Sounds like the sales guy is exaggerating the real price of these speakers to make you think you're getting a better deal than you are. The Paradigm's go for around $600/pair or less depending on where you look (MSRP is $649 I think). But $488 still is a good deal on them. I haven't heard the Monitor 7, but I have the Monitor 9's in the house, and they are excellent speakers, particularly for the price. Very clean and detailed, neutral, nice imaging with great treble extension and excellent bass handling (I've read some reviews that the 7's are slightly leaner in the bass compared to the 9's, but then I've read some reviews that say the bass is a little exaggerated in the 9's). From my listening, I don't feel the need for a sub with the 9's, although the bass can be a bit bloated at times, but Paradigm includes different feet (round rubber, square rubber, and spikes) that help you tighten up the bass response - unfortunately we can't do the spikes since the speakers are sitting on a wood floor.
Hope that helps a bit. Too bad you can't audition them - as there are plenty of speakers that sound good on paper but just don't match up in person with the type of sound I like.