Using an incredibly clever infographic, a shoe company in Germany revealed this week that they conducted a study which found that boxes shipped to the U.S. with tape that reads “ATHEIST” were much more likely to be delayed or lost en route than packaging without the label.
The company, which is actually called Atheist Shoes, specializes in selling ostensibly handmade shoes that declare one’s nonbelief in a deity.
“We have lots of customers in the USA, but sometimes the shoes we send them take longer than they should to arrive, or even go missing,” a post on the Atheist Shoes website explains. “And when some of our customers asked us not to use ATHEIST-branded packaging tape on their shipments, we started to wonder if the delays were caused by the US Postal Service taking offence at our overt godlessness…”
They planned to test this theory with an ingenious bit of marketing zeal: they would mail two packages to 89 different people in 49 states, one with the ATHEIST tape and one without, and see how many arrive and how long it takes.
The results: Packages with ATHEIST tape took three days longer to arrive on average, and were 10 times more likely to never make it to their destination. The company added that they conducted similar tests in Germany and across Europe that exhibited no such bias.
“Interestingly, this seems to be a national problem — traditionally less religious and more liberal states also saw high levels of delay and disappearance,” they wrote. “Sadly, many of our customers who took part in this experiment were not surprised by our findings, even thought tampering with post is a Federal Offence.”
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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