Re: guitar shops really kinda suck.
I live in a small town with one guitar shop that has nothing of interest to me. In their defense, they probably do not have the customer interest or funds to carry USA Jacksons, real ESPs or higher end Ibanez guitars. I have to go to Atlanta to find guitars that interest me and even then the selection is slim. I have a better chance finding something used at GC. I can usually go into a store and scan the walls for headstocks and quickly tell if there is anything of interest. Usually in and out in five minutes or less. If (and that is a big IF) someone asks me if I need any help, I will ask them if they have any USA Jacksons, higher end Ibanez, etc...and I will get "no, we do not carry that type of guitars since they are not very popular". Guess I must be out of touch because hot rodded, double locking tremolo, name brand pickups guitars are exactly what is popular for me! They will try to turn your attention to a Les Paul but that is not me. I learned to play on a Les Paul as a child and have done my Les Paul faze.
I miss the days you could walk in a shop, find the guitar you were looking for (in the finish you wanted), haggle over the price until you got to 65%-70% of retail for the out the door price and on the way out spot the next guitar you wanted. A long time ago there was a store in Atlanta called Rhythm City and they had everything and if they did not, they would cut you a deal on something close or better than the guitar you wanted. You could even try out three to six of the same guitar to see which one felt better to you. The sales people would not let you leave without trying to find something you wanted. After the day was over, you were exhausted but happy over the buying experience and started planning on getting that custom Jackson or Ibanez you spotted when leaving the store....and that's the way I liked it!