tend to have higher prices in my area, so i have bought many things online. Never had a problem with it. If you get any livestock DOA(dead on arrival), you just take a picture of the dead animal, email the vendor you bought it from with that picture attached and they will give you store credit. Unless everything is DOA, in which case they usually send you out a new order. If it's one or two things, the store credit is a cheaper option, since they won't have to send you out two items with the expensive shipping. Then, next time you order from their site, you get to use the credit. I love ordering online because it's just easier, and if you buy from reputable online vendors, there's rarely ever any problems with their livestock.
But still, i agree that being able to see the condition of the livestock before you purchase is peace of mind.