Sorry for the delay -- an update is certainly in order. Long story short, I got a T3 for a good price from a REPUTABLE local vendor for $495 with the standard proprietary lens and startup kt and love it.
My experience with digitaldepotonline.com will certainly go on the "Dude, WTF were you thinking?" list. After weeks of non delivery of the camera, being told the system didn't come with a battery or a charger, and them never answering the phone during business hours, I realized I'd been duped. They may be legit as a business, per se, but not one I'd ever recommend anyone doing business with. Buyer definitely beware. I had to dispute the charges with my credit card company as a result. It's not over yet, either...they have the chance to reply and I could find myself in a lengthy and drawn out dispute if things go poorly.
The camera works great. I've taken a fewest shots of the kids and dog to see how it responds and my only complaint is the lag between initially pressing the shutter button and the first shot. If you're on auto focus it takes a bit to think through everything and fire a shot. But after that first shot, everything is substantially quicker. I suspect working with a manual set up vs the AF will remedy that. I consider this basic learning curve more than camera failure.
My wife loves the set-up and didn't seem intimidated by it at all. I consider that to be a huge victory, and one of the subtle objectives going in. I'll post some pictures when I get the chance and am at the computer where they're stored. Big thanks to everyone for the help. In the end the purchase was a mystic mixture of price, availability and previous research.