More technology addicts across the country are flooding electronic retailers to for repairs, not purchases. The number of in-store users in America has not been counted, but our growing gadget
obsession -- especially among teens and young adults -- might spark an epidemic, experts say. And more stores are condoning the habit by letting consumers experiment freely.
stores set the trend by sprawling its desired devices--iPods, iPhones and Macs--across display tables. "They have shown the world that this model has legs," says James Damian, Best Buy vice president
of store design. It works because the more people try products in the store, the more likely they'll crave them for use at home.
Besides Apple, window shoppers also hit up Best Buy, Circuit City, Sony and even the electronics department of Wal-Mart. These stores draw everyone from teen cliques to couples and even families. The surge in traffic makes technology addicts feel "like you're part of a community," says Rachelle Bowden, a Web designer and self-confessed serial gizmo tester.