How can you Skype with Grandma if she can't see you? While most business notebooks have fairly decent webcams, the ones inside consumer systems are often a mish-mosh of mediocrity. In the store, open the Start Menu, and look for the notebook's webcam software.
Checking out your mug under the florescent glow of that big-box store should give you a decent indication of how you'll look back home, and also give you a chance to check out any extra features that come with the software. For instance, Dell's Webcam app lets you apply some pretty ridiculous avatars over your face, which should have the whole family in stitches.