richms: I dont see the relevance of sales staff anymore. Perhaps in the dark old days of the 80s when you only had advertiser influenced magazines to get information from, but now that there are sites like this, reviews all over the net from less biased people and easy to get manuals and spec sheets for anything, I dont see the value in sales people other than to suggest alternative products that are in stock (a failure of most retailers to actually carry a decent range) or to bargain with (a failure of the current obsession people have with paying the ticket price and putting it on "interest free" finance)
I see where you're coming from, but you need to remember that you aren't the 'typical' consumer.
If you're hanging out on Geekzone, odds on, you're right into technology and love the techie side of things.
A majority, and I mean majority, rely on other people to lead them in the right direction, and don't like the over geeky nature that tends to proliferate the interweb. Dispite moderation, every forum I've ever frequented has been loaded with brand bias, incorrect information, over tenchincal (non-real world) advice...
For many, this simply baffles people.
In my experience, people gravitate towards people they can trust, then, as life goes on, stay with that person.
This person may be the family member who is into gadgets, it may be a trusted sales person, it may be someone on-line.
Think of it this way, if I was to post a question asking 'What is the best receiver for under $5000, to connect to my PS3, brand spanking Panasonic full HD plasma... oh and what speakers should I get?"
How many different, utterly contradicting answers will I get?