Re: dropped off a *long* time ago
"Their sales staff would ask about your project and be able to suggest the part combination to solve your problem"
I don't know about the Oz stores, but the days of that happening in New Zealand stopped around 1985-6 and it became a vastly overpriced gadget shop.
In the 1990s I'd walk in occasionally and have to leave quickly as I couldn't stand the assistants trying to sell outdated PCs they couldn't understand to people who knew even less. Invariably my own business would end up rescuing said customers several months later when they needed proper assistance. It was one of our more profitable sidelines.