Newspaper Carrier: I Work Hard To Deliver Your Grandma's Paper, And I Exist

For our younger readers who aren’t familiar, a newspaper is sort of like Google News, but all printed on a piece of paper, and it doesn’t update automatically. Newspapers don’t automatically appear on your doorstep, though. It might seem like magic, but there’s a real person who bundles up those papers and drives around in all kinds of weather to get them on your doorstep before you wake up. Reader Auron, a newspaper carrier, responded to our call for readers to tell us what they wish the general public knew about their jobs.

One job a lot of readers probably know very little to nothing about is newspaper delivery. I have been doing that for just about a year now, and it’s not as easy as some people may think. For starters, the hours vs pay really sucks. We are independent contractors, not employees of the paper. Which means it works like this: We “buy” the paper at a heavily discounted rate then “sell” the paper at a higher rate to each of our customers. The difference between those prices is our profit.

We are also responsible for paying for any supplies we use, bags, rubber bands, gas for our vehicle, etc. In the case of the paper I deliver for, we get our papers usually between 1 – 1:30 am. If there are any problems at the plant when they are printing the papers, that makes the papers get there later than normal, and sets us back as well. And if our papers are delivered late, some people will complain about that, and we can typically get those complaints removed since it was something that wasn’t our fault.

We have to assemble and bag them, then load them into our vehicles, a process that takes me anywhere from 30 min to around 2 hours. We then deliver to each customer, we are responsible for maintaining and keeping our delivery lists up to date – new starts, vacation holds/stops, actual stops, etc. Our deadline for getting papers delivered is 6 am M-F and 7 am Sat & Sun. Any complaints are docked from our bi-weekly paycheck, $3 for each complaint Mon – Sat and $5 for each complaint on Sunday. We don’t get any days off, if we miss a day for some reason, not only do we lose out on what we would have earned for that night, but we also have to pay someone else (typically $20 – $30 per route depending on how many papers) for each route that needs to be substituted.

It also doesn’t matter what the weather is like, we are required to deliver in any weather. I am in a northern state, so snow is prevalent in the winter. A lot of people don’t tip us at all, but some tip very well.

Yes, we are for the most part invisible, but we strive every day to make sure your paper is delivered on time, intact, and where you want it. I think one of the reasons we don’t get very many tips is that unlike say food delivery or a service such as salon/hairdresser/barber etc, we are, as I said earlier, mostly invisible to our customers.

Most of the people I work with are using the paper delivery as additional income. I am one of the few that rely solely on this for my entire income currently. I have 3 routes that are my own, and depending on the day, I might sub 1 or 2 routes. I typically deliver anywhere between 150 and 500 papers on a daily basis. I profit approx $1500/mo between my 3 routes, and will try to sub at least 3 routes every week.

We know that a lot of you have particular insights into jobs and businesses that most consumers don’t know much about — or about which they make huge assumptions. So if you feel like sharing your thoughts on what it’s like to work retail, or food service, or in the shipping, banking, hospitality fields (or something we failed to mention here), feel free to share your views at


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  1. portwineboy says:

    I’m curious…when I was young these jobs were done by young people. I had a paper route, as did some of my friends. We did all of the work noted above but we delivered on bike. To date, I’ve yet to see an adult do as good a job as we did. Make sure the paper is at the doorstep and wrapped properly to keep it dry in the rain.

    Why are adults doing these jobs? Lobbing the paper from a moving vehicle in the general vicinity of your properly, not your front door, seems to be the way this is performed now.

    • Laura Northrup says:

      Did you do it in the morning or in the afternoon? Afternoon papers are dead nationwide, and it would make more sense for kids to deliver an afternoon paper. When the paper has to be on customers’ doorsteps by 6 AM or earlier, you’re not going to get many teens volunteering. As the OP said, he goes to pick up the papers at 1 AM.

      I think suburban/exurban sprawl is a big part of it, and centralized distribution. The newspaper I used to work for used Teamsters for morning delivery and probably kids for afternoon delivery, but that ended decades ago.

