Postal Service Discriminates Against Atheist Shoes

Short version, there is a shoe company in Berlin called “Atheist Shoes.” We’ve had cause to mention them before. The company noticed that shoes shipped to America tended to run into problems: late arrivals, missing packages, etc. Being good scientifically minded atheists, they performed an experiment: they shipped some packages with their name in large letters on tape, and some packages without the tape. The results were actually quite startling:

  • Dale

    This is no surprise to me. Advertisement ‘newspapers’ make it to my mailbox just fine, but Freethought Today gets ripped from time to time and delivered in a plastic bag saying sorry.

  • Alexis

    Perhaps not the postal service directly, but your very own Department of Homeland Security ferreting out potential “terrorists” who might advocate such radical agendas as “separation of church” and state or “liberty and justice for all”.

  • Michael Mock

    I’m sorry to say, I don’t think I could ever buy atheist shoes. What if they have no soles? {{rimshot}}

    • UrsaMinor

      You’re putting the cart before the horse here. Before you can worry about their absence, you first have to prove that such a thing as a sole exists.

      • Michael Mock

        Not at all. I’m going with a straight presuppositionalist approach. Sole Scriptura, you know. (I think that means that the bottoms of the shoes of believers are made from Bibles.)

    • Ray

      Now, that’s funny!

  • kessy_athena

    I like the giant octopus snagging a package. Cthulhu finds our lack of faith delicious. Which possibly also explains what happened to all the soles… LOL

    More seriously, this is interesting and disturbing, but it leaves a lot of unanswered questions. If you look at the entire chain of custody within ICE, USPS, and every other entity involved, it’s pretty complicated, and the problem could be at any point in the chain. I’d strongly suggest that the folks at Atheist Shoes should send their findings to the appropriate office at USPS, if they haven’t already. Assuming this isn’t because of policy decisions at the top, I think it’s likely the Post Office would want to do their own internal investigation.

    • kessy_athena

      Well, to answer my own question, they say that they have sent their information to the Office of Inspector General, but have so far only gotten a form letter reply. Which I don’t really find surprising – it takes a while for these sorts of things to work their way through the bureaucracy. I’ll be curious to see what, if anything, comes of this.

      • Iron Hat

        There will be no bureaucracy to work its way through. As Atheists have no lobby, no organized followers, no money saturated influence and thus no power, this will be one complaint/report quickly swept under the proverbial rug.

        • kessy_athena

          You’re confusing the bureaucracy with elected politicians. Most of the people who work in the bureaucracy are career professionals – they serve regardless of who’s in office. It’s the elected officials who are sensitive to lobbyists and such, and while the bureaucracy is answerable to them (which is overall a good thing), the politicians usually don’t meddle in the day to day operations of the bureaucracy unless they have a reason. Usually that reason is a constituent or interest group complained about something, which does happen on a regular basis. Most likely this matter will land on a career bureaucrat’s desk, who will look at it to decide if there’s something appropriate and worthwhile for the OIG to investigate. they may decide it’s not because they don’t buy the evidence presented, or they may think that it’s a case of an interest group playing victim, or that it’s just not a big enough of a problem to merit a spot on the plate when there are other presumably more serious matters competing for the same spot. Now personal prejudice may well influence that decision, but I seriously doubt someone at the OIG is going to outright say, “Oh, it’s atheists complaining – I’m not going to listen to them.” Now if the OIG actually starts an investigation, interest groups and politicians may well catch wind of it, which in turn could lead to politicians intervening to squash the investigation. Although if that happens, it’s likely that word will leak out and it could get picked up by the media, mainstream or social.

  • M

    There has been a suggestion made on other fora that it’s any tape with words that makes things more likely to be lost or delayed. Basically, even Nike shoes that have tape with words get delayed because the computers are bad at handling non-plain packages.

    A better experiment would be three sets of packages- one with ATHEIST tape, one with RANDOM tape, and one plain. That way the plain package hypothesis could be fully tested :).

  • FO

    It is also entirely possible that’s just a publicity stunt on their part.

    • UrsaMinor

      O ye of little faith.

  • yvonne

    Surely another valid control experiment would be to send the shoes to another country – which they have been doing. The shoes weren’t held up in the post in any other country, were they? That suggests to me that US postal workers are biased against atheists.