Shutterstock image purchased by Mike Walton
I became a Cub Scout, and therefore a member of the Boy Scouts of America, via a flyer stuffed in our postal mailbox in Germany in 1967. The flyer simply informed the holder that Cub Scouts -- Pack 63, sponsored by the American Legion Post 63 -- was available in Ludwigsburg, Germany -- and that I should join! Most importantly for ME, the Pack's meeting place was right across the street -- in the attic of Building 1112 and that if I needed more information, to call Ludwigsburg Civilian (LC) 28-4440 (I memorized the number...)
I was one happy kid, as my Mom told me (after getting whipped several times prior for even ASKING the question...) that "if they have those Club Scouts (that's what she called it) where we move to, I'll see to it that we get you in it." I never asked since that conversation, waiting for Providence (or just Jesus...*smiling*) to make it happen.
I don't know about Providence, but I did add an extra line in my prayers that evening to "thank whoever it was that put the flyer in our mailbox so I could sign up for Cub Scouts!" The rest is part of my personal Scouting history....*smiling*
In business circles (and that nagging advertisement on my XM radio which seems to be as often as the one for that anti-snoring device and the girl who cannot spell "Cars" correctly -- have a flash message for you: "Cars" starts with a "C"!), it has been told that the reason why sales do not occur on a more consistent basis is because the salesman does not ASK for the sale. In other words, he or she fails to simply ask "Hey, do you want this or not?" One of my favorite lines has always been "because you didn't ask me...", intended for me to get out of whatever trouble I am in.
But successful salesmen and women, along with corporate heads will nod up and down and state "yes, it's true. Don't ask. Don't get."
That flyer was the "ask." This posting is also an "ask."
As I responded to someone's online question about placing a Scouting flyer into the mailboxes of their neighbors – I thought it was a great solution -- hey!! It worked for ME...
...a guy contacted me and sent me to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS)'s website whereby the following information was provided:
"The U.S. Postal Service would like to warn people that only authorized U.S. Postal Service delivery personnel are allowed to place items in a mailbox. By law, a mailbox is intended only for receipt of postage-paid U.S. Mail."
Okay. A flyer doesn't have U.S. mail postage on it. But it's a FLYER, not an advertisement. I'm not being paid to put it into the box, and it's not like I am asking for...um...well... it is for Scouting...
"Though many may be unaware, it is important to know that this type of activity is illegal by federal law. It may seem to be an easy way to advertise, but only U.S. Mail delivered by authorized personnel may be placed in mailboxes.
“We know many customers might not object to having a particular item placed in their mailbox from time to time, but the reasons for restricting the use of mailboxes is really two-fold,” said Postmaster Keith Jackson. “First, if there is not enough room in a mailbox due to unauthorized items, the Postal Service can’t deliver the customer’s mail. Secondly, the Postal Service wants to ensure the integrity of our customer’s mailbox. That’s why only Postal Service personnel are authorized to place mail in or remove mail from mailboxes. In fact, U.S. Postal Inspectors advise customers to report people going mailbox to mailbox who are not postal employees. It could be someone completely unaware of the statute placing advertisements, but it could also be someone trying to steal mail.”
The Postmaster noted an exception to the general rule: newspapers can be placed in mailboxes only on Sunday; a non-delivery day for the Postal Service. He additionally noted that a newspaper receptacle could be mounted on rural or curbside mailbox post or support."
Rats! That's how I even knew that Scouting existed -- right across the street from me. It's a federal law in the United States. Don't want to go to jail -- and don't want to influence someone else to risk jail time because they want to be a part of someone else's personal Scouting history...
So please don't place a Scouting flyer in your neighbor's mailbox. Instead, perhaps you and your Scouting youth would simply go door-to-door and explain to folks that you are a part of Scouting and that you would like to know if their kids would like to be a part of Scouting with us. Bring the flyers and give one to them.
You will get a lot of "no thanks," and perhaps enter into some conversations about some of Scouting's more recent "issues." Simply accept the "no thanks" and state "we are only here to ask if you and your kids want to be a part of Scouting..."
But until you ask, you really don't know if the answer will be "Wow!! That prayer thing DOES work. I have a child who wants to be a part of this Scouts thing for such a long time, and he's driven me crazy with all of it. Talk with us more about it!"
Don't ask. Don't get. It works for selling anything -- it's not foolproof, but it does work. Remember that "Cars start with the letter C!" not "K" and that not everyone needs or gets relief from an anti-snoring device, no matter how much the guy yells at you to get one.
Be a part of someone else's personal Scouting history....please!!