My budget and my OS's feature set have aligned so that it is time for me to purchase a new graphics card. I'm thinking I might get a FreeSync monitor to go with it.
I decided to go to Fry's. Because while I've never liked going to Fry's, it's the only damn brick-and-mortar store around here where you can buy computer components, and I would just as soon keep it in business.
It appears I was too late. While the store is still open, and there was no signage to suggest any intention to close, it is clearly about to close. When I went to frys.com and looked for graphics cards available in-store, and only found one, I figured well, the Fry's website has always been janky; there's no way there's only one graphics card in stock in the entire store.
There was only one graphics card in stock in the entire store.
The place has been gutted. It looks like they've still got kitchen appliances and TVs to sell, and there are still some computer monitors on display, but if you're planning to shop for components there, you're shit out of luck. Which is bad news the next time one of my case fans goes out.
There were still a few cases on shelves, but I didn't see any fans, or CPUs, or RAM, or even keyboards and mice. Just empty aisle after empty aisle.
It wasn't looking that bad even eight months ago, the last time I went in there (because one of my case fans went out). That time, I showed up in the middle of a weekday (it was at the end of my vacation) and the store was still well-stocked, and there were people in there. There was a Street Fighter 2 mini-cabinet, and people were playing on it; I still kinda regret not hanging around to play next.
That cabinet's still there. It's sitting on the floor, unplugged, next to the aisle that still has a "Wii U" sign on it.
It was fucking depressing. I never particularly liked Fry's, but it provided an important service that nobody else does. Now there's no such place; if I need a computer part, well, I better hope it's nothing I need any sooner than two-day shipping.
There's another Fry's, or at least there was; I'm guessing it's probably in pretty similar shape (though it's possible they decided to consolidate the two stores and they're moving everything from the Tempe one to the Phoenix one). The rub is, it's a 30-mile drive, and I can't think of a whole lot of scenarios where it'd be worth that.
I like the convenience of online ordering, obviously. But aside from scenarios where you need a part right away, there are a lot of cases where there's a benefit to being able to actually see what you're buying (and, in some cases, touch it) before you buy it.
And anything that gives more market power to Amazon is a bad thing.
I guess tomorrow I'll swing by Best Buy. I don't know what their graphics card selection is like, if any, but they should at least have some monitors for me to look at.