A German-based atheist shoe company is accusing the United States Postal Service of discrimination, claiming that when using "atheist" branded packaging tape on its shipments, the company's packages arrived to their U.S. destination at far greater delays compared to when they used a generic packaging tape.
The company, known simply as ATHEIST, explains on its official website that it conducted a trans-Atlantic experiment to determine if "atheist" packages were actually experiencing longer delays in the U.S. than "non-atheist" packages.
"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," the company, which is based in Berlin, states on its website.
"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 [offense] at our overt godlessness…"
ATHEIST then decided to conduct an experiment in an attempt to prove its discrimination allegations against the USPS.
As the company explains on its website, it sent 178 packages to 89 people in all 49 U.S. states on the same day in November 2012.
Each person received two packages, one sealed with the "atheist" branded tape and one sealed with standard shipping tape.
The company claims that the results of their experiment found that on average, atheist branded packages took three days longer to reach their destinations and atheist packages were 10 times more likely to disappear.
Additionally, the company claims that nine atheist-branded packages went missing, compared to one generically branded package, and in the case of Michigan, the atheist branded package arrived 37 days later than expected.
"The results demonstrate a significant bias, in quality of shipping, against atheist branded packages," the company claims.
The company also argues that it conducted similar tests throughout Europe and found no bias, implying that the problem must be with U.S. postal workers and their attitude toward atheism.
Additionally, the experiment found that there exists no pattern in the delay of packages; traditionally more liberal states also saw high levels of delay.
As a result of the company's findings, ATHEIST has now discontinued its use of atheist-branded shipping tape, and has announced via its Facebook page that it plans to pursue the issue further.
"Some of you have asked if we'll be sharing the findings of our USPS discrimination study with anyone official, and yes, conscious that tampering with post is a federal offence, we will be contacting the Office of the Inspector General of USPS," the company said on its website.
The United States Postal Service has not responded to the German company's claims of discrimination.
ATHEIST is a small company founded nearly a year ago which seeks to appeal to the atheist shoe market by creating handmade footwear which bears an atheist message on the sole, such as "Ich Bin Atheist" or "Darwin Loves Sole."