my old hitachi CRT RPTV had a scratch on its screen, it bothered me a bit, but nowhere near as much as the terrible picture quality i got when i tried to replace it...
depending on how bad that scratch is, and WHERE the scratch is, that still might be a sweet deal for only 1000bux.
i doubt very much the f8500 will drop in price, they are selling as fast as they are making them it seems. unless production continues for a couple more years, it's more likely that demand for them will outlast production. so you won't see any clearance sales on them.
the 5series Samsung seems to be a popular option, but it wont match the vt50. so how bad is that scratch really? did they point it out to you or did you notice it immediately? is it something you can look past, or will you constantly be staring at it now that you know it's there?