1970s paperboys (-girls): What did your payment collection chits look like?

I remember vaguely that when the paperboy came around to collect his money, he would hand us some sort of little paper chit as a rudimentary invoice/proof of payment. Does anyone out there recall what these things looked like (or have photos of them)?

There was a paste board sheet that tore into little chits for each customer. I think it was more of a simple way to track whether I’d collected from the customer. 1" x 2", printed “Arkansas Democrat” with the month and price on it as I recall.

I don’t think mine were pasteboard, more like a slightly heavier paper, and not well perforated because they were difficult to tear cleanly. I believe they each had the week ending date, which would have been a Sunday because of Sunday-only subscribers. There was one sheet of chits per customer and I think I filled out the info on each sheet–name, address, subscription plan, cost of plan. Don’t remember if the name of the paper was on there.

Also, the sheets covered multiple months–maybe 6? I believe they had the earliest week in the bottom right and the date got later as you went left across the bottom most row, which consisted of 4 or 5 chits, then jumped up to the next highest row.

I had a paper route in 1962-63, so earlier than you are requesting. However, I think I had a regular small receipt-book with carbon copies. I don’t remember if this was provided by the newspaper or by my father. The newspaper didn’t care how I kept track, they just billed me for the papers I used.

I never had a paper route myself, but I distinctly remember those little receipts, in the 1970s and early 1980s. For our local paper, the Green Bay Press-Gazette, the delivery person had a page of receipts for each house on their route, made out of tan-colored cardstock, probably a bit thicker than an index card.

The weekly receipts were probably 3/4" x 1/2", and had the paper name on them, and the week (I can’t remember if it was a Sunday listed), and were perforated so that the delivery person could tear off the weeks that they’d been paid for, and give those receipts to the customer.

Daily paperboy here, circa 1972-1975-ish.

I never gave any sort of receipt. I do remember my bulky “route book”, that consisted of two large binder-type rings and several pages of, perhaps, 5x7" card stock, each detailing subscriber info (including daily vs. weekend subscriber and their account status).

It was very official looking, and I knew it indicated I was a man of importance.

Back in the 60s my brother delivered the Cleveland Press. He had a metal ring with a series of cards on them. They were about like playing cards though a bit bigger. Around the edge of the cards was a series of dates in small print. When you collected from a customer, you used a special hole punch to punch through the date. Nothing was given to the customer.

You were supposed to be sure to be sure to let the customer see you punching the card.

This is the only kind I remember, from the early 1950s. my uncle ran a route and I remember all his gear. Those paper punches were awesome, much more industrial then the cheap things at school.


I delivered papers in the 60s, and never heard of a chit like these. I just kept records on a sheet of paper.

Heh. Remember these suckers from (practiced paperboyhood for one summer) around 1990, not USA, so my experience might differ. They were envelope sized with two identical perforated parts. One for costumer as a receipt (what newspaper, which days, summary, personal data, etc) and one for evidence for teh boss. That for evidence also had form on the other side that helped you specify why (if) transaction was not successful. If I remeber correctly chuces were: not reachable (most common), not right address, service not adequate, new address, info missing… and I specifically remember the CUSTOMER DECEASED one, since I had to mark that choice once (really old single lady died in sleep).

Texarkana Gazette, 1973-75. One card per customer, on loose-leaf rings, in order that the route was run. Colored cardstock, about 4 inches wide by 8 inches long. In January we got new cards in a new color (from our district supervisor, I think). You wrote customer name, address, and any delivery notes at the top, so that a substitute could step in and run your route if necessary. The bottom 6 inches consisted of 12 0.5 inch x 4 inch perforated sections, which were torn off and given to the customer when they paid for the month. That way, the cards that hadn’t yet been shortened to August or whatever were a reminder of what customers hadn’t yet paid.

Ann Arbor News, ca. 1980

Each customer was given an orange card a little bigger than a dollar bill, like a hang tag, complete with string. I have no idea why they were hang tags.

The card had spaces for each month, and I had a special hole punch with a funny shape that I would use on their card at time of payment. The card was retained by the customer.
I also had a payment book where I recorded each payment.

Collecting sucked.

In the 1960’s, I was a young capitalist. Had a morning route, Las Vegas Sun. And an afternoon route, Las Vegas Review Journal.

The Sun was collected once a month at $2. Using the chits. The Review Journal was 50 cents a week. With a punch card.

We had to buy the rubber bands. The killer was when people moved. You wouldn’t know until the papers started piling up. That ate up what little profit there was.

Trivia- there is no sales tax on newspapers in Indiana, expressly for the purpose of easing paperboys’ collections. Anyway, mom and dad always tucked the little square receipt thingies under the light switch plate by the front door in case one of the carriers tried to collect twice.

And there were worse things that moving could cause…

I remember delivering regularly to one house where the owner had a giant beer bottle piggy bank in his living room, filled with change. It was about 3 feet tall–a memorable object, and I told him how cool it was. I was a 13 year old boy, so naturally such a thing would be cool and I wouldn’t imagine that this could ever be a problem.

Some months later I went to collect, from the random person who invited me in, and I made an innocent comment like “Is that awesome beer bottle coin thing full yet?” to which I don’t remember the response.

Three days later my dad got a call from the homeowner, who was threatening police action, and insisted that we both go over to have a talk with him.

Absolutely baffled, we went there at the appointed time and the guy told my dad that he thought I had broken into his home–the aforementioned comment about his coin bottle being evidence that I had seen something that I could only have seen had I been inside his house before.
He then went in his bedroom and returned with…the same kind of penny jar that most Americans have stuffed away in their bedroom somewhere–it wasn’t a big beer bottle, even though that’s what I had said in my comment.

As things turned out, the old homeowner had moved without telling me, and the new homeowner had simply taken over paying for the paper. He didn’t understand that with 75 subscribers I didn’t remember the faces of all of them, I remembered the homes, so my innocent comment wasn’t so weird.

Besides, it made no sense whatsoever why I would stupidly make such a comment had I done what he alleged. Yet, I don’t think he was convinced of my innocence.

Other comments here have reminded me that the cards with the chits were held together by metal rings. They were definitely by week and small, roughly 1" x 1/2".