Hear, hear. I got serious about the clarinet when I was 12, and started taking private lessons. That would have been 1960. Somewhere in the first 3 or 4 lessons, shortly after the "Don't play Rico, play Vandoren!" lesson, I was introduced to reed rush and a small glass plaque. I was shown how to work on reeds to get them to play right. I've done that ever since. (I started saxophone on my own a year later, after being exposed to Art Pepper...) While I now use sandpaper instead of reed rush, the principles are the same, and so are the results.Back in the days of my youth, working on reeds was considered just part of what you did as a woodwind player, and the concept of trying a reed for a short time and throwing it away if it wasn't perfect out of the box would have been foreign to most reed players.
It seems that a lot of saxophonists are afraid of working on reeds, and either just expect them to play out of the box, or expect them to play well after "breaking in". Those expectations are often dashed onto the rocks of reality, prompting people to go searching for a "better" brand, or even synthetics. (There are lots of reasons to play synthetics, but not being able to get a good cane reed is not one of them.)
My wife tells a story of watching Don Menza literally throw a box or two of reeds on the floor, one after the other, slapping reed after reed on his mouthpiece and tossing them when they didn't make the cut. (She had to sweep the bandstand after the rehearsal...) I think a lot of the top players worked that way in the 60's, 70's and 80's just because of time. Running from rehearsal to recording session to TV show to gig doesn't leave a lot of hours to adjust reeds. (Saxophone players have more time these days...)
But it doesn't take a lot of time, really, just a few minutes per reed (five at most). And learning to do that really is part of being a woodwind player.