Paper Carriers: The Toughest Job?

Posted on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 by Alex R. Cronk-Young

Rain or shine is all well and nice Mr. Postman, but how about giant snowstorms and holidays? No? Well then sit down.

I've been a paper carrier for over 8 years now, whether I was doing foot routes around my town, distributing to the stores in the area, or covering huge amounts of barely driven country roads. I work every single day of the year, and I emphasize every. Thanksgiving, Christmas... you name it. And what do I get? Shit on at every turn.

A paper carrier isn't even considered an employee by the paper they work for. That is mostly so that they have no problem dropping you at a moment's notice should they feel the need. And despite any amount of pay you take away -- which is better then any minimum wage job, but still less then those posh mail carrier routes -- is chipped away by the ridiculous amounts of gas and car repairs you have to cover.

But I'm at peace with the frustrations, because I like all the time to myself I have to listen to music, podcasts, and audiobooks. What is the real frustration, is how companies treat me if I stupidly let it slip that I deliver newspapers.

AutoZone gives lifetime warranties on brakes fully expecting people to be bringing them in multiple times. What they count on is people forgetting, losing reciepts, or selling their cars. I don't understand how they come out on top from the whole deal in the first place, but I learned real quick that they are looking for excuses to void it. Mention doing papers, and you're off the warranty. So I have to alternate which town's AutoZone I go to each time I take in my brake warranty, hoping they don't analyze the dates too much.

Then Progressive reared it's ugly head when I slid into somebody's metal mailbox and punctured a small hole in my door panel. When the questioning began while filing my claim, I stupidly assumed that informing them I wasn't traveling down the road when it happened, but pulling away from the mailbox, would somehow make things better. After saying the claim would be covered, the sharks started to devour all the evidence, and I got a call the next day saying that they wouldn't cover me. They had called the manager at the depot where I pick up papers, and found out that I deliver. That's all it took and they were gone.

Still, it was a learning experience, because when the car I had only owned for 2 months needed a transmission, I started making calls to the dealership. After going rounds with salesmen and sales managers, I emailed the general manager of the whole place and successfully convinced him to pay for it even though I didn't have their extended warranty.

The day that they were going to come tow it from the mechanic it was at, I rushed over to clean out anything related to newspaper delivery. I asked the mechanic to please not mention anything about my job if he were to strike up a conversation with them. Throughout the week that they had it, I fielded questions from them like, "There's a lot of mud up under this car. Much more then normal. You don't do construction, do you?"

It sort of bothers me that I work my ass off, at a job that far tougher then most out there, and I have to worry about hiding it from anyone I talk to. No matter how much I drive my car, brakes are going to eventually go bad, accidents are going to happen, and transmissions should last longer then 40,000 miles.

Everyone who reads this, do me a favor. Give your paper carrier a tip. Give him/her multiple tips throughout the year. Don't call to complain a minute after they are normally there, they might have had to change a tire or dig themselves out of a snowpile. Treat them like they are the hardest working people in the world, because even the lazy ones, work pretty damn hard.

1 Response to "Paper Carriers: The Toughest Job?"

Brian Says....

Man, that sounds like a bitch. Of course I've heard you talk about some of this shit before, but it really sounds like an awful job. That's fucked up that they pulled that shit with the insurance, but I'm really not surprised. Those companies are about as corrupt as you can get.

Hope you'll find something better a game journalism job!

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