Okay, so thanks to some research and some good input from these forums, I had a couple of different models of bikes that I wanted to test ride as a commuter bike/weekend recreational bike. The bikes are the Jamis Coda Sport and the Specialized Sirrus Sport. Both bikes are lower end bikes, priced at $600(Jamis) and $660(Specialized), but which I think will adequately fit my needs. Being as I'm just getting back into riding after having been away for 15 years or so, I think this particular type of bike and useage is the smartest way to go.
Shop #1 (the Jamis dealer) didn't stock the Coda Sport and said they would have to special order that bike. When I explained to the guy on the phone that I'm in the "test-ride & fit" phase of choosing a bike, I believe he immediately lost inerest in me, judging by the silence at the other end. After the pause, he said he'd have to check with the "warehouse" to see if they have one in stock, and that in the meantime I should just come into the shop and check out their selection. WTH?! I got the impression that, because I wasn't ready to plunk down money immediately for a $2,000 bike that was IN STOCK, I was merely an inconvenience to him. But in the off-chance he could sell me a more expensive bike, he wanted to get me in the store.
Shop #2 (the Specialized dealer) didn't have an '06 model of the Sirrus Sport in stock, but that I could try out their '05 Sirrus Comp (med) for fit. This guy was, to his credit, trying to be accomodating. He did say something towards the end of the phone conversation that made me think, though. He said that his store mainly sells "high-end road bikes"--his words. And I will definitely go down to his store to fit the Sirrus Comp. But I won't buy it, as it is $1,000 and well beyond my price range, of which the gentleman was well aware.
I live in Bend, Oregon, where people are willing to pony up wads of cash for high end road and mountain bikes. Obviously, the bike shops are going to stock what sells, as does any retailer. My problem is, I don't want a "high-end bike", yet. I'm just getting back into cycling and want to get started by commuting and recreational weekend riding. For this useage, I don't need a bike costing more than $600-$700. Also, I can't fit or test-ride a bike if it isn't in stock, and I get the impression that the bike shop isn't going to special order a bike just for me to test-ride it, what with no guarantee that I will purchase it. Finally, it seems that, at least in the case of the Jamis dealer, I'm going to get the old dealer shuffle where you go into the shop looking for one thing and they try to sell you something more expensive instead.
Is this a common issue I'm having, or is it just because I live in a resort town?
Oh, and by the way, how much more than MSRP should I expect to pay at the bike shop?