Or rather, LBS' that seem to care, and are open with their customers really make the difference.
I've got 3 bike shops all within about 10 miles of each other and my house. For a while there was only one that I knew of, and so I took my bike the few occasions I needed to, there. Well, after getting hosed a few times with parts that were sold to me that were not the right ones, services not being done as part of a package deal, and getting parts that when they WEREN'T on the bike were in fine shape, and once on, had these odd grind marks on them, I said enough was enough. So I went to the other reputable bike shop the furthest away. Knowledgeable folk, willing to help those that knew what they were talking about. Didn't really want to spend the patience dealing with someone who had questions about the bike they already had, and was looking to give them business with proper upgrade recommendations.
So I decided that once I'm through with my police training, i was treating myself to a brand new MTB, and retiring my Mesa to extra rider on the trail duty. But I wanted a place that was friendly, and willing to put up with my newbie-ish questions.
The last bike shop I went to, is now the closest to me, and just opened up a few weeks ago, as their second storefront.
WOW. I told them my situation, how I couldn't afford a bike right now, wanted to do some research, and try out bikes. They practically threw them at me. They helped fit the proper size to me, explained the features of each bike I rode, even helped give me comparisons of each component ON each bike.
i really wish i could have taken my Visa out right there and bought one of the bikes I tried. But I've done a little more research, and I'm sold. If not 100% on the bikes I've tried, but the bike shop at the very least. They told me about (and of course saying and doing are different, but confidence was instilled in me) how they want to help take care of the bike with the proper tunings, and parts assistance for me, and all that stuff.
they talked to me as a fellow rider, and not just a customer. It was great. Online shops are good, but I'll be taking my cash to this shop 99% of the time. its great to know that some places still have customer service as #1.