I hear you, and I, normally a willfully "eternal optimist", must admit I too am getting a little discouraged at this point. I have been in the market to buy 1-2 NIB games for almost a year, but have been somewhat paralyzed by indecision because every time I think I have decided upon which title(s) to get I come here and read these QC horror stories and it simply deflates all the enthusiasm. (Note that I understand and have no problem with the idea that NIB pins need a little tweaking, but NIB issues with critical stuff like cabinet or playfield integrity is absolutely unacceptable in all circumstances.)
Lately, it seems like an unending merry-go-round of: New game announced-->hype, excitement, and discussion follows-->games delivered-->owners in the NIB honeymoon phase are effusive in their praise-->a few problems start getting reported-->widespread speculation and general gnashing of teeth ensues-->problems begin to appear systemic-->Pinside ethos takes over and the discussion goes on ad nauseam for 80 pages with escalating personal sniping, topic derailment, and ultimately no resolution-->any potential joy is mostly quashed by that point.
Maybe I should pull the trigger on AFMr or MBr? Both titles are on my wish list, but are further down than some of the recent Stern and JJP games; perhaps this is the wisest move to both reduce the risk of disappointment AND scratch the NIB itch.