Youngsters earned money the old-fashioned way

DEL MAR — During the Depression era, the average kids had to do without a weekly allowance. Instead they made their spending money the old-fashioned way. They worked for it.
Well, it wasn’t really hard in some areas. Salesmanship was the key. There were several sales opportunities. Like delivering the morning San Diego Union or L.A. Times and The Evening Tribune and San Diego Sun after school. You collected at the end of the month and hoped your customers would add a 10 or 15 cent tip for your extraordinary service like delivering the paper on the door step instead of on the roof.
Magazines also provided spending change. Liberty, Saturday Evening Post and Colliers were popular. There were the risqué magazines like True Confessions and Photoplay that showed pretty ladies in skimpy beach wear and sometimes in undergarments. Really sexy stuff. You were rewarded with coupons depending on the number of magazines sold. There were Greenies, Brownies and Goldies. The idea was to redeem Greenies for Brownies and those for Goldies. These could be cashed in for valuable prizes like BB guns that were ideal for shooting birds out of a tree. Sometimes the pellets went astray and went through a window.
An alternative to selling publications was UCA or Cloverine salve that went for two-bits a tin. Cloverine was the seller of choice becuz it smelled good. You earned points and eventually you had enough of those on the books to qualify for a movie projector. The sales pitch was you could set up a theater in the garage and kids from all around would come to watch the movies. The projector, unlike the one pictured in a leaflet, turned out to be a hand-cranked piece of junk manufactured in a faraway country. It came with a strip of film not related to a cowboy movie.
If selling wuzzn’t your cup of tea you could pump gas and fix flat tires at one of a dozen or so stations on Highway 101 now called Camino del Mar.


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