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Nov 20 2011

No Gelato for Skepticon

This is the sign hanging in Gelato Mio, a gelato place right next to where Skepticon is currently taking place:


“Skepticon is NOT welcomed to my Christian Business

lol bigotry

Why am I laughing? Because it’s their loss. Other restaurants have been overflowing with Skepticon people buying their food. They don’t want our money? Fine by me.

UPDATE: The gelato place has offered a vague apology. Maybe it’s because they realized their urbanspoon ranking dropped by 60% and that the internet exists.

UPDATE 2: The apology has been updated to actually sound more like a real apology.

66 comments

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  1. 1
    Michael Henry

    What would happen if you went in anyway and paid with money that had the in god we trust line scratched out?

  2. 2
    BenSix

    This kind of obnoxiousness would, I feel, divert people from the Christian cause far more effectively than any of the speakers at the conference. The implication is that his faith is a resentful and unfriendly one.

  3. 3
    meeotch

    Is it possible that Christians walking by might have given him business that the store might otherwise not have gotten and this actually more than made up for the loss of potential income from Skepticon attendees?

    And I’m more wondering this for the sake of argument and my own education rather than specifically advocating for it, but would this be enough cause for a discrimination lawsuit?

  4. 4
    Gordon

    I’m wondering if the open bigotry cost them some christian customers too.

  5. 5
    Nena

    “lol bigotry” made me snort.

    I guess I’m spoiled because I work with a bunch of people who are very accepting (and by “accepting,” I mean “meh – whatever”) people who know I’m an atheist and a skeptic and they don’t have any problem with me whatsoever, even if we disagree. It always floors me to see people who actually have a problem with us.

    And I live in NASHVILLE, for f*&%’s sake.

  6. 6
    heinadada-chipsahoy

    This Christian clearly cannot bootstrap well. I mean, wouldn’t you want to take teh evil atheists’ money and then, due to the increase in business, donate more to your church?

    LOL.

  7. 7
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    My suggestion: open the door, point at the sign, yell “I don’t believe this!” and run away giggling. :D

  8. 8
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Is it possible that Christians walking by might have given him business that the store might otherwise not have gotten

    Yes.

    and this actually more than made up for the loss of potential income from Skepticon attendees?

    No.

  9. 9
    Luc Duval

    I just checked out their website; it seems they’ve removed that note and feel bad about it.

    A day for atheist forgiveness (and gelato)?

  10. 10
    meeotch

    I’m skeptical as to how you could be so sure of that. Not saying you’re wrong, but how could you know that?

  11. 11
    meeotch

    Maybe he could be invited to Skepticon to apologize in person?

  12. 12
    Brittany

    “Feel bad” in the sense that they’re probably losing tons of customers. I’ve checked out their reviews, and tons of Skepticon attendees have been giving them one star reviews, and explaining that it’s because of the discrimination. Their Facebook has also been inundated with wall postings about the sign.

    I’m pretty sure the bigotry is still there.

  13. 13
    Mike Hare

    Hearing of Christians have there nose rubbed in their hypocrisy always makes me smile.

  14. 14
    Kassiane

    We have a mio gelato here.

    Guess where I’m NOT going the next time I want something cold and delicious?

  15. 15
    lizfrost

    It’s probably not related. Their only locations are in the Springfield area.

  16. 16
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Look up the attendance figures for Skepticon.

    Consider the much higher chance that people will go out to eat when they’re someplace far from home.

    Compare that to the local population adjusted for the people who are actually nearby and the frequency with which people go out to eat when they aren’t far from their own kitchens, and the probability that this would actually affect someone’s purchasing decisions since it’s a small sign on a small chain shop.

  17. 17
    capt_carl

    You should read his Facebook wall, it’s pretty fantastic, people calling him out left and right.

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gelato-Mio/137121549639050?sk=wall&filter=1

  18. 18
    Kels

    It makes me wonder what they meant by “an event I witnessed”, whether that means Skepticon as a whole, or someone not being sufficiently (and undeservedly) respectful of religion.

  19. 19
    Kels

    FB link doesn’t seem to work for me, it just keeps going to my home page.

  20. 20
    Alt+3

    How are they supposed to be able to tell the difference? Could you not just walk in and say “Good evening fellow brother or sister in Christ! I would like to purchase one small gelato (I’m not sure what gelato even is, so I don’t know what unit you buy it in). Ha ha! Jay kay! That’s heathen money. Thanks for the food (I think).”

  21. 21
    secha

    Considering this was on Skepchick and Pharyngula, the moral of the story is ‘Don’t get between an atheist and their ice-cream, we take that shit seriously’.

  22. 22
    Saffi

    “I’m wondering if the open bigotry cost them some christian customers too.”

    Speaking as a visitor who was directed to your site by a friend, and speaking as a Christian who is tired of being embarrassed by bigots like the owners of that place, I can tell you that the answer is “Yes.”

