I would imagine more than a few people buy an off-the-shelf lead acid battery and throw it in their motorcycle and expect the motorcycle's charging system will take care of the rest.
LA batteries are weird. 2 guys could go into a store and buy the 2 batteries right next to each other off the shelf, do the initial charge and maintain them in the exact same manner under the same usage conditions and one of those batteries will last 7 years like yours did and the other will last 3 years.
I'm still using lead-acid batteries but I never buy a "ready to go" one off the rack. I always get a brand new one in the box and fill it and do the initial charge myself.
I've never worked in a store where ready-to-go batteries are prepped and put on the rack, but I seriously doubt they take the time to do it right.
A new battery in the box will clearly state in no uncertain terms that if you don't do a trickle charge to full capacity before you use it, the life expectancy of the battery will be a great deal shortened.
The last battery I bought stated an estimated 16 hours initial charging time, but with my Battery Tender, it took over 24 hours before I got a steady green light.
Aside from not doing a full initial charge, about the worst thing you can do to a lead acid battery is let the cells get low on acid/water. You can refill them and the battery will keep chugging along, but the damage has been done and its life will be shortened even more.
I'm a tad mentally disturbed in that I consider maintaining a lead-acid battery to be part of the allure of maintaining a motorcycle in general.
I would add that if I made more trips/rides where the operation of the battery is crucial, I would probably go with a sealed gel-type battery because they're more dependable.
In a nutshell, I would say the guy at O'Reilly's knows what he's talking about.