It is funny, but I got the same feeling when I went into The Path. I felt like a total rookie, probably because I didn't know the way the shop worked. Do I really enter through the back? Should I be walking through the repair shop to get to the merchandise? Where do I pay?
The 2nd time in the shop was better. I was looking for a sram gold powerlink and one of the guys stopped & took the time to pull a used chain out and show me how to insert the powerlink.
The prices at The Path were on-par with other bike shops, which tend to be a bit more expensive than large stores.
My personal favorite place is Performance in the Tustin Marketplace. They have always greeted me when I walked in the door. They have awesome prices as long as you buy the parts when they are on sale, which is always. They have a great no-hassle return policy. I once ripped the sidewall of a brand new tire on my first ride and they exchanged it. The staff even recommends alternative parts from other stores if they feel they don't have what you are looking for. I.E. they told me to buy simple green from Costco instead of the regular degreaser. I have had no experience with their maintenance department.