arkoenig, you're intentionally asking a rhetorical question, and getting weird when people don't answer the non-question??? It's very patronizing, and now your acting like an angry parent when I don't "answer" your question... I really don't understand why you're doing this, but please think about it for a second, you stated your answer as a question, what do you expect?
Since I was a small child, I have had the (sometimes unfortunate) habit of asking questions, usually innocently, that have made people uncomfortable. The first such question I can recall, asked when I was about six years old, was "If God created everything, then who created God?"
Now, in a sense that question was rhetorical, but it was also legitimate. Because as far as I could tell, it was entirely possible that the question had an answer that I had overlooked, and once I knew the answer, it would certainly change my point of view about the question.
In the case of Guitar Center, my question is also only semi-rhetorical, because where you see good versus evil, I see a situation that is all too familiar: You are in a minority and what you are really railing against is the taste of the majority.
Because companies such as Guitar Center and MacDonald's would not be able to stay in business were it not for two facts: (1) They cater to middle-of-the-road tastes, and (2) Although what they deliver is not particularly good, neither is it too bad. Because if MacDonalds served food that people hated, they'd stop going there. And I say this as someone who has not visited one of their establishments in years.
Now, I sense that part of your anger is that there isn't a local music store with any substantial depth of stock. But if your taste is in a minority, it is pretty much impossible for such places to exist outside large cities, and not even so easy there. The trouble is that in smaller locales, there's just too much overhead in running a small business, especially if people with more mainstream taste won't shop there because of that overhead.
Here's a story about that. Once upon a time, many years ago, I wanted to help my girlfriend (now my wife) pick out a camera. So we went to what looked like a well-stocked local store and asked for advice. We spent probably an hour looking at cameras and found one that did exactly what she wanted. Wanting to be fair to the people who had spent that time with us, we bought it from them.
Later I discovered that we paid nearly twice as much for that camera as it would have cost at B&H Photo. For the price difference, we could have taken a limousine to and from New York and spent the night in a hotel. And if we had gotten to B&H early in the morning, before it fills with people, we could probably have spent more time handling more different cameras and getting better advice than we would have gotten at the local place.
And this is in New Jersey, the state with the most people per square mile of any state in the USA. Because of that population density, it would be possible to maintain a reasonably priced business for serious photographers in New Jersey--if only there were more of them. But there aren't. My tastes are in a minority. And as long as they are, there is no way such a business can be successful in my area. That is not the fault of the large chain stores--it is the "fault" (the quotes are there because I don't think there's any moral content to it) of the fact that my tastes are in the minority.
So yes, I suppose my question is partly rhetorical. The real point of it, though, is not to defend Guitar Center--it's to point out that as long as your tastes are in the minority, you're going to have to look harder for ways to cater to them, and that's not good or evil--it just is.
By the way, if you're thinking of telling me that you don't like the way GC does business, please don't. I know nothing of their business practices, and don't care because I'm not their customer. What I will say, though, is that in the photo world, I am continuously amazed and astonished about what kind of sleazeballs manage to stay in business--something they can do only because somewhere there must be people who are stupid enough to buy from them repeatedly. And I can't think of any word other than stupid to describe such behavior. We are talking here about stores whose *normal* practice is to charge people's credit cards and then not deliver anything. Or to sell used merchandise as new. Or to substitute less expensive products for the ones they're advertising. Or to add hundreds of dollars to the price after the fact. It is inconceivable to me that anyone buys anything from these places and doesn't report them to the state Attorney General's office. But they keep fleecing the flock.
I used to get angry about such things, but all it got me was comments from my girlfriend along the lines of "Why are you so angry? They're not hurting you, and there are so many other things to be angry about that are actually important." That's one of the reasons I married her.
The difference between theory and practice is that in theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice, there is.