I am not making "broad assumptions". I am stating facts based on products listed on internet sales sites, my own first hand experience in pricing materials and ability to build a top bar hive.
By anyone doing any kind of research, say a simple google search on the top bar hive, one of the first facts on most site describing it brings to point the fact that they are inexpensive to build and also not difficult in relation to other styles. Again, not an assumption.
Also, I did not say Micheals was the de facto hive, I said in that same design, not same materials or presentation necessarily. There is a spectrum of 'quality' and presentations ranging from scrounged together to top of the line, decorated materials and appearance. but the design itself pretty much is consistent.
As far as any other aspect of shipping a prepared product, shipping insurance is typically incumbent on the buyer, not the shipper unless it's an extra they choose to add in.
In terms of you get what you pay for, I would say that might apply to quality some of the time, even a majority of the time, but more often than not, what you are paying for is presentation.
If the buyer is adding a top bar hive to their backyard and they want something that doesn't 'look' homemade' they will look for something more decorative. However, one cannot simply assume that because something that is low in cost is low in quality or craftsmanship. I myself would take umbrage in that because I happen to make what I feel are very high quality hives that are very durable and sturdy. I just feel that charging more than 100 percent markup is unnecessary, a choice I make for myself. My hives are not decorated or made to be 'shown off' but are designed for function, usability and endurance.
I just feel that some of these prices are a bit high considering the objective of this style of hive and are made to take advantage of people who may not be apprised of the history and design intent of the top bar hive.
But, to agree with you on one point, if someone wants to pay that much, it's their choice, I just don't understand it.