MAP protects brand integrity, and it protects brick and mortar stores in which brands place their products for sale. It’s sad that Jim didn’t buy his rod from a local retailer, who could also have given him advice on the purchase, shown him how to use or improve his new gear, and maybe told him about the hottest local spots or which baits were working well that day.
Brands that lose control of their pricing don’t usually show up in local stores (other than box stores). Think of American brands like Oakley, Patagonia, Trek. They are premium products and their MAPs are generally adhered to. Online suppliers have no need of “loss leaders,” as online shoppers are fickle and shop for price only. Selling a million items at a small loss just adds up to a big loss. Online suppliers generally have less overhead than brick and mortar stores, but they have to sell more to make their numbers work. It’s amazing how little money some consumers think manufacturers of quality (or low-quality) items are entitled to make for their wares.