We all enjoy finding bargains or deals when shopping, especially on more expensive electronics gear. What I experienced last night at Fry’s may change your mind what’s really a bargain and what will cause more headache than money savings.
I bought a router from Fry’s about a month ago and finally had some time to play with it this past weekend. The router in question is a Netgear WNR3500L, a gigabit router with a USB port for an external harddrive. I specifically bought this router because it had the ability to network a USB drive.
After playing with the router, I found that it was not able to actually mount the drive and make it viewable on our home network. I troubleshot it and was still not able to get it to work. The internet worked great on it but the different harddrives I plugged-in just would not show up. I decided to take it back last night, so I packed it up and drove to Fry’s.
The girl who processed my return seemed nice at the beginning of our conversation, but I soon realized that it was too good to be true. She took everything out of the box to make sure it was all there, then compared serial numbers, that’s fine with me. Then it took a turn for the weird. I explained that the networking features worked fine on it but it was unable to mount a harddrive. She proceeded to pick up the router and look at each port on the back. What she was looking for, I’ll never know. Maybe she thought it was an NES and I had tried to blow in the back of it like a game cartridge.
Apparently my explanation for why I was returning it was acceptable and she printed a sticker, an open box/restocked sticker with a new price, $95.99, and stuck it on the box. This confused me, so I inquired as to whether or not Fry’s would flash the operating system of the router to reset it and then test it. The employee looked up at me and with a straight face said, “They will plug it in and make sure it lights up”. Wow. I replied, “But the USB port either doesn’t work or something is wrong with the firmware”. She continued doing her work and did not reply. My receipt was handed to me and I watched as she took the router, halfway in its box into a restocking room, where she dropped the router, then stuffed it back in the box.
The moral of the story is, do not buy restocked items at Fry’s unless there is a well documented return policy for the item. I should also mention that I purchased the router for $99, so the restocking “savings” is really only $3.01. Is it worth $3 to possibly get a non-functioning, dropped, piece of electronics?