Sounds very familiar. :)
No customer of our client will ever see or touch those devices, and if they would see them, they would probably run away in terror.
Yes. Real life development is a lot closer to "McGiver" than the "show case" labs featured in advertisements and company tours.
(And, in our show case lab, don't open the doors of the rack cabinets. It's not only a tangled nest of patch cables, but also an assortment of modified prototype boards providing functionality that even the vendor of the hugely expensive, LED-bejeweled hardware simulator can't figure out how to provide.)