Korea’s Deliverymen Work Backbreaking 12 Hour Days

After articles about apartment complexes making things difficult for deliverymen by restricting their ability to drive into the complex, and making them lug heavy packages from outside the gate, another article sheds light onto their difficult working conditions. Netizens express sympathy for deliverymen, and gratitude for their service.

Video from KBS:

“Working 12 Hour Days to Make Ends Meet”…Exhausted Deliverymen


Nowadays, the busiest people are deliverymen.

While the number of people who make overseas direct purchases at shopping males is increasing and the quantity of deliveries rapidly increases every month, deliverymen’s pockets aren’t growing any deeper.

Reporter Lee Kyung-jin has more.


Deliveryman Choi Pil-sun works various jobs from 6:00 AM – 3:30 PM, after which he starts making deliveries.

To cut down on his delivery time, he loads up and carries fifteen five kilogram boxes of fruit at once.

Deliveryman: “I’ll put the remaining six boxes here. Have a nice day~”

Skipping lunch is common to deliver all one hundred and fifty boxes of fruit a day.

Interview, Deliveryman Choi Pil-sun: “I usually don’t eat [lunch]. They’re cutting down on the delivery time, and more people are calling in, asking “When are you going to make the delivery?”

Over the past ten years, the quantity of deliveries has more than quadrupled.

However, over the same period of time, the unit delivery cost for a box has fallen by more than 30%, and last year, businesses cut off rates for the boxes at 2,200 won a piece.

Delivery companies competitively decreased their prices to win contracts from their main distribution company clients, leading delivery fees to stay around 700 won per package.

Because of this, deliverymen regularly work twelve hours a day, and even if they deliver one hundred fifty packages, they only receive about 1,500,000 a month after deducting the installments paid on their delivery trucks, the cost of gas, and other expenses.

Korea has eighteen delivery companies.

If companies like Nonghyup and Lotte enter the delivery service market and book at low prices, working conditions for deliverymen may worsen.

Comments from Naver:


Thank you and sorry.


You deliverymen always work so hard. Deliverymen! Hope you have a great New Year’s and cheer up!!”


Cheer up, deliverymen! I’m always grateful for your services.


Thanks to the deliverymen for all your hard work~~^^


Fighting, deliverymen!


Before saying that they’re deliverymen because they didn’t study, first, you should see that people are divided into those that work with their brains, and manual workers who aren’t treated well. So if they ask for conditions to be improved, the answer they receive is that they slacked off so much in school, so this is the result, and that if they have issues with it, they should study hard to succeed. There are a lot of people who have reasons for becoming deliverymen– after they retired, they needed money for their family’s hospital expenses, or their business failed, not because they were slacking off in school. These are lives they have been given, but yet they struggle and making fun of their hard work is not right. It’s great to study hard, yet it’s fucking worthless to work hard as a manual labor? These narrow-minded losers.


Society is not right in its mind. No matter what job you do, shouldn’t they let you make enough to survive if you work hard?


The more developed a country is, the more millions of won you can make through manual labor…the biggest problem for our country moving forward…is that these kinds of young people will all look for office jobs, and make it even more difficult to find a job.


In all good conscience, let’s just buy the water ourselves…I live somewhere where there’s no elevator, so I never order mineral water.


I always feel happy when I see a delivery coming. It’s all thanks to the deliverymen. I’m always thankful for what you do. Buck up~~^^


Compared to how much the deliverymen work, the amount of [pay] they get is very little.


I’m a driver working for CJ..In the past, when they had an article about deliverymen, there were a lot of negative comments about deliverymen. But now, most people are expressing their gratitude for deliverymen, so I’m really glad to see that. There are annoying ones from both customers and deliverymen. But most of them are good people. I feel happy, and feel that it’s worthwhile looking at the comments. I will rest up on the holidays, and make more good deliveries, haha.


The majority of the delivery fees we pay all seem to go to the delivery companies…

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  • MikeinGyeonggi

    Another grossly underpaid service industry. Whether it’s taxis, deliveries, food service, or anything else in the service sector, South Korea runs on cheap, fast labor. Netizens may feel sorry for them, but how many would be willing to pay 500 won more per delivery so that these guys can earn a decent wage?

