...the Government refuses to add sales Tax, so these guys are able to sell at an automatic 5-7% discounted price
And the shipping makes up for that tax saving and sometimes a lot more. Frankly, I'd much rather pay the government tax rather than giving the greedy, careless shippers one single dime. And, don't think for one minute you've seen the last of shipping rate increases.
Online you pay shipping, local you pay tax. Which would YOU rather do?
If US consumers had even one ounce of brains, they would, at least, weigh the relative difference between the two and choose the least costly, but noooooo!