I don't count myself as a newbie, but I always do a test like you suggest (print plain output) before unleashing a deletion script on my system--even if it's just a script to clean out a temp directory.
It only takes a moment to make sure that you will be deleting what you think you will be deleting, and it is easily worth the time. How long will it take you to restore your files from backup? You have do backups, right?
Yes, that I do agree with. And "print" if its not a shell-out. I also quite often put an echo in front of the perl -e (update: for long or multiple lines being typed in) to check that I typed what I think I typed before actually running it.