Nostalgia: Paper routes
Because I’m at a loss for an entry for NaBloPoMo today, I figured I’d dig back in my rich history for a story:
In 1983, when I was 11, I won a trip to Walt Disney World for delivering newspapers. (The old man in me says, “Back in those days, people read newspapers.”)
I earned my paper route from a neighbor kid, who at 13 had gotten “too old” to deliver papers. (Old Man: “Back in those days, KIDS delivered newspapers, instead of 40 year olds in Chevettes.”)
I had a total of 18 papers to deliver around my neighborhood. I delivered the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, a morning paper produced six days a week, which meant waking up at 5:00 or 5:30. You could probably do the paper route in your sleep (and I did). It was basically a breeze but I approached it with a lot of whining and bitching about how difficult it was. Kinda what I do in every job I’ve ever had.
One day my fifth grade teacher asked if any of us kids delivered the morning paper. She wanted to receive it but couldn’t get it in her area. So, smelling a sale, I raised my hand. She told me to see her after class. At that time, basically she asked if I could just bring in the newspaper on my way to school. The simplest deliveries ever, since I was literally already going to school every morning and I didn’t have to trudge through rain or snow, or get chased by dogs for doing the job.
Then she told me other teachers had expressed the same interest in getting a morning newspaper. To make a long story short, I gained about eight new subscriptions just by being a school-aged kid dumb enough to have a paper route.
Well, the Post-Gazette entered your name in a drawing every time you got a new subscription. They also made special concession to delivery boys and girls who showed a marked increase in the percentage of new subscriptions compared to their current route. Needless to say, with my huge increase in sales, I blew every other kid in Western Pennsylvania away. As in most cases, success has a lot more to do with dumb luck than actual skill.
And that’s how I won a trip to Disney World and the brand-new, amazing Epcot Center. (Old man: “In those days, Epcot was amazing.”)
To be continued…