Places Where I Buy Stuff
REI is great and I love how helpful and consumer-friendly they are. I only had one experience where an employee didn't know much about bike lights but it was a slow weekday and I don't expect everyone to know about everything. Their return policies are also great and while I haven't had to deal with it, I have heard positive first-hand accounts of their life-time satisfaction guaranteed policy.
The member-refund (8% for non-REI credit cards) is great and it only cost me 25 bucks 3 or 4 years ago. I have gotten much more than that back. I also thing that the REI brand products are generally pretty good and well priced.
Silver Cycles is a good little LBS hiding in an nondescript shopping center just inside the Beltway. I have purchased a bicycle and accessories from them and have been pleased with their price and quality (not as cheap as Performance but the staff actually knows what they are talking about and are there to help you). Additionally, I have had another bike serviced by their mechanics and was pleased with the work they did.
They carry mainly Fuji bikes and have a decent selection of road, mountain and comfort bikes to test out.