Occasionally the books we sell have something wrong with them when they arrive in the boxes.
Well, it’s not our fault. It could be that a certain adhesive used in the binding smells bad and has caused complaints. Or it’s something textual, like the author got burned for plagiarism and doesn’t get to sell that book anymore.
We receive messages from corporate that say something like, “It has been reported that an error in a recent printing of Runny Babbit, when read aloud, summons a cacodaemon from the Void that may devour the reader. Please pull all copies of Runny Babbit from the shelves immediately and destroy them.
Yes. Sometimes I get to destroy some books. For having certain issues they are to be torn apart and discarded, as directed by the publisher. It can feel kind of Fahrenheit 451 though it isn’t.
But we sell more than just books in our store. Yesterday a similar order was directed to us for a set of rubber giraffe toys. My receiving manager, who is very much like me, made a spectacle of their demise. He brandished his box cutter and called across the receiving room so we could watch. He took the first peach, polka-dotted giraffe in his hand and held the blade to its long neck to enact a pagan bloodletting ritual. As he was about to draw the blade across its throat, he gripped the doll’s belly in his other hand. The giraffe squeaked.
He then set the knife down and asked if anyone else would like to do it.