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Thread: Micro Center experiences?

  1. #1
    Senior Member PaulStoffregen's Avatar
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    Micro Center experiences?

    I'd like to hear from anyone who regularly shops at Micro Center stores.

    Some specific questions:

    1: Which store location(s) do you visit?

    2: Are they carrying Teensy? Which models?

    3: How many are usually in stock? Are they ever out of stock?

    4: How do you feel about buying in person at retail stores, versus ordering online?

  2. #2
    Senior Member+ MichaelMeissner's Avatar
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    I shop at the Micro Center in Cambridge, but I go in fits and spurts.

    About three months ago, they reorganized the microprocessor area, and made it much easier to find things. Before they tended to just pile the stuff in random locations, and you needed to know what to look for (and look at the web site ahead of time to see if they are in stock). When I went in last, I saw Teensy 2.0's, Teensy 2.0++'s, Teensy 3.1's. I don't recall if they had the LC yet or not. I just checked the web site, and they don't list the LC, so I suspect they don't have it. In terms of stock levels, I don't recall them being out of stock, but I imagine it happens. They tend have only small numbers out at any one time.

    Now as a customer experience, Micro Center at its heart is a computer store, and has much more emphasis on Raspberry Pi vs. Arduino/Teensy/Digispark/Adafruit/Sparkfun/Squareweare, etc.. I don't recall hearing many of the salesfolk helping other customers with deciding which microprocessor to buy (though I seem to get tagged as the person to ask several times when I'm browsing).

    In addition to Micro Center, the Boston electronics stores You-do-it (http://www.youdoitelectronics.com/) carries Teensy's. Note, You-do-it's web site is still firmly a relic of the 1990's. and it is nearly impossible to use to see if YDI even carries things. Telling you the price of the item, and current stock level isn't possible. I know they carry 3.1's. I think they may have had LC's the last time I was there, but I don't remember. Unlike Micro Center, I know they've carried the octows2811 and smart matrix shields (they may have also carried the audio shield, I don't remember). Unlike Micro Center, I do hear some of the sales folk talking microprocessors (usually broken down by age). YDI also carries a bigger assortment of stuff you would need for micro-electronic projects (leds, resistors, switches, capacitors, basic transistors, etc.), lots of lighting gear (neopixels, EL wire, smart matrix), and robotics stuff. Given YDI carries a lot of Adafruit and Sparkware gear, I suspect they get their Teensy's from A/S.

    Now, if I need something right away, my decision tree looks something like:
    • Do I want pins soldered in or being sure of getting an LC, order directly from PJRC;
    • Is it Saturday and I have the rest of the day to kill? If so, go to YDI first, and then Micro Center (YDI closes earlier than Micro Center, and does not open on Sundays except in December);
    • Do I need it ASAP? Order it from Adafruit before 10 and pay their shipping charge? Given I'm in the Boston area, I can get Adafruit stuff usually in 2 days, since they are in NY. Sparkfun (CO) and PJRC (WA) take longer, unless I'm willing to pay for faster shipping (and I have never been desparate enough to pay for UPS red at PJRC).
    • Otherwise it would be go to PJRC and/or Adafruit (if I was buying other stuff at Adafruit, I would lump it in).


    The question is do people make decisions based on a microprocessor hanging in a bag in a brick and mortar store? I suspect you get some, but it may be better trying to get maker spaces onboard to act as evangelists. Or revamp the package to get people who don't already know Arduino past the initial hump. I do wonder how we will get the next generation in. Previously, Arduino was the gateway drug, particularly at Radio Shack, but that is all changing. I see things like Oak (Digistumps new internet of things chip), Huzzah (Adafruit's version) and of course Raspberry Pi/BeagleBone Black getting the buzz.

    I do like going to the brick and mortar store for all of the other components, and I have bought a Teensy or 2 when I was in there (a lot of the times when I have a general coupon for the store, but there is a minimum purchase for the sale, I will buy the Teensy then).
    Last edited by MichaelMeissner; 05-08-2015 at 05:32 PM.

