Friday, June 13, 2014

Flint Artifacts: Flint Journal Paper Carrier's Bag


  1. Oh, does that piece of canvas bring back memories. Stacking the "Journal" on end, you could get about 30 papers in that thing, excluding the Sunday Edition. The flap did a pretty good job keeping the rain and snow off the papers. The kid carrying it, well, you just suffered. Tilted 20-degrees to off-set the weight imbalance while walking, you'd trudge up walkway that had not yet been shoveled clear of snow. And customers always wanted their paper INSIDE the storm door--none of this tossing the paper on the porch from 15' away.

    All that service for a subscription fee of 40-50 cents per week. For me, and many other paperboys, it was our first job and we learned quickly about money management customer service.

    1. I shared a route with another guy for awhile — Greenway and a section of Forest Hill. Definitely not a job where you want to break down how much you are actually making per hour. Too depressing. But it was a lot of responsibility and you had to collect payment, which is not easy.

  2. The idea of sending a young one to a stranger's door to collect money just horrifies me now. My how times have changed.

  3. I wore out a few of those bags. I had a route for about 5 years with just over 100 customers on Copeman and Emerson. I remember walking through plenty of snow at times, and the challenge of collecting, but it was all worth it when I was able to buy my own Adidas during high school. My parents were only going to pay for Converse All Stars.

    Most of my customers were pretty decent, but I had a couple of them who would be calling my house if they didn't have their paper by 5:00.

    My Journal route was definitely better than the Free Press route I started with, since I had less than half as many customers and I had to cover a 12 block area.

  4. Oh yes, inside the storm door they wanted it. I had a neighborhood that wanted that too.

  5. My brother and I were Flint Journal paper boys around '67-'69. We delivered some pretty historical news during that time like the Vietnam War Tet Offensive, MLK and RFK assassinations, and the Apollo moon landing. We usually made about $20 a week to split.


Thanks for commenting. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at