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News > Newsmakers
Carlin's no joke for Wal-Mart
Report: Discounter returns 3,500 copies of George Carlin's new book; cites ordering "error."
October 28, 2004: 11:50 AM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Funnyman George Carlin's new book "When will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops," is no laughing matter for discounter Wal-Mart.

According to the New York Post, the world's largest retailer reportedly has returned 3,500 copies of Carlin's book, citing an ordering error.

The book, published by Hyperion, is currently No. 28 on's top-sellers list.

Carlin, popular for his subversive comedy, addresses politics, religion and hygiene in the book. Its cover is a rendition of the "Last Supper" with Carlin pictured sitting next to Jesus' empty chair, the report said.

"We did not order this book. It was shipped to us in error by one of our distributors," the report quoted Wal-Mart spokeswoman Karen Burk as saying.

Publishing sources say it's unlikely that Wal-Mart -- known to skip books that might be deemed politically or religiously provocative -- would have ordered the book in the first place.

Last week, Wal-Mart cancelled an order for Jon Stewart's best-selling "America (The Book)" because one page shows naked bodies with the heads of Supreme Court Justices pasted on them, the Post said.

It's also unlikely that the books would have been shipped from the warehouse by accident, the paper said.

The most likely scenario, the report said, is that someone ordered them, and then thought better of it. According to the Post, retailers can return any unsold books to the publisher or distributor, at any time, at the publisher's expense.

Burk went on to say that Wal-Mart, "didn't believe this particular product would appeal" to its customer base. "These decisions always have to do with what we think our customers want to buy," Burk told the Post.

"Pork chops" is on sale on, however, and sales have been steady, the retailer told the paper.  Top of page

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