AtheistShoes v. USPS

Just when you thought ‘Murica couldn’t get any more ridiculousshoes

WHAM! It launches a war on shoes!

An interesting experiment conducted by the Berlin based shoe company Atheist Shoes is raising concerns about the integrity of the US Postal service. After customers of the company saw packages wrapped in the Atheist logo’ed tape, typically arriving late or often never arriving at all. So, Atheist Shoes did what any scientifically driven person would do and conducted a controlled experiment to see if the customer’s concerns held any merit. They did. 

The info-graphic on their pages site reads:

178 packages shipped to 89 people in 49 U.S. States. All packages left Berlin on the same day, and each person was sent two packages. The first was sealed with ATHEIST tape, the second with neutral tape. The result? Boxes sealed with ATHEIST tape were ten-times more likely to go missing, and took an average of three days longer to arrive than neutral-wrapped packages.

2pink-soleAlso noting that in Michigan packages arrived an average of 37 days later! The experiment also included other European countries such as Great Britain, and saw noticeable bias for ‘Atheist’ taped packages. It’s funny how a country who stakes a firm pillar in supposed religious freedom isn’t so keen on you having no religion at all.

Since there was notable delay even in more liberal states, it can be speculated that people may be applying an incorrect meaning to the results. Although highly unlikely, it may not be that there is a bias against atheists but that some brain-dead postal workers are stealing or setting aside the oddly taped packages to show their co-workers. And that by removing the bias of having tape on one and not the other, the tape on the other would have been equally as un/fascinating as what would have been an atheist taped package.

However, seeing as I live in a liberal state surrounded by some of the most shallow and conservative people this side of the Mason Dixon, I’d have to disagree. Branding myself as an atheist, or even as a ‘spiritual person’ who doesn’t subscribe to archaic text, is something I’m not exactly keen on doing even to my friends. Because there is still a severe bias and even assumptions that without religion there is no moral framework for you to be a good person.  I’d truly expect that especially in a stuffy environment filled with old men and women who’s only goal in life is to collect a pension and not have to work after retirement that that mentality would persist.

Is work killing you?


Are you looking forward to a glorious afterlife?

 Atheist Shoes has since contacted the Inspector General of the US Postal Service and asked for their help in replicating this study on a larger basis and with a couple of tighter controls. I hope their request is taken seriously, because  mail-tampering is a federal offense, even for US Postal Service employees. Until then, they’ve stopped using their branded packing tape and package movement has since improved…. hmm.

Spotted on: io9

2 thoughts on “AtheistShoes v. USPS

  1. This “study” is probably more of a publicity stunt. USPS has packaging guidelines, and having tape with lettering which can be read by optical scanners violates the guidelines. As a result the packages have to be scanned manually which delays shipping time. It’s no surprise the delays weren’t seen with the plain tape. Had the company done a proper study they would have used tape with different lettering (something that just says shoes, or hello), in order to see if there was a problem with the scanning or actual bias.

    However the company fell victim to confirmation bias and their bias towards Americans became evident with their unsupported conclusion.

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