Thanks for your responses and confirming my suspicions I guess.
I've been a collector of stereo and home theater equipment since the mid-60's and with all my purchases this is the first time this has happened to me.
I scored some real good deals on discontinued Yamaha Aventage RX-A3000 and RX-A800 receivers just a year ago and they were immaculately packaged.
From what I know the UN46EH5300 has been discontinued and I got the only one not on display in all of that vendor's Central Ohio stores. I watched the salesperson check the computer at the store close to my house who had sold out before having one held for me at a store 20 miles away. If there is a "1" in the inventory computer only the display model is available and anything more than one means an item is still boxed and available for sale. She even had the set's availability physically verified before I made the trip.
I also got a terrific price on the Samsung as I opened a store credit card to make the purchase (10% off the price [most likely set by Samsung of $699], less $20, less another 10% for first purchase with the card) so I doubt that if I returned it and that chain was sold out I would score anything like a similar deal. The best price I've seen lately is $100 more and that is from a vendor who is expecting new shipments on the 28th. Good luck getting them. New models (a 6 series?) will never be priced like that so early in their shelf life.
FWIW here is a link to the price history: http://www.nextag.com/Samsung-UN46EH5300FXZA-46-LED-942558889/price-history-html
And if I asked for a new TV I would be dealing with the "panel lottery". I think my TH02 is a good panel and who knows what the replacement would be. They had a complete selection of Samsung TVs from 19" to 51" in LCD, LED and plasma and they were selling fast.
Finally, if I confronted the department manager a second time asking for a remedy it would be my word against his word that the set is new and badly packaged by Samsung in Mexico and that is ugly.
What I will do is file a claim with my state's AG office with the facts as I have previously stated them. The remedy I will ask for is a partial refund of the purchase price and an extended warranty. Does that make sense?Edited by iraweiss - 12/17/12 at 6:13am