Should Stores Sell Hurt Bibles?
As a store which sells a high percentage of outlet-priced merchandise, I’m all for hurt books if it saves the customer money, though we try to focus on recent remainders and publisher overstock which is in good condition.
To me, Bibles are another matter altogether. I don’t mind some scuffed covers or dinged corners, but when it comes to the actual text, I don’t think there should be any issues. I recently ended my relationship with Book Depot entirely over the condition of two children’s NIrV Bibles we received. I wrote about that on November 21st, and we haven’t made a purchase since, which is most unusual for our store. The picture below shows one which was used (see the underlining) and one page which was quite torn (which I’ve highlighted by placing something dark underneath.)
Recently we did a sale of some slightly damaged NLT Bible inventory from FDI. You do get some interesting things in there. The LifeWay security tags are a good example.
There was one Bible (that we’ve found so far) which totally crossed the line. One page wasn’t properly trimmed. That’s fine, we often do this ourselves and make a note on the price tag so the customer knows going in what they’re getting. But this time one page was ripped into the text. This is God’s word we’re selling, isn’t it? I think at some point the retailer needs to be able to say, “I know I agreed to buy ‘slightly damaged’ but this isn’t what I was expecting.”
Furthermore, what do I do in that case? Do I tape the page with invisible tape? Or let the customer work it out to their satisfaction. Do I try to take a profit on that item? Or just sell it for cost? Or do I just offer it to a staff member to take home for free?
So back to the question, should stores sell damaged Bibles? I remember when I worked for the Canadian Bible Society, they had very rigid policies on what they would allow to go out the door. I think the other suppliers should take a cue from what they do. Even remainder marks on Bibles bother me in ways they don’t on other print literature. So what do you think?
If you also bought the FDI deal and did a rather hasty check-in, you might want to get a sales associate to go through the boxes and sleeves more carefully and find issues before your customers find them.