      • nybiker says:

        As I mentioned below, my friends delivered newspapers, and I neglected to mention it was the morning ones. They were up very early and got it all done before going to school. I only delivered the Pennysaver, and that was in the afternoon (I quit after getting chased by a German Shepherd – not worth it for $7.50 per week).
        I don’t even recall if were getting afternoon papers back then.
        Oh, for the record, this was in New York City – Queens, specifically.

        • Laura Northrup says:

          I didn’t know any paperchildren growing up. I was in a rural area where the newspaper pretty much had to come by car. It wasn’t tossed in the lawn, though. Everyone had a newspaper box attached to their mailbox. The carrier pulls right up to the box the same way a rural route mail carrier does.

          You know, my parents live in the Syracuse, NY area, and their newspaper is only going to be printed three days a week – Thursday, Sunday, and probably Tuesday. It actually hadn’t occurred to me until just now how terrible that’s going to be for the people who really depend on their income as a paper carrier.

          • Mark702 says:

            Paperchildren, haha. Just call it what it is, paperboy. Who cares if its a girl that does it, that’s what its called.

          • dangermike says:

            My older brother had a paper route in our neighborhood for several months. He hated it. The worst part was collections. And one time he fell out of our 80’s toyota minivan and scraped up his knee pretty bad. (every once in a while, our mom would drive him around and he’d pitch them out the open side door — the middle seats were usually not in it — and a left-hand u-turn caught him off-guard. We ridiculed him heavily).

            But yeah, like others said (and this was in the 90’s), it was “paperboys” usually on bicycles for afternoon delivery and adults in cars for the early morning delivery. And afternoon subscribers got the morning papers on the weekend. I don’t recall seeing any in the afternoon in the last 10 years or so, though. It may very well be that there’s no more afternoon paper there. But that’s the march of progress. The usual metaphor is the collapse of the buggy whip industry as a result of the invention and proliferation of the automobile but I’m sure there were plenty of out-of-work buggy drivers and ranch hands as well.

        • jeepguy57 says:

          I used to sub for a friend who had a paper route. It was a morning route, but he only had about 30 customers in the neighborhood. So the paper companies had to pay hundreds of kids in neighborhoods all over. Now its easier to pay a few dozen people to each deliver to a few hundred house by car.

        • Pre-Existing Condition says:

          $7.50/week? Wow, that must have sucked.

          I was getting around $3/day in the early 80s, plus tips while delivering papers.

      • Pre-Existing Condition says:

        Maybe it is a city vs. country/suburbs thing. I grew up in a city and the houses were all very close together and delivering to apartments was even easier.

    • DangerMouth says:

      If you want kids to deliver newspapers, you will be basically getting yesterday’s news. Kids were able to deliver papers after school, because newspapers were published in the morning. These days, most papers are puhblished overnight, and people want their papers with the morning coffee.

      • ChuckECheese says:

        I delivered the Greensburg Tribune-Review (now the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review) in the mornings. On weekdays I was up by 5:15 a.m.; on Saturdays by 6:30, and on Sundays at 4:45 a.m. My 60 or so papers were delivered by 6:30-7:00 a.m. unless the drop was delayed by the printer.

        • Laura Northrup says:

          You’d be fired now. I think the drop-dead latest a paper is allowed to be delivered everywhere I’ve lived is 6. At my old house, I used to hear it hit my porch around 4.

      • Laura Northrup says:

        You’re getting yesterday’s news either way. Papers go to press around midnight. Earlier if they’re saving money by printing their paper on someone else’s press, which is going to happen more often now.

        • StarKillerX says:

          Actually I’ve found that the morning paper was even further behind then the afternoon one. When the local paper was an afternoon paper you would get coverage of major stories that occured as late as about 10pm the day before, but now that it’s a morning paper nothing from the day before gets in the paper and instead the stories are from a day earlier (so Friday’s paper has Wednesday’s news not Thursdays.)

