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(BBC)   The decline of a once-great institution: The paperboy   (news.bbc.co.uk) divider line 167
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7179 clicks; posted to Main » on 03 Jun 2008 at 1:48 PM (6 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2008-06-03 01:03:37 PM
Let me be the first to make a "two dollars!" reference.
 
2008-06-03 01:23:48 PM
The article doesn't seem to mention that Newspapers are in decline. It stands to reason paperboys would as well.


How many hat stores are in your neck of the woods? Shoe cobblers?

Lazy bastards don't want to take up this classic job.
 
2008-06-03 01:31:43 PM
Ay, those were the days. The hard days. You'd wake up early, early before the cartoons, early before that lazy sister who never had a clue how good she had it, safe and warm in her bed while things went on in the bigger world her pretty little mind couldn't comprehend. Things you protected her from, things she never even knew to thank you for. And you'd toss back that straight glass of grape juice and wince away the burn and brush wordlessly past your mother, standing there in her robe with a plate of eggs and toast. And you'd be at the front door and on your way out and then would have to come back because she'd threaten to tan your ass if you ever walked by her again like that, but that's OK, that's just how things went sometimes. You never blamed her. So you'd eat to make her happy, shoveling the tasteless food into your mouth, knowing every minute that your real place was out there, out there on the streets. And finally you'd finish and leave and trip over that damn cat on the porch and it would scratch your leg, the other one, the one it didn't get last time. Scars. We all had scars.

The papers were already there. They were always already there, a looming presence in your haunted mind. Rolled. Rolled in plastic, on the bad days. Oh, the bad days. So many. So many. Rain, cold and relentless. Snow. Sun. The wind that always blew the wrong way on Van Buren hill. Sure, your mother was a hard case, a tough nut to crack, but their ain't no crueler mistress than Mother Nature. But you'd shoulder that sack anyway, grim with purpose. You'd shoulder that limp, heavy, unergonomic sack and you'd retrieve that old hand-me-down 10-speed from where you'd let her fall into the bushes the day before. Your steed. Your faithful steed. And you'd bend your aching legs into those pedals, get up some speed, transform, for one blissful downhill moment, from the Lone Ranger into Buck Rogers, rocketing off into space.

Did you ever miss a delivery? Stupid question. You never did. Every day, every hill, every street you'd force your exhausted legs around and around, your eyes searching constantly for those hidden dangers that could spell such swift disaster--potholes, car doors, that yapping terrier with the sharp teeth. And the girls. Oh, the girls, packs of them giggling and laughing as you puffed up the block. Was cooties airborn? Had Susie Jenkins told how you'd tried to hold her hand at the bus stop? You had to block it out, had to focus. One slip, one mistake...The streets don't forgive. They never forgive. On you'd go, a soldier, a warrior, weathering on as the bag that hung like some great white albatross around your neck grew lighter with each throw. Grew lighter with each hard smack of newsprint on concrete, with each driveway passed, grew lighter even as your legs grew more weary, more achy, more spent. And then, finally, after the last fling, the last block, the last hill--the return home. Home, to that brief illusion of peace. That brief moment of rest, of safety, of calm before another day on the road. But you wouldn't have changed a thing, would you? No, you wouldn't have changed a thing.
 
2008-06-03 01:41:29 PM
My "paper boy" is a 50 year old woman who chucks the local paper from the window of her Honda every morning like she's doing a drive-by...

though I still get my milk, eggs, and cheese delivered by the milk man. never actually seen him, so in that regard, he's kind of like Santa Claus. I leave some money on a metal box in my hallway on Monday night, and on Tuesday morning I have a gallon of OJ, a quart of milk, and a dozen eggs waiting for me. What a country!!
 
2008-06-03 01:42:50 PM
I had a paper route when I was 12/13. I'd strap on two sacks of papers daily and deliver them over a four block radius. Luckily I lived in an urban area so I had a couple three story apartment buildings and lots of houses. I think I had 200 customers total. The big ugly was Sunday mornings. It took two trips haling those giant sized papers in a modified wagon with ultra high sides. I was stoked when the wheelchair ramps started to be put in on curbs because it meant I wouldn't have to worry about the wagon hitting the curb wrong.

My son is just getting to that age and he'll never have a paper route. The neighborhood is just too spread out, there aren't enough subscribers in a dense enough area for the paper company to pay someone to walk it. Some guy drives a few mile radius to deliver the papers. Pretty sad, but then again I didn't have any of the boyhood jobs my dad had, and he didn't have the same jobs my grandfather had. The world moves on.
 
2008-06-03 01:47:25 PM
Szech: The article doesn't seem to mention that Newspapers are in decline. It stands to reason paperboys would as well.

Print newspapers are in decline. Their online stepchildren meanwhile are doing quite well.

