Yes but the bulk cartons are properly packed, and the transparent plastic thing does offer some protection. Once they're taken out of the bulk packing and shipped individually does the problem arise. If you look at my post above, the drives were falling out of the transparent plastic cover as well.
The point is really not in what condition they're sold or what is the "norm". Even if the drive seems to be working perfectly fine at the start, should I take the responsibility and inconvenience of an rma and data loss if it dies early, because the seller was too cheap to protect it properly against mechanical shock during shipping? I think not. It's not just a "pretty cover".
I dunno how many years you mean, but this was not the case when I last bought one from Amazon, some 3 years ago.