*This is going to be a sloppy post since I’m a bit rushed. But I still wanted to put it out there.
This is How a 69 year old Grandfather Makes 30,000 won($28 USD) a Day
That’s the title of this article. It talks about how the elderly in Seoul are working as quick service delivery using the subway. What basically happens is that as elderly people over the age of 65 can use the subway for free, companies hire them to deliver packages using the subway. Those old people you see with flowers or heavy highend department store shopping bags? Yep. They aren’t off on a leisurely visit to see someone or going home from a luxurious shopping trip. They are moving packages to earn a little money. Because they get paid by the number of packages moved, they try to eat and rest while on the subway. Some companies don’t have officed, so their workers have to wait inside the subway all day till they get an order. The halabeoji whom the writer tailed in the article earned 33,600 won after working straight from 9:30am to 6:44pm. He ate his lunch(which consisted of a chunk of rice cake) on the subway. He said it was a good day and that it had ended early so he could eat dinner at home. The hours are evidently very irregular, with orders coming in at 11pm sometimes. The next day, he is to start the day at 8:30 am.
He earns on average 800,000 to 900,000 won(around $730-$830 USD) a month. This halabeoji is on the higher end of the earning spectrum, compared to his fellow deliverers. While he professes that he doesn’t really need the money, just was bored with retirement, this hardly seems like the work propelled by boredom. And even if that were true, that may not be the case of many others. There are around 200 silverquick companies in Seoul. Seoul Metropolitan responded to questions that “Most of the silverquick delivery services in downtown Seoul are privately owned, so there are no statistics or current records.” The same reply came from the Health and Social Welfare Department and the Statistics Office.
I think the next time I ever read about all these ‘rude old people on the subway’ I’ll think some more before I judge them.