I think the personal face to face contact thing is overrated, these kids are the way they are because thats how they were raised, always with their ass on the road to do something, baseball, soccer, this thing, that thing, no time to sit and relax, its no wonder they gravitate to a device which allows them the convenience to carry all their entertainment with them. I bought an Ipod touch a year ago and love it, it's got my music, video, internet access, I can even "facetime" with my grandkids nice device. Highend, nope, but with a good set of earbuds not the worst Ive heard. I have been to a few of the high end stores over the years and found either I would be ignored almost completely or I would end up talking to someone who was out to impress me with so much audio jargon the conversation was one way and pointless. I think Bob has hit it close to home for me; internet sales with one caveat, and that is the regional audio shows. I can go to a regional high end audio show, the last few years living in Baltimore, I've attended the DC Audiofest in Rockville, MD, and got to listen to, look at, and chat (if so inclined) with manufactures or their represenatives of some of the best audio gear available. As Bob pointed out, the internet has made available such a wide range of choices its almost mind numbing. I can purchase refurbished McIntosh (of which I'm a huge fan, cause I cant afford new) for 50% of retail, I can purchase custom designed components, ie M-125 amps (thanks Bob, maybe someday), I can purchase DIY speaker kits from speaker designers (GR-Research, Danny Richie), I can get on a forum and get advice from Nelson Pass, the possibilities are endless. Retail stores are hard pressed to compete with that and too slow to adapt. Its a complex issue as most things are after the sound bite, as for it being a bad thing, not sure I agree, its just different.