Let's take an example of a simple 5-pound bag of bird food. Let's say that bag of bird food cost the store $5.00 to purchase, add in marketing costs and other overhead costs and let's say that product in the end costs the store $6.00. Most bird stores ship from, or have items shipped from vendors on the East Coast. Let's say we can ship that 5lb bag of food to California using Parcel Post (FedEx Smart Post, UPS SurePost, USPS Parcel) for $7.50 (you can go to all the carrier websites and determine basics costs to compare). So the total cost for that bag of bird food to the store is now $13.50. Add in packaging costs and let's round it off to $14.00
It's safe to assume that the store doesn't want to lose money if someone buys that bag of bird food. So if they want to offer free shipping, they are going to charge you $15 or more for that bag of bird food. So no matter where you live, you are going to pay $15 for that bag of bird food. And what if you need two of them? $30! $45 for three! So let's take that same bag of bird food using weight-based shipping -- sure it may cost you still $15 total cost if you live on the West Coast, but if you live on the East Coast, it's only going to cost you now about $11 or $12 to purchase it - and if you are buying two, two of them are going to cost you $6 plus $6 plus about $10 for shipping two bags for a total cost of $22 rather than $30 with "free shipping." Savings increase with the more you purchase!
The key to purchasing quality foods for your birds includes comparing total costs and understanding that "free shipping" isn't really free; it's just built in to the price of the items.
I had a customer call me once asking me if the item I was selling was really that certain brand name because I was selling it for a third of the cost of the store where he was presently buying it. I assured him it was, and that he was paying three times the cost because at a certain dollar amount they gave him free shipping, but he only need a small amount and would never meet the minimum for free shipping, but yet he was paying for costs he didn't need to. I love my customers out on the West Coast, but in this industry what ends up happening is that shoppers on the East Coast end up subsidizing overall costs to ship to the West Coast in order to offer "free shipping." Joe www.birdsafestore.com