Quoting from ReptillianDOTca:
I was in the middle of typing something surprisingly similar to that. I personally believe that no reptile should be less then $100.00, $75.00 at least. Why? I just cannot justify the life of a living creature for $15.00. In addition, when reptiles can't be purchased with a childs weekly allowance, this filters out those who are, often times, not capable of holding the responsibility. After all, one is much more likely to put effort into something they paid $100.00 dollars, then something they can replace with an additional 20 dollar bill.
Can't say I agree with that. Afterall aren't Mice and Crickets living creatures as well?
I think the bottom line is that supply and demand drives price. If things are easily bred and have a relatively low cost to keep they won't be expensive for long regardless of how cool the new morph and such. Just look at Blizzard Leopard Geckos, they were $1000 just a few years ago and now are usually around $100.
To comment on the original topic of the thread I think that it really depends on the profit margins we're talking about. If you deal in $35 geckos then yeah, that $12 to pack them is taking a major cut of your profits and at least a signifigant portion should be charged in addition to the shipping to the customer. If however you're dealing with a $500 or $5000 animal that same $12 seems more like gouging to get the most money you can out of a client rather than recovering the cost of doing business. Now if it cost $200 to pack a $500 snake then I would again agree that the cost of properly packing them is taking a major bite out of your profits and would not be surprised that if it were charged to me when I was making such a purchase.