      • Alexk says:

        Nah. I delivered the morning paper during the early ’60s. I got up at six and was done by seven.

    • umbriago says:

      My guess is liability.

      I was a paperboy too, for the early morning and the afternoon paper (back in the 70s). If a kid is dragged into a house and murdered or snatched off the street at 5 a.m. by the local pervert, nobody wins: especially not the paper.

      Of course, it doesn’t seem like kids these days are motivated enough to play out in the street anymore, let alone do a paper route, but that’s another issue.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      I delivered papers as a teenager in the late 70s early 80s.

      I believe the reason adults are doing these jobs now is “independent contractor.” In the old days, there was this hierarchy of delivery people and route managers who had to oversee the delivery people.

      The new system gets around any possible labor law violations related to youth employment, removes the route manager layer, reduces the number of total workers. It’s cheaper.

      • Auron says:

        Actually, we have 2 route supervisors (Called DS’s (District Supervisor)). Their main job is to deal with all the paperwork, find people to substitute routes, and if needed, to actually go out and deliver papers. If I have any issues/questions/etc, I can call one of them while I am out on the road.

    • RandomHookup says:

      Driven by a lot of factors, but the newspapers prefer adults because they can cover more geo and carry heavier loads. They are also more reliable. In my town, kids did the paper when it was an afternoon deliver, but switched to adults when it went to a morning delivery.

    • eezy-peezy says:

      My husband used to deliver papers in the 1950’s, as a kid, and was paid a fraction of a cent per paper. And had to fight off large dogs.

    • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

      My brother and I both had suburban newspaper routes and delivered (in the dark in winter) before school. No rides from Mom or Dad no matter how bad the weather was. I suspect there are now fewer subscribers per block, route lengths have increased, Mom & Dad don’t want their kids out, and there may be reliability, legal, and liability issues with hiring kids.

    • Banished to the Corner says:

      This started in the 80s, where most papers started being done by delivery services and the kid delivering papers from a bike was discontinued. Most of my siblings & I delivered papers, daily before school. The afternoon papers were going away by the time I was old enough to deliver, only the weekly had an afternoon route. Then they moved that to the USPS.

      I lived in the suburbs, so I don’t know when the cities stopped, but I believe it started at the same time. I do know that by 1990, I never noticed papers delivered by anything other than car. (By then, I worked at a bakery and was up & at work by 3 am.)

    • Pre-Existing Condition says:

      It was the same thing when I was a kid (Pittsburgh, PA). Most paper carriers were kids, aged anywhere from 12-15. I had my first route when I was 12 and held onto it until I got my first “real” job at 15.

      Our managers and the guys who’d deliver the stacks of papers to us were adults but the actual paperboys were all kids. We had to pay for plastic bags, rubber bands, and deal with collecting payments in the evenings. Papers had to be delivered by 5:30am or we’d be docked for the full cost of the missing paper.

      It was tough work but the pay was actually pretty decent by early 80’s standards. I recall getting around $90/month back in 1980, plus tips.

    • Jason64804 says:

      That is an easy one. Back when you were a kid, almost every house on a block took the paper so a kid could deliver a couple of blocks on a bike and make money. Now, maybe one house every couple of blocks may take the paper. Many carriers drive 5 plus miles a day to maybe deliver the same number of papers that a kid delivered 20 years ago in those couple of blocks

    • MeowMaximus says:

      My advice to this person is to look for a better job soon, as the papers are going the way of the Dodo.

      • Alexk says:

        And part of the reason papers are going the way of the Dodo is the rotten delivery via car-driven carriers. The web is a greater influence, ’tis true, but the convenience of having an actual paper might win out in some locales…were it not for the dismal reality that the adult carriers completely disregard the “service” part of the equation.

    • pamelad says:

      Not really. My “paperboy” or “papergirl” delivers the local newspaper right where I want it, and carefully wraps it up when rain is in the forecast. I only subscribe to Saturday and Sunday service. This post reminds me I need to leave a tip.

