Junk in the trunk: a day in the life of a junk mail deliverer

Illustration by Angus Marian

So I’m broke, as I’m sure a lot of you reading this are. Previously I was just regular poor…. but then I spent $244 on musical tickets… and splashed out on concert tickets… and the comedy festival was in town (I couldn’t not go!)…. Also, the superman costume for my cat was really necessary.


Like a true uni student, I searched long and hard for the easiest possible solution to my money crisis. Long hours slaving away in retail just did not appeal to me – I wanted easy money and I wanted it very soon. Something with flexible hours and minimal brain power involved. This was the motivation that lead me to apply for a job as a junk mail deliverer.

This is my story.




See an ad for a catalogue distribution company. Realise I have found my calling.




Arrive at non-descript, if a little ominous, warehouse out the back of Monash University. Put my massive guns to the test by shunting 5 piles of 581 catalogues each, and 550 copies of the local Leader newspaper from the warehouse to my car. Praise the heavens above that I bought a car with collapsible back seats.


Set up my work station on the deck facing the backyard, so that as I sort my precious catalogues into neat piles, I can enjoy the sight of the trampoline slowly swaying in the wind. My cat approves of the Target catalogues, but refuses to accept the K-Mart ones as friends.


Left shoulder is cramping… but I struggle on.

Newspaper – open to centre – insert Kmart – Target – then Barry Plant – Homewares centre goes in horizontally – close paper – move to “completed” pile – rinse and repeat.


My mother takes pity on me and helps sort. She even seems to be enjoying this… but is in bed by 10:30.


Why the hell am I still here? Please let this end!






Uni finishes at 6:00pm today, which means I have been forced into an evening delivery shift. Time for the easy part of the job – simply slotting catalogues in mailboxes.

I park my car at the far end of a street, assemble my over-60s-only trolley and realise the papers are too big to fit inside.


I make them fit regardless.


Get to the other end of the largest street in this area (so I’m as far away from my car as physically possible) and run out of newspapers.  Jog back to my car with my trolley, restock with difficulty and then run back to the other end of the street, so I can continue delivery.


Wow…. it got dark very quickly.


Walked face-first into my second mailbox (quite an achievement considering the height difference). Definitely too dark to continue – time to call it a night.




Wake up in the morning, only to discover I sneakily received 22 mosquito bites during my delivery round last night.

17 of them are on my left calf.


Update: It’s 24… I forgot to check my arms.


Need to finish delivery round by 3:00 today, but class starts at 1pm. Decide to leave for a super early delivery round.


The wind has really picked up and half my newspapers fly out of my trolley. I abandon my trolley in a driveway as I frantically chase after these drunken newspaper birds. Arms stuffed full of runaway newspapers, I return to find my trolley has rolled down the driveway and onto the road.


Use my Linear Algebra textbook as a paperweight – finally it’s been useful for something.


32 degrees outside. A black t-shirt was a bad idea. Grime on my hands means I can’t even wipe the sweat from my eyes. Help meh.


This mailbox is tiny. Nothing fits… I don’t understand, WHERE DO YOU WANT ME TO PUT THIS NEWSPAPER!?!


I see you haven’t taken your paper from last week, number 22. Well then…you don’t deserve my love. No paper for you.

God how many more houses can there be?


Why do I have 6 Target catalogues leftover…? I was not trained for this. I’m sure number 34 wouldn’t mind if I put all 6 in their mailbox.


Oh hi, old man standing on the porch watching me struggle. How’s your day been? I really appreciate the moral support you’re giving me right now. Your condescending leer and the offensive stance you’re adopting really makes me feel like you value me.


How. Many. More. Streets. Are there?!?!?!

It’s. Been. Three. Hours!


So… I give up. Wait let me just check my map, how many more streets do I have to – hahahahahaha yeah nah fuck it. They’ll live without their junk mail for a week. I’m sure people’s lives will go on


Hops in car and legs it back home.


Considers the possibility that one of the skipped houses could be the house of the council mayor. They would realise for sure that the council newspaper was not delivered. Can I be sued for this?

12:15 pm

What do I do with all the leftover catalogues…


Have just snuck into the local retirement home. Going round the back to find a dumpster.


Dumpster found next to a gate about 40 metres away. All I have to do is get from here to there without anyone see- EMPLOYEES. FUCK. WHAT DO I DO? Act natural? Act natural. Walk like I’m meant to be here. No one will suspect me.

12:21 pm

The retirement home employees totally suspect me. I reek of dodgy.


Could only discard 50 or so catalogues. Can’t risk the retirement home again. Need to look for another dumpster.  Coles will have one, for sure.


Park the car to scout the Coles dumpster situation…. the same two employees from the retirement village walk past me “not-judging” me. I may actually have the cops called on me very soon.


I have 14 mins left to get to uni.  I get home. Dump all catalogues I have left into my recycling bin, and cover it up with some miscellaneous refuse so that no one suspects I missed any houses. #nailedit



Quit my job at Junk Mail Incorporated ™

Still poor as fuck.

Tags : deliveryjunkjunkmailmailtrunk
Jessica Suares

The author Jessica Suares

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