  3. #3
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    1) I shop at the Micro Center in Central Ohio (Columbus). The store has a dedicated "maker" section with a wide variety of components, parts and systems. Everything from little parts to Arduino through RaspPi 2.0 (in stock less than a week after announcement) to Nvidia Jetson. Most recently visited around April 28 2015.

    2) Teensy 3.1 for sure; I thought Teensy-LC but could be thinking 3.0. (It's on my way home from work, I'll verify soon, now that I have an excuse...)
    Update: 8 Teensy 3.1, 3 Teensy, 2 Teensy++

    3) T3.1: ~6-8, They were regularly out of stock until a few months ago, much improved lately, with no known out-of-stock condition since January.

    4) I prefer to be part of a community that keeps local businesses active, to increase likelihood of having consistent supply of parts with low latency. (I live 10 minute drive from the store, and the Ohio State University campus is similarly close...) That said, I ordered all of my Teensys from PJRC before discovering that MC had them. Now I have enough that I haven't had to resupply.

    I buy a ton of stuff from Micro Center, have been doing business with them since 1982. Very glad they have a maker section now, with Radio Shack going away.

    MMeissner has good points all around, there's no question that Micro Center is a computer store with a maker section rather than being focused on homebrew electronics.

    I am one of probably many people who learn of parts on the net, then try to acquire them locally if possible.
    Last edited by LenSamuelson; 05-09-2015 at 12:23 PM. Reason: Counted Teensy stock

  4. #4
    Senior Member Wozzy's Avatar
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    1: Which store location(s) do you visit?
    St. Davids PA, (Philadelphia Suburbs)

    2: Are they carrying Teensy? Which models?
    Yes, I saw that hey had Teensy 3.1 and Teensy 2.0.
    They may have had others but I didn't see them and their stock in that department was quite was disorganized.

    3: How many are usually in stock? Are they ever out of stock?
    The one time I was there I noticed about 6-8 Teensy 3.1s and at least 5 Teensy 2.0s.

    4: How do you feel about buying in person at retail stores, versus ordering online?
    I like the idea of keeping local stocking retailers open and in business.
    While I'll admit, that I do much of my shopping on the internet, it's nice to be able to get basics and essentials locally when needed.
    I really enjoyed shopping around at MicroCenter...
    I went in for a SATA DVD ROM for a new PC build, and made a couple impulse buys including an RPi2 and some new bluetooth speakers for my daughter.
    Last edited by Wozzy; 05-08-2015 at 06:45 PM.

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    I shop at the microcenter in Denver. I like being able to pick up products quickly when necessary. They recently re-vamped thier maker section in Denver and it seems to be reasonable. The web site currently lists 3 T2,T2++ and T3.1 each. I also like to support them / local stores as I really appreciate being able to run to town and pick up supplies for a project.

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    1) Dallas/Richardson Rex as

    2) Teensy 3.1 (8 in stock), Teensy 2 and 2++ (2 and 3 in stock)

    3) See above. Stock had been spotty, out at times, but getting better. (As sales grow?)

    4) I'm 52 yrs old, like buying local. It's like Radio Shack in the 70s.

    I would buy audio and other Teensy related if available. I do order online, Amazon et.al., butr there's a tactile, impulse factor at play.

    Rick in Plano TX.

  7. #7
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    I'm an hour or so away from the Marietta GA store. Unless I'm in the area I don't normally go there. I didn't see any Teensy products the last time I was there, but I wasn't looking for them either. Considering the cost of gas/transportation next day air is cheaper. I've purchased all my Teensy products from PJRC. Not to say I wouldn't buy from them if my need and my proximity to the store were to merge.

    Jim.

  8. #8
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    1. I frequent the Chicago Elston Ave location. I live about 3 miles away.
    2. I have not seen the Teensy yet there but they just did a major overhaul of their electronics department. I'll definitely keep an eye out next time I'm there.
    3. N/A
    4. Micro Center is pretty much the only place I know of in the whole city to buy hobby electronics parts. They carry a large selection and new stuff shows up all the time. On the downside they were a little disorganized until the refresh. All in all, I'm glad they're there and I usually end up making at least one small impulse buy every time I stop in.

