was okay.  The supervisor said that I had to pick it up right now, as they wouldn’t be able to hold it for me for the day.  Still somewhat on a high, I said “Not a problem”, and called a friend.  After a little  persuasion (As this was 5:30 am, and he was still sleeping), my friend responded he’d be there within the hour.  I told the cashier what I had found out, and told him I would be looking around in the store for some other sales while I waited.

After 20 minutes of looking at more things I could buy, he called me back and said he was in the parking lot.  I was surprised at how quickly he had got there, so I headed back for the cashier’s to pay and pick up the TV.  The line had gotten to about 400 people long by now, and I was surprised at how long it took to get through.  Twenty-five minutes later, I purchased the TV and headed to pick it up. I went up to the pickup Sales guy, handing him my receipt.  He looked at the product I had bought and responded “Oh no, not another one”. 

To my surprise, about 10 people in front of me were all waiting for the same thing.  The store manager came up and said that they oversold the TV. and that we could get refunds at the refund desk.  One of us asked if they were going to give us rain checks as all of us had already paid for the TV, and he told us with a smirk on his face, “No”. He then walked off, not making himself accessible to anyone for questions. We all paid for a TV we were not going to get. 

I have never felt so betrayed by a store.  I walked around with a false sense of security, as giddy as a kid in a candy store, only to be told that I wasn’t going to get what I paid for.  I understand mistakes happen, but it would have seemed wise to me to solve the initial problem (call back to the TV department to make sure they weren’t handing out more tickets), and then make right with the few of us that waited in multiple lines, over several hours, who PAID for their TVs.