OMAHA, NE—Peter Hewson learned an important lesson about the value of hard work Monday and received an exciting reward at the same time, when the local 11-year-old earned his very own G.E. AM/FM digital clock radio by selling Continental Publishers Incorporated greeting cards—a learning experience that totalled just 78 hours of work.
"I saw this ad in the back of a comic book," Peter said. "You could win all these prizes by selling cards, and one of them was a clock radio."
"Peter had wanted a clock radio ever since he stayed at his grandma's, and there was one in the guest room," said Karen Hewson, the industrious youth's mother. "He really liked the idea of pop music waking him up. So when he saw a clock radio in the CPI catalogue, he was naturally very excited about the prospect of earning one of his very own."
"Sure, we could have just gone to Shopko and bought him a much better clock radio for about $10," Karen said. "But how would he learn anything about life that way?"
Upon seeing the sales opportunity, an excited Peter filled out the attached enrollment form and mailed it that day. Six weeks later, he received his membership packet, which featured a welcome letter from CPI president Harmon Andruss, sales instructions, a sample folder, and an informative and entertaining "Door-To-Door Danny Wins Great Prizes The Fun Way!" comic book.
Following the enclosed instructions, Peter toured his entire neighborhood, ringing doorbells and asking people if they wished to purchase greeting cards from CPI. For every order of $10 or more, Peter earned five "prize points" redeemable for exciting prizes from the CPI catalog. Every $20 order earned him 10 points.
"I needed 200 points to get the radio," Peter said. "That's 22 boxes, so I really had to sell a lot of cards."
Peter's long, hard road to the alarm clock was filled with obstacles. The first major setback occurred about two weeks into his door-to-door sales odyssey, when he had visited the last of the houses within walking distance and was still well short of the 200-point mark.
"For a while, I kinda thought about giving up," Peter said. "But I wanted that clock radio really bad, so I started taking the city bus to other neighborhoods. And when I ran out of allowance money for the bus, I got jobs washing people's cars to get more money."
According to Andrew Hewson, the boy's father, another difficult moment came about three weeks later.
"One day, Peter came home crying because some old man had yelled at him," Andrew said. "Apparently, the guy was real busy when Peter rang his bell and he just spouted off at him. Peter told me he was sick of selling cards and didn't want to do it anymore."
Continued Andrew: "I knew, though, that if I just let him give up, he'd never learn the importance of following through on things. So I gave him a long lecture about how hard life is and how people are going to yell at him every day when he has a real job. And I kept asking him if he wanted to go back and try for that radio, until he finally said yes."
"That's my boy," Andrew said. "After that, the only real resistance I got from Peter was when he saw a much better clock radio than CPI offered for 75 cents at a yard sale."
So determined was Peter to earn the clock radio, when he was just five prize points away, he used his leftover car-washing money to purchase $10 worth of cards himself, finally reaching the goal he had set some three months before. Just seven more weeks would pass before his prize arrived by mail.
Factoring in the time he spent studying the materials, soliciting homes, filling out paperwork and delivering ordered cards, Peter calculated that he had devoted 78 hours to the project.
"We are proud to have given young Peter a start on the road to adulthood and an exciting sales career," said CPI spokesman Sam Hurst. "It's hard-working young citizens like Peter that have made America the great country it is and have helped CPI become one of the nation's leading direct-sales corporations, boasting annual receipts of some $220 million last year."
Peter, for his part, is just happy to finally have his clock radio. "Only the AM comes in, so all I can really hear is talk and news stations," he said. "I guess it's okay, though."
But perhaps Peter's greatest reward is the pride he has given his parents, who know that their son can accomplish whatever he sets his mind to.
"Peter's an achiever, that's for sure," a beaming Andrew said. "In fact, we were thinking of getting him into selling Grit magazine: There's a Bontempi table-top organ he has his eye on."