Normally I would let it rest, but I did just want to clarify a couple things from whn's post. I'm not really concerned with the neck shifting. Like you, I see it as a shipping thing, and it's usually correctable. And I don't really care about a looser neck pocket from a factory guitar either. It's just that phlame thinks he moved it all the way over and it still wasn't centered. So we agree that you would send it back if you couldn't get the strings aligned.
I prefaced the Fender/Gibson comparison by saying they both have different issues. The stuff I've seen Gibson do is much more obvious (and unacceptable) but their attitudes are similar. That's all I was pointing out. So while you won't see a "magic marker" paint fix, or a fretboard with huge sanding grooves in it, Fender is still guilty of falling way short of their marketing claims, and their price/value ratio. Although I have to say the Mexican stuff is getting very good and it now quite possibly represents the best value in it's class. It's going up against Korean and Taiwanese product in it's price points and I feel it's of better build quality. It's just when they get into US made guitars for around $1000 I feel there are better alternatives.
By the way I didn't want to do a hijack, but I think even if you disagree with what I've said, its okay because I don't feel so forcefully about this that I'd start a flame war or anything. I can agree to disagree on everything I've said. That's why I'm not saying "aw Fender sucks you should get a G&L because they're better" I just felt like if phlame hadn't ever considered it, then now could be an excellent time. He's already shelled out big cash for an expensive Strat and found it less than perfect.