mythology. costco does not go to the trouble of getting these small lots of specialty/seasonal product through back channels so they can sell them at a loss. they don't need "doorbusters" to get traffic. you can't even walk through the door without being a member, and no one is a member simply so they can have the option of getting one or two great deals a year when something they really want shows up as a "loss leader". they are making money on every unit. the most striking implication to me is that whoever made the unauthorized sale of these rods to costco also made money on every unit, which implies that all the way back up the food chain to sage, everyone made money on every unit, and there was still enough margin for costco to make money at $300 off map. that's a minimum of three separate markups, with a strong probability of 4 or more, but there was still enough profit built in to support a price that allegedly is putting fly shops out of business left and right. if i was the fly shop owner, i wouldn't be bitching about competition, i'd be after sage for an explanation of how they could sell low enough to ANYONE at any volume to make it possible down the line for costco to make money 3 markups downstream from the manufacturer, and nearly 40% below map. no one should be feeling sorry for sage unless they are just embarrassed for them. but as jesse pointed out, their core customers don't care about paying that much, so it doesn't matter.