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Old 09-21-2013, 04:09 AM
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When we first moved to the Cincinnati suburb of Delhi Township in the summer of 1959, I was twelve years old. Then as now, it was hard for young boys to earn extra spending money. While I figured I was old enough to use a lawnmower, my parents felt it would be too dangerous. That winter though, I did find a way to earn some money, even if it wasn't the easy money I had hoped for.

The first time it snowed enough to close area grade schools, I grabbed our snow shovel, ready to make killing. The only problem was that every other boy in our subdivision had the same idea. Rather than working together, which we eventually did, we got into a pricing war. We ended up offering cheap labor not only to our families, but to our neighbors also.

Not being a fan of hard work, I didn't make a good impression on our neighbors during the first snow storm. Rather than shoveling the entire sidewalks and driveways, I simply cleared narrow paths, which of course wasn’t appreciated. I quickly learn my lesson when one neighbor lectured me on the proper way to shovel snow, and made me do it the right way. And then, rather than giving me the bonus I expected, he said that I was lucky to get paid at all.

Feeling like a fool, but knowing that my neighbor was right, I went back and shoveled each of my other jobs correctly. Not only did the other boys in the neighborhood get a good laugh at my expense, but they also earned most of the money. Before the next snow us boys had a meeting, and decided that we would do better if we all charged the same price for our snow jobs. We worked out a sliding scale rate, based on how much snow there was, and much to our surprise, our parents and neighbors willingly paid our prices.

After that, it was simply a matter of not oversleeping, and of working fast enough, in order to earn as much pocket money as you wanted. I still didn't care much for hard work, but since I did like money, I did myself proud.

Our neighborhood pricing system worked for a few years, until the younger boys in Delhi became old enough to shovel snow too. Naturally, they were more than glad to undercut our prices, and so the only snow jobs any of us got were shoveling our parent’s sidewalks and driveways. Adding insult to injury, we were paid the cheaper prices now being charged by those younger boys. And when we protested, we were told that if we wanted to, we could hire one of the younger kids, but that we’d have to pay, so we sort of became slave labor.

Even with inflation, and the passing of four decades, I find the prices boys demand, and get, for modern day snow jobs, a bit too rich for my blood. But if I were a home owner, I guess I’d have no choice other than to pay the going rate, just as my parents and neighbors did back in the Good Old Days.

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Old 09-24-2013, 11:09 PM
Rick2006 Rick2006 is offline
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Last edited by Rick2006; 09-27-2013 at 08:21 PM. Reason: no response so I delete
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