The sales person showed me to the shag carpeted listening room (God I wish I had a photo of it, wood paneling and shag carpet. Awesome!) He proceeded to play music through the latest and greatest from Sony. A two way loudspeaker with solid real walnut veneered cabinets, and shiny aluminum SQUARE drivers! He played 1 track (from the movie "flashdance", ugh.) that made the speakers sound great, and I bought them.
I got them home and, it was one disappointment after another. First, no highs, then crappy bass. How come they didn't sound like this at the store? What an idiot! I hated that Flashdance song, but yet it made the speakers sound incredible to my ears. I was now in hock for nearly a thousand dollars, had crappy speakers, and was in a total funk about it. My girlfriend at the time had noticed my depression, and took that opportunity to break up with me and start dating one of my best friends. Nice. Ahh, high school memories. I could have been bitter, but I chose to take a life lesson out of it all.
So what did I take away from this experience?
1. Don't let the retailer control the demo music if you can help it. Bring your own music. Hopefully you don't have crappy recordings that will make everything sound crappy.2. Before making any major purchase, sleep on it. Take a day or two to decide if the purchase is really necessary.
3. Ask the dealer about return policies. Any dealer worth his salt will accommodate you with a 7 to 30 day return policy.
4. Shop around. Resolve not to buy the first thing you see.
I hope this helps someone. Do you have a "Worst audio purchase ever" story you'd like to share? Let me know.