    • Chucky3176

      That’s what I don’t quite understand. Koreans don’t mind working in the service industry, yet nobody, I mean NOBODY, wants to work in the manufacturing industry, on the factory floors (I’m not talking about the office people). The pay is probably actually better in the manufacturing, compared to the minimum wages paid in the service sector. In fact, the imported foreign workers with H-visa’s are forbidden to work in service sector jobs. However, they do make a lone exception for the ethnic Koreans from mainland China (who by the way take up a huge margin of service jobs), the service jobs are mostly reserved for South Koreans.

      My guess is that manufacturing industry, even with better pay, has a strong social stigma attached to it as jobs for the ill-educated, less talented, and less intelligent. Also relatively poor level of safety compared to other sectors has something to do with it. But that’s never going to improve when all they’re going to do is rely on cheap imported labor.

      • adrian.lowe

        Don’t blame the poor Asian or ethnic korean. Blame your lazy ass countrymen instead. Or your government.

      • ParkJeongher

        It’s a collective society where most people place some serious value on what other people think (which is mostly arbitrary). What’s there not to get? In general, nobody wants to be the outsider. It takes some serious courage to go against the grain in Korea. Little recognition if you succeed, major beatdown and reminders if you fail.

  • vonskippy

    It takes two people to get screwed, if the deliverymen won’t stand up for better wages, then they get what they get.

  • kari

    Movers have it even worse than deliverymen. My uncle was a mover, carrying heavy furniture up and down stairs, in and out of trucks, for years. Pianos were the worst fucking things.

    • Happy Pancake

      My friend was being cheap once and asked me and his brother in law to help him “move some stuff” one day. When we arrived, we discovered he wanted us to help him move the upright piano from his living room and try to fit it onto a rented truck.

      I have another friend whose parents run a company which handles moving pianos and I KNOW that they have specialized tools and techniques to do this.

      I tried explaining this to my friend but he refused to wait for me to ask to see if we could borrow a piano dolly at the very least.

      Working like retards, the three of us managed to move the piano about five meters, created various holes in the wall, scraped the floor and finally gave up when we couldn’t figure out how to angle the piano out of the exceptionally narrow door and hallway in front of his door.

      We left it there and I think he hired professional piano movers to get it out of his house a few weeks later.

      • Happy Pancake

        Some mofos are always trying to ice skate uphill

  • bigmamat

    Koreans are every bit as bad as Americans when it comes to stigmatizing work. They should open their eyes and see what has happened in the country that their economic system mirrors. Back when the US manufacturing industry ground to a halt and most of those jobs were imported to Asia “white collar” workers had zero sympathy for them. They blamed unions and claimed their labor lacked value because it didn’t require a degree. It was “low skilled”. Service level jobs and retail then mostly belonged to young people, teenagers, college students and immigrants. Oh well, what goes around comes around. Now look who’s crying the blues, the “white collar” middle class. Massive layoff of “the educated” class and they can’t see how we got here. They may be in for a seriously rude awakening if this new trade agreement gets pushed through. There are always a bunch of hungrier people somewhere in the world willing to do your job for a lot less money.

    • Chucky3176

      Come to think of it, and now that you put it that way, it’s more and more Koreans are looking like that too. Entire manufacturing centers that used to be in Korea, have packed up and left for China. And now recently, those same Korean companies are moving from relatively high cost China, to Vietnam and India, in ever more search for cheaper labor. The role model of balanced industrial growth is Germany. They’re still making high valued products in Germany giving jobs to Germans who are not ashamed to pick up the screw drivers. Where as in South Korea, those jobs are filled by poor Asian foreigner guest workers on 3 year H class Visa’s.

      • bigmamat

        Modern free market capitalism at it’s finest.

  • death_by_ivory

    Each website has its own delivery service? Post office doesn’t deliver packages?That is actually a good idea.I would like to put some post office workers out of job here.So lazy.I live in an elevator building and last week the post office guy refused to come upstairs.Against regulations.So then what is his job?

  • hello123

    it must be hell working in korea. just like any other city in Asia. no labor laws, no unions. they can fire you at the drop of a hat.

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