That is Apple Store policy, the resellers are I have found a bit more flexible! Saying that, Apple don't really produce marketing literature as much as they did years ago, get to know a local Apple Reseller!!
Yeah, they are normally destroyed. However, I know one of the managers at a reseller, and *almost* got one of those massive iPhones that they have in the window. He wanted 1k for it though, and it was out of my price range. Still regret not buying it though.