SIMI VALLEY, Calif. — The wholesale retailer Costco has issued an apology after a pastor in California Tweeted a photograph of a Bible at his local store being marked as “fiction.”
On Friday, Pastor Caleb Kaltenbach of Discovery Church posted the photo on Twitter after shopping for a gift for his wife at his Simi Valley Costco.
“Costco has Bibles for sale under the genre of fiction,” he wrote above a photograph of a Bible with a “$14.99 fiction” label. “Hmmmm….”
Kaltenbach told local television station KTLA-5 that he attempted to obtain information about the label after noticing the issue.
“I tried to find somebody and I couldn’t, and I checked to see if there were any other Bibles like that, and there were,” he stated.
The photo began to spread and enraged a number of Christians nationwide, who wondered if the classification was intentional or just an error.
“Does Costco sell the Koran under the genre of fiction?” one Twitter follower asked. “I wonder.”
Others began to use the incident as an opportunity to express their disbelief in the Scriptures.
“That’ll be because it is,” one man wrote.
“A lot of people were upset. Some people were fine with it,” Kaltenbach told KCBS-TV. “To me, I don’t know why you’d label something [like the Bible] as fiction.”
But Kaltenbach says that a Costco representative contacted him following the posting of the picture and told him that the labels were a mistake.
“[They said] it was a distributing error at the warehouse where they get their books from,” Kaltenbach explained.
The retailer reiterated its explanation to reporters this week.
“Costco’s distributor mislabeled a small percentage of the Bibles; however, we take responsibility and should have caught the mistake. We are correcting this with them for future distribution,” the company stated. “We greatly apologize for the error.”
Kaltenbach told reporters that he believes Costco and that he didn’t realize the matter would become as big as it did. He said that the situation, however, has served as a reminder that “we do need to be vocal about our faith.”
The Bibles have since been relabeled and no further issues have been reported.