King Rat (gkr) wrote,
King Rat

My first paying job

The first paying job I can remember (other than babysitting) was as a newspaper carrier for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. This was back in the early 80s. I had three different paper routes over 2 or 3 years. I even got paper carrier of the month for the P.I. At the time, the Times and P-I didn't have their Joint Operating Agreement and the P-I had it's own Sunday paper. It was a lot thinner, because it wasn't so filled with crappy flyer ads. In the middle of this the two papers merged their business operations and went to the one Sunday paper. I hated it because the Sunday papers were thicker and were a lot more work to cart around.

Technically, this wasn't a paying job. We were independent contractors. Although under today's court rulings we'd be employees. I had to pay the P-I each month for my papers, and had to collect from my customers. I was routinely short money to pay the P-I because I routines would go spend the money as soon as I collected it. Usually on video games at the local 7-11.

My first route was from 175th to 180th between Palatine and 8th Ave NW in Shoreline. The P-I dropped the papers off at my place early in the morning. I'd have to get up, unstrap the papers, roll them up and fill my bag. Then it was on to my cheap Sears 10-speed and delivering papers. I vaguely remember frequently being late getting the papers out, but I don't know if it was on this route or on later routes. I don't remember too many customers from this route. One on Palatine where the lady wanted a bell rung that was next to her paper box when we delivered the paper. And one on 175th Place that I frequently skipped because I ahd to go down a steep hill on 1st Ave to get to. It was the only customer down the hill, and I dreaded climbing back up the hill afterward.

Second route was between 180th and Richmond Beach Rd and between 8th Ave NW and Dayton. This route is memorable for the dogs, and because I had two apartment complexes. One place subscribed but I never delivered the paper to them because they had a huge great dane that would bound up to the fence and scare the bejeesus outta me. Later on I found out he was blind and toothless and they started getting their paper. Hmm, actually come to think of ti, there was a dog on the first route that attacked me twice, actually getting me the second time. I was collecting and he ran up the street past his owners, jumped over my brother Joe who was accompanying me (or maybe it was Matt) and chomped into my leg. That was the second attack and they paid my parents some money not to report it so they wouldn't get their dog destroyed. I think they were good about keeping their dog inside in the morning after that. But that was on the first route. On the second route there was also a shepherd that attacked me once. Quiet. Didn't bark. I sensed him though and turned around as he was lunging toward me. Kicked him before he managed to get his teeth into me. Then growled at him and walked off. I remember the first dog frightening me, but this one not really scaring me. The apartment complexes were great cause they were easy. 10 papers in a short walking span.

The last route was further away. It was around my school, King's. Largest route in terms of papers, mostly because my school ran three retirement homes for the elderly. And boy to the elderly retired love their papers. I think I was nominally doing that route to hold it for a friend named Jeff Van Ness, but I could be mixing the name up with someone else I knew.

The other thing I remember about the paper routes is that we would go on sales runs with the district manager. Basically go door to door and try to get people to subscribe. We'd get prizes for getting so many people to subscribe during a month. I don't remember if we got other compensation. I remember accumulating enough subscriptions to get a trip to Vancouver B.C. or something like that. I don't remember the trip though I remember boarding the charter bus with 40 other paper carriers in a parking lot off Ballinger Way.

It wasn't all that profitable really, but it kept me in spending money throughout junior high. Not a lot of spending money. But some.


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