To be fair, and I'll preface this quickly by stating that I think you do have a valid point, the system requirements for Lion are pretty widely available, so really is it Apple's fault that you didn't take 5-10 minutes to track this information down first? That being said, it would be fairly trivial for them to add a check of your system specs into the app store, that would pop up a message saying your system does not meet the requirements for Lion. Thus preventing a lot of erroneous purchases, like I suspect is driving your post. They could even roll this out across all apps in the app store, where the app store program simply parses the system requirements provided by the developers, checks that against the specs of your system, and then when your system doesn't make the cut, a message pops up saying as much.
It would be a fairly trivial feature to add, the hardest part would be getting existing apps without much in the way of system requirements to have system requirements added. There are various ways of contending with that situation as well. So one does have to kind of wonder why this feature seems conspicuously absent from every app store-like program. The only exception I can think of is the Mozilla extension library, which manages to automatically disable the downloading of extensions that would not work with your browser version. If Mozilla can do it, then surely Apple can as well.
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