Many young people probably don't know who George Bright was. He was the founder of the former Bright's Department Stores, which had retail outlets in Lansford and Lehighton.

Nobody could top Bright in his sales tactics.

He had Washington's Birthday sales in which he ran a full-page ad, upside-down in the local newspapers. The sale had such things as one or two toaster ovens hidden in the store for $2 each, or a wrist watch for 50-cents.

The store opened at 9 a.m., but people began standing in line already at 5 a.m. waiting for the many bargains, hoping to get first shot at the specially priced items.

Then there was the Bright's Birthday Sale in which the store gave out cup cakes. Some lucky patrons found silver dollars at the bottom of their treat.

There were Circus Sales with real clowns and 10-cent soda and Cracker Jacks, sidewalk sales, and many other special events which kept people coming back to the store for bargains.

His philosophy differed from the thinking of modern day executives. Take the U.S. Postal Service, for example. The officials who are in charge feel that to save money they must cut back on services, close some of the smaller post offices, and even consolidate processing centers.

Locally, the Postal Service has some great employees. Unfortunately, those employees will frustratingly take the heat for the cutbacks that the Washington bigwigs are demanding.

We can imagine if Bright was in charge of the Postal Service. He wouldn't be advocating cutbacks. Instead, he'd be having promotions. He'd be stressing good service and looking at how that service can improve.

His promotions would probably be reduced rates for Christmas cards, so long as they are mailed to a private address – and may randomly picking some out for special prizes. He would have Valentine's Day promos. He would look at ways of bringing the Postal Service into 21st Century technology, such as utilizing the Internet (Ex. - Send a letter by e mail to the Postal Service with addresses and for a fee they would deliver it as mail.)

The hot shots who make the decisions aren't creative. Some of the choices they're making will bring the Postal Service down even lower.

Incidentally, the only reason Bright's isn't around today is because Bright retired and sold his store to a chain. The promotions that became Bright's successes were eliminated and the last store, which was moved to a mall, closed in 1995.

What business school teaches that cutting services is good for any company? The Postal Service is in trouble, but it's not your mail carrier or local postmaster that's the problem.

It's the lack of business sense in Washington.

Coca Cola has survived and grown for over 120 years by adding products and keeping the consumer first.

UPS is growing because it is utilizing modern technology.

McDonald's stays strong because it keeps track of consumer demands.

You don't give poorer service and expect better corporate results. Hopefully, somehow there will be an overview done of the U.S. Postal Service and prove that what the honchos in Washington want to do is totally wrong.

Unfortunately, though, this seems to be the way many big corporations do business anymore.

By Ron Gower

rgower@tnonline.com