hey--I agree, but I'm not advocating a GIGO approach here. I'm just saying put it in perspective. To make a living, you need to be realistic and have a range of services. It's basic business really. I'm not saying to produce sub-par work, to cut corners. I'm just saying a proof is a proof. a repro grade is repro grade. you get what you pay for.
I used to make a lot of PR prints at work, before we moved into FTP transfers and the like. I would have to make 350-500 5x7s of each of several negs in a day, using cut sheets processed using a machine. I'm good at it--I can do 350 in less than 2 hours, but it's zombie work. I like to do straight prints, but will do a minimal amount of dodging & burning if necessary. The important thing is to get them done consistently asap, and using minimal amounts of material.
My workplan actually--I get a few sheets of paper per negative. There was a problem with excessive usage years ago, so they implemented these plans and actually doled the paper out in small amounts to the worst offenders. You are expected to be able to print--to know your job. Even for exhibit prints, the limit is 5 sheets tops. That's how they budget the materials---I've worked on exhibits with budgets so tight, we had 2 sheets per neg and had to make 200 prints or more, getting up into 20x24s. With no excess--if you run out of paper, you're screwed.
Now you might get a negative that is really bad, and you know you only have a few sheets to work with. If you go over, how much do you go over? How much is it worth wasting materials, if in the end you still have a marginal print, because the negative is lousy? There has to be a limit. Otherwise, it's a trap--it's like quick sand, you find yourself trapped in it, making minor corrections to prints that only you can see. In the end, the first prints often look just as good, if not better than the final ones. You need to prioritzie--trust your judgement and get the job done.
It's hard for some people to do this. But it's a tradeoff you make to do the job. Does that make me lazy or unprofessional? Perhaps to some, but I would tend to think these would be people who've never worked for a living in photography.