Every day as you walk through town you will see big issue sellers and nearly everyone will have ignored them. Because we do. Sellers have always been there, the magazine was founded in 1991 so has been part of our lives since forever.
I thought it was the worst kind of begging for years. Then with the crazy government cuts I wanted to know what was going on out there on the streets, there are record levels of homelessness caused by various cuts and job losses And it will only get worse. Charities are telling us not to give money to homeless people, so it is hard not to do to help the people we see shiving on the street.
The ethos of the big issue is that the people has a stable job and learns money management, so they can care for themselves. every seller has to buy their magazines, they cost around £1 each. The magazines they buy can only be sold for one week, and if they aren’t sold they cannot do anything else with them. It takes a level of business acumen and planning that I really couldn’t manage.
The sellers are given a pitch and cannot sell anywhere other than that, so if you really don’t want to buy they are so easy to avoid. Not to mention they have to be accredited by a health worker or social services. How is it that hard to sell one magazine to members of the public. The one thing that always stopped me buying it was I didn’t want to ask what it costs. It costs £2.50, which is 40p more than a pint in spoons. And the glow you get can’t even compare, and I don’t feel ill the next morning.
My seller is one of my friends, or I like to think he is. Every week I meet him and we talk about our weeks, his dog makes a fuss of me. He loves having a dog because she helps him stay warm at night, especially in winter. He suffers from agoraphobia and finds it hard to be out and about, he hates football but is trying to learn about it have a crack with the fans. Make his day. And yours.