That was illuminating.
Alan may be a nice guy, but he got fixated on a couple of relatively small issues and it destroyed his enjoyment of the hobby.
Regardless of what your hobby is, if you fixate on the unavailable, your enjoyment is doomed.
O Scale is not for everyone. But there are so many facets, and so much available both new and used, that if one wants to be an O Scale hobbyist on a budget, there simply are no insurmountable obstacles.
But if you decide that the only way you can possibly enjoy O Scale is with shelf couplers -
From his (Alan) last comments that I saw, it seemed more like the financial burden was what drove him away. Maybe he will return and illuminate things for us. The last posts of his that I saw were lamenting the high costs of track and switches.