You hit it head on with the guy being a dick. People at bike shops just want your money. You want a beginner bike? Spend $900. You are and experienced biker? Again buy this $900 bike. If you even mentioned to them about looking at bikes on CL, they will start ranting how every bike on there will be broken/bad deal/poor quality/ bad components. In reality, you need to do research for your self and not just listen to salesmen. You can buy a nicer bike off CraigsList for $500 than a completely stock brand new Specialized. If you really got into cycling, then you would be changing all the components off the stock bike anyways.
I don't plan to do business there now anyhow. They don't have enough of a selection in the first place, so it's hard for me to believe I'd really be getting the best bike to start off with when they only stock 5 or 6 road bikes (not 5 or 6 brands, just 5-6 bikes).
I'll have to spend some time looking into it. I was looking at Trek bikes last night, but a nice road bike from them is definitely going to be a big investment.
Is there a road bike thread? or enough people here to start one? I don't want to take over the fixed gear thread with my questions unless you guys don't care.