Re: Make it hard for their customers, the customers will avoid the stores.
GC and SA are no different, business wise, as Costco or Sam's club. evolving machine hit the nail on the head in that they do buy in bulk and then say; "Here you are public"! We US citizens buy it because they "have it". Especially newbies into music.
I have purchased amplifiers and PA systems online without touching them and have always done well. I would never buy a drum or cymbal that way. I will get sticks and heads online....that's safe.
Regarding salespeople.....you will meet good ones and not so good...err....bad ones. Don't let them bother you or they have won. Just say "I will come and get you when you are needed". They want your address to send promo fliers etc... I actually like that because who knows what deal is coming down and I may need it.
ON THE OTHER HAND.....my great local friends at "Resurrection Drums" in Hollywood, Florida--rezdrums.com (the only place I buy drum gear, period) forget to send me the promo emails for Pro Drummers coming to town for clinics. C'mon guys send me the info! It costs them money to bring the Pros into town and I want to spend my money to see them BUT I get no info....and I am on their email list.
Zildjian--Mapex Saturn--Remo--DW 5000--Iron Cobra--Regal Tip AVH