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Angie Wieck, Published December 22 2013

It's My Job: Newspaper carrier in 17th year delivering The Forum

By Maureen McMullen


Cliff Deery, entering his 17th year as a carrier for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, is no stranger to early mornings.

Deery arrives at The Forum’s circulation center every day at 4:30 a.m. After assembling the papers, he takes off on his deliveries, usually completing his route by 6 a.m.

All four of Deery’s sons have been carriers for The Forum to earn extra money. Deery, who works full time handling signage for Sanford Health, has a similar purpose for the extra revenue he earns on his routes: a deer-hunting fund.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

Trying to get the location where they want (the papers). We’re pretty customer-friendly; we want to get the paper to where they want and make it convenient for them. One time, a customer had a little dog statue with the mouth open where they wanted me to put it, so then it gets a little complicated.

Are some days busier than others?

There’s a little bit more work on Sunday because you have to put the paper together; there’s a comic section and a lifestyle section and you put those two together and then the front comes later. There’s a little more work for Sunday. And then there’s Thanksgiving.

What happens on Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is one of the days where, if you’re going to want to take Thanksgiving off, you’re not going to get it. No one wants to sub in for Thanksgiving. This year’s (issue) was almost 6 pounds. It came in three sections, so it was like a “Jumbo Sunday” paper; It was gargantuan. So, it’s a chore on Thanksgiving; we’re definitely happy when it’s over.

What does the paper mean to your customers?

There’s a lot of people who are happy to get their paper on time so they can get their routine down. It’s surprising, even with the way everyone’s busy, they still have time to check the headlines at least and read it when they get home.

What are some of the ways people show their gratitude to you as a paper carrier?

At Christmas time or Halloween, they leave little candy bags for you, stuff like that. I’ve had that happen with Halloween; some cookies or some Tootsie Rolls or something.

There’s a little old lady who leaves out a treat on the hand railing; she even does it now that she doesn’t get the paper anymore. They’ll leave little cards on their door or in the Forum boxes, little cards for Christmas, so that’s nice.

I’ve been really lucky that way, that there have been people that tip me. It’s surprising that a card with a couple of dollars saying you do a good job can make a big difference.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Maureen McMullen at (701) 235-7311