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Pushing ice cream on wheels in 1980s Saskatchewan

The strategy seemed simple: Go out there and sell ice cream to kids who want to buy it.

'Remember to give those people a chance to hear the bells and get their money'

Sean O'Shea reports on the young ice cream peddlers of Saskatchewan in the summer of 1985. 1:44

The strategy seemed simple: Go out there and sell ice cream to kids who want to buy it.

And 34 years ago, fellow kids were selling that ice cream on the streets of Saskatoon, Sask.

In July of 1985, CBC's Midday ran a report on the kids operating Dickie Dee freezer-equipped bicycles there and showed viewers how hard they were working that summer.

"There aren't many jobs these 13- and 14-year-olds can get. It's one of the only ways they can make money," reporter Sean O'Shea told viewers.

O'Shea said the ice-cream sellers got a commission of 25 per cent of what they were able to sell.

He asked one young man how much money he could make in a summer.

"Close to about $2,000, probably, or $1,500 or something like that," the young man said.

'Get their money'

This young man was among the many peddling ice cream on pedals in Saskatoon in the summer of 1985. (Midday/CBC Archives)

Beyond the money, these young ice-cream sellers were also learning the subtle art of salesmanship.

"Be careful out there," a grown-up told a group of the young ice-cream sellers, as a CBC camera recorded a pump-up speech they got before heading out on their route.

"Go slow," he said, before reminding them to "remember to give those people a chance to hear the bells and get their money."