29 Mar 2013

Atheists Beware: If You Want Your Packages Delivered by the USPS, Don't Label Them 'Atheist'

When a German shoe company sensed it was facing discrimination in America due to its religious, or rather, irreligious affiliation—it turned to science to find the truth. ATHEIST Shoes, a Berlin-based startup touting footwear for the Godless, conducted a study. The results suggest the United States Postal Service harbors a bias against non-believers.

atheist shoes

As the company describes on a dedicated Web page, the idea for the study arose when they noticed a lot of its US customers waited longer than average for deliveries—that is, when the shoes even made it to their destinations. ATHEIST became suspicious:

And, when some of our customers asked us not to use ATHEIST-branded packing tape on their shipments, we started to wonder if the delays were caused by the US Postal Service taking offence at our overt godlessness…

ATHEIST Shoes sent out “178 packages to 89 people, in 49 states,” sending each person one box labeled “atheist” and one box bare. The results were disturbing. As revealed in a highly-educational infographic, labeled boxes took on average three days longer to arrive and went missing 10 times as often as plain packages. The company conducted control experiments in Germany and elsewhere in Europe without noticing any delivery discrimination, concluding, “The problem appears to lie in the USA and is likely explained by the differential handling of packages by the employees of the US Postal Service.”