This has been a great thread to read. Just thought I'd add one little tidbit from an online purchase in the past.
I was looking for a hard to find game for the Gameboy Advance. I found it on an American site for a reasonable price. The shipping fee was reasonable, but when they tacked on the "handling" fee, it was almost equal to the price of the game.
The game arrives in the mail, and I look at the shipping stamps only to discover it cost them a total of $1.60 to send me the package. The mark-up to ship it was over 1000 percent.
Now if someone wants to figure reasonable costs into the expense of shipping, as stated in the 12 dollars worth of packaging, then great.
If people were artificially inflating the shipping costs to drive up the price, then that would be unethical. But that's not what the thread has been about. It's about reasonable costs.
Some people have said that if it's a more expensive snake it's just cheap to want to recoup those costs. But the price of the snake is dictated by market conditions, eg. demand in a capitalist market, and it's not unreasonable to factor in fair market value + shipping + expenses to come up with a price.
The worst that can happen is someone takes their business somewhere else. There are many factors that determine what people are willing to pay. And in this hobby/business reputation seems to have a huge influence.
I don't think I'd dicker over paying a premium for a healthy, well treated animal from a reputable breeder who stands by their animals. By the time I got to the point of purchase I'd hope to have done enough research on the seller to know if I was getting my moneys worth.