Well, after installing my E46 alarm kit, which I got for $229 from Pacific BMW, in under an hour I just got the alarm programmed at my local dealer.........FREE OF CHARGE! So, all told, this was a savings of $256 by doing it myself.
I didn't even buy my car from this dealer.....they just want me to service it there.....needless to say they have earned my business.
It is nice to see that customer service, with an eye to the future, is alive and well.
I guess the moral here is to install your own alarm and 'shop' your future servicing out to see if you can get your alarm programmed for free.