It's still unknown at this point however if the old-school, refuse-to-change newspapers executives will bring down their entire organization in their refusal to move to a new medium and denial of the obvious, or if the paper will live long enough to transition to digital.

One thing is for sure though, the business of delivering news will never go away.
 
2008-06-03 01:52:54 PM
www.joystiq.com

In his defense, Easy Street, Middle Road, and Hard Way have had a surge in belligerent neighbors.
 
2008-06-03 01:53:21 PM
Szech: The article doesn't seem to mention that Newspapers are in decline. It stands to reason paperboys would as well.

Except for the part where it says "newspaper sales themselves are in long term decline".
 
2008-06-03 01:53:41 PM
www.joystiq.com

/obligatory
 
2008-06-03 01:53:43 PM
www.joystiq.com

Does not approve.
 
2008-06-03 01:53:58 PM
Spit Take: Let me be the first to make a "two dollars!" reference.

Annnnd my work has already been done, I see. Thanks.
 
2008-06-03 01:54:30 PM
keylock71: My "paper boy" is a 50 year old woman who chucks the local paper from the window of her Honda every morning like she's doing a drive-by...

Mine too. And she has a remarkable knack for hitting the bushes or maybe a rain puddle. I've also moved a few times over the last decade and it's been the same everywhere. I've wondered what ever happened to paper boys.
 
2008-06-03 01:54:39 PM
www.joystiq.com

Can't believe this hasn't been posted yet.
 
2008-06-03 01:54:47 PM
Nice all 3 images hotlinked to the same site!
 
2008-06-03 01:55:01 PM
i32.tinypic.com
 
2008-06-03 01:55:21 PM
farm1.static.flickr.com

Be careful, they might start a dance, dance revolution.
 
2008-06-03 01:55:34 PM
Ban teh Internet!!!

Its causing job-loss!!!
 
2008-06-03 01:55:35 PM
Let me be the first to say:

www.joystiq.com
 
2008-06-03 01:55:42 PM
For a long time now, it's just been some guy driving and tossing papers out the car window on the way past. I couldn't tell you the last time I saw a kid on a bike delivering papers.
 
2008-06-03 01:55:51 PM
Anyone that was a paperboy, did you guys just dump the freebie paper in the garbage too?
 
2008-06-03 01:56:02 PM
Yea I sold Grit
 
2008-06-03 01:56:30 PM
Do the ditty if you want to
Because then I can see if I want you
Just do the ditty, ditty if you want to
Because then I can see if I want you
 
2008-06-03 01:56:55 PM
I was a paperboy in 7th grade, so I'm really getting a kick out of these responses.
 
2008-06-03 01:57:04 PM
i might as well get in on the action

www.joystiq.com
 
2008-06-03 01:57:10 PM
Goddamnit I need to buy a NES.
 
2008-06-03 01:59:20 PM
Pocket Ninja:

Can I get the name of the drug you take?

/you make me laugh
 
2008-06-03 01:59:31 PM
Pocket Ninja, that was simply awesome.

I started carrying in 4th grade, didn't quit till midway through 12th. You never got a day off, the weather was always your enemy, dogs, cars, creepy customers--you name it.

Of course, back when I was bangin', they didn't wrap the newspapers for you if it was wet, nor did you get to throw them--park the bike, grab a newspaper (often off the rat-trap cage thing mounted above your rear wheel) and carry the sucker right to the mailbox. If it were raining cats and dogs, and someone's paper was wet, tough luck! You'd get a phone call at your house, and mom/dad (Thanks, mom & dad) could be persuaded to drive you in the car up to a newspaper stand where you'd buy a fresh one and take it to the irate customer's house.

Plus, you even had to COLLECT for every month, which meant you had to make extra trips, going out, hittin' the pavement, knocking on doors, etc.

Suckiest. Job. Ever.

My lawn: get off it.
 
2008-06-03 02:00:02 PM
i was a paperboy. it sucked. we had to collect dues, and people are such cheapasses they wouldnt cough up twooo dolllaars bc they thought they could push 12 year old paperboys around.

so we cut them off. and that pissed them off more. reconciliation was always hard and rarely obtained for some reason.
 
2008-06-03 02:00:19 PM
I can't believe nobody has hotlinked any paperboy pictures from joystiq.com yet.


For shame, people.
 
2008-06-03 02:00:19 PM
I can't say that I've ever seen an actual paperboy in my entire life. It's always been some older people in a station wagon (always in a station wagon for some reason) driving around at 5:30 in the morning.
 
2008-06-03 02:00:59 PM
There should be a legal alcohol delivery service. Pay online and let them do the driving.

Show your ID and they drop. That'll earn you some tips!

Just a bad idea I had.
 
2008-06-03 02:01:06 PM
I came for the NES references. I was not disappointed.

/ Bonus with the "two dollars" reference.
 
