Went into Wal-Mart today and was lucky enough to catch the fish lady unloading the bettas. Really nice lady. I was able to take pictures. I don't know how the bettas survive this!
First they come in a cooler
The bettas are individually bagged. Their individual bags have about 3 tablespoons of water. The individually bagged bettas are then put into a bag the size of a bag of potato chips and then their cups and lids go in the same bag. So on one side are the cups and lids and the other side is about a dozen individually bagged bettas.
Then the lady sets up the little bowls and adds tank water to each cup. The individually bagged betta are put into the cup to adjust to temp for a few minutes. Then the lady cuts open the bettas bags and pours them into the cups containing tank water. They are then given lids and put on display.
So this is how the big box stores ship these guys. I can imagine the ammonia in 3 tablespoons of water. I always assumed they weren't shipped well...but I had no idea!