One thing my dealer will do; he'll bring up to 3 different models to my property so I can try them all to see which one might be better for my use. (and fit) Ain't no big box store gonna do that! You might think you need that big 60" mower to knock out your property, but when you find out it doesn't fit between the garage and the fence, you might decide the 40" one works better.
Another thing you might try; Home depot sells the small Ariens Zoom 34 for 1,999.00. My dealer lists it for 2,499.00. If I was in the market, I would offer to meet my dealer halfway. He has to make a profit, but he might take the deal if sales haven't been robust. I'd rather spend a little more and keep my dealer in business. If he can't lower his price, he might throw in some free service or something. I would definately try to work with a dealer first.