Panera Bread


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MDW GUNS
June 29, 2008, 04:58 PM
Today I went with the family to Panera Bread to have lunch with the kids.
Since I am trying to loose some weight I didn’t eat anything and thought to check out the latest on the forum with my iPhone, since Panera offers free internet excess.
But every gun site I checked was blocked. Even web sites which had the word gun in the domain name are blocked!
Please follow the link below and write Panera how you guys feel about this!
Here is what I wrote!


http://www.panerabread.com/about/contact/

I was trying to cruise in your Portland ME location with my iPhone some gun web sites.
These sites were blocked by the "SonicWALL" for "Forbidden Category "Other". You are aware of the reason judgment of the Supreme Court about the 2nd Amendment, right?? Therefore I ask you to remove this block, since I will not give my business to a company who discriminates my rights! Also I will post this information at gun forums, so that other gun owners have the opportunity to write you!

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Vegaslaith
June 29, 2008, 05:14 PM
Are they arguably discriminating against gun-loving people? Sure. But infringing on your rights? No. Its private property. You're free to patronize other businesses.

MDW GUNS
June 29, 2008, 05:15 PM
Yeah, I don't care for this place/people in there, but the food is good.
It's also quite exspensive!
I hope we get plenty of people to complain!
At least maybe they have to hire more people to answeres the comments!

ronnyreagan
June 29, 2008, 05:18 PM
I believe that's actually a default setting for SonicWall firewalls. We put one in where I work and it disabled access to all gun related sites until I informed our network administrator. There's a good probability that Panera Bread is just letting SonicWall make their filtering choices for them, not some company-wide discrimination policy against gun lovers or anything.

MDW GUNS
June 29, 2008, 05:30 PM
I believe that's actually a default setting for SonicWall firewalls.
Well, in this case it should not be too difficult to “unlock” gun sites!

Vegaslaith: I guess if you see it this way you are right, but then they are in breach of contract:
They get you in their location with the promise of “Free Internet”.
Now I don’t get that, but bought their quite pricy food!
Either way, I don’t bring my money to places like this and I think they should know that!

woof
June 29, 2008, 05:50 PM
I think a soft approach is best. I sent this:

I have noticed that your internet provider is blocking many sites which I understand. However, they seem to be blocking any sites having to do with guns and the sport of shooting. If this is not Panera's decision you may want to have these sites unblocked. Otherwise far more people than you know are going to reject doing business where they feel their rights as sport shooters are not respected.

The Tourist
June 29, 2008, 06:01 PM
Technically, I am still the tinker for the five Panera Bread restaurants here in Madison.

The guy who hired me is a motorcycle riding army veteran, and both a gun and knife collector--I've sold him knives.

His best friend and Panera co-worker makes historic period battle armor and also collects knives--which I sharpen.

I, of course, am an insane biker.

Does this sound like a group of tree huggers to you?

TimboKhan
June 29, 2008, 06:17 PM
Otherwise far more people than you know are going to reject doing business where they feel their rights as sport shooters are not respected.

I don't know that I would write this, as it's kind of an empty threat. The truth is, Panera Bread isn't going to lose one ounce of sleep over X number of people not coming in simply because they can't look at THR on the Wi-Fi. If it was hundreds of thousands, for sure. If it was 10's of thousands, maybe. If it is under 10,000 customers across the nation? Big deal. I doubt you could even rally 5000 people behind this cause in any effective way, and that's not going to impact Panera one bit.

I think writing them and asking them to fix the problem (which, by the way, should be verified at other Panera Bread stores before we all start screaming about boycotting them) is a great idea, but making what I am sure they will see as nothing but an empty threat will do nothing but make us look kooky.

tgrillo
June 29, 2008, 09:08 PM
While I do not use the WiFi at Panera (its called St. Louis Bread company in Missouri). I frequent it because it is not posted against conceal carry. :confused:

k_dawg
June 29, 2008, 09:47 PM
I eat at Panera here in Fl, and have no problem accessing this website and others.

Probably is just a default config, than any actual ideology.

TexasRifleman
June 30, 2008, 12:33 AM
Probably is just a default config, than any actual ideology.

And flying off the handle with threats of boycotts etc is a big strong without knowing for sure.

I'm betting it's a default as well.

We have to come off as reasoned people, not angry gun nuts such as the anti's want to portray us.

misANTHrope
June 30, 2008, 02:11 AM
It's also a good idea to proofread one's threats of boycott as well.

