VP Corner: Mailbox Musings from an Airplane

Connecting the dots on locking mailboxes and security

As I sat on the crowded flight from Chicago back to Seattle, I reflected on the last few days I had spent working the Mail Boss locking mailbox booth at the Orgill Dealer Market. It occured to me that 90% of the hardware industry just doesn’t understand what is going on in the dark recesses of the mail and identity theft world. Let me explain.

A great many people are convinced that mail and identity theft doesn’t happen in their neighborhoods. In reality though, identity thieves are venturing to new and remote areas as people in their area are getting smart and arming themselves with secure locking mailboxes. As a result, identity thieves are working in areas never targeted before. (See, for example, this story.)

Another thought: Very few people realize that without a secure locking mailbox, it is very difficult to know if you are being targeted by mail and identity thieves. Many times, victims do not notice their missing mail until it is too late.

While at the hardware show, I worked to help others in the industry make a valuable connection. Generally, it helps to point out that last year paper shredder sales at Staples alone increased by 50%. The whole paper shredder (read: identity theft protection) industry is on fire, as consumers have taken measures to protect themselves from identity crimes in a big way.

Most everyone I talked to at the show recognized these patterns but did not understand the implications of this security trend for locking mailbox sales. When I asked the hardware professionals who came to our booth if they owned a paper shredder, almost all did. The ones who did not were proud to tell me they burned their sensitive documents. Then I asked them what they shredded or burned. Most of them hesitated a few seconds and then responded mostly mail.

At this point, most professionals connected the dots and fully understood why we produce and distribute security locking mailboxes. Some even commented to me, “Why wouldn’t you protect it at the source!” … yes, it’s difficult to shred important documents that you don’t get.

I heard a baby cry toward the back of the plane and remembered just how much I missed my 3 boys waiting for me at home; yet, I was still very happy to know I had helped to protect so many people while at the show.

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