      Recently subscribed to NYTimes Sunday home delivery. I was resistant, since I’ve been a long-time subscriber to the free NYTimes online. But I love the print edition, and I now get all the online stuff for free!!! Big beautiful pictures that I see only in the print edition! I only meant to subscribe to the Sunday edition for the trial period because I wanted online unlimited, but think I’m addicted to the print version as well.

      Now another tip is due to my NYTimes delivery person in addition to the local newspaper provider. Thank you for the insight and reminder!

    • Kestris says:

      Sometimes they’ll have a free newspaper day here. Naturally, this means that the free newspaper gets left at the very end of my driveway, either right behind my CR-V- where we rarely bother to check because generally, nothing gets put there- or at the very end of the driveway, where if its raining, runoff will either thoroughly drench it or completely wash it away, plastic bag and all, and that’s if it doesn’t get run over by cars who decide to cut down our street early by using part of our driveway.

      These are the main reasons why we won’t get a Sunday paper sub and instead buy it from the gas station a block away.

      And yes, thse are adults doing the delivering here as well. I think they just drop them out the window and don’t even bother attempting to halfheartedly toss it towards the house.

  2. nybiker says:

    $18,000 per year net profit or gross profit (before your expenses for rubber bands, bags, gas are deducted)? Either way, not a lot.

    Back in the day when I was a kid, some of my friends delivered the papers. Not a bad job for a kid, but for an adult these days, I suspect it’s a lot more aggravation for not a lot of money. At least we went around every week to collect the fee. It certainly allowed for a face-to-face discussion of problems and issues instead of now calling the paper’s subscription dept and complaining about an invisible person who was late delivering the paper.

    • regis-s says:

      I guess not having to collect is a mixed blessing these days. No interaction with the subscriber so less chance of getting a tip. On the other hand I remember having to go back to houses half a dozen times to collect because the people didn’t have the money to pay or they (pretended they) weren’t home.

      • Auron says:

        Even though I don’t interact directly with my customers for the most part, I do occasionally have tips left for me where I can find them. One customer has a paper box by their door, and I will find a folded $10, half in and half out of the box every once in awhile. Another customer who wants there paper between their doors will leave an envelope hanging off the handle of the inner door. Another customer would tape an envelope to their garage door where I can find it. The rest of them will add something to their bill when they pay it, so it shows up in my monthly statement.

  3. HappyHighwayman says:

    Wait, is this issue that he has a crappy job? Or that it’s a dying industry? Perhaps he should have a talk with elevator operators, cigarette girls, lectors, copy boys, pinsetters, icemen, lamplighters, milkmen, switchboard operators, typists, typesetters, and telegraph operators?

    • Auron says:

      No, there is no issue about it being a crappy job (even though it can be at times) or that it is a dying industry. The other day one of the editors made a post asking for people to give insight to different jobs people have. I decided to share my experiences so that the readers of this site could gain some insight into how newspaper delivery happens and what all is entailed.

  4. Lucky225 says:

    I’ve done a newspaper delivery route inbetween jobs. It was not 1099 work, didn’t ‘buy’ the papers from the company. I worked for the LA Times at their print office in Chino, California. The route was $800/mo. It’s not much to live on, but I didn’t have to buy any news papers, they give you just enough for the route, and about 4 extras in case you fuck up. If you exceed that, then you’ll be putting a quarter or 2 in at the vending machines that someone else, hopefully, already stocked along your route prior.

    Furthermore, it’s JUST AS EASY as you think it is. In fact us lazy fucks usually have a McDonald’s or something a long our route that we literally hit pretty early in the morning first to get it out of the way, go to any McDonald’s at 3 am and pick yourself up today’s paper for virtually free before the manager notices.

    Never got a single tip, wouldn’t expect one, and sure as fuck wouldn’t tip someone if I was subscribing. These jobs are for those who qualified for a driver license and nothing else at life. I only worked it once in between jobs because I was desperate and nothing in my field was open at the time.

