A review of delivering the Newspaper.
I always have this “Pleasantville” idea in my head when thinking of delivering the Newspaper. A kid riding a bicycle with a basket full of papers attached to the front, tossing them into driveway after driveway. The older gentleman in a blue robe over pin striped pajamas standing on his porch, coffee in hand and waving. The middle-aged woman, hair still in curlers, with her 70’s pink robe and the slippers to match bustling down her walkway to get her morning paper. The neighborhood is cute, friendly even with nice houses and the street makes a mile round circle. This is a place where you wanted to grow up and then raise your kids there as well. I hate to burst my own bubble, or anyone else’s for that matter, but delivering the newspaper now-a-days is definitely not that!
Adults somewhere along the way saw the potential in capitalizing on the delivery market and pretty much stole the delivery jobs from the poor, street kids. So let us first talk money because everyone always wants to know how profitable something is going to be, but first a brief history in cost. When the paper was first released they cost just 5 cents and a delivery boy made 30 cents a day to deliver them. The paper where I am, Connecticut, that I delivered cost $2.50 a piece and I was paid $350 biweekly (every 2 weeks). I picked up a small route that consisted of 75 papers on M/T/W, 105 papers on Thu/Sun and 85 papers on Fri/Sat. Some days I was done in 1hr and 45 minutes, other days it took over 2 hours depending on the amount of papers I had that day. It averaged out to be about 13 hours a week. Doing the math the equals out to be $13.46 per hour which is .54 cents under minimum wage. If I factor in the fact that it also take 1 tank of gas per week to complete and it cost $64 to fill my tank each week that leaves me making a measly $8.53 per hour which is almost 50% under minimum wage. Legally doing a paper route is independent contracting which is how companies are getting away with it. Is it right? definitely not. Is it legal however? Yes it is, unfortunately. Which lead me to wonder than why are so many people are resorting to things like this for an extra source of income, I asked them. Basically, most of the contractors had 3 or 4 routes, even with different companies that all aligned with each other making it cost effective and profitable for them. Smart!!
Speaking of, I’ve met some pretty interesting characters while delivering the Newspaper and the contractors take the cake! There is this one guy who reminds me of a used car salesman; always promising something, always going to give me some great deal. He even has that greased up, slicked back hair and cheesy outfit to boot. Every time I see the guy he tells me he is going to give me a business card, give me a job, give me free stuff and yet here we are weeks later and he hasn’t produced or followed through on a single proposal made! LOL. I just smile and nod at him now because it’s like why even bother telling me anything guy? Or how about the dude that is literally pushing 100. I swear he started with the paper and he will die with the paper. He is more hunched over than the hunchback of Notre Dame, Dementia has definitely started to kick in, and he will talk to you until your ears fall off. Then there is the one who doesn’t speak at all and the lady that never goes anywhere without her dog! On the flipside of that, I have met the most average and normal people while on my route. My customers so far have been so nice, supportive and they give generous tips. They’re up by 7am and moving about either going to work or working around their house. Both the customers and the contractors make for an interesting yet enjoyable experience.
I have also learned a few things while being out on the road delivering these newspapers. The first couple ones being; how to make my car do a complete 360, reversing like a bat out of hell, and last but not least, driving on the wrong side of the road. You may be wondering why any of these skills would come in handy but I’ve seen a major improvement in my every day driving and parking situations living closer to a city. I never knew how to parallel park until now, I can easily maneuver my way around people if need be and I am an expert at backing into a parking space! Another thing I have gained is some life goals because friends, let me tell you, a lot of these people live in some really beautiful places. One of my favorite delivery spots is to the people on the lake. I try to time this out so I’m there when the sunrises. It must be so beautiful and peaceful to live there, I know it is one of the best ways to start my morning off. There is one community that I don’t quite understand why so many people live in, don’t get me wrong it reminds me a being in the city except safer, cleaner and a tiny bit more privacy. But for over a half million dollars, I’m sorry I do NOT want to live on top of my neighbors like that. You paid so much money and yes everything looks so uniformed and pretty but you literally have no yard and no room to do anything that remotely involves being private. (To give people an idea of how much money the people living here have, one guy has 2 MCLarens in his garage with custom paint jobs along with his other 2 brand new vehicles in the driveway!) I just feel like if I was a millionaire I would definitely want more space. Also, who knew there were so many millionaires in the world, let alone my state?? There are over 200 condos in this community and they are all worth over $500,000, (the cheapest I saw was $506,000). I also deliver to some very stepford wife like communities. You know, the ones where every house looks identical with their basketball hoops and Golden Retrievers. The ones where you know they have some dirty laundry that needs to be aired out. The middle class, 9-5ers that made it work for them. The houses are nice, modest and it looks like an excellent place to raise a family. Let’s not forget my 45+ communities that have also given me some life goals! Although everyone is super friendly, your houses are super gorgeous and it looks like an extremely inviting place especially for the holidays, I get anxious here. I swear you can hear a pin drop and you all seem to of had some very respectable type of work life. You are up before 6am even though you’re retired and your lawns are perfectly green, watered and cut like everyone is required to use the same Gardner. Everything looks so organized and proper. It is beautiful and I would love to be able to afford to retire into one of these fancy houses.
I’ve had an excellent time with this review. I enjoyed how different the entire experience has been and I would recommend it for a high school kid or maybe even college to help put a little extra money in their pocket without interrupting their school schedule. I would even recommend it if you are planning on picking up multiple, aligning routes for a secondary source of income. However, did it weigh up to my and a lot of peoples common beliefs on what delivering a newspaper is like? Does it financially weigh up to its name like it once did? In my opinion it does not entirely and is a slowly dying industry in this day in age. Most people that still read/get the newspaper are older, the newer generations rely on their smartphones and apps for the information they need. I believe that the newspaper and its delivery route will be completely extinct with in the next 100 years. In it’s prime it fed families and paid bills but now it simply helps put a little extra food on the table.
Stay kind, stay real and thanks for reading,