Hell yes I have bought retail, I do not mean buying hyper inflated prices on Ebay that have been listed for 120 days. but from a store with a warranty you bet.
I have bought from a home buyer at "retail" what is retail anyway? Mr Pinballs price guide? It is all subjective. If a pin is 20% higher than others listed out there? What if it is 20% better shape? I have paid $1200 for an F14 tomcat........but it have a flawless playfield. I have bought a Fishtales for $2200 which might be called retail 2 years ago, but it had new side art, no insert wear. At the same time a buddy of mine passed on it and sent it my way, because he found a Fishtales for $1500. After new side art, boat ramp, misc plastics, rubber, LEDs, and a shop job he had $2300 and about 20 hours in it, plus he has stickers on his fish....... I will pay retail all day if thats how it works out. Sometimes it is frustrating when people don't recognize the value of a restored machine, they call it overpaying...
Now if machines are in like condition, the retail location allows you to just go pick up a machine whenever you want it, the ability to shop for what ever you want and to try multiple machines. To offer this service and to pay the overhead of having a retail place is absolutely worth 20 to 30%. Plus a warranty is worth something don't you think?
So to all of the scenarios above, Yes I have bought retail, I have bought low and restored the machine and sold at retail as well. NO I have never bought a machine at a really high price on Ebay, accept a Monopoly for $2000 shipped to my door.
So, again what is retail? Condition dictates price, I do think more and more collectors/players are realizing this, and are paying more for very nice machines.
Just my 2 cents, but there are machines that people would have told me I was crazy to pay that price, but inversely would say I was smart to buy the cheap one and restore it. Even though after restoration it cost the same. I love the bargain, but I also love retail (Buy it and play it now!!!)
Edit: oh and I also love that there are retailers, this is great for pinball, especially new pinheads that need full service, we all started there.