Robert Hairless
June 30, 2008, 03:38 AM
MDW Guns, you might have an interesting case.

If I understand your complaint correctly, you went to a Panera Bread store in Portland, did not order anything because of course you want to loose weight, tried to use its free Internet, and were denied access to the sites you wanted. You believe it's a "breach of contract."

I'd like to encourage you to telephone the best lawyer in Portland, ME, with a request for a free consultation and take those facts to him. Ask him whether he can help you.

I think you'll get much more useful feedback from an experienced local lawyer than from any Internet gun forum.

The Tourist
June 30, 2008, 04:04 AM
Ya' know, this whole discussion seems to focus around a very little fish.

The concept--unless I'm wrong--is that a business that is taking our money seems to engage in political practices in which we disagree. Fair enough. But why pick on this particular business?

After all, we all go to the doctor, and after the age of fifty we all begin getting literature and financial incentives from AARP.

If you want to discuss some of the biggest fish in the pond, you then have to mention the AMA and AARP. They are huge, well funded, in contact with the entire USA population and openly against firearms.

If you don't like the way your computer works, then don't eat the sandwich and stiff Panera's out of the six bucks.

Then just make sure you quit going to the doctor and using those "senior discounts." It seems disingenuous to smack around the little guy and then cuddle up to the bigger guy doing the same thing.

That is, if Panera is really doing this, at all.

TimboKhan
June 30, 2008, 05:34 AM
Vegaslaith: I guess if you see it this way you are right, but then they are in breach of contract:
They get you in their location with the promise of “Free Internet”.
Now I don’t get that, but bought their quite pricy food!
Either way, I don’t bring my money to places like this and I think they should know that!

I very highly doubt that anyone goes into Panera for the free wi-fi access over the food.

It's not a breach of contract. Panera provides free wi-fi as a service and as an enticement, but there is nothing that says that they have to provide open access. You don't want to use their wi-fi, don't. You want to use it, you agree to use their system with their rules. I am willing to bet a dollar that porn is blocked too, and I bet another dollar that you're not this upset about that.

More to the point, you said you went with your family, not on your own. I am willing to bet a great deal of money that wi-fi access for you had absolutely no bearing whatsoever on their decision to go there. In other words, you were almost certainly not drawn to Panera on the promise of free wi-fi access, thus rendering your argument totally moot.

SlipperyShooter
June 30, 2008, 09:44 AM
I think you're taking this a bit too seriously.

My company offers free internet as well, and we use a web filtering product that has approximately 30 "blanket" categories to allow blocking of some content.

Our product has a "Weapons/Violence" category that we leave enabled. I haven't checked, but I'm sure that just about every firearm manufacturer is included in that list and we do choose to block it.

Has nothing to do with 2nd amendment, it has everything to do with corporate liability. It's a free service and we'll decide what you can and get get to. Someone researches a knife or a gun using our wi-fi, then buys one and uses it for harm and now some two-bit lawyer will try to point a finger of blame at my company? I don't think so. Better safe than sorry.

flynnguy
June 30, 2008, 10:07 AM
Probably a default configuration for their firewall and it probably varies from location to location. (ie. someone cared enough to remove the blocked sites)

One thing you might want to consider is talking to the manager. I don't know how Panera sets it up but if each panera has their own firewall, then each panera is probably involved in setting it up. A quick talk to the manager and he might be open to looking into what it would take to remove at the very least a list of sites you give him that you feel are unjustly blocked. What's the worst that can happen, he says no?

Also as a security measure, I'd recommend at least looking into a VPN. I think their are places you can pay them to act as a VPN for you but if your technically inclined and have a computer on normally, it's not that hard to set one up yourself. With this you can route all your internet traffic through the VPN which gets encrypted so no one spies on what your doing. (Granted it's just encrypted to the VPN endpoint but after that it's like web surfing at home and you don't have to worry about any insecurities on the wireless hotspot's network)

I don't know if their is a good solution for the iPhone (waiting to get mine in July sometime when my current phone contract is up) but since your traffic is encrypted, they can't tell what sites you are going to and thus can't block them. Sometimes you have to connect to a site first without the encryption and click through their agreements but then should be able to connect with your vpn. I do it primarily as a security measure but has an added bonus of letting me access whatever site I want to.