    • Misha says:

      ” I only worked it once in between jobs because I was desperate and nothing in my field was open at the time.”

      And clearly you are the only person for whom this has ever been the reason they took a job they were overqualified for!

      • Lucky225 says:

        Not implying that, but there was an absurd amount of adults doing routes that through talking with them had been employed for several years doing this and clearly had no intention of finding other employment. I was there for a solid month before taking a better position, and I really don’t know how anyone could seriously take this job as some sort of supplemental income, the pay barely covers your gas and was on a monthly salary, I literally picked up my check the same day I entered better employment and have no idea how I even made it through the month with what little I had left over from the previous job I was at. Luckily at the time I was briefly staying at my mother’s so I didn’t have any other bills accept the gas for the car. It’s not a job I’d take again if I was looking for something in between jobs again, even pizza delivery pays more and you at least get tips daily there.

    • who? says:

      Most of the routes around here are driven by African refugees with limited education and limited English. They’re plenty hardworking, not lazy. But when your only education is watching your family being hacked to bits, and your only job experience is scrounging food in a refugee camp, there aren’t a lot of jobs you’re qualified for.

      • ChuckECheese says:

        Perhaps these bright African people you know could consider running for governor of Arizona, or sheriff of one of its counties. We need bright and capable people in local government.

  5. Rivercat says:

    All the carriers are adults now. It’s probably a safety thing. Both my brothers had routes when they were middle schoolers, but they had to go around and collect from their customers themselves, some of whom were real jerks about paying. I also remember my brother being followed once by a creepy guy in a car and they both quit soon after.

    • Alexk says:

      When I was a kid, I had to deliver and collect. Yeah, there were some jerks, but overall, it wasn’t too hard. And I had to put the paper where the customer requested it–none of this “it’s at the end of your driveway, screw you until I want my Christmas tip” stuff you get from today’s drive-by carriers.

  6. Invader Zim says:

    I worked as a delivery person for years. I bet he didnt subtract gas from his 1500 profit. How about auto repairs? The newspaper take advantage of the drivers charging very high fees for a compaint and a fair amount of complaints have nothing to do with delivery. Such as: customers complaining they were missed but really just wanted a extra set of coupons, people stealing customers papers out of paper boxes, someone who doesnt want to pay their paper carrier so they fake poor delivery, etc. Once the gas rates went up I got out. Havent looked back since. I always thought that newspaper walked a legal line buy making the carrier pay up front for the customers paper but not allowing a carrier to cancel a paper for non payment, then charging the carrier for complaints at a charge that is so high as to remove any profit that carrier might have from the customer for a month.

    • Bsamm09 says:

      Way easier to just keep track of mileage. The IRS amounts take into account gas, depreciation, repairs etc.

    • Auron says:

      No, I didn’t deduct gas or any of the expenses from that. Each route pays ~$500 month. I estimate I spend ~ $100-125/week in gas alone, ~ $150/month in bags, as well as oil changes every 6 weeks or so, because thats how quickly I drive 3,000 miles.

  7. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    Some years ago I did what Auron did and it was the shittiest job I ever had in my life. Up at 2:00 AM to meet the train from NYC – unbaling, counting and wrapping or bagging papers, delivering on a route of about 200 subs in snow/rain/sleet. God help you if you missed one or were late because the train was late. If a paper got damp-complaint; if a paper was missing a section – complaint; if a paper was wrinkled or a little damaged – complaint. The crappiest part was the route manager made the collection rounds and kept most of the tips. Ugh.

  8. EPICAC says:

    One of my friends delivered papers for a summer during college, and the paper he worked for operated much like the one described above, with the exception of the delivery list, which was provided daily by the paper with any updates etc.

    I helped him out a few times. It was fun to do occasionally, but that was mostly from hanging out with him. He was a night-owl, so the hours weren’t bad for him, but the lack of a days off really wore him down by the end of the summer. He got a few tips, but not many. His most memorable was from a stretch in an apartment complex that he had to do on foot. The resident opened the door right as he approached to deliver a tip in person. This startled my friend at first, but he appreciated the effort that the man took to tip him.