  23. 23
    sc_36dfdf084205ad592bcdcbdbde691e2a

    I don’t live in Nashville, but my corporate office is there so I travel there several times a year.

    It blew my mind when I was sitting in the employee lunchroom and overheard a bunch of co-workers complaining that their kids were being taught evolution in school.

    It’s also the only place I’ve visited where waitresses, after finding I’m traveling through, will invariably ask if I need any help finding a church to go to while I’m in town.

  24. 24
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Damn straight. (Or whatever. ^.^)

  25. 25
    Angie

    Please rate this business accordingly on their Yelp page: http://www.yelp.com/biz/gelato-mio-springfield#query:gelato%20mio%20springfield

  26. 26
    Eric RoM

    a) You don’t know this.
    b) It’s not like we haven’t seen douchebaggery by skeptics (points at Elevatorgate) before.

    So a guy overreacts to something. Big fucking deal. That’s an apology on his website: get over yourselves.

  27. 27
    Carlie

    I would say only rate it if you were there. Lying for a review isn’t helping.

  28. 28
    Carlie

    Hm, didn’t we just have this whole conversation of how “ignore it and it will go away” doesn’t actually make it go away?

  29. 29
    A Gould

    I’m amused at the “we didn’t turn anyone away, so it’s OK”.

    Which completely ignores the possibility that folks saw the sign, said “OK, we’ll give our money somewhere else”, and didn’t bother to go in.

    I’ll pay 2-1 that the “apology” is after they noticed that they made no money during a convention, while their neighbors are raking in the dough.

  30. 30
    Robert

    Eric,
    It seems to me that the “douchebaggery” you’re referring to was not as a result of those people being skeptics. The same thing can’t be said for this store owner’s bigotry being because of his religion. Analogy fail and may FSM have mercy on you.

  31. 31
    jose

    That apology isn’t vague.

  32. 32
    sathyalacey

    The original apology was pretty vague and half-hearted. It’s since been added to with a little more sincerity. Might be false, might be not.

    However I consider the fact that the owner made a stupid mistake, realized his error, and then either through economic motivations or sincere regret at causing offense, took reasonable steps to correct the error to be very civilized.

  33. 33
    Makoto

    “An event I witnessed” is fairly vague. We know it involved “one man”, but don’t know if that was a con attendee, an employee, or a random patron.

    The owner (I assume) said it was only up for a few minutes, but it was certainly up long enough to be noticed by a few blogs here…

  34. 34
    Tom Singer

    We also had this conversation about how it’s hard to admit when you’re wrong, and it’s a sign of maturity to be able to do it.

  35. 35
    Tom Singer

    “Admitting you’re wrong. It’s a hard thing to do – trust me, I know from experience. That’s why I respect people who are able to do it.” — Jen, 3 days ago.

    “UPDATE: The gelato place has offered a vague apology. Maybe it’s because they realized their urbanspoon ranking dropped by 60% and that the internet exists.” — Jen, today.

    Granted, it sounds like the apology has been modified, and I haven’t seen the original version. But maybe you give the guy some credit and take his apology at face value, without being snarky about it.

  36. 36
    Tom Singer

    To be fair, it only has to be up long enough for one person to take a photo.

  37. 37
    eviltwit

    Hehe. The cost of knee-jerk bigotry is high. Especially at a gelato place. He had to attempt an apology, even half-heartedly, seeing as he had clearly forgotten about the internet.

  38. 38
    Carlie

    And why shouldn’t people take his original placard at face value?

  39. 39
    'Tis Himself

    I won’t give him my business, but I’ll apologize to him afterwards. I’ll take Fr. Jack’s apology as guidance for mine.

  40. 40
    Tom Singer

    You should. If you take his apology at face value, then he doesn’t deny that he meant it when he posted it, acknowledges that he was wrong, and apologizes for it.

  41. 41
    joeneubarth

    Nobody would notice. I don’t read with is on coins. I just use them on the rare occasion I am not using my credit card.

  42. 42
    Makoto

    You are completely correct in that only one person would have to snap a photo. However, if it really was only up for a few minutes, the odds are that no con attendee would see it. Yes, the con attendees were in town, but the odds are still against any particular attendee seeing the sign while it was up (for just a few minutes), snapping a photo, and sharing it with several bloggers here on FTB, none of whom cited their source.

    It’s certainly possible that a bad incident happened at the gelato shop, then the host put up his sign, then the FTB group walked by, then the host took his sign back down, all within a few minutes, but that seems like the low odds chance compared to the sign going up, then the owner later finding the bad reaction and taking it down, especially without the specifics about the incident that caused the sign to go up in the first place.

  43. 43
    Rumtopf

    I reckon he would have been better off not mentioning how long the sign was up for at all in that apology, it does sort of seem like an attempt to downplay the severity of his actions. “I was only discriminating against people for a little while”.

  44. 44
    Brittany

    1. If it simply was just a rash decision, the apology would have been issued right away; not after it was noticed that their reviews were plummeting.

