Exactly right Bryant. as I mentioned in a previous post, I work for a major player in healthcare service and whenever the stock price goes down the first thing they look to cut is Staffing. Payroll is the one thing they have control over in our Market and I'm sure it's the same for many other Industries. As you said, fact of life. But that fact will inevitably lead to a decline in customer service.
The operative word is inevitability at the end of your post. It wont get better unless sales increase. Cost of sales percentage has probably been on an incline and all they can do is try to mitigate it by cutting costs. We have a phrase "you can cut cost to save expense, but you cannot cut costs to attain profitability.
If a major manufacturer of toy trains tried to sell their business, what would outside investors say when they studied this industry. How would you value your business with respect to earnings and what would you say 5top entice a buyer. I'm glad I have no desire to buy a train company, but it would be interesting tor part of executive management to deal with the challenges. Certainly the products would be very interesting.