snofun, the reality that you point out is one of the reasons that I committed to buying from B&M shops almost a year ago, and haven't made any major purchases from "great internet deal" type sites.
(I can not speak for my husband)
The first thing I did was redefine what a Local/Brick and Mortar shop is. I buy from a couple local places(within 50 miles of my house) as well as the fine shop workers/owners who participate on this site. Skiershop(whiteroom), AlpineHigh(Ptex1), SnowWind(Bud Heishman), Wicks Ski Shop(Philpug), Slidewright(alpinord) and a few others....
What I have found, in making that commitment are these things:
- I had no regrets with the items purchased (how often do you make a "quick deal" purchase and later wonder why you bought that POS?)
- Communication was easy
- I spent less money and got more usable 'stuff'
- I, often, got better deals for the specific product by calling the shop and talking to someone
- On at least two occasions, the Bear I talked to convinced me to buy something different and they were right!
Whether your definition of B&M is the guy down the street, or the Bear who has a ski shop, it behooves us all to support the ski shop.