    Back when I subscribed to the paper, my delivery person would enclose a pre-addressed envelope for tips every 6-months. Based on my friend’s experience, I always felt it was the right thing to do. How common is the practice of including tip-envelopes?

  9. AtlantaCPA says:

    I’m confused:
    “We “buy” the paper at a heavily discounted rate then “sell” the paper at a higher rate”
    “Any complaints are docked from our bi-weekly paycheck”
    …these statements would seem to be at odds. I must be missing something?

    • ChuckECheese says:

      No, you’re missing anything. Welcome to the “you’re screwed” workforce.

    • Gman says:

      Poor example in the OP, but basically:
      They are not employees of the paper. So to get the papers they have to “buy” them form the paper at a discounted rate. Then the deliveryman sells to the customer for a slightly higher rate. even if the money never really touches the hands of the deliveryman.

      Ex. [out of my butt numbers, but useful for example]
      Paper costs $1.00
      Deliveryman “buys” the paper for $0.10 to deliver throught their independent contractor service.
      Deliveryman then delivers the paper to the customer.
      Customer then “pays” the deliveryman a portion of their weekly subscription. Equivalent to $0.15 per paper. The money is given by the newspaper, but effectively paid by the customer they serve.

    • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

      They don’t pay upfront but the cost of papers and any penalties are deducted from their gross. Paperwork shenanigans to keep up the farce of ‘independent contractor’.

    • Southern says:

      The customer pays the publisher (via check, credit card, whatever), the publisher sends the money to the delivery person – minus the complaint fines and the “cost” of the papers delivered.

      • AtlantaCPA says:

        Thanks all who responded, that makes sense now. Definitely is a complicated dance just to prevent having to pay any benefits to people. There should be a law!

  10. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    I have a paper girl, and she’s an adult, driving what I would call a beater car. The paper is supposed to be there by 6 AM, but I really don’t care when it gets there, and I never complain if a day goes by and I get two papers the next day. And when I pay the bill, I put money in the tip line for her.

    I would never, ever call the office and whine because the paper wasn’t there unless it happened days and days in a row. It’s a tough job, and I’m thankful for her bringing it, no matter what time it gets there.

    • RandomHookup says:

      That’s all well and good, but I want my paper today. I will call if it doesn’t show up by a certain time so that they can redeliver, but won’t worry about a wet paper or something minor.

  11. eccsame says:

    No one posted this yet, so I guess I have to:

  12. benminer says:

    Do they just dock your pay without any investigation? Do you have a chance to dispute them?

    If you were an employee those deductions would be illegal in almost every State but since you are an “independent contractor” (legally in business for yourself) you are not protected by wage & hour laws.

    • Laura Northrup says:

      That’s why they’re not employees.

    • Auron says:

      Yes, we do have a process where complaints can be reversed. Any complaints from an apartment complex where I don’t go door to door get reversed, if the paper isn’t in the customers preferred location due to to construction, those will get reversed. I actually had one of my customers complain for 2-3 days that they didn’t get their paper, and they discovered that their neighbor had been stealing it. They called in to the paper and made us aware that they figured out what was going on, and those complaints were also reversed.

  13. Maxedaddy says:

    I think what they mean by Rollback is that they Rolled it back to its original starting position?

  14. jonathanla says:

    It sounds to me like you’re not really an independent contractor if the paper can fine you, can set your hours, and can set the price that you can charge your customer (the people you deliver to). That all sounds to me like you’re an employee.

