I've said it before and I'll say it again. It isn't the consumer that's killing the lbs, it's the bike industry. How can a small physical location expect to have stock of everything the consumer wants/needs when the industry is pushing 3 different wheel sizes, 5 different axle standards, 4 seatpost sizes, 2 bar sizes, 186 permutations of headset sizes, and who the hell knows how many different sizes of shock hardware?
I needed a headset to finish building up a new frame the other day. I phoned around 6 shops trying to get a hold of the size I needed. Every single shop said they'd be happy to order the part I needed, but that I was better off just ordering it online as they cannot possibly stock every headset size available. I've given up wanting the latest and greatest simply because it isn't worth the time and effort required to track down spares for when stuff breaks or goes wrong.
More contributors to the death of the LBS: crap advice, worse attitude, and lack of diversification to adapt to the changing environment. I've known some people to be straight up intimidated by the LBS.
I cant count on one hand the number of times I've heard people say, 'I hate the local bike shop'. I've sworn I wouldn't go back. Lacking salesmanship and business acumen in a sales industry?! WTF. It never ceases to blow my mind.
I have a handful of instances. Seriously no sympathy from my side of the fence. I'm an old vet too. Do all my own work, luckily I like it.
Even yesterday I was fed some crap from a shop. Couldn't give two shits to understand my issue and support a solution. (destroyed bearing on a brand they supply). Couldn't be fuked to take a look. First thing in the AM, no customers in sight.
Then, a rare occurrence. A shop in whistler blew my mind how helpful they were. Had the parts I needed, loaned the tools, even helped with the job. Got me riding again. Fuc me I was stoked. I came back later to buy parts!
Flame away, these are my experiences. I have a business degree and have been working in a sales based industry for 12 years, so im no noob.