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What They Did Was Not Right As Rain

, , , , , | Working | October 27, 2020

When I was fourteen, I took on a paper round every Sunday, which I did on my bike.

My route had around thirty deliveries which had to be split into three, because the bulky Sunday newspapers were too big to fit into my bag all at once.

Usually, by the time I got to the end of the first ten, the next lot would be waiting for me, wrapped in plastic and in a sheltered spot to keep the elements away.

Sometimes I’d be waiting a minute or two but never more than that… until one morning.

It was absolutely pouring rain, so I’d ridden slightly more cautiously than usual. This made me maybe three to five minutes late arriving, but nothing was said, so I assumed it wasn’t a problem.

I reached the end of the first ten, and the next batch was not there. After five minutes, there was no sign. Nor after ten. There was no shelter in the cul-de-sac in which I was waiting, which meant I spent fifteen minutes in the aforementioned torrential rain, getting soaked to the skin, before the newsagent eventually arrived.

Instead of the apology I was expecting for the lateness, I was given a curt, “Hurry up, you’re running very late,” before they zipped off to do the second drop-off. I finished the rest of the round in a thoroughly miserable frame of mind.

The next week, I was sternly told that customers had complained last week that their papers had arrived late, and that if there was another complaint, they’d reduce — not dock — my pay by £1. Since I was only paid £4 to begin with, this was a huge amount to lose!

Being a timid young teenager, I was not confident enough to fight my case and instead just nodded and did my round.

Happily, there were no further issues for the rest of my time there, which was until July. Due to the various things planned for that summer, I realised I’d be missing more Sundays than I’d be able to do, so I decided to just quit and look for something else when I was free to work. I called them up and gave them a few weeks notice, and it was all fine.

A few weeks later, my friends and I were out and about, and we went into the same shop to buy sweets and drinks. The newsagent, of course, recognised me, and made a snide comment along the lines of “I guess you were too lazy to get up early and do your paper round, huh?”

Perhaps emboldened by my friends’ presence, I found my voice and shot back, “No, I just got fed up with you leaving me in the rain and then blaming me when the papers were late.”

It might have been a bit rude, but it felt good to actually stand up for myself!

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