[hemmerling] OWL am Sonntag

The free Advertising Newspapers

My own involvement in free advertising Newspapers

1976 - 1982

  • Until 1982, I grew up in Bielefeld. I realized that there was a free advertising newspaper with an edition “Bielefeld am Mittwoch” and “Bielefeld am Sonntag”, but there was no impact on me.

1982 - 2020

  • 1982-2020 I was reader of the free advertising newspapers in Hannover. Especially from mid-1980th and early 1990th, one of the free advertising newspapers offered telephone sweepstakes with very high chance of winning ticktets for concerts, cinema and other events. I was a frequent winner 1987 - 1993, when the phone number to call was a normal grid line number. I.e. just in case that you got through and the person responsible to carry out the telephone sweepstake accept a call, you paid a single talk time unit.
  • After 1993, you had to call an expensive value-added number, where you had to pay for each try to call the number, so I was not interested in such telephone sweepstakes anymore.
  • A testamonial of 2022, given to me about the labour conditions of newspaper distributors, before the minimum hourly wage was introduced in Germany in 2015:

Das Arbeitsangebot bestand darin, z.B. 500 kostenlose Werbe-Zeitungen zu verteilen. Dafür wurden pauschal z.B. 10 EUR DM gezahlt.

Der einzige Verteilbezirk wo Fachkräftemangel bestand, war ein Stadtteil mit Einfamilienhäusern am Rande der Stadt, ganz weit weg von meinem städtischen Wohnbezirk. Wir mussten Mittwochs um 4:00 morgens in dem Verteilbezirk zum Zeitungsverteilen erscheinen. Das ist Nachtarbeit.

Es gab andere innerstädtische Verteilbezirke, mit großen Mehrfamilienhäusern und Hochhäusern, da war man in einer Stunde mit der Arbeit fertig und musste wenig laufen, im Stadtteil mit den Einfamilienhäusern brauchte man das doppelte oder gar dreifache der eingeplanten Zeit, musste eben nochdazu die ganze Zeit rumrennen und einen schweren selbst zu organisierenden Einkaufwagen schieben, legale Möglichkeiten aufs Klo zu gehen gabs auch nicht.

Da nach Stückzahl bezahlt wurde, war der tägliche Arbeitslohn der gleiche, nur halt nicht die benötigte Arbeitszeit. Aussage des Subunternehmers, der das Arbeitsangebot machte “Uns ist doch egal wie lang Sie dafür brauchen. Arbeiten Sie schneller, dann brauchen Sie weniger Zeit. Mein Unternehmen wird vom Zeitungsverlag auch nach Stückzahl bezahlt”.

Nur gab es nie freie Jobs in den attraktiven innerstädtischen Verteilbezirken.... oder da die Zeitungen sowohl Mittwochs als auch Sonntags erschienen, die Jobs am Samstag tagsüber zum Verteilen der Sonntagszeitung, egal in welchem Verteilbezirk. Bei den (relativ) akzeptablen Jobs gab es nie Fachkräftemangel...

2020 - 2023

  • 2020-11 I moved from Hanover to Bielefeld. Now I got the free advertising newspaper “OWL am Sonntag”. In the issues I collected as waste paper, which were only regularly delivered until 2021-02-27, job advertisements for newspaper distribution without a car for the districts “Schildesche” and “Gellershagen” were only to find in the 2020-11-08 and 2021-01-23 issues:

Nebenjob gesucht?
Wir suchen zuverlässige Mitarbeiter ( m,w,d ) auf Minijobbasis für die Zustellung unserer OWL am Sonntag in ... Schildesche, Gellershagen...
Bewerben Sie sich jetzt, wir freuen uns auf Sie!
Frau XXXX, Telefon: 0521-XXX-XXX, Westfalen-Blatt "Zeitungszusteller (m/w/d) gesucht".

  • I overlooked these job offers and did not apply for them, respectively. Since 2021-02-27, just very few issues of “OWL am Sonntag” were distributed to my house, so I lost contact.
  • On 2022-03-12, I received a paper flyer in the mailbox:

Zusteller (w/w/d) ab 15 Jahren für die Verteilung der 'OWL am Sonntag' in Bielefeld in Ihrem Wohnbereich auf Minijobbasis am Samstag.

  • I applied and I was accepted, so I worked 2022-03-26 - 2023-04-29 as newspaper distributor for “OWL am Sonntag”.
  • As time went by, I received a total of 3 more distribution districts after the first 3 distribution districts. The highest working hours/month and the highest earned income/month was at the end of the employment time, i.e. in 2023-02 - 2023-04. Guess which distribution district I was never offered 2022-03 - 2023-04? Well, the distribution district to which the part of the street where I live belongs to... though there was no frequent distribution, mostly there was no distribution at all.
  • 2023-04-30 is the last day of publication of “OWL am Sonntag” and similar free advertising newspapers of the publishing house, in the regions “Münsterland”, “Ostwestfalen-Lippe”.


