Panera Bread and Porn

October 29, 2010

in Humor/Satire,San Francisco

Be carefulWe went into a Panera Bread the other day, which is known to be a nice chain of bakery/restaurants with great food and free wifi.

We hadn’t visited the one near us yet, so chose the first day of the world series because it’s a block from AT&T Park here in San Francisco and we wanted to write up a post about all the craziness surrounding such a big event.

But when we tried to log-in to this blog on our very own little netbook, we got the following notification..

This site has been blocked, having been found to be an unauthorized site by SonicWALL webservices.

What? The Rhodester Chronicles? Unauthorized?

*sniff* ..why??

The notice went on to say that we could get further information by “clicking here,” so that’s what we did. They showed our URL, which is http://rhodester.net and said it was categorized as porn.

The Rhodester Chronicles?

PORN??

Then they said that we could submit a “help ticket” if we wished to ask for our site to be re-categorized, so we did.

Dear SonicWALL webservices,

As much as we certainly admire your tenacity in making this world a better place by blocking obscene websites so that they won’t fall into the hands of the poor, innocent public, we urge you to take a look at The Rhodester Chronicles at http://rhodester.net and reconsider your original classification of such as PORN, given that it’s really not.

We can prove this by the simple fact that we are not in the least bit fabulously wealthy, and we all know that were The Rhodester Chronicles a porn site, then Rhodester himself would be rolling in dough and thus would be logging on via his own dedicated Internet connection in his suite atop The Millenium Tower here in San Francisco, rather than scraping up enough change for a coffee and cinnamon roll at a Panera Bread just to avail himself of the fucking free wifi.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Us.

We received a “thank you for submitting your request,” which would “be reviewed within the next two or three business days.”

Well, they’re fast, those SonicWALL people! We received this email yesterday..

Dear Customer:

You submitted the following rating request to SonicWALL CFS Support:
Rate rhodester.net as “31.Web Communications” at 2010-10-27 15:25:00.700

The request has been reviewed and rated as:
“31.Web Communications, 14.Arts/Entertainment, 36.Reference” at 2010-10-28 00:50:09.047

You should see this rating change reflected within 1 to 3 business days.

Thank you for your request,
SonicWALL CFS Support

So now it turns out that one can access The Rhodester Chronicles from the Panera Bread in San Francisco and not have to fear for the souls of one’s children.

As triumphant as this moment is to us, we here at The Rhodester Chronicles feel as though we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention our collective astonishment at the simple fact that a restaurant chain is censoring Internet wifi in the first place.

Oh, we know it’s not the actual company that’s doing the censoring, but it’s built-in to the service they’ve contracted to provide free wifi (apparently it’s “wandering wifi“), so in a way they’re responsible.

We said this to the shift manager on duty, who didn’t seem to have a clue as to what we were talking about, and expressed little dismay over being told that we were leaving her store and would not be patronizing it again until Internet censorship has been lifted.

“I’ll be sure to let my general manager know,” she said, as she went back to kneading dough.

SUUUURE you will, sweetie.

Looks like we’ll need to take the handle on this..

Dear Panera Bread,

It has come to our attention that you are utilizing a service called SonicWALL to screen and block “potentially damaging” websites. These are websites that would be accessed on your customer’s own private devices, such as a laptop, netbook or iPhone/iPad, by the customer’s use of your in-store wifi.

We discovered this when our own website was erroneously blocked and we had to go through the motions of getting the NAZIS nice people at SonicWALL to unblock it over a period of several days, so that our fine readers could enjoy our online witticisms with a steaming bowl of clam chowder at their own local Panera Bread.

But we are left to wonder if sites that some would consider obscene, such as porn sites, and other sites that contain a particular level of violence, nudity and/or profanity continue to be blocked for the patrons of Panera Bread while they use their personal Internet devices.

If this is the case, we heartily recommend that you don’t stop there! Any one of those miscreants could certainly bring in a Playboy magazine, or (gasp!) a Hustler and read it at the table! You wouldn’t want some pervert ejaculating on a muffin during brunch, so you may wish to employ security agents at the door to pat-down each customer as they enter, and make sure that they are instructed to not only search handbags and briefcases, but to perform a complete body-cavity search too, for we wouldn’t put it past such scoundrels to hide Miss July in the crack of their ass.

Make sure that your agents be on the look-out for violent video games while they’re at it, because a child may come in packing a portable Nintendo device with karate stuff on it, and actually play it at the table — thus maiming and even killing his “opponents” — while waiting for his kid’s meal to arrive.

Furthermore, you should instruct all servers to keep an ear out for profanity and upon the first swear word to exit a customer’s mouth, the security agents are to be informed and thus warn the patron that upon ONE MORE WORD LIKE THAT, they will have their mouths washed out with soap and then be summarily ejected from your fine establishment and banned forever, with their pictures being branded with a scarlett “S” for swearing, and posted right up there next to the drink menu for all to see.

Accordingly, patrons caught with any magazine or offending material previously mentioned shall be branded with a scarlett “P” for pervert, and children toting video games shall have a “V” for violent.

We trust that you will take these suggetions to heart, to ensure that Panera Bread is a safe, friendly and relaxing environment for all to enjoy.

On the other hand, if you catch the gist of this missive and simply remove the offending censorship from your wifi service, may we suggest that you take things a step further and require that all female servers in your restaurants go topless.

Sincerely,

The Rhodester Chronicles
(we are NOT a porn site)

Tell the WORLD..
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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach October 29, 2010 at 3:51 pm

Wow. Too, well, wow! My only experiences with being blocked has to do with Akismet. What a lot of effort you did (but I’ll admit, I loved reading your notes!).

Reply

2 RhodesTer October 29, 2010 at 3:54 pm

As we love reading your comments, but we will block them if you swear or show dirty pics, just so you know :-P

Reply

3 Scott Roche November 2, 2010 at 7:19 am

I suspect (though of course I don’t know for sure) that they might well block porn for a number of reasons other than being Nazis. They have a limited amount of bandwidth to let their customers use and I understand that those types of sites use a lot of that. They’re also dens of festering SPAM bots and viruses. So rather than protecting the children (WHY WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!?!?) I think they might be protecting their own limited resources in addition to protecting their customers’ computers.

Also, it’s not really censorship unless the gov’t does it, am I right?

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4 RhodesTer November 2, 2010 at 10:59 am

Party Pooper.

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5 Scott Roche November 2, 2010 at 11:04 am

Comments like that will get your blog flagged as…

Oh.

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6 RhodesTer November 2, 2010 at 11:13 am

Loose lips sink ships!

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7 RhodesTer November 2, 2010 at 11:59 am

Sorry about all the silliness, but you know how we are around here. The absolute truth is, we were kind of turned-on by your big, slick, throbbing comment. Keep ‘em cumming!

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