So, I called the dealer and talked to my salesman this morning. Let's call him "J." I tell J about my situation, and he advises me that he didn't know what mower I got, and that he had just told his guys to get a 44Z ready. Uh huh. I told him about the bare metal and rust on it, and he offered to touch it up. No way. THEN he tells me that they rust while sitting in the crates, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Is that so? I told J that I wouldn't accept a $200 lawn boy from Home Depot if it had rust on it. He then tells me that they might not have any crated ones available. J advises me that he will schedule a pickup and will call me. I hung up as he was finishing his sentence.
After fuming for a little while, I drive right over to the dealership, ready to tell them to take their mower and shove it. The guy at the front desk calls for J, while I wait and fume some more. J walks up, tells me that he just tried to call me, and tells me that he called the distributor and has ordered me a brand new mower. He also tells me to just keep using the one I have until it gets in. He also apologized. I guess he must have thought it over and figured out that I was pretty pissed off, and that they were clearly in the wrong. I'm working on getting a striper thrown in on the new one.
So, I think I will stick with them. I still like the mower, though I figured out that 800 LB mower + 250 LB person + rain-soaked ground = ruts and tire tracks
Thing is built like a tank though, very impressive quality.