To you youngsters out there reading this - here's a history lesson. The retail experience was very, very different than it is today. Not necessarily better, just different. Let's compare and contrast, shall we? We'll use buying a stereo as an example.
You walk into your electronics super center, and without much thought, pick out a stereo. The super center employees are no help whatsoever - they're minimum wage workers, with no training and non-commission, so their incentive to learn the products is absolute zero. The stereo is made in China, will last a couple years then inexplicably stop working. Meanwhile, you're still paying for it on your high interest credit card.
A grim description, I know. But it's fairly accurate nonetheless.
In the early 1970s
The stereo store was generally a locally owned small business, and the guys working there were pretty knowledgable in their products. They were commision salesmen, so they were akin to used car salesmen in trapping you into the most expensive items.
Stereos back then were insanely expensive, so a lot of thought was put into the purchase beforehand. Plus, they were built to last. My dad had the same stereo for easily twenty years before retiring it to the attic, and it probably still works fine.
And, of course, the stereo itself was dramatically different. Today, they're a tenth the size, and usually reserved for your TV's surround sound - not playing records. Yes, they were once the focal point of the living room - pop's pride and joy. Buying your new hi-fi wasn't all that different than purchasing your new car.
Indeed, fiddling with dad's stereo was playing with fire. Accidentally blowing out the speakers would land you in some deep shit... not that that ever happened to me or anything. I'm just stayin'.