I didn't word my reasons for being hesitant to buy very well: I know on paper it does exactly what I want; the apps are there to meet my requirements. BUT what I can't tell without physically holding one are the more subtle nuances of build quality, screen response etc. I would think quite a few people will follow the: got to PCW/wherever, try everything they've got to see what you like then go home and order it online - if they haven't seen one then it won't be on the list. (iPad obviously aside since it seems a lot of people do make the decision based purely on it being an Apple product)
TBH if Surface were stocked in the likes of PCW I'd probably buy one this weekend, assuming that quality/feel etc is OK. I'm quite a way away from Hampshire, sadly otherwise I'd take you up on your offer.