The very-last Issue of 2023-04-30

OWL am Sonntag - The very-last issue of 2023-04-30

A typical Storage Location in 2022 - 2023

OWL am Sonntag - Storage location OWL am Sonntag - Distribution package

  • The photo of the storage location shows newspaper packages with a total of 540 newspapers.
  • There were distribution packages of 10, 15 or 20 issues.
  • Sample weights:
    • In 2022, the weight of such a package with 15 issues ( with TV supplement and quite large number of advertising leaflet flyers ) was 6.2 Kg.
    • In 2023, the weight of such a package with 15 issues ( without TV supplement and with little number of advertising leaflet flyers ) was 4.3 Kg or 5.0 Kg.
    • In 2023, the weight of such a package with 20 issues ( without TV supplement and with little number of advertising leaflet flyers ) was 5.3 Kg.

The traditional Transport Vehicles ( 1970th - 2010th )

Shopping Carts

  • As far as I noticed as consumer, most newspaper distributors in Germany didn't get any transportation vehicle from the distribution service, for decades. it was up to the newspaper distributors themselves how they transported the newspapers from the storage location to the mailbox. By this some newspaper distributors were urged to steal shopping carts from food supermarkets. Loading shopping carts with newspapers made the center of gravity very high, which leads to a risk of tipping over, especially when crossing curbs.

Bicycle Bags specially designed for transporting Newspapers

The technological Upgrades in the 2010th

The 2-wheeled Trolley of "OWL am Sonntag" ( - 2023-04 )

The final Phase Vehicle: The 4-wheeled Trailer of "OWL am Sonntag" ( 2022-03 - 2023-04 )

OWL am Sonntag - New new 4-wheeled trailer OWL am Sonntag - New new 4-wheeled trailer

Comparison 2-wheeled Trolley versus 4-wheeled Trailer

  1. You have to constantly lift the weight of the 2-wheeled trolley and the loaded newspapers.
  2. Even the smallest bumps and edges (and not just pavement curbs) can only be crossed backwards, with the 2-wheeled trolley.
  3. The moisture cover works well with the 2-wheeled trolley.
  4. Capacity:
    1. The capacity of the 2-wheeled trolley is 10 x newspaper packages ( 15 newspapers, 5kg weight ) = 150 newspapers. With 6.2Kg packages, there might be not enough space, then you especially have to untie the packages, which might not be good for the stability.
    2. The 4-wheeled trailer may carry easily 225 newspapers of any size, i.e. also of 15 newspaper packages ( 15 newspapers, 6.2kg weight ).
  5. The weel diameter and the tire thickness of the 2-wheeled trolley are smaller than with the 4-wheeled trailer. So no advantage of the lightweight 2-wheeled trolley in case of snow.

This is what the Mailboxes looked like after Delivery

OWL am Sonntag - This is what the mailboxes looked like after delivery OWL am Sonntag - This is what the mailboxes looked like after delivery

  • The third mailbox from the top has a delivery ban sticker “Bitte keine Werbung oder Zeitung”.

Delivery Bans

Sufficient Delivery Bans

  • “Bitte keine Werbung und kostenlose Zeitungen einwerfen”, “Keine Werbung! Keine Kostenlosen Zeitungen, Handzettel, Wurfsendungen und Wochenzeitungen!, “Keine Werbung keine Zeitung”,”Bitte keine kostenlosen Zeitungen!”, “kein OWL”.

Not sufficient Delivery Bans

  • “Bitte keine Werbung”.

Photos taken during the Distribution

OWL am Sonntag - Photos taken during the Distribution OWL am Sonntag - Photos taken during the Distribution

Support Documents ( 2022-03 - 2023-04 )

  1. Paper booklet “EXTRAMacher - Herzlich Willkommen - ein kleiner Wegweise für einen guten Start” by Unternehmensgruppe Westfalen-Blatt, 22 pages.
  2. The employer provided OpenStreetmap based maps with the marked distribution district.
  3. A typical self-created list to keep track of delivery bans.

Online Editions


Business Directories


Business Analysis

  • The development of OWl-am-Sonntag reminds me strongly of the “mechanical calculators” that existed - before my time - until the mid-1960s, where you set the numbers with switches and calculated with a crank. In the last years of production in the 1960s I am shure that there were “insane technological breakthroughs” and then the electronic pocket calculator with microchip, display and typing pad ruined the business completely..... I was recently at the Nixdorf Computer Museum in Paderborn, where you can play around with a mechanical pocket calculator from Braunschweig, built around 1965, and experience the user experience...
  • At “OWL am Sonntag” there were these technological upgrades by supplying trolleys for the newspaper distributors and then later 4-wheeled carts for just over a year, where I was the test driver - before that no newspaper distributor in Bielefeld was supplied with such a device, after that a few more carts were probably purchased...
  • Before these technological upgrades, the newspaper distributors were not properly paid by subcontractor chain business and they were not provided with any transport options for decades - at least in the neighboring region of Hanover. So 1976-2018 no appropriate payment for the delivery staff, and after 4 years of appropriate payment the industry is broken, at least in the regions “Münsterland”, “Ostwestfalen-Lippe”...


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