The Post Office beats Paperboys (and girls)

As a former paperboy, I was a little disheartened to receive my community newspaper  in my mailbox instead of on my driveway.  I noticed that my name and address was printed on it.

I opened the paper and saw the announcement that it was changing to mail delivery.  I found a couple paragraphs in the announcement interesting.

First, I was surprised by this paragraph:

We’ve been proud to have served as the “first jobs” for hundreds of outstanding independent contractor youth carriers, providing the opportunity for young people to learn responsibility and get real-world customer service, sales and entrepreneurship experience.

I was surprised because newspapers are normally vocal supporters of minimum wage and child labor laws.  I suppose its only okay when they employ children and pay less than minimum wage.  After all, they know they are well-meaning, but they can’t be sure about other employers.

I was also surprised that the paper recognized the opportunity of a “first job”.  This is something editorial boards fail to consider when supporting minimum wage and child labor laws.

Here’s the second paragraph I found interesting:

Kids’ lives (and their parents’ lives) are busier now than ever before.  With the increasing number of school and after-school functions, sports, church, club and family activities, it has become increasingly difficult to recruit and retain a full complement of reliable, dedicated youth carriers…

There’s a couple points to consider here.

One, maybe the gig simply just doesn’t pay enough.  I gave up my paper route quickly.  It was an early lesson in opportunity cost.  I could make as much mowing four lawns what it took in a month of throwing papers.

Two, with all the activities in our kids lives, when do they learn how to be productive in working world, live within a budget and support themselves?  Some of them seem to be learning this way too late.

With one-size-fits all education, it costs only time and opportunity costs (which are hard for children to assess sometimes) to participate in an abundance of activities.

I recall reading several months ago about one school district that had gone to a fee-based approach with extracurricular activities and kids were having to make tough choices.  Instead of running cross country and track, some could only afford to pick one because each cost the student or their parents about $1,000.  The nice thing here is that perhaps being more selective on school activities free up their time to be productive and get a job.


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