When I'm shopping for gear, I generally look at backcountry first for just this reason.
Yeah, I could get it maybe a few bucks cheaper at campmor or STP, but I really really like being able to use it for a while, and if it doesn't work out, I send it back.
I've actually only done this with one piece of gear: I bought a TNF sleeping bag, lofted it up, checked it out, decided I liked it and cut the tags off. 6 weeks later SaC posted up the Stoic Somnus 30, I snagged it, and compared them side by side. When I decided the Somnus bag was a better value, I simply returned the TNF, sans tags.
To be clear, I don't advocate the 'gear rental' method when someone buys an item, uses it for a season and then sends it back, but being able to actually *use* an item a time or two before deciding if it meets my demands is pretty huge for me.
Also, living in CO, ordering stuff on the weekend or Monday AM from BC (in SLC) gets it to my house on Wednesday with free ground UPS.