The consumer technology boom has created the need for the "Geek Squad", an indispensable tech support company for those whose products break down, as Steve Kroft found in 2007.
I watched this 60 minutes segment for a marketing course. Electronic/appliance stores a huge social failure. I'm convinced they exist because they exist. Of course, we've been shown an alternative. Look at Apple and the Genius Bar.
The reason that Home Depot/whatever still sells crap is because of contractors and the alternative is so difficult:
1. Contractors want the cheapest thing. They know that if the home owner is not satisfied, they'll call up and pay even more to replace that horrible door that they just installed when they built the place. The construction market is set up to encourage poor craftsmanship, high prices and horrible service. Read "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" for more details.
2. What is the alternative? Small boutiques who offer recovered used building materials? Hard to find high-end boutiques? Not everyone has money or time to find these things. They shouldn't need to though. A $1 tile or a $30 tile is pretty much the same thing.
Both of these things could be overcome by someone with deep pockets targeting these unsatisfied customers. But, it's a risk. It's different. It's untested. Just like the Genius Bar was. In fact, the first year, no one used the Genius Bar. That's just how bad customer service is today, we can't believe that it's offered. When it is put in front of us, we just walk passed dumbfounded.