Re: Oh dear, the educational system appears to be in freefall
"but not if you're in the actual business of selling technology"
Ah, that's your mistake. No large retailer is in the business of selling any material object. They are in the business of selling an idea. You, the victim, aspire to being X and their job is to convince you that what's in their box will deliver X-ness.
Obviously this is easier if you know very little about X and so a large retailer is probably someone who has picked up on this and focusses their attention on that "easy" fraction of the population. (Darwin, as applied to shopping.) It follows that the retailer no longer has to know much about X either and so they probably don't. If they know about anything at all, it is how to sell ideas and aspirations. X doesn't come into it.