Yes, they can handle metal suff. For example, Will Adler uses the JB/59 combo, Michael Amott used 'em before he went to Dean, and Dave Mustaine used the JB/Jazz combo for a long time before he had his signature pickups made. And yeah, if you have the $$ to get a high end guitar, why wouldn't they let you try them both out and see which one you like better? Kinda odd.
Sounds like that store wouldn't get a fucking penny from me. Fuckin guitar nazis is what they are!
NO ESP FOR YOU !!!