Having read this makes me really appreciate the store that I frequent! Though I do have to drive for a good 40 minutes there and back.
The store is called Pets for Africa with many sub-divisions depending on the type of pet. So for example, there's Snakes and Spiders for Africa and Fish for Africa. In each of these divisions is the standard cashier and one general purpose employee. However, each division will have at least one expert on duty at all times!
The person I deal with is called Peter. He has an incredible knowledge of the hobby and if he is not certain of something then out come the reference books (a rare occasion). He specifically uses the Aquarium Atlas series.
He is not concerned with "the customer is always right" policy and when I have made some (should we say dumb) suggestions about my plans for the tank he has to told me flat out that I am being a fool. Further more, he will not sell a fish unless he is confident that you know what you are doing and that it will be kept with suitable tank mates.
He keeps about 10 tanks personally and looks after around 50+ tanks at the store. I have never had snails on any of the plants I've purchased nor have any of his fish brought home a disease. The prices are lower than any of my truly local stores (who are over-priced, ignorant and arrogant) and he can offer good advice on almost anything relating to the hobby.
What not to expect? What can we help become the norm?
I understand where the arguments are coming from here, in theory the salesperson should have a good working knowledge with regards to the fish and products that they are selling but in reality, they often don't. There will be many who simply don't care about their job, but only want a paycheck. Believe me I know this attitude all too well from living in SA.
The point I really want to make is this: there are many on this forum that have incredible knowledge about the hobby, so when you go to the LFS and the kid working there hasn't a clue about what is going on, give him some simple tips or point him in the direction of the forum. I realize that many will simply ignore the advice but a fair number will heed it. I tutor privately whilst I am studying at university and something I have come to realize is this; yes, people can be lazy and deliberately ignorant but sometimes a nudge in the right direction (usually something to spark/create interest) can work wonders.
Learning as I go... and thanking everyone on this forum for their help, advice and patience!