The few local shops that I know of in my area don't even come close to the prices of the big box stores. The best prices I have seen was at the computer shows. Sadly there haven't been any shows locally in a few years. I'd have to drive all the way to the Baltimore MD area to attend a computer show.
FWIW, I purchased a custom PC at a local shop last year and it cost a total of 420.00 with tax.
I simply took my copy of Win8.1 and re-installed it over the Win7 Home they had installed. It took all of 30 minutes to get the entire job done and it worked just fine.
I got lucky because my shop has a layaway program. You can check the specs of my PC below and see I got a decent PC for the money.
Just my 2c
Maybe Medion are one of the better manufacturers regarding 'crapware' then. I have one of their laptops (using it to post this reply) and have had it for a little over a year. It came with: a load of crapware, a restore partition AND a Win 8 DVD.
Soon after receiving it, I uninstalled all the crapware I did not need. Over time the laptop became more sluggish. So I recently reinstalled Windows via the restore partition. It simply restored the machine back to factory conditions INCLUDING the crapware. I then re-reinstalled using the supplied Win 8 DVD. It installed Windows and nothing else.
As a result, my laptop is faster and leaner. So some manufacturers still do offer a Windows disk as standard. They're few and far between though.
I would also add that (IMO) the same thing applies with installers downloaded from the Internet.
When I first downloaded an installer, I assumed that the installation procedure was exactly the same as installing from a disc and that every item shown during the installation was a required component.
I wouldn't have classified myself as a "noob", as I had been using PCs since ~1983.
Seriously, it's the manufacturers who want us consumers to pay lots of money for a computer filled with bloat ware that they have already been paidto install on the dang thing! So, they get our money plus the advertisers' money too.
So, nope! In this case it's the other way around.
Lemme see now . . . approximately $1.50 retail for the three DVDs (OS, Drivers, Trial Software) which can be mass produced. I'd be willing to pay an additional $10 for this media. I don't think the manufacturer gets more than about $4.00 for the bloat ware, so I think that would be fair. In the long run, they'd make money.
The problem with "The customer is always right" is that the customer is so infrequently right.
Things work in volume in the PC business... if you sell 1000 unites it costs $x per unit but if you sell 10,000 units it costs $x - y% volume discount from your hardware vendors, so you gain much more by lowering your cost than you do by raising your margin.