Sure, shipping costs a lot when you order in a ton of fish to a LFS
. So what? It'd cost me a lot to have large boxes of fish shipped to my house also. I looked into importing for a while and I am well aware of the process/costs.
If you break it down, their actual shipping cost is way lower than it is for someone buying a few fish online, because they are getting hundreds per box.
I do agree that it's nice looking at the fish before you buy it, but generally I know what I am after before I start browsing online for something to buy, and most of the time I can get actual pictures/video of the fish being sold to me.
One other thing to factor into the cost of buying at the LFS
is the cost of transportation to get up there and back. If you work there then you likely get a discount and have to be there anyway, so it works out for you, but for a retail customer not so much.