Having worked Sales in computers a great deal I can see that while Airsoft retail operates under fairly different circumstances, many of the same customer dissatisfaction scenarios are directly mirrored.
The experience I've collected points to an emerging poisonous consumer culture in Canada. People raised on the myth of the shady salesman and the crooked mechanic (90% of the time having no such actual experiences) come into a transaction with their hackles up, expecting the worst, "knowing how to deal with salesmen", being largely disrespectful and demanding the best deal- which should conform to the constraints of their pocketbooks and not the realities of the market.
This puts the salesman in a difficult position, and depending on their time in the 'Tag they will respond with: passive compliance, then move to ambivalence, then thinly veiled condescension, then if he/she lasts long enough to become a professional, they will choose wither to become someone who lays everything out respectfully but refuses to be attached to any one transaction... or they become the economic boogeyman that everyone is so afraid of.
As with computers as with airsoft as with ANY retail, big spenders don't make money- repeat customer make money.
Businesses -regardless of size- are in business to make money. A good business doesn't want to screw you, they want you to be pleased and come back again.
With this in mind, when you are 'shopping around' for an item, a good consumer is in fact shopping around for a good store, not so much the item itself.
The best route to a good deal is -believe it or not- to pay the markup. Find a good place with people you like to deal with, inspect the product in person, and pay the markup. Strike up a rapport, be known to your seller, don't give him grief by suggesting his prices are too high, ask him if he has room to match a lower price, and buy something he has at regular price to go with it. Thank him for his prices that are fair, and don't piss on the difference of 5%.
This is positive reinforcement, and will get you the skinny on new items incoming, reserved items, floor models, and persistent discounts when available.
At restaurants I pay good tips for good service, outrageous tips for service that just made my night sparkle, and none at all for restaurants I'd never go to again.
Think of a reasonable markup as a tip. If you want good service to go with your product or meal, and you want that service to persist, pay up.
If you don't want to pay for service, don't expect it.
You are not entitled
You will, however, get awesome treatment and deals if you're cool about things.
Now recognize that Airsoft is a specialist niche market reaching out to limited clientele with relatively high-risk investment, and no stable market value.
You are essentially dealing in Egyptian artifacts in the 1920s for all intents and purposes.
Enjoy the hobby, enjoy the gear, pay the premium.