Dear Customer,

At the risk of losing half of you in the first sentence of this letter, I wanted to talk to you about ordering on the Web. As we move into online ordering, we will continue to take your orders by phone, fax or mail, but for the e-commerce fans, there will be the point-and-click option as well.

According to the general press, many people remain apprehensive about sending credit card information electronically. This is an odd fear, given the fact that the information travels on the same phone lines as when you fax an order or call personally. The opportunity to intercept information is no greater or no less than at any other time you use phone lines to order. In fact, if you regularly use your credit cards at restaurants or gas stations when you travel, the risk of misuse of your credit card is much greater for two reasons. First, the card can be double-swiped, one for purchase verification and once on a code-lifting device so that a duplicate card can be made later. Second, in many instances, you are giving your card to people you don't know, people you have never dealt with before and may never deal with again. The additional risk is apparent.

So the long and the short of all this is that who you deal with is much more important than how you deal with them. An e-mail including your credit card information to a trusted supplier is safer than handing your credit card to an unknown gas jockey who disappears into a little building with it.

Yours sincerely,

Leonard G. Lee