The Morris family made a trip to Costco last Saturday. After scoring some great samples and stocking up on our poultry needs (my wife doesn’t eat red meat), we meandered toward the books/CDs/DVDs/games section and what should appear on the books table but the Doubleday version of the Book of Mormon. There they were — two or three rows, stacked up 15-20 deep on the end of the table next to a novel titled “Armageddon” and across from Dan Brown’s “The DaVinci Code” (click on the link above to see the humor in that).
It was a strange encounter. It was one of those “Is that? Oh my goodness, it is! How weird.” moments.
Since then, I’ve been thinking about why I had the reaction I did.
I think that it would have been one thing to see a couple of copies tucked into the shelves in the religion section of a bookstore. To encounter it for the first time in a more genteel, more scholarly sort of setting.
But to see them piled up, their dull gold covers gleaming under the flourescent lights, priced at a discount.
Costco certainly has a way of making even the nicest products seem like a cheap, easily reproducible, easily obtained commodity — which I love when we’re talking about a huge jar of capers or a nice wheel of baby brie. And, of course, who cares if it is a commodity? It’s the content — what’s between the covers — that counts. And that hasn’t changed with the Doubleday version.
And to be fair to Costco, although one could make a case against the type of consumption they encourage, on the other hand, I like shopping at a place where products aren’t over-merchandized and -packaged. At least there was no display case nect to a big cardboard cutout of Joseph Smith.
The table had been recently re-stocked so there was no way to tell if it had been selling well.
Final note: I still like the cover, but the gold trim doesn’t quite work for me — it’s more gold than it looked in the image released for the media. From a distance it looked too much like a Christmas title.