Being the newbie that I am, I still find hashes a little daunting. I understand what they are and basically how they are used, but implimenting them is another story. I have successfully modified others writs and made some of my own simple ones. I guess getting the info in is a lot easier than getting it out. So while others may feel that they are easy to use, I haven't gotten there yet. In other words, I guess that all of this comes down to opinion. I know that hashes are the life blood of PERL so I guess I better start figuring it out.
Second: While hashes may have a tendancy to soak up a lot of memory, it's not using it for that long. I haven't done the math, but I would bet if you put a dollar amount on the time wasted using other methods vs. the amount of bog that you may incur to other programs at the same time on any given system, you would find you have saved tons of money using hashes. How many clock cycles do you waste waiting on inefficient languages to do their thing?
Bottom line to my statement is by looking at the big picture, you may be surprised!
PS: I ++ you anyway, even though I don't agree. Mainly because I found it a stimulating writ.