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I'm really, really angry. Here's a national publication, Artist's Magazine promoting theft in its January 2009 issue! If I were still a subscriber I would cancel my subscription. This is a very irresponsible position to promote.
When you go into an art store to mine their knowledge, with no intention of purchasing anything you are cutting your own throat as an artist, as well as stealing from the store owner.
"Local art stores" includes independent art stores so the writer and editor can't feign innocence: "oh we just meant local stores which have an internet presence."
And it's those local, independent art stores that I'm concerned about. Those are the shops where the staff is actually knowledgeable, like my own favorite art supply store: Wet Paint.