Another thing to consider is that there are probably multiple people living relatively near to you that have similar instruments to what you're thinking of purchasing. Local music scenes should (hopefully) be relatively connected, somebody might be able to name other people to talk to, local message boards abound, and craigslist isn't a bad way to contact other musicians. I'll admit you probably can't catch every single Jem or JS
player using these methods, but you might be able to account for a few. Based on my experiences with other musicians, I don't know many people that wouldn't let you try their equipment a little, assuming you explain that you are in the market for purchasing and would like to try something set up better than what you've found in the stores, and you can convince them that you're not a complete idiot that's going to toss their $2,000 baby around recklessly. (I agree that I've seen some horridly set up instruments in shops, there's no predicting that aspect of shopping)
I definitely don't recommend blindsiding somebody while they're trying to set up for a performance with a request like that, but by getting in touch ahead of time you might end up with somebody that will let you come to a show early and try their equipment in a full setup before showtime.
all of that being said, one of my general rules-of-thumb is... if it costs over $1,000 it's probably a relatively reasonable guitar. It might take some tweaking to get it to the way that I like mine to feel, but I'll cut the store some slack in that regard, and ditto on used purchases - it might not be exactly the way that I want it immediately, but I've played long enough to be able to look at the setup and determine if it will work for what I would want to do with it... and then I pay somebody else to do it for me so that I can blame them if I don't like it.
that's my 20-cents of rambling... good luck hunting, hopefully you'll find something you like.