2008-06-03 02:01:24 PM
tweekster: Anyone that was a paperboy, did you guys just dump the freebie paper in the garbage too?

No, but I once got a carrier arrested because I found the dumpster where he was ditching his freebies and left his route number on the bundle.
 
2008-06-03 02:02:31 PM
www.joystiq.com

Did anyone ever play this game?
 
2008-06-03 02:02:48 PM
I came in to post this:

www.joystiq.com
 
2008-06-03 02:03:15 PM
slackula: I started carrying in 4th grade, didn't quit till midway through 12th. You never got a day off, the weather was always your enemy, dogs, cars, creepy customers--you name it.

Of course, back when I was bangin', they didn't wrap the newspapers for you if it was wet, nor did you get to throw them--park the bike, grab a newspaper (often off the rat-trap cage thing mounted above your rear wheel) and carry the sucker right to the mailbox. If it were raining cats and dogs, and someone's paper was wet, tough luck! You'd get a phone call at your house, and mom/dad (Thanks, mom & dad) could be persuaded to drive you in the car up to a newspaper stand where you'd buy a fresh one and take it to the irate customer's house.

Plus, you even had to COLLECT for every month, which meant you had to make extra trips, going out, hittin' the pavement, knocking on doors, etc.

Suckiest. Job. Ever.

My lawn: get off it.


Did the same thing plus you had to put the paper in the place the customer wanted. Between the doors, on the back porch, un the mailbox. It sucked I only lasted 4 years.
 
2008-06-03 02:03:22 PM
Two cents per paper per day. Pocket Ninja, your papers were already rolled? Had to roll or bag mine myself. Had to work Christmas morning. Had to sometimes cover delivery routes for other paperboys.

Being up early, rolling that lead headline 50 times, I remember being the first to know that Freddy Prinze had killed himself.
 
2008-06-03 02:03:22 PM
That should be Dumpster, or commercial waste receptacle.
 
2008-06-03 02:05:07 PM
img.thesun.co.uk
 
2008-06-03 02:05:07 PM
www.joystiq.com


I was one of the few, the brave and the proud!
 
2008-06-03 02:05:08 PM
HawaiiE: i was a paperboy. it sucked. we had to collect dues, and people are such cheapasses they wouldnt cough up twooo dolllaars bc they thought they could push 12 year old paperboys around.

This one time, this guy's family owed me two dollars. The dude was pretty broken up about his girlfriend leaving him, but I didn't care; I was all in it for the cash. So I pursued him relentlessly, until I decided in an ill-advised moment, to chase him down a mountain with skis attached to my BMX, while he was involved in some kind of ski race. Needless to say, I shattered every bone in my body after I careened over a cliff. 12 months of therapy later, I've just now regained control of my fingers enough to type this.
 
2008-06-03 02:05:17 PM
Spit Take: Let me be the first to make a "two dollars!" reference.

What is this "two dollars" reference you speak of?
 
2008-06-03 02:06:00 PM
I remember when I delivered papers they gave you these perforated cards with little tabs with the week dates printed on them to give to the customers when they paid so you could tell who was behind. My dumbass would forget to tear off the tabs and customers would yell and say "I paid for that week". It got so bad that I finally just tore off all the tabs to get caught up and ate the cost. I frikin' lost money to deliver the paper - at least for one month. Taught me a lesson on keeping up to date on your financials.

/Some customers still never paid
 
2008-06-03 02:06:48 PM
i25.tinypic.com

/$2.00
 
2008-06-03 02:07:22 PM
Tom_Slick, Taxvictim:

The real question: were you morning, or evening carriers? Back where I lived, you had two papers, and I got stuck delivering the afternoon one.

Every day after school while everyone else was doing cool things, I was dorking around, ridin' all over town delivering papers.

I still hate 4pm for that reason. Worst time of the day...
 
2008-06-03 02:07:49 PM
Only 5 paperboy images from the same source. That's impressive.
 
2008-06-03 02:07:53 PM
Pocket Ninja
Wha?


Also, paperman?

i96.photobucket.com
 
2008-06-03 02:10:14 PM
Haha... You can always tell who had a paper route when they were younger. They are the first to say "you never had a day off" . That's the aspect of the job I remember most. Usually followed by: "Sundays were the worst".
 
2008-06-03 02:12:17 PM
How could you possibly not want to be a paperboy? Every day's work ends with a sweet BMX obstacle course.
 
2008-06-03 02:12:25 PM
slackula: The real question: were you morning, or evening carriers? Back where I lived, you had two papers, and I got stuck delivering the afternoon one.

Every day after school while everyone else was doing cool things, I was dorking around, ridin' all over town delivering papers.

I still hate 4pm for that reason. Worst time of the day...


Morning, only one Edition of the Bangor Daily News, and your hands would be black with newsprint by the end of the route.
 
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