    • Auron says:

      The first paragraph of the contract i sign for each route reads:

      A. Tax Treatment. Contractor and Company agree that Company will treat contractor as an independent contractor and/or direct seller of Newspapers and not as an employee for the purposes of all tax laws, including state, federal, and local tax laws. The contractor will pay all payroll taxes and contributions for unemployment insurance and old age pensions or annuities which now or may hereafter be measured by the wages, salaries, or other remuneration paid to employees or sub-agents on the Contractor and will file all required returns relating thereto. Further, the Contractor agrees that he/she will file his/her own Federal and State tax returns on the basis of his/her status as an Independent Contractor. The wholesale rate charged Contractor, under this Agreement, has been established on the basis that the Contractor is such and Independent Contractor and is responsible for the payment of all taxes, payments or contributions above.

      • Chuft-Captain says:

        That may be what the contract says but that does not make your IC status necessarily legal. There are specific definitions of what constitutes an IC versus an employee. Jonathania may be right, as generally speaking, if the employer determines your hours, you are an employee.

        • Auron says:

          As long as we have our papers delivered by the appointed time, it doesn’t matter what time we show up. I could show up as late as 3:30-4 on Mon, Tues, Fri, and Sat and still get my papers delivered on time. I choose to show up around 1 am because I want to get done as early as possible, with time to an extra route if possible.

        • ChuckECheese says:

          Agreed. When I was reading up on this on behalf of somebody else a few weeks ago, one of the legal guides said that the tax status of your employment had no bearing on whether the law would consider you an independent or not. If all it took were for employers to stop collecting payroll taxes, then everybody would be an independent contractor. And that’s exactly why these laws exist, to make sure the gov’t gets its share of payroll and other taxes.

  15. TBGBoodler says:

    I live in the same suburbs where I grew up. We had kids deliver the morning paper (before school) during my entire childhood and adolescence. It was only about 25 years ago that the paper began being delivered by a grownup in a car.

    We stopped getting our paper delivered a couple of years ago for one main reason: it no longer appeared on our doorstep, but somewhere (within a wide radius) at the end of our driveway. I sent a tip and a note to the delivery guy for months, but it had no affect. If I have to get dressed and put shoes and a coat on to search for the paper (and basically read yesterday’s news), what’s the point of home delivery?

  16. Alexk says:

    I feel for the guy, but my experience is simply that when I was young, as young people delivered the newspapers, they did a better job. I have never had an adult carrier who seemed to give a damn.

  17. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    If you want to know how competent your prospective paper thrower might be, call or email and tell them you don’t want the once-a-week free edition that shows up magically even though you don’t want it.

    For me it required 3 emails and 2 phone calls over the course of 2 months. Even if I wanted the paper, I wouldn’t consider subscribing because if that’s how they treat prospective subscribers what kind of service would I get once I paid and they had my money??

    • JollySith says:


      The last thing I want is the dead-tree version of the bought and paid for news littering up my yard.

    • Hartwig says:

      I did this for the paper which comes once a week and was surprised by how well it worked. I don’t think i have gotten one since. Now if only it was that easy to get the ads in the mail to stop being delivered each week. I only check my mailbox once a week and end up recycling 90% of the content and there is no way i can figure how to opt out.

  18. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I used to get Saturday, Sunday and holiday delivery of the local paper, but I quit when it stopped showing up regularly. Almost every other Sunday I would have to call. The number wasn’t even a local number; they used a call center in another state!

    Also, I quit buying it on Sundays from the gas station when I noticed I had already read half the stories online. I still do once in a while if I’m thirsty for the circulars, but not very often. The price has gone up, too.

  19. GlenCocoForCocoaPuffs says:

    I’m currently paying my way through grad school with a full-time job and a part-time job delivering newspapers. The only difference between this writer and me is the following:
    1. My papers are ready by 3 a.m.
    2. My route is 35 miles long and takes me an hour to do.
    3. I earn about 1100 dollars a month.
    4. I write off my car insurance & supplies (rubber bands, plastic bags) to the point where I don’t have to pay taxes.
    5. As far as part-time jobs go, this one is fantastic. One hour a day.
    Gas costs, loss of a little sleep, inclement weather.
    Above all else, I’m grateful that this job keeps me in the black until I’m done school next year.
    Subscribe to your local papers!! Thanks.

