Monday, March 08, 2010

“Neither Rain, Nor Sleet, Nor gloom of night.” (Except for Saturdays and holidays.)

Recently I  shot a commercial where I mentioned the 22 years we’ve been in business at Video Professor and the millions of people we’ve taught over those years.

At the time, I didn’t know the folks at the United States Postal Service were considering cutting mail delivery on Saturdays. It caught my attention for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is we ship our lessons to you via USPS and last year they honored us with their Distinguished Business Achievement Award.  The USPS team is great to work with.

One thing that has impacted the USPS is e-mail. How many actual letters do you get in a week, if you get any at all? Then there’s competition from other package delivery services like FedEx and UPS.

But certainly computers have had an impact on the way we communicate. If you send an e-mail, you don’t need to mail a letter. If you bank electronically, the bank doesn’t need to send you a statement in the mail. When you invest online, you can opt to get your financial statements sent via e-mail instead of your mailbox. Paying your bills online means not having to wait for a bill in your mailbox in the first place, or having to mail your payment when you do get a bill.

So less traditional mail means less business for the USPS. Less business means less revenue. Less revenue means having to cut back if you can’t find a way to make up for the lost business; which could mean no mail on Saturdays.

We’ve taught over 15 million people to put the computer on their desk to good use, to make their lives more efficient and organized. The machine on their desk or on their lap, in many cases has replaced the mailbox outside their door.

But there is no small irony in the fact that what you order online, which saves you time and in many cases money, will now be delivered Monday instead of Saturday. I suppose some day, some scientist will finally find a way ala Star Trek to simply “beam” products to your home. Not likely in our lifetimes.

So what will the impact of one less “mail day” mean to you and me? I conducted an online discussion on the subject last week via and got dozens of responses. Just about everyone’s reaction was different as to how eliminating mail delivery on Saturday would impact them. The funniest came from a Canadian friend who told me they haven’t had Saturday mail delivery for a long time and added they won the Gold in Hockey! (Not sure what the connection is but I’m sure it was a bit of a shot and I don’t blame him!)

We’re about to find out. Either way, we’ll also find a way to adapt. Pending of course, what Congress decides and when.

John W. Scherer
John Scherer is CEO and Founder of Video Professor, Inc.
You can reach him at
Follow him on Twitter: @VidProf