Meade's bread and butter customers probably come from my class of amateur observer and I'm not what you call an astronomical elitist by any means.
The Meade LXD55 AR6 was a good example. The aluminum geared LXD55A mount was not all that durable but the bronze geared LXD55B seemed to handle larger payloads pretty well, even when over loaded with the 152mm AR6 optical tube. The LXD55 was a low cost entry level CGEM mount that actually worked and got a lot of people into the hobby with 6" and 8" apertures.
When I got into astronomy it was in the midst of supporting a family on a modest public service income as a secondary hobby. None of my telescopes were anywhere near high end and when I went shopping for a large achromatic refractor the Meade DXD55 AR6 ended up being the winner. It offered the optical performance I needed on a goto mount that, if way undersized actually worked, and even worked pretty well for visual astronomy on a pier as the shaky tripod it sat on was the system's most serious defect. As I recall the MSRP at the time was about $1000 and I got mine for around $600. At that price point I didn't expect perfection.
Oddly enough, despite its size, weight and related storage requirements, it's the only scope that's survived 10 years and 3 permanent changes of stations during a break from astronomy. I bought it in the first place due to the medium speed f/8 focal ratio and for a large achromatic refractor the optics were surprisingly good with CA that was a lot less objectionable than I expected. It's been my preferred planetary scope since first light. The focuser has never been anything special and can be incredibly frustrating to focus at higher magnifications, but it was durable and at least minimally functional.
More than a decade after I bought it, it has zero support from Meade, but it's still kicking with a new Moonlite focuser, a new Atlas mount and a new Astrozap dew shield. That's in large part because, like many if not most of it's products over the years, Meade didn't actually make it. It's been sold under a few different labels and has been available recently from at least two other companies and Explorer Scientific appears to be selling a shorter, faster f/6.5 version of it. That's probably because it offers great value for the money and for a mass produced chinese telescope, it's well made. The downside is that approach is that when the distribution rights are acquired by someone else, the parts support goes with it, and the new vendor may or may not choose to get involved with selling parts for anything other than warranty service.
Despite the relatively low cost, the LXD55 and LXD 75 series mounts and scopes offered enough performance and incentive for many of their owners to either overlook its flaws or to put up more cash here and there to address those flaws, and in some respects that's an advantage as a relatively new astronomer can get their feet wet for minimum investment in an instrument that offers decent performance, and then expand their horizons with smaller infusions of cash over time.
Meade's 4000 series "super" Plössl eyepieces (they are really just Plössls) are a good example. They are inexpensive, but offer decent viewing, at least in the larger focal lengths and work well enough to get budding astronomers hooked. They can always upgrade them later, and most customers who sat in the hobby probably will. I suspect Meade picks up some of this as repeat business, but even if they don't the whole industry benefits from a new customer with astronomical interests.
In that regard, as a business model what Meade does seems to work. They offer third party made OEM scopes just enough quality to get people into the hobby at an affordable price, with enough performance to keep them happy - then sell them 2-3 more scopes over the years with increasing capabilities as their interests grow and their goals change. That's not a business model that supports the concept of selling someone a scope that will last for and/or be supported for decades, but it is a model that can keep them afloat in a global market fueled by cheap labor that is very competitive, and they arguably deliver more quality than some of their competitors serving the same entry level and intermediate level customers.
If there's room for complaint it's that Meade seems to let some of those business practices bleed into it's high end products where the customers plan to be in the hobby 20 years from now and expect their scope and mount to still be performing well, and be fully supported. At that point however you're regarding the scope as a rather extreme example of a durable good, and that kind of long term staying power must come with an appropriately high price tag.
Meade just is what it is, and if you expect more from them than that, it's probably on you.