CompUSA - Store Shutdown Sales

I worked at the CompUSA in Lexington, KY from 2002 till 2007 (I quit a few months after they first closed a bunch of stores, before they closed them “all”). It had its good days and bad days (doesn’t any job?) but I tell you I don’t regret it at all. I learned so much about retail, marketing, computer service, bad management (maybe 1 good manager in my time there) good sales people and bad sales people. It was a blast when I look back on it.

I really have nothing else to contribute to this thread.

I miss CompUSA. A store full of computers and computer parts and racks of PC games – what’s not to like?

Sadly, it was their prices.

I enjoyed pretty much everything else with their stores of old, but they were regularly overpriced anywhere from 15-25% on hardware.

Not just their prices, but the fact that they refused to put them on their items. Instead there was a sticker that LOOKED like a price but no, it was some inventory tag or some goddamned thing.

I worked 3 years at the Allston, MA CompUSA at the upgrades counter. It was pretty bittersweet to see that place close down(I left a few years before that).

I remember going to CompUSA in their later years and their PC games were always totally disorganized. The one I regularly went to had an older woman who was in charge of the PC games, but she never had any idea of whether they had new releases or not. I eventually just started using their completely accessible DOS based inventory computer to look and see if they had the new games, and though the employees gave me weird looks, they never said anything.

Later they actually remodeled that store and had a decent PC section for a time. There was even a rumor at one point that they were trying to make a deal with EB or Software Etc/Babbages to have “store within a store” gaming sections.

Then Best Buy opened nearby and that CompUSA lasted about a year or so more before it shut down, a few years before the rest of the chain did.

It’s hard to believe all the national chains that you used to be able to go into and see decent PC game selections that have now disappeared. Egghead, Circuit City, Future Shop, and CompUSA just to name a few of the places that I used to check for new releases rather then pay the higher prices at EB or Software Etc at the mall.

Back when they first open they were reasonable in price. Before CompUSA, your choices were authorized resellers (who never had a computer for less than $3k), Sears (which had over priced cheap computers), computer shows in rented halls put on by flight by night operations, and Computer Shopper.

Somewhere around here, I still have my AMD K6 processor that I bought from just such a computer show, and could never get to work right. I paid $50 for that thing, and the system I installed it in never POSTed once.

I was just thinking that it’s not surprising that PC game retail sales have dropped so much when we have exactly one dedicated game retail chain in America anymore and that’s Gamestop, which exists purely to resell used console games - they could have had a used PC section like EB did, but noooo. So while they make a token effort to stock PC games, that’s all it is, a token effort. And other than that, you have big box stores like Wal-mart, Target, and Best Buy, which are only allocating a tiny fraction of their shelf space to any sort of gaming, so good luck finding more games there than a couple dozen of the hottest prospects on any particular platform. (Best Buy’s a -little- better, but not much).

I stopped even bothering with local retail some time ago. It’s Amazon, GoGamer, or digital distribution anymore. Nobody else has any kind of selection.

I used to buy my hardware and bulk of my games all the time there–admittedly the bulk of that was when it was known as Softwarehouse (which is still a better name). I remember scouring the shelves for Winchester drives, Cirrus Logic cards, finding the right DIMMs, replacing yet another CH Flight Stick and grabbing the lost copy of X-Wing off the shelves the weekend of release.

— Alan

My favorite part about CompUSA was that in the gaming section, the CompUSA in Birmingham, AL always had a top-of-the-line PC setup and running the latest and greatest graphical showcase shooter. So that was the first place that I saw Unreal. And Trespasser. And other games that looked really good. And they all ran flawlessly on that demo machine they had setup. Of course, the games didn’t run nearly as well when we got them home and ran them on a less-than-state-of-the-art computer.

For older memories than that, I remember a similar setup in the St. Louis CompUSA where I first saw Warcraft II running on a machine (and I couldn’t figure out how to move a unit, because I used to the Dune II and C&C interface, I and I kept left-clicking and the stupid Orc just would NOT move. Arrrrrgh!). I also saw games like Heroes of Might and Magic running there, and Might & Magic V. Ah, good times.

There was Egghead. They were a store within Staples around here. I bought a lot of stuff at Egghead.

Egghead? Now there’s a name I’ve not heard in a long, long time. A long time.

We didn’t have any of those this far north, though. But we did have local, boutique manufacturers like Gigabytes and Mansfield Computers, both long gone. Ormsby’s is still around (since 1982), down in Barre, but they’re mostly an authorized reseller.

Egghead was software only. Staples wasn’t nationwide for a good 10 years after compusa was around.

Egghead sold peripherals and upgrades (RAM, modems, etc.), but didn’t sell computer systems (at least not when I worked there).

Before CompUSA, there were a ton of beige box stores and computer swap meets. Not so much anymore.


I worked at CompUSA from 95-97. In the tech department. It was great when I started, but things quickly went downhill. They started hiring all these GMs from the rapidly failing Ames, who, of course, knew nothing about computers. They were also assholes, at least in my experience.

After I left, I rarely returned to buy stuff. BestBuy was so much friendlier. Even when I didn’t know anyone who was left in CompUSA, it seemed like everyone there was pissed at the world. Service was horrible.

I was glad to see them go.

Did Gamestop STOP carrying used PC games? I remember seeing them about a year ago at one of the 2 Gamestops near my home here in Queens/NYC.

The section was just as big as the NEW PC games sections… I mean it was still just a small rack but they did have a decent selection of newer and older titles.

Some Gamestops are console-only (and have been for a long time), depending on the location, size, and origination of the store in the grand scheme of things.

— Alan

Gamestop never carried used PC games that I know of. EBGames did before the merger, and I’d asked the local Gamestop people if they were going to import that practice and the answer was “no.”

The first Gamestop here used to be an Electronics Boutique, and before that it was Walden Software. For them, phasing out computer components/peripherals, used (and most new) PC titles, and new and used DVDs was a very long process that lasted well into their Gamestop incarnation.