ATHEIST Shoes, a Berlin-based startup touting footwear for the Godless ... 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 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.”
A commenter at the blog wondered whether having any lettering at all contributes to delays; they suggested an experiment with "ATHEIST" tape, "RANDOM" tape, and blank tape. But the company said they're using blank tape now on shipments to the States.
I was watching the reaction on another conservative (aka right wing whackjob) website yesterday. They absolutely refuse to believe this has anything to do with it being atheist packages. They choose to ignore the experiment and instead say that this happens to everyone.
The only good point they brought up was the possibility of using tracking to identify where the shipments were being led astray. I have not heard if their shipping method allowed for that.
Considering they're international shipments (notoriously hard to track), "Held up in customs" is most likely. I wouldn't be so quick to blame postal workers. Customs agents. Their JOB is to discriminate against certain packages.
Once when I moved, I wasn't getting mail forwarded. I complained to the USPS, the local mail carrier said the mail was being forwarded OK. After several attempts I made the drive back to where I used to live and knocked on the door.
They gave me an entire grocery bag full of mail that was addressed to me, and had been delivered to them. The local mail carrier had been lying. Nothing to do with atheism.
Lots of postal workers don't do a very good job, and they seem able to get away with it. It's easy to believe that religious postal workers might throw away atheist-labeled packages - a bit of personal activism on the job :(
I'm trying hard to believe there is a logical explanation for this that has nothing to do with the atheist identifier. The only thing that throws it off is the fact that they did the experiment. That packages marked as atheist were getting to the destination much slower than those without leads towards a certain conclusion. I don't disagree with Alyson when she says international shipments are difficult to track but these days it's all done with computers. They either track or they don't. Anywhere a package is scanned, it is in a computer when it arrived/shipped. It should be easy enough to identify the point where the package is hung up. I'd like to see more aggregate data before making accusations.
I think it's probably true. Just because a lot of people are asshats.