Sibling Job Share

MVWJ was my childhood newspaper route. My brother (12 years old at the time) decided he and I could share our neighborhood route when I was 8 years old. Being young and naive, it never occurred to me that people would screw me over at every opportunity. The job started out well enough; I delivered the papers to 20 houses each morning before school.

The problems started happening when I had to collect the monthly fees from the customers who didn’t put their subscriptions on their credit cards. People would refuse to answer the door, slam their doors in my face, argue that they didn’t owe what I asked for, and short-changed me constantly. One woman didn’t answer her door for six full months. When I called the newspaper office to complain about her, they said that only the customer could cancel their subscription and I would just have to keep trying. When I finally got in touch with her, she asked me to come to her house at midnight on a school night to collect the money!

For three years, I would come home in tears and beg my parents and my brother to let me quit because customers would scream at me, other kids would tease me, and one time a group of teenage boys spat on me and shoved me in a snow bank while I was trying to collect money from one of their parents’ houses. Another time, a dog bit my leg, and the owner said it was my own fault for “showing fear.”

Maybe the worst part of all? My brother handled the money once we collected it, and only paid me $10/month for my work. I didn’t realize until years later that he was pocketing way more than his fair share.


Comments (17)

sashathebritMarch 23rd, 2011 at 5:55 am

….you know what, can you just take down MVWJ? These stories are getting more and more pathetic :/

EllereMarch 23rd, 2011 at 8:23 am

sashathebrit, what have you been smoking? This is awful!

BillyMarch 23rd, 2011 at 8:39 am

An 8 year old’s paper route? I mean it’s not even a real job, and if I have to wait a month between stories let’s at least make it a real one. I even submitted a story because I thought maybe it was just a lack of submissions. Yeah, this link is coming off the favorites I think.

oiMarch 23rd, 2011 at 8:40 am

Didn’t your parents exist? You do mention them! hwy would anybody let their kid go through anything like this?!

emMarch 23rd, 2011 at 9:48 am

“For three years, I would come home in tears and beg my parents and my brother to let me quit because customers would scream at me…and one time a group of teenage boys spat on me and shoved me in a snow bank …. Another time, a dog bit my leg, and the owner said it was my own fault for “showing fear.””

Where on EARTH did you live and wtf is wrong with your parents??

SaffyMarch 23rd, 2011 at 10:27 am

did anyone call social services? ewww.

BillyMarch 23rd, 2011 at 1:32 pm

I’m guessing OP’s parents were taking 10% off the top?

Seriously , an 8 year old coming home crying every day. I can’t even imagine if my kid came home and said that a dog bit him, parents told their kids to beat mine up, or adults were avoiding payment…

Gah, why am I even commenting on this stupid story anymore!

adminMarch 23rd, 2011 at 7:36 pm

@Billy – We don’t see a story from you in your email.

zomboidMarch 24th, 2011 at 7:09 am

poor little bugger! i used to help my big brother with his paper round and i’m sure the prick ripped me off on pay but nothing like this ever happened!

still, it was character-building, no doubt. chin up

EllereMarch 24th, 2011 at 7:21 am

I used to come home from Girl Guides every week crying and my Mom made me go anyway for a full year. She thought I was being lazy. The women in charge didn’t like me and were very cruel, to quit my Mom actually made me phone them up and tell them myself. So maybe the OP’s parents thought she was just a quitter and wanted her to see it through. Or maybe they were dicks.

BillyMarch 24th, 2011 at 8:16 am

I used a different email, I’ve updated my email here now…

clever nameMarch 24th, 2011 at 10:58 am

Wow. I’m really sorry, I can’t believe parents let this stuff go on. Why have kids if you don’t want to protect them?

EllereMarch 24th, 2011 at 12:54 pm

“Why have kids if you don’t want to protect them?”

Fashion accessories? Because of peer/family pressure? Poor access to birth control? Illegal abortion?

Wait, was this rhetorical.

RitaMarch 24th, 2011 at 6:02 pm

$10 for doing 20 houses? that sounds more then fair.

I delivered papers as a kid too, I did approximately 300 houses. The papers were not delivered to me until after 10pm the night before. I then had to fold them (and bag them if it looked like rain) to be ready to deliver in the morning (my mum was awesome enough to help me do this). I would then be lugging around this MASSIVE pile of newspapers (i used to borrow mums laundry basket (which was on wheels) to do this as there were far to many to put in a backpack) and take them to peoples houses. They could NOT be thrown on the lawn / near peoples doors, they had to be put in the letter box/place for newspapers so riding a bike wouldn’t have really been an option even if it was a manageable pile of papers. The amount I was paid each week? $16. Which I split with my little brother as he helped me deliver them (since they all had to be delivered before 7am and it took approximately 3 hours to deliver them all on your own).

I agree that paper delivery is a bloody awful job.

:PMarch 25th, 2011 at 2:28 am

if you do work and get paid for it, it’s a job. op did work and got $$ however little. this story reminds me of my first job, for a lady who taught piano, i had to go up and post fliers on each door. the lady was mean, she called me stupid on my first day, i was aobut ten, becuz i didn’t know which street she meant becuz i was in unfamiliar neighborhoods. i was chased off by weirdos who yelled “git off mah property!” brandishing guns, and barking dogs. sadly, that ISN’T mvwj, oh no, it got a lot worse when I got older :P

NurseDreaMarch 25th, 2011 at 12:05 pm

I guess child labor laws are not in effect in this area.

YanMarch 25th, 2011 at 2:39 pm

NurseDrea : Child labor laws don’t apply to paper routes, they are the quintessential job you can have when you can’t legally have a real job.

Rita: 16$ a week for 3 hours a day? That averages to less than a dollar an hour – a bloody sweat shop rate. I guess the reason why people do them is to be seen above.

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