I'm running into a similar problem, not because I lack internet access, but because I refuse to own a computer that will force/expect me to connect to the internet to reinstall my OS, for obvious reasons. Consider a few scenarios....
I'm sitting on a beach in the middle of nowhere in 5 years (which I hope to be doing) and I want to be able to restore my OS to a usable state without requiring internet.
Apple doesn't exist in 10 years (appearing more probable with every passing minute), and I still want to be able to reinstall my OS.
Apple simply decides they don't like me for some reason, and decides to turn my computer into a $2000 paperweight, or I get caught in some stupid app store snafu with updating and migrating data... I still need to be able to restore my OS!
What is so hard about allowing users to control their own OS? I don't want all my junk in your cloud, and stop trying to turn my computer into a TV. Spend more time getting your migration assistant to work properly, and less time trying to spy on people.
I think my fanboi days are coming to an end.
You can create a bootable copy of nearly any version of OS X if you have a spare flash drive handy.
What I generally do is download the installer to the Applications folder (which the App Store does by default), then I duplicate it and save a copy elsewhere on the machine.
The copy in the Applications folder is deleted after a succesful install.
Instructions for making a flash drive for Mountain Lion are here. The same should hold true for Lion or Mavericks.
Thank you Lyssa, I have seen these instructions and I'm using a dedicated partition on a usb drive currently. However writable media is unacceptable for a fresh OS install. It's important (especially if you are reinstalling after hack/virus) to know that your install media hasn't been tampered with immediately after insertion. Only read-only optical media can provide this level of security. Any rewritable media can propagate a virus onto your new system, and while the apple USB installer may be write protected as far as you know, that is not sufficient for my purposes. An OEM optical disc can not be tampered with once it's produced at the factory.
There really is no excuse for these policies. I realize brand new macs don't come with optical discs but mine did, and I just want the OS that it shipped with. I should be able to walk into the apple store, plop down some cash and buy the operating system, and install it No need for a credit card or internet connection, just insert media and install to get the machine back to the state it was purchased in.
I bought this new MBP used, someone else put mavericks on it at the store, but since my apple id didn't buy mavericks, it then tried to make me buy the OS again. But by purchasing this computer, I already purchased the OS! I just want the OS I already paid for... TWICE! and it still hasn't been "delivered" in my email, a day later. 1-3 days to email a link to download a file? WHY???
Apple is turning into Microsoft. It's very sad.
There are no viruses for OS X. There are some spyware/malware/adware, but nothing that can run amok like what you can find on a PC.
I'm pretty sure PC manufacturers no longer include discs with their machines, either. It's becoming less and less common.
You could probably burn a DVD with the OS X installer on it if you wished, and you can call Apple to order replacement install discs for a fee.
If you want to get really technical, you cannot run any version of OS X without owning the software, either as physical media or as a download tied to your Apple ID. The original owner of that MBP should have wiped the machine, installed the original OS, and provided you with the install disc(s).
A Mac OS X install cannot be tampered with, whether it's on writeable media or not. It is cryptographically signed, which prevents tampering with the code.
If you want to create physical media for installation without relying on an internet connection, you can do so any time. For example:
I would note, though, that if you are so negative about Apple that you believe they will be out of business in ten years (an absolutely ridiculous assertion, to be honest, given their current extreme success), then you need to sell your Apple devices and buy something else. Be sure to buy lots of anti-virus software.
All Linux distros make it very simple to burn install media and install your OS without entering a credit card.
Mac on the other hand has taken steps to actively prevent people (re)installing Mac OS >= 10.7 from the optical drive. I have been informed of this by Apple staff. So if you want to restore your Mac to OEM condition, credit card + internet, or additional $60 usb stick is required because Apple inexplicably could not include a $1 dvd with this $2000 computer.
Windows is not on my radar other than a virtual install for testing purposes somewhere.
So still, can anyone explain to me exactly why apple would actively deny the use of the optical drive and force people to use USB install media?