Even Christmas time wasn’t immune from newsboys pulling dodges on their customers. Philip Marcus had this to say about how they would make extra money around the holiday:
The big guys thought this one up. We pulled it every Christmas.
They’d have cards printed up, and they’d sell them to us little fellows for a nickel apiece. Let’s see if I remember just what was on those.
Somethin’ like this:
“Christmas comes but once a year,
“And when it comes it brings good cheer;
“So open your purse without a tear,
“And remember the newsboy standing here.”
Well, we paid a nickel apiece for those cards, and whenever we sold a paper we’d hand the card to the customer. Sometimes it was good for as much as a quarter. But this was the payoff. We always asked for the card back. They’d give us something, and they’d expect to keep the card, but we’d ask for it back; we’d use the same card over and over again—it would cost us a nickel to get another one. We called the big guys the “midnight cuckoos”—I don’t remember why.