The comparison with retail is crazy. You buy retail products for consumption, mutual funds are investment. You don’t buy a book to sell it back – if you did, you would definitely be bothered with any intermediation costs.
Take term insurance for instance – I don’t care what commissions are paid, it’s a product I buy for consumption (rather, it’s an expense). But investment product commissions directly impact the goal for my purchase, that is, to make the value go up; I have no other use for the product. Commissions cut into that goal, so I must work to reduce them. And when misselling by not informing customers about commissions becomes rampant, the regulators must get involved…
What distributors should do is charge their costs separately, then I can value it appropriately. The comparison with retail is a sorry excuse for looting customers.