WORTHINGTON - I got my first job shortly after becoming a teenager, and it can be said with certainty that this means of employment got me out of bed far earlier than when I’ve needed to rise for work over the last dozen years.
The snow and cold of an upstate New York winter didn’t deter me - though I certainly grumbled quite a bit - from opening the front door and getting right down to business mere moments after my alarm had sounded. As all of the newspapers on my Albany Times-Union route had to be delivered by 7 a.m. - and it was never good to hear about the late complaints from my boss - there wasn’t a lot of time to be wasted.
I can’t recall how long I delivered the T-U, but it was an experience I’ll always be thankful for. Besides some memorable interactions with subscribers (the Clinton Street home with a dog who possessed almost Medusa-like qualities, the Vermont Avenue home of at least three cute college co-eds), the route offered good lessons in both personal and financial responsibility. When I broke the radiator grill on our neighbors’ (and our landlords’) car, I worked all the money off in weekly increments thanks to the route. Considering the grill was decimated as a result of me throwing a basketball at it after surrendering an easy lay-up in a game of one-in-one, perhaps I should have been coerced into depositing additional funds into an anger management class. But, even then, at least I learned that immature behavior can have its consequences.
Now, nearly 37 years later, paper routes are still a rite of passage of sorts for boys and girls entering the working world for the first time. But, much more so than “back in the day,” they’re a means for adults to supplement their income with just a small amount of time and effort. Here at The Globe, we have newspaper carriers of varying ages and backgrounds performing this seemingly underwhelming yet important service for any number of reasons.
Our newspaper carriers in the communities of Worthington and Windom make sure subscribers have their Wednesday and Saturday editions in their hands by 7 a.m. That sort of timely service is integral to the work we all do here to create our print edition. After all, there’s at least one good reason why home delivery is desired - with the paper arriving bright and early, it represents an ideal way to start the day - and if such a desire can’t be met, these readers may opt to be readers no more.
Unfortunately, carriers don’t appear to be as easy to recruit as they were in 1980, when I enthusiastically (OK, with a bit of urging from my dad) began my route, or even decades before. The Globe, for example, currently has five openings for paper routes, and until those are filled, that aforementioned 7 a.m. delivery time will almost certainly prove to be challenging. Newspaper carriers won’t exactly get rich, but at anywhere from $150 to $400 a month (depending on the number of papers on the route), it means money that wouldn’t be there otherwise in exchange for a relatively brief commitment eight to 10 times per month.
All of us at The Globe, no matter what department we work in, want to provide excellent customer service, and we strive to make this is a high priority, Without newspaper carriers, The Globe would have to resort to exclusively mail delivery for its print edition, which - it seems apparent - would represent a compromised level of the quality of customer service we aim to offer. Call me “old school,” but I’d much rather have my news in print with my coffee and breakfast before I go to work than later in the day, when the busyness of life may keep me from getting to it. But never mind me; there’s no shortage of people who have been receiving our paper on the doorstep first thing in the morning for nearly half a century or more. We owe it to these fine folks to continue to get them The Globe how and when they’ve always received it.
As a former newspaper carrier and current editor, I’d like to personally thank all of our carriers for doing their part to help keep our subscribers informed of what’s going on in their community. And, here’s a shout-out to potential future carriers: it’s a pretty good gig. Feel free to call us here at 376-9711 if you’re interested.