I have a limited budget, and I've never bought a new bicycle before.
However, I just bought a 24" Giant XTC from a very bicycle-inept person who's kid had only used it a couple of months.
Anyway, I checked the hubs (which were essentially new), and they were both significantly overtightened, with heavy though "uniform" indexing. Having my cone wrenches with me, I adjusted them, and they spun very nicely. I figured there wasn't damage, so I bought the bike.
Point is, it seems like the hubs were originally tuned in that over-tight fashion.
Is this normal?
I took the hubs apart. It all looked great inside except for the embarrassing fact that one side of the rear hub had only six balls instead of nine. Ouch, Giant.