Why do dealers do this?

I'm an old fashioned guy. I like to make my audio purchases from a store and have a person I deal with, establish a relationship, and know that I have someone I can call when I need things. That is why I went into one of the larger stores in my area the other day, ready to audition a couple of things and buy my system. I had a very clear idea of what I wanted, asked to listen to a component with a view to buying it.
The dealer had a completely wrong approach from the start, and it is not a unique situation. I know many good folks in the business are on these forums, so I want to ask why this happens.
From the moment I set foot in the store he created an atmosphere of fairly intense pressure. He started with "you know, I only demo for buying customers". Throughout the visit, I felt continuously pressured to buy on the spot. I was forced to cut my visit short and I was unable to fully appreciate the component I was auditioning. I went from wanting to buy to wanting to run away - who feels comfortable buying something when pressured and rushed to do so right away? So I left the store unsure that I would want to do business with him. Had I had a good experience, and a knowledge that I can go to the store any time and have a good experience rather than have to find a way to "escape" the pressure I would not only have been happy to buy what I wanted, but would have been back often for other purchases. I cannot for the life of me understand where this comes from. One argument I heard is that store owners don't want to have people audition things and then buy online. Well, first off short of refusing to have a show room I don't see how you can make completely sure of that. So, wouldn't making the customer feel comfortable in your store be a better strategy? For me, I now want to shop online rather than go back. And here is one more twist. All online dealers for the product I was looking at make it clear they will not sell to anyone who has a dealer in their area. So I could not buy that online anyway!!
Can anyone enlighten me? Why can I not go to a local store and have that be a pleasant experience any more?
I rarely go into high end dealers because of the same pressure. In short, I am afraid to shop at traditional dealers as it really is not a fun experience. On saturday I had the first great experience in a Audio Dealer. I visited Resolution audio in Seattle and was shown around the place by the owner Larry. He offered to check my setup on my rega TT that I did not buy from him. As well, he has a top of the line record cleaner set up for anyone to drop by and use. Anyway.....I thought it was worth bringing up this dealer to anyone in Seattle who hates the usual dealer experience.
I suspect dealers who are like this fancy themselves so perceptive that they can spot which customers are serious buyers and which are tire-kickers. It sounds like in your case (and many others one reads about in forums like this) that said dealers are often wrong.

It's a pity that happens at all and doubly so that it seems to happen frequently.

Of course, there is at least one alternate explanation. It could be that this dealer is selling more equipment than he can handle as it is without having to waste time on serious audiophiles. No need to spend time on extensive listening sessions. Fewer complaints from hypercritical customers. Fewer hassles with returns. Fewer special orders for models not in stock.

Perhaps he quickly and correctly identified you as a member of the group of customers that he thinks are more trouble than they are worth. So he blows you off and waits for a non-audiophile to walk in the door and say "give me something expensive and fancy. Your call."

I've got a system that I greatly enjoy. Even though I have no urge to change anything, I do like giving the current products on the market a listen. I can't say I've been treated poorly but there is a noticeable lack of enthusiasm when I visit most of the local stores. I do this infrequently enough - easily less than once a year - so I doubt they know who I am.

Of course, audio dealers are not alone. About 25 years ago I walked out of an Audi dealership after being treated poorly. I guess they thought I was too young to be a serious buyer. Three years ago I was looking for a new car and walked out of the same dealership again after very poor treatment. Too old now? (Those were the only two times I'd ever been in there.) I ended up with a Volvo. Guess I just don't look like the one dealer's idea of an Audi owner.... ;-)
My suggestion is to take control of the situation from the beginning. Tell the salesman EXACTLY why you are there. If the salesman doesn't seem willing to comply, speak to the owner and explain that you came in prepared to audition and purchase, and the sales idiot would not comply to your wants. My guess is the salesperson won't be able to kiss your ass fast enough nor often enough.

Some you have to treat a prick like a prick.
Just my 2c from my experience.
If pressured by store owner or salesperson on commission, I simply walk out and never come back. It is that simple.

I have recently spoke with fellow audiophile who used to work in high end store in NYC. In short, he tried to explain his point of view and mentality behind the approach towards the potential customer.
His argument was the owners expenses, time, effort and annoyance with those who abuse the dealer as the source of information and place to audition gear of interest.

As much as I like to understand his arguments, I do not understand how this mentality can build a successful business and clientele?

I have never bought a car without test drive, watch -before trying it on my wrist, house- before seeing it, inspection done by a pro and comparing the property to the similar offerings in the area , etc, etc, etc.

His arguments were weak at best.

There are dealers that will work with you, care and are accommodating and friendly. You just have to look around to find them.

I dealt with manufacturers who would go out of their way to please their customers as well. It is one of the reasons why I simply deal with people that are as passionate and enthusiastic about music and HiFi as I am.

My best advice to you is this:
*Find a dealer you like ( there are plenty to choose from)
*Dealers that refuse to let you audition particular gear - report to the manufacturer....as well as your experiences and such.
*call the manufacturer directly if you are interested in the product, so they can assist/help you to get the best service.
*there are plenty of companies that sell direct. Some even offer in home audition.
*it is your money, it is your call, do what is in your best interest.
I am in sales (printing and packaging in NYC). My job is to develop relationships with my customers not push for an order. I have some customers for almost 20 years. Your retailer needs to look at it that way too. Can my customers get a lower price if they shop around and around. Maybe. But I am selling more than price. My expertise is worth the few dollars more I might be. In many cases my experience and skill can get the customer a better product for less overall cost. So I am not afraid of the cheap print shops. You get what you pay for. This bums rush dealer does not sound like he has the right stuff to win you over so he resorts to pressure tactics in place of skill and knowledge.

If I sold audio, you would walk away from a meeting with me with some new information and ideas, a plan on how to make your music sytem better today and down the road, not just a price etc.