The $40,000 Mistake

The best thing about making a big mistake at Logos is that it lets us showcase our values.

This weekend someone made a technical mistake that set web prices for dozens of products to zero.

The mistake was identified quickly, and our team worked late Friday night to fix the error. In the meantime, dozens of customers placed orders for free product worth $40,000.

Since then we’ve heard from some customers asking if they needed to return the free products, and a few employees have wondered if we should re-lock these unintended product giveaways.

The answer—to both questions—is “No!”

We made a mistake. We own it, we learn from it, and we welcome the chance to show our employees and our customers that we mean what we say about our values and “The Logos Way.”

From our Employee Handbook and Corporate Culture guide:

    • Logos accepts mistakes as part of learning.
    • Openness: We’re talking about our mistake.
  • Awesomeness: Interactions with our company should involve occasional pleasant surprises. (Free stuff is a pleasant surprise!)
  • Mistakes are learning experiences.
  • We admit our mistakes and forgive others theirs.

So, if you’re one of the dozens who made a zero-cost purchase this weekend, enjoy! And if not, I’m sorry you missed out on the “ultimate discount”—but I trust you will find that Logos is still a great tool, a great value, and a wise investment with a company that always sides with its customers.

P.S. Curious? Here’s the entire guide.

Written by
Bob Pritchett

Bob Pritchett co-founded Faithlife (makers of Logos Bible Software) in 1992 and serves as President/CEO. Bob speaks regularly at industry conferences and to academic groups on entrepreneurship, electronic publishing and digital libraries. He is a 2005 winner of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, and was included in the Puget Sound Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. Bob lives with his wife Audra in Bellingham, Washington; they have two children.

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  • Missed the “sale,” but I so appreciate your attitude. Thanks for the great resources at great prices always.

  • Bob,
    Thanks for sharing. Last year a company that sells classical CDs on Amazon had a similar incident. The prices weren’t zero, but in most cases were $1-$5 for itmes normally $20 – $200. Like you, it happened over a weekend. They honored the prices for as much as they had stock on hand for in the order received nd then cancelled orders that exceeded stock on hand. Iam quite sure the cost was well over $40,000. By myself Ireceived over $1,000 worth of goods for only about $30-$40. But the hit company took from the average buyer who only ordered one item and had it cancelled was enormous. For ever person that praised the company for honoring the orders to the degree that they did, there were probably 20 fold or even more who were full of nothing but disgust. One could page through the customer response ratings for the company and only find a praise like mine every 3-4 pages (with 25 responses per page). Ethics aside (and I by no means am saying “forget” ethics) one has to wonder how much better off this comany would be today had they gone to the ends of the earth to honor every order. I look forward to having that curiosity answered when Iam face-to-face with God.

    • Randy,

      there is a major difference in that your incident involves physical items which were paid for and out of stock orders would need to be paid for. Logos have already covered the cost of production, so are “not-realizing” revenue as opposed to actually losing money as it would be in your case. That said, I respect Logos for their integrity.

      • Some of their products require royalty payments, some do not. It would be illegal for Logos to take a book that I authored (depending on the license under which I released it), convert it to electronic copy and then give it away for free without compensating me.

  • How can people espouse to be Christians really desire to keep something that they know they have no ethical right to? We are amazed that you aren’t flooded with return material. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” seems to be applicable here.

    • It is odd that this is the only response of this kind. I, too, would have a hard time keeping something completely at someone else’s expense. Regardless of the fact that Logos can afford the hit (although I doubt very seriously that it won’t be recouped as prices escalate for books). I could understand a compromise such as 25% off for the mistake (still a good deal), but if the checkout at the grocery store wasn’t open, I still would not walk out with a basket full of groceries. On the flip side: Francis, there has been a very serious change in ethics with the digital revolution. People download music and videos without a second thought, yet they would not walk out of the Starbucks without paying for their Latte, would they?

      • I have queried ‘pop up’ prices at check outs on a number of occasions and have always offered to pay the higher price. If the store-keeper (or their representative employee) says “no”, then I am at full liberty to make a free choice as to what I do – Logos often sell at $0, I get emails with such offerings on a reasonably regular basis. Having just conclude preaching on Galatians, one commentator summed it up beautifully “Jesus, sufficient to save. The Spirit, sufficient to guide”. I will not judge and offer grace, as Logos have to those who made purchases. Logos have agreed to honour the price.

  • Well I too didn’t get one the freebies, however, too would do the right thing and return the merchandise back to the Company and that shows that all parties are what God is calling for in these last days. It is nice to know that there are people who can and will do the right thing. Bless all of God’s people for it puts a smile on the face of our Lord Jesus Christ. May we all continue to grow in the Grace and Favor of our Master Jesus Christ.

  • To everyone at Logos:
    Your Honesty and Integrity is AWESOME! In today’s society it is highly unusual to find a company that stands by it’s word! Kudos for you! I was not one of the lucky few however it is solidly formed in my mind that I would prefer to do business with people to stand by the Lord’s ideals no matter the consequences. Thank you for the boost to my sense of justice.
    To the employee who made the mistake: I feel for you. We all make mistakes from time to time and as Logos says it is a learning experience. I hope they keep you on because my guess is that you are already or will become one of their best employees because now you know what NOT to do. spread the word and look a second time before moving. Good luck.
    My best to all.

  • To Logos and all the other bible believers out there, Just remember one thing. It is more blessed to give than to receive. No matter how you cut it, Logos didn’t lose a dime. Somewhere along the way, God will repay. Maranatha.

  • Having been exposed to Logos for a long time, their behavior does not surprise me. I have seen them (first hand) do the right thing repeatedly over the years, both in interactions with me and with family members. It is the only reason that I stuck with the company even when my only choice for using their products was in a Virtual Machine running on a Linux computer.

    Also, I am not convinced that Logos did not “lose a dime” as stated elsewhere. Many of the resources available for sale are copyrighted works that require that some compensation be given to the owner of that material.

  • I think it is funny that after the mistake and the article about it that the moral police try to put guilt on any who may have gotten those materials for free as the website stated and allowed. It is nice that some were conscious this was probably a mistake and restrained themselves. But for the others, this was the “pleasant surprise” Logos wants. I did not know about this, in case you wonder about my motives, too.

  • I agree with others that offering to return the “free” product is the “right” thing to do. However, if I had been one who had benefited from such a mistake (and, as a software engineer, I can say that software companies do sometimes do such things intentionally, for various reasons – so I wouldn’t necessary immediately assume it was a mistake), and I offered to return the product(s)(which I would do if I found out it was a mistake) – if they declined the return and said “keep it,” then I would gracefully accept their offer and give thanks for their Christlike response. That’s exactly what Logo’s response to this ‘mistake’ is, and is typical of the company.

  • “To the pure, all things are pure…” Titus 1:15
    I think that those who honestly thought it was a deal on purpose and it was God’s blessing and they took advantage of it, they didn’t do wrong; those who thought it was a genuine mistake and didn’t take advantage of it, they also didn’t do wrong; those that thought it was a mistake but took advantage of it, they did do wrong, but God’s grace, through Logos’ generosity in not demanding payment, can cover over it. Perhaps they really couldn’t afford the software and so now they have an extra tool to strengthen them to do right when the next test comes along.

Written by Bob Pritchett