If you want to try and set one up yourself, I recommend openvpn. It's free (open source) and works really well, but required a certain level of computer literacy. If you think you can set one up yourself, I highly recommend it. If it's above you and you're a heavy mobile user, I'd highly recommend finding someone who provides this service. I did a quick search and found one place that does it for $15/month but I've never dealt with them or know anyone who's dealt with them so I'm hesitant to offer their name. If you're not too tech savvy and don't use WIFI away from home that much to justify a monthly bill I wouldn't worry about it too much, just be wary of using your wifi connection away from home. You may not realize it but things like e-mail and IM programs basically shout everything you do (including sometimes your e-mail password) across the network.

So their's more to a VPN than just circumventing a block list they might have. Again, I'd say talk to the manager, if it's not a company policy he'd probably be open to removing these sites from a block list. If it is a default setting, he probably isn't aware that it's blocked.

Diamondback6
July 9, 2008, 08:41 PM
Not every Panera uses SoncWall, either. I frequent one that gets a lot of business from McChord AFB and Ft. Lewis (Tacoma, WA), and have even posted to THR and several other gunboards from there on occasion. The manager I usually cross paths with's a pretty cool guy, seemed a little surprised to hear that other sites (Issaquah for one, haven't checked Southcenter) blocked 'em!

Crunker1337
July 9, 2008, 09:39 PM
I wrote:

Panera Bread offers free internet access. I understand that in the interests of maintaining a family-friendly atmosphere, it's reasonable to block certain domains, such as pornographic or racist websites.
However, certain websites that can't possibly be construed as offensive are blocked. The justification? Weapons.
Websites that offer summaries of gun laws are blocked. Reasonable, mature discussion between adults regarding firearms? Blocked.
I can't support such a hoplophobic message, and therefore, until such time that Panera Bread unblocks sites that don't need to be blocked, Panera Bread will never, ever see a single cent of my money. Aside from that, I will spread knowledge about this needless censorship far and wide, and support the boycotting of Panera Bread.
Regards,
---- ------

lamazza
July 9, 2008, 09:40 PM
Bagels $13/Dozen by me..that about did it for me.

ZombieHunter
July 10, 2008, 03:36 PM
+1 to default

-1 to "lure with free internet"

It's their right to monitor how it's used and they make no statements as to allowing you total access to the entire internet...just free internet. I'm sure if they had nothing and some perv was next to you watching some First Amendment covered smut you'd have some choice words as well.

Personally I'd have written politely to ask them about this or bring it to their attention. Maybe even a follow up letter apologizing for jumping to any conclusion as it seems gun rights are under attack in some areas and you were a little quick to the conclusion.

Josh Aston
July 10, 2008, 04:19 PM
I was trying to cruise in your Portland ME location with my iPhone some gun web sites.
These sites were blocked by the "SonicWALL" for "Forbidden Category "Other". You are aware of the reason judgment of the Supreme Court about the 2nd Amendment, right?? Therefore I ask you to remove this block, since I will not give my business to a company who discriminates my rights! Also I will post this information at gun forums, so that other gun owners have the opportunity to write you!

I would've completely disregarded your message, not for its content; but rather its presentation. If gun owners want to be taken seriously they should pay more attention to their grammar. I don't care how you write on the boards; I'll take the time to understand what you're trying to get across. But when you write to people outside of gun forums, expect to get ignored if you don't use at least fairly correct grammar.

usp9
July 10, 2008, 05:33 PM
If you went to have lunch with your family, why would you even turn your computer on? Maybe I'm an old fart, but I'd consider that pretty rude at my dinner table.

Their internet, provided free, so you have no beef. Doesn't hurt to ask them to unblock it though.

hso
July 10, 2008, 05:51 PM
Did they have a big "no guns" sign on the door denying you your right to bear arms or is this just a complaint about not being able to use their free internet service the way you'd like to?

You probably won't get a lot of traction threatening them for abridging your "right" to unrestricted access to surf the net through someone else's wifi.

wulfbyte
July 20, 2008, 06:35 PM
It's their service and they get to dictate how that service is used. If they wanted to, they could block all sites but for Nigerian banking sites and they would be well within their rights to do so.

Also in many, if not most states, if you use Panera's (or anybody else's) "free" WiFi internet from outside their premises, you may be committing a crime. So free isn't really free at all and complaining about sites you can or cannot access is really moot.

flynnman mentioned using a VPN as a method for getting around the site blocking features of these types of free WiFi hot spots and that is something that works and is easy to set up.

