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This is a question Child Labour

There is a special part of Hell I'd like to reserve for those arses that order every single Sunday paper. Do you know how heavy that makes the bundle of papers some poor kid (ie me) has to lug around? Funny how your papers always seemed to get mangled in your letterbox...

I loved my paper round, but, looking back, I was getting paid peanuts to ruin my back and cycle around in the cold and dark. How were you exploited as a child?

(, Fri 17 Feb 2006, 12:05)
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I might be able to go one better than a paper round
when I was about 15 I got a job delivering the Yellow Pages. So ENORMOUS phone directories. I seem to remember I did around 2500 of them, around Moseley in Birmingham.

Aside from the obvious back breaking work involved, I met a few "characters". You got an extra 12p per copy if you could get a signature for the directory to prove you had delivered it, so I dutifully rang every doorbell hoping to make this shitty job pay back in whatever meagre way.

One part of the area I delivered to was a very old block of council flats. It all smelt of piss of course, and being a wee slip of a thing, I was quite nervous. The very first door I knocked on was opened by a kindly looking old man. He signed for his yellow pages, and then said, "Oh watch out in the stair well - it's full of fucking glue sniffers". I was a bit put off by the expletive, but he continued as I tried to edge away from his doorstep. "They're all fucking Irish you know. The glue sniffers. Worse than the fucking blacks."
At this point I am trying to make as swift an exit as is possible while wheeling a cart containing 100 phone books. "I've been living here since 1938. When the bombers came over in the war I hid under the kitchen table and prayed I'd live through the night. Well I did but I should have been praying that Hitler would win. Then we wouldn't have all the Irish and the Pakis taking drugs in my stair well. If they knock on my door I'll fucking shoot them. You think I'm joking, don't you? Well I'm not." He reached behind the door and produced what from my fairly untutored standpoint was a Very Powerful Rifle. He waved this around and offered me a look down the viewfinder. "Of course I won't need that. They're point blank from here"
"It's loaded you know"

I do sometimes wonder what would have happened if I'd been Asian rather than a rosy cheeked young brit. I was actually sharing the job with my mate Faisal, who I think would have been perforated had he had the misfortune to knock on this guy's door instead of me.

Anwyay, I finally got away. The rest of the block, rather than being populated by Irish Glue Sniffers, was in fact full of sweet old ladies.

Hardest 12p I ever earnt.
(, Fri 17 Feb 2006, 13:08, Reply)

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