The Best

Paper carriers endured nasty weather, tolerated cranky customers, sprayed ammonia at attacking dogs, all to earn money. First and foremost money was the motivation for managing a route.

The collected profits provided tangible rewards: frequent stops at the donut shop, a new music album, the latest Saturday movie sensation. Being reliable paperboys gained additional paying jobs as they mowed lawns, raked leaves, shoveled snow, carted coal, became a station manager. And more money became a bicycle, school clothes, a first car, a college fund.

What benefits rose from your paper route? Did the newspaper company arrange trips, sponsor sports teams for softball, basketball, a bowling league? Organize a musical band?

Major newspaper companies staged significant rewards that paper boys would not otherwise have enjoyed. Meeting the incentive sales contest requirements, carriers were guests at ball parks, amusement parks, rodeo shows, Disneyland, Niagara Falls, Washington, D.C., Alaska, Europe. Traveling by boat, train, or plane his world grew larger.

Yet, for many carriers, the intangible benefits surpassed the common tangible advantages. He made friends with other carriers and with customers building his sense of belonging in a community. The earned funds were good. The friends even better. And the self-sufficient freedom the best. Being self-reliant, the freedom mattered as much as the funds.


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