PILMAN
July 20, 2008, 06:57 PM
I like Panera Bread for their food but it's too dang expensive, and they charge you 2 bucks for a frozen lemonade in a small cup, what a rip off. Didn't know they were anti-gun but I think i'll be avoiding them if that's the case.

bogie
July 21, 2008, 01:38 AM
You get a LOT more flies with honey, campers...

I'd have worded it...

Sir/madam:

I was in your <insert address of store> restaurant with my family the other day, and since I am active in sanctioned competition, I was eager to see how our olympic shooting team is looking. I was quite dismayed to see that any attempt to access any of several sanctioned competition web sites was blocked, probably as part of an attempt to curb illegal activity. These sites are not involved in illegal activity, and as such, you really should consider having the local manager remove them from the web filters. We really like your sandwiches and bread, and it really disappointed my children that we weren't able to check on their olympic heroes.

Honey, guys... Honey...

hso
July 21, 2008, 11:01 AM
This one didn't have a good basis to begin with and has wandered.

What was pointed out is that when you use a free internet wifi you don't have much to complain about when their commercial net filter blocks access to a site.

If you are going to complain about a free wifi filter blocking access to firearms sites you need to persuade and not threaten. Remember, you're complaining about a free service that they don't have to provide at all. Persuasion is a much better tool in these circumstances.

Diamondback6
July 22, 2008, 01:37 AM
Like I said, though, it's store-by-store--mine, a training store no less, the manager is cool with it (and I wonder if he's at least a gunnie-sympathizer if not outright one of us), possibly because of the sheer amount of his business that comes from Army and Air Force personnel.

There's no point in griping to Corporate if it's a "store manager's discretion" issue, right?

And all you boycotters: Because mine does respect 2A rights, I'm gonna try to spend as much at that store as you guys don't elsewhere, to show them the "carrot" side of the equation.

MrAnteater
July 22, 2008, 01:59 PM
Panera is real hit-or-miss with their internet blocking policy.

I've been in ultra liberal Ann Arbor and have had no problem accessing gun sites. While other times in the conservative suburbs of Detroit it's been blocked.

It really seems to be on a store by store basis.

hso
July 24, 2008, 11:47 PM
Sometimes all you gotta do is ask a question and you get an answer.

Thank you for contacting Panera Bread. Although we do not encourage anyone to bring a weapon to our bakery-cafés, if you are a duly licensed weapons owner in a state that allows concealed carry, we abide by the law of the state without restrictions. Our bakery-cafés are in compliance with any state laws dealing with this matter. However, the use and/or the brandishing of a gun in Panera, LLC's bakery-cafés is not acceptable.

As part of offering Free WiFi in our bakery-cafés nationwide, it is important that we maintain the community tone and standards that Panera Bread is known for. Panera Bread has partnered with two software companies that maintain lists of categories and sites they recommend for filtering. With millions of sites on the Web, sites sometimes can be blocked IN ERROR. At the request of WiFi users like yourself, these software companies will review and reassess them on an as-needed basis.

If you feel a site has been blocked in error, you may submit a URL rating review request at the WiFi Help Desk for the bakery-café you are visiting. Since there are two WiFi Service providers for our bakery-cafés, we would need to know which café or cafés you visit so that we may provide you with the correct Help Desk telephone number(s).

Please let us know if you have further questions or concerns. Again, we thank you for visiting Panera Bread and using the Free WiFi service that we are proud to provide.

Sincerely,
Paul
Customer Comment Coordinator

Robert Hairless
July 25, 2008, 03:19 AM
A reasonable response, well written too.

hso
July 25, 2008, 08:36 AM
The lesson learned here is to get all the facts straight before planning a course of action. Any serious error on our part can destroy the effectiveness of the plan.

The plan now should be to come up with a list of sites that their net filter won't complain about, NRA, THR, TFL, etc., and submit those through this Customer Comment Coordinator (see MDW Guns's original link for contact) as well as the local WiFi helpdesk for each store. Since the store may use one of two different WiFi service providers you have to ask the store what the helpdesk number is to make the request through. I'd limit my requests to serious RKBA sites at first and then broaden the requests to other sites of more general gun interest.

Something along the lines of, "Pardon me, while my family and I are here I'd like to look at a site that deals with the recent 2nd Amendment SCOTUS decision. It seems to be blocked in error. Here's the URL, would you unblock it for me? Oh, you can't do that here? Could you give me the help desk number to get that done? Thanks!". Every time we encounter this we need to send an email to the Customer Comment Coordinator as well. Then if they refuse we have something to ratchet the pressure up over.

