Guys, I'm sorry I didn't join earlier. I actually read a lot on this site before purchasing my first MES 40. I got the older model with the controls on top and in the back.
I bought one at Academy for $349 and then when I got home, I looked at their website to get a link to show my mom what I'd bought (she wants a new smoker, too), and saw them for $199.
So, I bought one from their website for $199 and will return the one I bought in the store when the one from the website gets here. Seems like $199 for a MES 40 with the remote, vent on top, controls in the back, glass front door, was a steal so I went for it.
I just checked their site to see if it was still on sale and it's back to $349.