  9. #9
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    1. I frequent the Minneapolis Microcenter.
    2. They carry the Teensy 3.1, 2.0, and 2.0++
    3. They seem to have at least one of each Teensy in stock all the time, but sometimes they can be hard to find on the shelf (I'll get a picture next time). I think their web inventory levels are accurate. It would likely be possible to scrape their inventory levels if you want data for all stores over time.
    4. I generally treat Microcenter as my backup option, or go there if I am in a hurry and need to get something done right now. I still do most of my ordering online. If I know Microcenter will carry a part I am using in a project I don't order spares and I keep less inventory on hand.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swap_File View Post
    1. I frequent the Minneapolis Microcenter.
    2. They carry the Teensy 3.1, 2.0, and 2.0++
    3. They seem to have at least one of each Teensy in stock all the time, but sometimes they can be hard to find on the shelf (I'll get a picture next time). I think their web inventory levels are accurate. It would likely be possible to scrape their inventory levels if you want data for all stores....
    True, all. Especially the HARD to find part. It's a real mess, but one that I wouldn't mind having at my house

    They usually have > 1500 items in stock at any given time under the broad category of :Hobby-Electronics", from $0.99 passives to $1500 quads.

    I read somewhere that Microcenter was founded by some former Radio Shack employees, and they are like 1980 Era Radio Shack times 10. What remains largely unchanged is the relatively
    low level of technical sophistication of the staff.
    Last edited by RickInTexas; 05-25-2015 at 07:38 AM. Reason: Cleaned up original posting from my cell phone.

  11. #11
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    Check my experience here: https://forum.pjrc.com/threads/28169...t=Micro+center

    My Teensy came "out of the box" with soldered pins - somehow. That was in March at Micro Center Tustin, CA (Orange County). They told me they should have had like 10 in stock, but I found only one (which was perfectly OK) on the shelf - and the sales guy found this other one in "some other place". Probably it was due for being returned to PJRC and he just didn't know. Neither did I, and I discovered only when I opened the plastic bag back here in Brazil... Unless Paul has some other information, I would consider this an isolated case.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Apart from that, I'm quite satisfied with Micro Center. Throughout the last years, I bought two refurbished notebooks from them, neither one had problems.

    I like being able to just walk in and buy Teensies and other stuff. Shipping to Brazil can take months (literally - one order took 7 months to arrive and from what I understand the goods generally are held at customs), so whenever I travel to the US I take the opportunity to peek into a Micro Center. And I was more than happy to see that they sell Teensies.
    Last edited by jbliesener; 05-25-2015 at 02:03 AM.

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    Quoted from other thread: " ... my local MicroCenter. Sure they sell items returned, but they always sell it as open box with a discount "

    Yeah, I've shopped at the Metro Dallas (Richardson) store for more than 10 years, and have purchased quite a few "Open Box" items with great success; i.e. a fully functional product at a discount.

    What I really appreciate about Microcenter is that you can return _any_ item within 30 days.

    This should clearly have been represented as "Open Box". (Or returned to vendor).

    7 months? Sheesh, I could have quite literally walked (15 miles) to my local MICROCENTER in a lot less time!
    Last edited by RickInTexas; 05-25-2015 at 07:35 AM.

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    I went to the microcenter in richardson last week, they had teensy 3.1's but no one knew where they were. I finally found them on a bottom shelf, not near the other like products, hidden under some other stuff.

    Its a shame Tanners is bit far for me, but they only carry the LC right now.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwenbeth View Post
    I went to the microcenter in richardson last week, they had teensy 3.1's but no one knew where they were. I finally found them on a bottom shelf, not near the other like products, hidden under some other stustuffff.
    .
    True for any "Hobby-Electronics" item smaller than a grapefruit. e.g. Adafruit LEDs, sensors, etc.

    TIP: Use the 18 Minute Pickup option on the website. Make them find it! Helps if you pay online. Go to the customer service counter and get your goodies.

    Tanners isn't convenient for me either, but I do get there on the occasional Saturday. ThThanks for the heads up on the LC there.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by RickInTexas View Post

    Tanners isn't convenient for me either, but I do get there on the occasional Saturday. ThThanks for the heads up on the LC there.
    Jimmy at Tanner's said that they had just started carrying them. So let him know its something you want to see more of.

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