On my Surface, I have seen lag in the Store app occasionally, but nothing like this author described.
I suspect one factor that may be affecting a lot of first impressions is that the Windows and Office will be downloading and applying a few hundred MB of updates sometime in the first day or two after unboxing. This is perhaps worthy of some criticism, too, but it's not the normal state of operation.
Disclosure: I recently accepted a position at Microsoft, but in an unrelated part of the company. My Surface was purchased at full retail.