  20. Sarek says:

    I used to help deliver papers, so I’m familiar with some of this. But getting docked for complaints is new, and squirrelly. Also, I used to tip when the carrier came to the door weekly. But now that it’s all done online, it’s not possible. My paper’s site allows a lump-sum tip to be added, but not a weekly tip. (And it took me several calls to get them to explain the “tip” line on the bill, whether it was weekly, monthly, annually, or whatever.)
    So I give a lump sum tip around Christmas/Chanukah.

  21. JollySith says:

    Maybe Auron is better at his job and more professional than the drivers contracted by The Dallas Morning News, but my experience with newspaper delivery is terrible, and I am not even a subscriber. My neighbor is though, around 3 days a week she is rooting through the bushes by my door looking for her paper. Sometimes it is there, sometimes it is in the puddle in the gutter, sometimes it is not there at all.
    On top of that about 3 times a year the DMN gets on a kick and tries to convince us all that dead tree delivery is not a relic of the past and starts delivering papers to everyone for free, for a trial period. Since I rarely use my front door, garage is in the back, I may not see the paper for a day or 2, by which time it is a rotten soggy mess, it was also the reason my rain gutter was clogged lat spring.

  22. jeepguy57 says:

    I canceled my print paper subscription last year, which I actually enjoyed reading. But while it was supposed to be delivered by 8am on weekends, it would never be on time. With a baby in the house, I was usually up by 6:30 or 7. I didn’t want my paper at 8:30. The e-version is available as soon as I get up.

  23. msbaskx2 says:

    I have 5 brothers and sisters. We all had paper routes as kids, often passing them down from one kid to the next when the older kids were able to get ‘real’ jobs.

    In those days, you went and picked up the Sunday paper “innards” from your distributor, then the actual Sunday newspaper (the part with the news!) was delivered to your home really early Sunday morning. We’d put the paper together, and off we’d go to deliver them before sunrise.

    One Sunday morning, we had a house fire. Started in the basement, worked it’s way up. Whole house totalled including the Sunday newspapers that were in the house, waiting for the main section to be delivered.

    While there was still smoke pouring from the house, while the fire trucks were everywhere, while my whole family was standing in the street watching our house burn in various states of undress, my brother’s distributor came to the house with the main section and asked where he should drop them off. My mother explained to him that our house was on fire and the last thing she cared about was the newspaper delivery. So he asked her if she wanted him to drop them off at another house. She said, sure, drop them next door and the idiot distributor actually did leave the entire stack on our neighbor’s front porch.

    I don’t recall if we ever got a complaint from the people who didn’t get their papers, but we still laugh about Oblivion Guy™ to this day.

  24. Not Given says:

    We used to have 2 newspapers, one started in 1900 and the other in 1901. One was twice a week, the other was 5 times a week. Now they’ve merged and we can get one paper per week, if there was anything in it worth reading.

  25. Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

    I do remember the days, as a 13 year old kid, having a paper route. I only had to deliver one day per week, on Sunday. Papers had to be to the customers by 8am, which I faithfully did. But living in a poor neighbourhood like I did, I didn’t have many customers, and what a pain in the ass it was to collect from them. Often I was short paying for the papers I had to buy as I kept getting the excuses (“Come back tomorrow,” and “I don’t have anything smaller than a $100 bill.”) Was I ever happy when I got my first “real” job a year later, to finally give up that crap.

    I understand these days, customers wanting newspapers home-delivered are few and far-between, thus making it near impossible for a 12-year old to do the job and actually make it worth his/her while. But I will admit this: it was a learning experience.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      If my customer didn’t pay for 2 months in a row, the newspaper would cancel their delivery and sic a district manager on them.

      • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

        I’m pretty sure my district manager was afraid to come into my neighbourhood–in fact, in the months just before I quit, we actually had to go to him to drop off the money we owed for the papers. And if that were the case then, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t even deliver papers to that neighbourhood now, let alone try collecting from the deadbeats.