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August 16, 2010

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Delivery man thirsts for some extra money

WORKING outdoors in the heat is one thing. Working outdoors and doing hard, physical labor is another.

Qian Xueyi delivers jugs of water. Each jug weighs 20 kilograms and he often has to lug the jugs up stairs.

"Normally I deliver 50 to 60 jugs every day, but with the temperature continuing to soar, I have 10 to 20 extra deliveries each day," Qian said.

Not that he's complaining. The Anhui Province native is happy to receive extra deliveries since he can earn "a little more" money even though it can prolong his work day from 10 hours to 12 or more.

And when he says "a little more," he means it. He earns 1 yuan for every 20kg jug of water he delivers.

To Qian, the only seemingly "good pay" for his hard work is the 100 yuan high-temperature allowance for each summer month.

By delivering 70 jugs every day without any days off, Qian can earn 2,200 yuan per month, including the high-temperature allowance, to support his family in Anhui.

Qian said he can take six or seven jugs of water on his electric bicycle per trip. He sets off from the water station at 8am and works until he's finished all deliveries for the day.

Although he arrived in the city five years ago, he now knows the streets better than some locals. He said he has probably gone down every passage, small lane and alley in the city.

Many people quit the job due to the low wage and hard labor required.

"Most of the water delivery men in the city are migrant workers as locals can't endure the hardship," said Chen Junkang, 55, chief of a water station of Shanghai Aquarius Drinking Water Co Ltd, where Qian works, on Fu Shun Road.

Qian said he won't quit as he can't find a better job in the city. Moreover, he needs to earn money to pay for his son's university tuition this year.

He said the most painful part of the job is delivering jugs of water to old residential buildings that do not have elevators.

To make things worse, some residents are rude. They sometimes refuse to let him inside because of his body odor. Some ladies even plug their noses and turn their faces away, he said.


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