Some locksmiths really don't like locksport folks. I think there are multiple reasons but the most basic might be that they think it will result in fewer calls.
I have some very basic picking skills and for me, anyway, it's actually given me tremendous respect for the locksmith trade and made me more likely to call them when warranted, because I understand the wider range of things they can do and the skill it takes to do them successfully.
The ability to make a key for locks which have no key is another, even if those locks don't have removable cores (I'm thinking of mostly padlocks here). That's a really cool thing called impressioning, where the mechanics of the lock (pins pressed down into the keyway by springs) are actually used against it to progressively turn a key blank into a working key.
Master keying is another great example (when multiple, different keys work in a lock and you can have one key that works in multiple locks, such as a small apartment building).
Also a lot of ancillary things around the lock but not the lock itself, for example installing deep screws or replacement anti-kick hinges (door devil or door armor). In theory those are DIY things but in practice you can spend a lot of time trying to get alignment right (especially with a deadbolt going smoothing in/out), but it's something a locksmith does all the time.
Since he acted like a reasonable (rational) person he probably wasn't a scammer, but it's worth mentioning that there are locksmith scammers who take advantage of people in high-need situations to charge them exorbitant amounts for "unpickable" locks that always need to be drilled.
The Reply All podcast covered this a few years ago with "Very Quickly to the Drill" 
He has tons of videos where he dissect different locks and pick them normally but also finds novel ways of opening the locks.
It's super rare in practice, because lockpicking is a high-skill sport, and most criminals are not doing crime for the skill or the sport of it.
Theft almost always relies on doors that weren't locked in the first place, chains that were locked but easily cut, or simply going Kool-Aid-man through a wall or a fence or whatever. The fact that locks CAN be picked for sport has nothing to do with how often they ARE picked in the real world.
Knowing about locks, though, gives you the advantage of a bunch more knowledge. Like how common the CH751 key is, or how stupid the "TSA lock" idea is. Or understanding why you shouldn't post proud photos of the key to your new house on social media. (If I ever do this, I plan to troll the audience by dangling a 1284X in front of the camera.)
You can’t really defend against a determined adversary. I lived down the road from somebody who had a significant collection of rare coins. He had good locks, hardened doors, and a state of the art security system which was bypassed by using a chainsaw to cut a hole in the wall of his house.
Sounds great until you think about a fire situation. I think we're just going to keep an extra key very close by but that solution only works because we don't have kids; I'm not sure I would go with the double cylinder deadbolt if we did.
(And yes I know it's against the building code but I also know people regularly do double cylinders on their own personal homes. You'd never do it in a rental, AirBnB or commercial building of course.)
You pick a lock based on your risk tolerance and security needs. Not all locks will stop a determined attacker - and not all assets need "nuclear code" type security either.
For the casual passer-by, a locked bicycle is usually enough to deter theft.
I feel comfortable in saying that no consumer locks can stop a determined attacker.
While that's fair, it also means that when he gives a bike lock recommendation, it carries a lot of weight.
Though he is pretty up-front about which locks take elite skill and tools to pick, and which ones can be opened by a first-timer with a bent-up paperclip.
My big take away from his channel is two fold: Avoid locks that are well know to have big security flaws, like the paperclip attacks. Otherwise, the point of entry will probably be a broken window or busted door.
It's really a fun hobby, I've got a few locks I rotate from a larger collection on my desk that I try to pick anytime I'm waiting for a compile to finish.
Probably true, but he does have some videos where he picks a fresh new lock sent to him, e.g. this one is uncut and includes the unboxing of the package:
But, as with all things, use the best tool for the job. In some places, a cheap Master padlock is all the security you need, though it wouldn't hurt to get something a bit better. It's definitely worth checking out his channel if you're thinking about buying a lock.
I'm bummed I live in a lame state that makes it illegal to own lockpicks.
I didn't know there was any U.S. state (if that's what you mean by state) that makes it illegal merely to own lockpicks.
You might want to check out the TOOOL state laws page , it might be more nuanced than you think. For example you might be OK to own them but not travel with them. Or the burden might be on you to prove lack of intent - but if you only keep them in your own home, that would be easy.
If you think about it, the little money you get from stealing bikes are not really worth the risk and effort.
TOOOL.NL run one at LockCon in the Netherlands
TOOOL.US runs one at LockFest in the USA
OzSecCon.com/TOOOL.COM.AU runs one at OzSecCon in Australia.
In addition to lockpicking competitions, there are actually a wide variety of ways, tools and techniques to open locks such as impressioning which is also a competitive sport in these communities.
I highly encourage people to give it a shot, it's good fun. And once things are back to normal, check out a local meetup or start one yourself, it's a good way to relax and have fun with some new friends!
I could see this being something at DefCon or similar for example.
Out of curiosity, do you happen to know if members of the organization are allowed to do things like participate in pentesting?
They then clarify, We are extremely strict about not assisting anyone with picking a lock in use, regardless of whether they own the lock, or whether they have permission to do so.
That would rule out pentesting as well.
Masterlock #3 is the defacto starting lock to learn how to pick - it's easy, and only has 3 pins, no security pins, etc. They're also very cheap and everywhere, you might even have one already you forgot about.
It's important to get an easy lock to learn on. It'll allow you to learn the principles without a ton of frustration.
For tools, it's difficult to beat Peterson on quality and price.
Picking locks is honestly a great brain exercise. I have a collection of locks, all locked together in a giant ball of locks, and no keys. They sit on my desk, and I pick them when trying to take a break once in a while. It requires a lot of focus, and a mental map of what is going on inside the lock. Pretty soothing actually.
Lots of people swear by Facebook Marketplace but I just hate giving over even more info to FB.
OfferUp can be good, very hit or miss, and Craigslist can be good too - even more hit or miss. I had a CL search running for over 6 months and finally got a worthwhile hit on some local locks yesterday, which was nice.
If you know some property managers, handymen, or property owners, lots of times you can get old locks very cheap or free just by asking.
I'm more worried about my smart garage door openers getting hacked then someone getting my key.
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLg86_C7rrs (Deviant Ollam)
The idea might be weird to approach at first, but you'd be surprised how many people run out and make a copy of their key for you to hold onto too.
Maybe works better for business. I did this with the insurance agent next door when I was running an Engineering office.
Plus, if they have a sealed envelope with the key, they can get enough information about the key (the key bitting) to make a copy. They don't need to open the envelope, they just need to press the envelope down enough to see the shape of the key.
Although, I'm inclined to say if you're giving your house key to someone you don't completely trust, you should maybe seek an alternate candidate.
Then again, "trust, but verify" is indeed a real thing. Your system provides the verification part.
Bump keys, as others have posted, are very crude and rough on the internals of a lock so I'd say use them sparingly, and never without the lock owner's explicit permission of course. But they do have a place. (And require practice too!)
I initially read this title as ‘The World of Competitive Bootlicking’