I regularly visit lots of consumer electronics retailers, computer-centric and office supply monoliths. Toy stores for adults (of course me being an adult is debatable)
Although I am already set up with many VoIP accounts and gear, I like to walk up to the salespeople in the area where VoIP is sold. I tend to test their knowledge by asking them a few questions about what a specific VoIP product- say a Vonage router or Skype phone does, how it works, how to set up, etc.
It's sort of hit me lately that as a general rule, retail salespeople are pretty clueless about VoIP. Even at Fry's Electronics- where I've encountered lots of highly knowlegeable mobile device, printer, PC and notebook salespeople over the years, a couple of the veteran salespeople really didn't seem to know what Vonage and Skype were, what the peripherals and gear they were selling did, and even exactly what the bell VoIP is.
I have my own theory as to why this is. There's plenty of vendor-supplied training and support from the H-P's of the world. But to my knowledge, there aren't alot of Vonage, Skype, Packet8, etc. support types offering sales clinics to Frys, MicroCenter, CompUSA or BestBuy types.
Hence the sincere but overmatched efforts to help. And the cluelessness shows.
Here's a thought: I wonder how many "curious about this thing called VoIP" potential adopters never took VoIP because when they asked their retail salesperson some basic equipment or set-up questions, they got tortured CYA explanations or pained black stares?
I mean, "if the salesperson doesn't understand VoIP, why should we buy it?"
Now here's a poll on your VoIP experiences at retail: