Sunday, May 18, 2008

Spreadin' the Word...

In my bookstore job, I walk the floor for hours, helping customers find books. As I walk through my department I tidy up the shelves and clean up the messes the dear customers leave behind. As I was walking through the Religion department late yesterday afternoon, I noticed that two whole shelves of Bibles were missing. I immediately called my manager to see if perhaps they'd been moved or someone was working on this; unlikely considering it was a Saturday and we do nothing but sell on a Saturday. He said that it seemed likely they were stolen.

Loss Prevention was alerted and the three of us surveyed the empty shelves, wondering how someone could walk off with 40 bibles without our noticing. We each went back to our respective jobs, feeling a little dismayed that this theft had happened. And Bibles even. Granted, it is the most stolen book.

So, I'm walking through the Cooking department, and there on the shelf where the books on cocktails and alcoholic beverages are, are 3 Bibles. I smile. I tell loss prevention and the scavenger hunt begins. I put on my fundie thinking cap and set out to all the areas in the store that a Bible-thumper would think were in need of the Good Word. And sure enough, there they were. Bibles were found in Sexuality, Erotica, the Teen section, War and Sci Fi/Fantasy.

My manager was happy that we'd recovered the merchandise but was understandably a little peeved at someone's thinking that they were doing a good thing. Whether this was a fundie Christian or just someone out to play a little game, we'll never know. But it made for a very interesting night.

Edited to add:
PZ Myers' cover of this story over at Pharyngula
The pranksters side of the story

tall penguin


zensim said...

Oh that's so funny! Definitely appeals to my sense of humour.

Aren't you glad that someone gave you a game to play at work that night? Treasure hunt is one of my favourite childhood games :)

tall penguin said...

Ya, it was great fun although crazy in its intent. :)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

link to story. whoops.

tall penguin said...

Thanks anon. Can't say I'm impressed. I just posted a comment to the culprits on that site you linked to. Wait til I show my manager. Yup, he'll be real happy.

Marc said...

Well, I found your blog as a result of the prank...that might be good or bad depending on your opinion, though. Thank PZ!

tall penguin said...

Hi Marc, yes I'm noticing a stream of traffic to the blog today. I'm always happy when new people stop by.

tall penguin said...

Oh and thanks PZ! (penguin girl waves wildly from the corner of blogland)

Matt said...

I came around from PZ myself, nice to meet you. Neat to see other ex-JW's are out there turned humanism! :)

I think humanism is the general next step after being born into a JW home -- so long as you have a rational mind.

nice to meet ya, bookmarked your blog

tall penguin said...

Hi Matt, nice to meet you as well. If you go back through some of my past entries, you'll see the evolution of my leaving the jw's and my eventual humanist leanings.

The funny thing is how I went through an atheist fundie stage where I thought I had to now preach my new-found atheism to the world. Old habits die hard.

Frankly, it seems these pranksters have taken some lessons from the proselytizers. Can't say I agree with their tactics although it does make me smile.

Slaughter said...

Tall Penguin, I'm sure it was all in fun. I checked your movie faves and can't believe "March of the Penguins" is not on it! Nor is the Bugs Bunny cartoon where he helps the little penguin get back to his "home" in Antarctica, only to have the penguin lift his top hat and show that he was with a troupe from Hoboken. "Hoboken?!! Oooo, I'm dyin' again..."

Greta Christina said...

The Bible is the most stolen book?

That is hilarious. That is funnier than the entire rest of the story.

How did that old saying go? "Thou shalt not... thou shalt not..." something. Feel? Kneel? Squeal? Eat veal? Well, I'm sure I'll think of it. In the meantime, I think I'll steal this Bible.


matt said...

Yeah, I'm an atheist in the sense that I see less and less evidence for a God -- or at least, of the current popular Gods. :)
Never to say there isn't one, though!

I'll read some of your posts tho!

tall penguin said...

Thanks for the laugh slaughter. I do remember that cute little penguin from Hoboken. Too funny.

tall penguin said...

lol @ greta christina! Yes, the irony. Maybe they missed that part. Or just haven't read it yet? ;)

flonkbob said...

Heidy-Ho tall penguin! I'm here from PZ land. Happy to see that you're a former JW. I'm a recovering Fundie myself. Seems like you never really heal, just wait for the scars to thicken.

I thought the prank was funny too, but not something I'd do. I'd feel too guilty about the poor schmucks that have to put it all back.

I'm not above putting warning stickers on bibles found in hotel rooms, however.

Adam said...

Actually, I've been told that the Gideons love it when you take their bibles out of hotels; that's what they're there for apparently.

I have a friend with a rather large collection in fact.

But the warning stickers are funny.

mike said...

Linked in from PZ...

I've always admired people who grew up in a very religious environment and managed to find the courage to let go. For me it was easy, but I was raised in a very secular environment.

Looking forward to future posts...

Brownian said...

So Abbie Hoffman was really plagiarising the Gideons?

Ed Darrell said...

Is the photo at P.Z.'s blog really your place? 6 million blogs in the world, and he stumbled into yours?

I'm curious as to whether we're talking the same event. It's bizarre that thinking like a fundie would get the same results as thinking like a Sam Harris advocate in finding the books.

hb said...

I always make it a point to reclassify a few bibles any time I go into a Border's or a B&N. A whole set of shelves is a big deal, but I stand by my belief that bibles belong MORE in fiction and horror than anywhere else.

I encourage everyone to do the same. There are certainly not enough atheist books to move.

Anon Ymous said...

I always feel guilty about laughing at this sort of prank, because there's the little part of me thinking "Yes, but real, innocent people are getting shirty because they have to clean up after it..."

Glad to see you've taken it with a sense of humour. Hopefully your manager will see the funny side as well, eventually...

Oh, and the guys who did it - funny once, not funny a second time. Not that you need me to tell you that... :P

P.S. Are you serious that the bible is the most stolen book? Ye gads... I'd love to see your figures on that one, but it's funny as heck... :)

Anonymous said...

The Bible is the infallible word of our Lord. If you are a TRUE Christian, you follow these these commands:

Who You Should Kill

--Unruly or rebellious child. Deut 21:20-21
--Those who curse or hit their parents. Lev 20:9, Ex 21:15
--Worshipers of other gods. Deut 13:6-11
--Psychics, witches. Lev 20:27, Deut 13:6-11, Ex 22:18.
--Those who do not believe in Jesus (parable). Luke 19:27.
--Those who work on the Sabbath. Ex 35:2 (Moses kills a gentile for this. Num 15:32-36.)
--Those who are accused by at least two people of wickedness. Deut 17:6.
--The children and babies of enemies. Num 31:17, Deut 20:13, Psalm 137:9, Lev 26:29.
--Adulterers. Lev 20:10.
--Homosexuals. Lev 20:13.
--A woman who is not a virgin when married. Deut 22:13-21.
--Those who are careless with murderous livestock. Exodus 21:29.

Who You Should Hate

--Those who eat crab or shrimp. Lev 11:10.
--Those who sacrifice an animal to God that has a blemish. Deut 17:1.
--Those who remarry the same person after divorce. Deut 24:4.
--Homosexuals. Lev 18:22.
--Those who are proud. Prov 16:5.
--A woman who wears pants. Deut 22:5.
--A man with long hair (Jesus?). 1Cor 11:14
--Those who call others fools Mat 5:22

Should we still do this stuff?

--All OT laws still apply in NT. Matt 5:17-19


You don't dare to try and FILTER and pick and choose from the word of God right? You don't pull that nambie-pampy "out of context" silliness with passages you don't like, but then wholeheartedly accept those you DO like? That is SIN!

So either you are a TRUE Christian, and you'll follow those loving commands from God. Or you are doomed to be tortured in hell forever! Oh Glory!

tall penguin said...

ed darrell:

"Is the photo at P.Z.'s blog really your place? 6 million blogs in the world, and he stumbled into yours?"

Yes, it is actually the store I work in. Sometimes the world is a mighty small place.

Anonymous said...

It just goes to show how Christian fanatics are oblivious to human morality like "don't steal";an imaginary God comes before human law.

tall penguin said...

"I'm a recovering Fundie myself. Seems like you never really heal, just wait for the scars to thicken. "

Wise words flonkbob. What kind of fundie stuff were you into?

Anonymous said...

Another from PZ's place.

James H said...

tall penguin said...

Thanks James H for that link. Here we go again...

Anonymous said...

Were any of the resettled books placed in the Science Fiction section?

tall penguin said...

Yes, there were Bibles places in Sci/Fi & Fantasy.