    2. The guy blames something that atheists did as being offensive in an attempt to justify his discrimination.

    Learn some social psychology, mate.

  45. 45
    Rob

    What if you’re Christian and went to Skepticon?

  46. 46
    Brittany

    So, there was some debate going on at their Facebook page. All of the comments complaining about the discrimination have been deleted, while all the comments supporting the place have been left.

    My only comment was “Religious discrimination tastes bad.” I’m now blocked from commenting on their page.

  47. 47
    WCLPeter

    Gelato is an Italian ice cream. If you like ice cream in any way you owe it to yourself to find a good Gelato place and get yourself some. All the best places make it fresh on site and so you get all kinds of nifty flavours, one of my favourites is Whole Lot-a-Gelala.

    Or you can look up recipes for Gelato online and use an Ice Cream maker to make it.

  48. 48
    Karl Corwin

    Well, we have two pretty good indications that his apology was not sincere. First, he was given a chance on his facebook wall to denounce some bigoted comments from Christian supporters and has yet to do so. Second, he has systematically deleted and blocked negative comments from the same wall.

  49. 49
    Graham Shevlin

    Which tends to prove that the owner of this establishment, in addition to being a reflexive idiot, is also a duplicitous and censorious idiot.

  50. 50
    redleg

    Welcome to Tennessee! One of my first experiences moving to Knoxville for grad school (from MN via OR) was having the admin ladies ask me 1) my name, 2) my adviser, and 3) what church I was going to attend. I’m not sure what part of my reply offended them more: my adviser (not a nice guy), growing up Catholic or my (then) being agnostic. And this was the admin staff for the GEOLOGY department, which may very well be the most secular of the sciences. That said, with the exception of the previously noted adviser I found Knoxville to be pleasant but I moved north as soon as I was done with school.

  51. 51
    MathMike

    Like many, I was not impressed with the first apology. The updated one is a big improvement. While I don’t think he’s learned to love his heathen brothers and sisters, I do think he has learned to tollerate us, and maybe even accept us. I hope that this is a first step for him and those around him.

  52. 52
    amanda

    It looks like he had deleted the companies Facebook page. “damage control”

  53. 53
    LoriWatts

    Is it just me, or is it always Skepticon somewhere? (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!)How often is that event held, anyway?

  54. 54
    Cory Albrecht (@Bytor)

    Skepticon is once a year, in November.

    In April theres the Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism in NYC.

    SkepchickCon is the July 4th weekend at CONvergence in Minneapolis.

    The JREF’s The Amaz!ng Meeting the 2nd or 3rd weekend in July in Las Vegas.

    SkepTrack at Dragon*Con in Atlanta on the Labour Day weekend.

    Th first CSIcon in years was just this past Halloween weekend in New Orleans and will probably repeat.

    And probably more that I can’t think of because I have today off and have yet to be caffeinated.

  55. 55
    Alenonimo

    I’ve read it just now and it’s still doesn’t look like an apology to me.

    What did he saw? He said he saw an event that made him angry. Was it Skepticon? If so, it’s not an apology in any way.

  56. 56
    Alt+3

    >Ice cream.

    Pass.

  57. 57
    ParatrooperJJ

    That’s a federal crime.

  58. 58
    carolw

    Did anyone get screenshots of the FB page while it was up, before comments were deleted?

  59. 59
    Predator Handshake

    Maybe they’ll take this opportunity to extend the store name to “Gelato Mio, non e’ di loro”?

    Forgive me if that doesn’t make sense; I’m not very good at Italian.

  60. 60
  61. 61
    Angie

    Does anyone have screenshots of the Gelato Mio Facebook page? My civil rights attorney friend will be interested.

  62. 62
    amanda

    It looks like he has closed his fb page.

  63. 63
    Tom Singer

    If you think I have advocated that his discrimination against Skepticon attendees is a viewpoint that deserves respect or accommodation, you’re wrong. And if you think I’ve argued the same for Kimball a few threads back, you’re wrong about that, too. I simply won’t demonize someone I disagree with and lay all of the world’s problems at their feet. I’m happy to call them out for things they actually are responsible for.

  64. 64
    Aaron

    Actually, it’s not. From the BEP (emphasis mine):

    Defacement of currency is a violation of Title 18, Section 333 of the United States Code. Under this provision, currency defacement is generally defined as follows: Whoever mutilates, cuts, disfigures, perforates, unites or cements together, or does any other thing to any bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt issued by any national banking association, Federal Reserve Bank, or Federal Reserve System, with intent to render such item(s) unfit to be reissued, shall be fined not more than $100 or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

  65. 65
    JM

    What a wonderful idea. I don’t know where I’ll spend it, but I just had a fun few minutes obliterating “In God We Trust” with a dry-erase marker. I may have a new hobby.

  66. 66
    JM

    I grew up in Nashville. I don’t go back often. I once thought it was horrible that my parents moved away after I did so that I couldn’t catch up with old friends when home on visits. Now, I’m just as happy never seeing the place again.

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