Wednesday, August 19, 2009


you know...the plan was to do an interview once a month back when i first started this silly blog. i tried to keep the interviews coming but sometimes getting cats to submit some answers is harder than pulling teeth...ha! you know whats all of a sudden i get 3 in one month...i'll take it. i reached out to a good man and friend for this next interview...carey primeau. the man has moved on from being a "normal" courier to being a food delivery courier and i thought it would be cool to hear from his perspective. food delivery didn't used to get as much respect as the "normal" courier would but with times changing economically...well, that isn't the case anymore. primeau has the luxury of working for one of the best sandwich places in chicago...bari's. well...dispatch presents...carey primeau...

1.why did you decide to messenger?

In 2002 I actually went to Arrow and Standard to try and get a job but they weren’t hiring part timers. That’s around the time when I really started to get involved with biking as a transportation alternative to CTA and thought it would be nice to get paid to work on a bike.

2.when did you start? has the time been on/off or straight?

I didn’t actually get a job as a messenger until spring 2005 though, and it was with Eden’s Express. I actually remember having the addresses of a bunch of different messenger companies and planning on hitting them all up but Eden’s hired me on the spot. I had no idea when they took me on, but it turned out that the owner’s son grew up with my cousin and was a pretty close friend. Fucking eh, Chicago is a small world.

I worked with Eden’s for almost 2 years and took about 6 months off before I got lucky as hell with the Bari gig. I remember getting doored by a cab at Washington and Wacker and my knee getting fucked up to hell. Fucked up, like I’ve never seen a baseball sized knot on the side of my leg before. That’s wasn’t the only reason, but it was definitely the icing on the cake for taking some time off.

3.what bike did you start on? what do you ride today?

I started on a black Windsor Road bike that I got for about $300 and now ride a built up fixed gear on a Mercier track frame.'ve seen a few come and go...any stick out in your mind?

I feel like everyday I see new cats on the street. But nowadays it’s harder to decipher the non messengers from the messengers so that might be part of the issue. But there’s definitely those guys who you know are dedicated to the game and stick out from the rest. Jerry, Frank, UV, Nico, Adam Clark, Max-a-million, Big Joe, Seth, Andrew Nordyke… And nobody can forget the love from Ryan or Drey.

5.if you weren't messengering what would you be doing?

I’m a biker and a photographer and until one takes over the other, I’m comfortable playing both roles until the day I die.

6.since you started...what changes have you noticed for the industry? what changes would you like to see?

Security is getting worse, not better. Also, from what I hear, the courier industry is really going down the tubes.

The food industry in contrast though, is actually pretty healthy and other ways to make cash on a bike are starting to grow. Bike pedi-cabs, food delivery, and even Adams idea of traveling bike shops are a great fucking idea. And I don’t know if anyone has read about, but sex toy delivery is moving on up as well!! I read about some guys delivering sex toys on his bike! Now that’s some innovation.

If I was a messeng er I would like some consistency. There’s no reason why every building shouldn’t have the same policy. Some have messenger centers, some let you right in through the front door. But no matter what, especially if you’re a new cat, it’s hard to keep track with what building has what rules. We do the same work building after building, picking up deliveries and them dropping them off. There’s no reason why we have to be treated differently for every address.

7.greatest day messengering...worst?

The greatest day, though…. I can’t think of one in particular but I do feel fucking perfect about 75% of the time I’m on my bike. The days when its not to hot or humid in the summer; those days when it finally reaches above freezing in the winter; when the river isn’t frozen downtown is always a good feeling; those days in fall and spring when the temperature is about 50 or 60 degrees; when I don’t get honked at; the day that a car doesn’t pass me up with only inches to spare; when security is having a good day; when I see friends on the street; when people are tipping good; when the grids on the bridges aren’t too slick; when it’s not rush-hour;

When I’m making cash though, none of that matters.

When I’m making cash is when I transform into my idea of why I’m on the bike. When everything flows, when the deliveries are smooth, when clients pick up their phones… Those are the days when I feel like this is what I’m meant to do.

The worst day is the opposite of all of that. does food delivery compare to "normal" messengering?

Delivering Food is a bit different from delivering packages. #1 is respect. I get treated with so much more respect with building security than couriers, its fucking ridiculous. I’m doing the same shit essentially, but I just get to walk right in while the “normal” messenger has to spend 10 minutes going through the dock and freight. Fucked up right? This is something that boils my blood and wish I could change. There’s no reason for bullshit messenger centers, or signing in with security and leaving your bag. Couriers are in these buildings multiple times a day and they are still treated like fucking dirt. It’s discrimination and you know, that’s more than a little fucked up.

I have the luxury, though, of telling my clients to come down and meet me if security if too tight in a building. People perceive food delivery as a favor and they are much more susceptible to being told what to do, like, get off your ass and come meet me in the lobby. You can’t do that as a courier. much longer do you see yourself doing this?

See answer #5

10.advice for rookie-rookies...

If you want to bike and make money, be dedicated. Yeah, it’s fun, but you gotta treat it with respect. Respect for the dudes that have been in the game their whole life, respect for the cats whose lives have been saved by it; understand that the industry is much, much deeper than you; understand that you will loose your temper and sanity at times; and most importantly, respect the game, don’t just play it for shits and giggles.

there you have it folks...everytime i interview someone i am amazed how much i don't know and how many great people there are in this industry. an industry that should show more love to these talented individuals that come in and out of the streets every year. thank you primeau for this great have a great talent and i hope you are able to continue doing both photography and messengering. the industry needs good people like you. if you want to see more of the man's talent head over to his or check out the man's flickr. oh yeah, don't be afraid to purchase some of his beautiful photography on etsy. thanks again primeau...peace.


Damara Kaminecki said...

I'm banana's about these photo's.
Monkeys would understand. said...

well...looks like im a monkey cause believe me i understand. tha man is talented...peace.