I've owned a 360 for quite some time now... with 0 (zero) problems. Works great. I think the RROD has been fixed with all the models released since mid 2007 (including HDMI / quieter DVD too).
The reason they keep them behind the counter is mainly for accounting / theft purposes, not because of "so called" burned out GPUs... Most all of Costco's smaller electronics are stored behind the counter (ie.. Hard drives GPS, 360, etc... )
Halo 3 didn't have to have a huge display... They were millions of copies pre-sold on a waiting list. I wouldn't expect GTA4 to have to do this either... It's probably Blockbusters pathetic attempt to make some money.
"Remember that a game is only as good as the console it is played on." That's funny. Until recently, there have have about 3 games worth playing on the PS3. More to come this year (supposedly). If you want a real game selection, take a look at the 360 display at your local BlockBuster or GameStop.
Actually, I don't really care about the console, whether it be Wii, 360, PS3, Sony , Microsoft, or Nintendo. I just want to play good games, and guess what, the XBOX 360 has the best games (and selection) available "Right Now". Granted, Wii has a "decent" selection, but the games are a little too boring for me.
Listing real world issues? What? I don't understand what you're talking about. I'm not slamming PS3, I'm just stating that they have a VERY POOR game selection right now... And the games that are available are mediocre.