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Finances & Money

Guess what our paperboy drives

While walking home today from the metro, I was 3 blocks from our house and I see an SUV driving slowly down the street. Then I notice the driver throwing stuff out his window.

It’s the paperboy delivering our free weekly newspaper. Nothing odd about that, except for what he was driving. You see, the last time I saw the paperboy was sometime last summer, and he was an older man driving a very rundown Geo Metro.

This time the paperboy was a twenty-ish looking punk driving…wait for it…


I say “punk” because he was one of those kids (yeah, I’m only 28 myself) who leans way back in his seat, wears his hat somewhat sideways, has that little bead of a beard from his sideburns down to his chin and a little lip fuzz that’s supposed to be a mustache.

Anyway, why, and how, in the world is the paperboy driving a luxury SUV? And what does he make to throw a free newspaper out the window once a week? And how could he make enough to cover the cost of gas at 10 miles per gallon???

When I was a paperboy about 15 years ago, I walked the whole thing, had 3 paper routes, and got paid SQUAT! It was a major upgrade when I got a job at McDonald’s for minimum wage of $4.25 per hour.

Ahhh, the good ole’ days. Kids are just so spoiled today!

About the author

Clever Dude


  • Spoiled? Well, he may work 3 jobs and put 100% of his pay into his car and his gas money. He may also be living off credit cards and will lose his car to the repo man in a few weeks…

    Or, he may just own part of that ‘free’ newspaper that is profitable because of advertisements.

    I see where you are going… but sometimes there is more than meets the eye. 😉

  • Really big fan of your blog. I see the same thing everyday! I don’t understand it myself, but I have to believe that they are leasing, using credit cards, shackled by loans, or into something less than legal.
    I wonder the same thing when I see someone who is living in a house that appears to be above their means.

    But hey,.. whatever works for them. I’m just working on not comparing myself to them. It’s not always easy, but you have to do it to maintain your sanity.

  • My younger brother had a paper route when he was in middle school or high school… but he was never motivated to do it, so my mother started doing his route… and taking the money.

  • My old boss at a previous job had a newspaper route. He made $60k a year as my manager, but kept his route because he made over $30k a year working 3 hours each morning, from 4am-7am, delivering papers. He built that route up over a few years, taking neighborhoods and streets as other people quit (they rearrange routes all the time to senior employees’ wishes), but you can make decent money for the time commitment if you can obtain a great route. He financed an addition to his house and his kids’ college tuition because of it too.

  • Dude,

    I don’t even wanna get into this. Spoiled rich kids or drug slinger. Either way I don’t get it. Now I’m not against rich kids, don’t get me wrong. I just don’t like people who feel the need the flaunt it. Which is just what those huge, expensive, gas guzzling SUVs are. It’s a lose-lose situation. You pay too much for gas, you pay too much for the car, just to have people gawk at you for a few..

    But that’s just my personal preference. If I win the lottery tomorrow, would I get a Navigator? What for? But hey, that’s just me.

  • maybe his mom or dad bought it, maybe he sells drugs, maybe he works 3 jobs… who knows? i can say that where i live in suburban NYC kids are VERY spoiled, 16 year olds get brand new cars for their birthday’s, they have designer clothes, bags, sunglasses, etc. the parking lot at the local highschools are filled with land rovers, bmws, mercades, lexus, audis and a few hondas that belong to the school staff… regardless i dont think anyone needs an suv but thats a whole other story

  • Flexo: Much like your story, one of my routes adjoined my own and was originally my sister’s. She thought she could wake up at 4am each morning. Yeah, right! She still can’t wake up before 9 without kids jumping on her.

    Patrick: I agree that there could be more to the story. Perhaps he was just borrowing his parent’s car while his junker was in the shop, but he looked older than a teenager. Also, this is the city’s newspaper. It has advertising, but I don’t know how much it actually pulls in.

    jos: I agree that 90% of the population don’t need SUVs, or could rent them when they do. However, there are families who need to haul alot of people, alot of stuff, and tow something a few times a year. If automakers only made these vehicles for rentals, they wouldn’t make them at all since it would be unprofitable.

    I myself have a Honda Ridgeline truck. It’s more truck than I need for the next few years, and I recognize that now. But, I only put about 30 miles per week on it now since I metro. That’s why I’m thinking of just selling it and renting a truck when I need one. More on that later.

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