A bookseller that I hold in high esteem recently imparted some of his wisdom. A rather disturbing line was the direct statement that “booksellers lie.” Now, I took this with a standard response of disappointment in them and added it to my long “cons” list about humanity at large. It’s a tough business for most and our deeply ingrained incentive for accumulating money enables me to have a bit more sympathy for those pushed to make that statement unfortunately true. I was hoping to assuage my crestfallenness by ascribing these actions to smaller players.
However, I recently came to see that even some of the most respected and successful players in this game resort to bush league tactics. Admittedly and practically, arriving at a condition label for an item has a fair level of subjectivity. However, torturing the malleability of the English language like pizza dough is a contemptible practice. If you are trying to sell me a car that’s been keyed and had the paint job faded, you should not in good conscience tell me that it’s nearly fine or just about fine.
Booksellers are people and we do make mistakes, but apparently the effort to keep these mistakes honest has followed the overall lead of our “post-truth” era.