It's not uncommon to get your phone a day or two early, before the launch day, if you order through Sprint online. No guarantees on that, however, they either do it or they don't.
I purchased my last two phones from Radio Shack because I like the local sales staff.
If you purchase from Best Buy, don't let them use their big box tool or whatever they call it now, to transfer contacts from your old phone. It won't be right and you'll end up having to do more than if you just let Google sync for you. Definitely don't pay them to put on a screen protector.