Paper Routes

By Mick Holien

One of those day-long Facebook inquiries caught my eye the other day

Facebook asked how many of its readers delivered newspaper routes and quickly I responded describing my memories of days past in my hometown of Spokane.

My Dad was involved in some capacity of newspaper circulation at the Spokesman-Review, the morning paper edition, for about 1946 until his untimely death in ’66.

Conversely I delivered the Spokane Daily Chronicle, its afternoon counterpart.

But back to the question I suppose to draw a conclusion in some part implying that many successful people obtained their initial business experience from being able to handle a paper route.

Similar questions have centered around becoming an Eagle Scout.

While one could argue I suppose a sense of reliability, organization, and persistence is required to be successful there are plenty of success stories that failed at paper route management.

The Facebook question did reveal a couple of Spokane route managers that I know well and had no idea they carried a Spokane route.

It also sparked some online commun ication about shared problems like trying to collect 35ce nets a week for delivery.

Ironic it was I suppose that I ended up being one of those route managers in charge of a group of paperboys for nearly 10 years and underwent those challenges that I learned to solve as a paperboy.

There were an equal number of folks in the Missoula and outlying areas who also spoke almost fondly of their newspaper experience.

I of course parlayed that circulation job into a writing career but even while working on the editorial side I continue to handle routes even some rack for the competition like USA Today.

How about you? Did you carry a route and encounter unusual circumstances?

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