Open Letter to Randy Fry

Dear Mr. Fry,

Fry’s had a chance to delight a customer today, but you blew it.

I probably should know better than to go shopping on Black Friday, but your ad in today’s Mercury News had one offer which was too good to pass up — Season 4 of Enterprise for $60. So my son and I drove to the Campbell location, found parking, and went to the video section, where we found what we were looking for. And if we’d stopped there, we’d have left happy.

But we also knew that Fry’s, like all large merchants, price-matches other ads, and we had an ad from Circuit City for Season 6 of The Simpsons for $16 instead of your price of $38. So, rather than drive over to Circuit City, we grabbed a copy of that DVD and got into line.

The cashier said that he was only authorized to price-match a difference of $5 and told us to go over to the returns line to get the ad price. So we did.

We were lucky; there were only three people ahead of us in the returns line, so we only had to wait about five minutes. But the person who was helping us said we’d have to go back to the cashier, buy the DVD, then come back to the returns line and get a refund. I was not happy, and said so.

A manager (Tom) heard me, and came over to help. He said that this multistep process was Fry’s policy, which he couldn’t override, but he’d make sure we didn’t have to stand in line again, so I was mollified. Off we went to the cashier.

We got a different cashier this time — one who wanted to help us. So before I could explain anything, he went off to ask his supervisor for help in giving us the correct price. Five minutes later, he returned, saying that he’d called Circuit City, and the location they’d called was out of the disks, so we’d have to pay full price. Fortunately, the original manager also walked over and said that he’d honor the ad price “because he wanted to”. So we paid for the DVDs, then went directly to the return line and got a refund processed. I hope — the cashier there told me that it might take two or three business days for the refund to be credited to my son’s account.

If the original cashier had had the authority to follow your policy of price-matching, I would have left the store a delighted customer. If there had been signs telling me the procedure, I probably would have left happy. But by the time I finished going through the full runaround, I was quite unhappy — even though I got the DVDs at good prices.

Next time I’m ready to buy something, I’ll remember this experience. And I’ll remember that price-matching works both ways — and last time I had a price matched at Circuit City, it only took them two minutes to help me.

(I’m also mailing this letter to Fry’s corporate office. I was going to post it through Fry’s website’s Contact Fry’s form, but the form doesn’t actually allow you to enter your comments!)

Want some pie?

Every year, I make a pecan pie for Thanksgiving. Until recently, I just followed the standard recipe from the Karo® Syrup label, but I got bored with it, so I started experimenting.

The first year, I added some semi-sweet chocolate chips. That went over well, but it wasn’t quite what I wanted. So the last few years, I’ve been experimenting with mint, too, and now I’ve come up with what I think is the right balance:

Chocolate Peppermint Pecan Pie


  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light Karo Syrup
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 9-inch frozen pie crust (I use Mrs. Smith’s)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Remove pie crust from freezer
  3. Mix first five ingredients in medium bowl and stir until blended
  4. Stir in pecans, chocolate chips, and peppermint extract
  5. Pour into pie crust
  6. Bake at 350 degrees about 50-55 minutes, until a knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean
  7. Cool on wire rack

The chocolate chips do not melt, so some bites will be more chocolaty than others, but with a half-cup of chips, you won’t be deprived. (This year, I only used 1/3 cup, which wasn’t quite enough.)

This recipe is healthier than a normal pecan pie, because you get the flavonoids in semi-sweet chocolate. So eat hearty!

(It would probably make more sense to include the peppermint extract along with the vanilla extract, but I first added the peppermint as a last-second addition to a pie in progress, so I’ve always done it at the end.)

The trouble with retroblogging is that you’re always behind

As the few of you who haven’t given up on me may have noticed, I haven’t blogged anything for months. I made a good start at catching up on our UK trip, and I planned to get that done before resuming normal blogging.

So much for planning.

I still want to write more about the trip to the UK, and even post a few more pictures, but it’s clear that I’ve let myself get stalled (something which happens far too easily to me).

It’s time to move on.

We now rejoin this blog, which is already in progress.