Also, when "asking" a business to correct the error don't threaten them with posting the information on a firearms forum so the members can contact them. Tell them that you're going to let all your friends and family know about the problem so they can refuse to do business with them. Since you're active on a large internet forum, you'll be passing that information along there as well. I'm not sure how much a business is interested in having people complain who aren't already doing business with them, but they sure are interested when you say you have a voice on the net so that thousands of people can learn about an unacceptable policy and can stop doing business with them.

NG VI
July 25, 2008, 12:26 PM
I also would have walked a bit softer, just asking them to check their settings and explaining what sites you are attempting to view would go a long way, maybe even all the way. No business is going to listen to anyone sounding less than polite if the threat of cash loss in one way or another isn't involved, and not small cash either.

snow92686
July 25, 2008, 01:47 PM
Its a franchise... by the way they split from st. louis bread in the nineties. Just ask the manager, they control everything in the store you are at. Or you could just go to Atlanta Bread company. We don't block gun web sites. And I'm not just saying that because I own one.

bogie
July 25, 2008, 02:36 PM
Bogie needs some sourdough starter...

Remember too, guys... Be nice. Because some of the folks expect gun folks to be idiotic testosterone-and-beer fueled rednecks, and it is just SO much fun to bust that stereotype while you're at it.

And remember - it's Olympic season. We can use that. It's politically correct too!

Robert Hairless
July 29, 2008, 07:50 PM
Remember too, guys... Be nice. Because some of the folks expect gun folks to be idiotic testosterone-and-beer fueled rednecks, and it is just SO much fun to bust that stereotype while you're at it.

Be clearer, please. Are you saying that we should or shouldn't be yelling "I want a machine gun!" and "Mouton Lapels!" at the counter help?

Diamondback6
July 29, 2008, 08:13 PM
I believe what Bogie's saying, RH, is "DON'T." Besides, it helps when dealing with the left-leaning or fence-sitting if you can use Elmer Fudd, or IPSC or Bullseye or other shooting "sports", or the legal matters like Heller, as a "smoke screen"... Nobody likes a screaming maniac zealot, and that includes some of the truly hardcore 2A types like me as having that sentiment.

Different tools for different situations...

Guns and more
July 29, 2008, 08:25 PM
I have noticed that your internet provider is blocking many sites which I understand. However, they seem to be blocking any sites having to do with guns and the sport of shooting. If this is not Panera's decision you may want to have these sites unblocked. Otherwise far more people than you know are going to reject doing business where they feel their rights as sport shooters are not respected.

Well said!

ChrisVV
July 31, 2008, 10:56 PM
I read this the other day while at panera. I couldnt post at the time because I was with a client and he was on the phone for a few minutes so I was browsing THR and saw this, He got off the phone just as I was going to reply.

With that said, I was unable to get on GlockTalk.com

lee n. field
July 31, 2008, 11:01 PM
These sites were blocked by the "SonicWALL" for "Forbidden Category "Other".

Sonic wall? Somebody's paid bucks for the content filter license. That's expensive.

"Guns/violence" is a category check off. I manage one for a school.

Ask nicely, they might just uncheck it for you.

IllHunter
August 1, 2008, 04:10 PM
Someone researches a knife or a gun using our wi-fi, then buys one and uses it for harm and now some two-bit lawyer will try to point a finger of blame at my company? I don't think so. Better safe than sorry.

Sorry logic and fear motivation that is so lame, here on THR without being hijacked, as it so rightly merits.:barf:

oda226
August 4, 2008, 11:04 AM
I work for the US Military and anything refering to "Guns" or "Weapons" on the iNternet is blocked at work. Go figure!

hso
August 4, 2008, 11:36 AM
Well that ties this one up with a bow.

Another member read this same thread while sitting in Panera.

Panera responded to a "comment" from me without any delay saying that any site blocked in error could be unblocked if a request was made and the site wasn't offensive.

Claiming that you have a "right" to free internet access to firearms sites or that a business that posts that they have free WiFi but filters what sites are accessed from their WiFi is in "breach of contract" is just silly. It's a private business and they aren't charging you anything to access their server and they're granting a privilege. Try to not confuse "rights" with privileges.

Be nice when you ask for some error to be corrected. Don't threaten. No one likes a blow hard, but most folks are receptive to a simple request. If that doesn't work, then get tough. But for heavens sake don't try to push people around right off the bat. Don't work too good with us, why would it work the other way 'round.

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