I have worked in serious, and not so serious, photographic circles, and the Polaroid process was highly useful. It did not supplant conventional photography in all cases, but extended it.
I used it in middle & high school to provide photos of events that went right to press, as we had no darkroom lab and couldn’t wait for commercial processing.
I used it to take pix of stuff for accident investigation and insurance purposes, where even a few hours thru a photo lab would have slowed down the claim processing and Polaroids were perfect for the reports.
I used Polaroids as insurance. Even if my film didn’t come out, I knew I had backups before the film went to processing.
I have used Polaroids (as many photographers have) to check on lighting, set layout, and camera angles before committing to film.
I have used Polaroids, from the original B&W film to SX-70, for personal uses where it was far more convenient than waiting for developing. Take a picture and hand it to someone right there.
Polaroid was far from a joke for both professionals and amateurs in its heyday.