A relatively simple comfort zone challenge this week in the grand scheme of things. Simply go and buy a copy of the big issue.
How many times have you walked past a Big Issue seller? You know the type, shabby clothes, overgrown facial hair, often with a dog. How many times have you barely acknowledged them when they have asked you if you’d like a copy of the big issue? For me, it was way too many. To the point my ignorance of the big issue was almost embarrassing.
I’m ashamed to say that I was completely unaware that The Big Issue magazine is an initiative to get to support homeless people. The idea is that the magazine vendors have to be homeless and they sell them to help get back on track. How could I not know that? I’ve actually ignored hundreds of people selling them in the past, and in reality this is a brilliant idea.
I walked past a seller in Hove. He was leaning on a lamppost, with his dog by his side, and the rest of his magazine under a shelter. So used to being ignored, he barely even asked me if I wanted a magazine. I approached him and asked “how much for one?”.. he quickly replied “Just £2.50, sir”. As I rummaged around my wallet and started dusting of the cobwebs in the note section. He asked “How’s your day going?”… I explained how I was on my lunch break and just taking a stroll into town. I was hesitant to ask him how his day was in return, I didn’t want to make him feel bad in anyway, but it felt like it was the best way of keeping conversation with him. “It’s been a slow morning, me and Sadie (pointing to his dog) aren’t selling that well, you’re our fifth or sixth customer. Hopefully things will pick up this afternoon, now the sun is out.” Sadie looked like a golden retriever type dog. Handing over a fiver, I claimed I only had a fiver and he could keep the change, and asked if I could give Sadie a stroke. “Of course, she loves the attention. Don’t worry, I’ve got some change… I don’t want you missing out on lunch.” I then proceeded to give Sadie a little stroke, whilst talking in a ridiculous high pitched voice, like I do with dogs. He gave me the change, wished me a good day, and I went on my way.
What a pleasant experience. I didn’t catch his name, but what a top bloke. I know there are stories where Big Issue sellers try to have people on, but this guy was a genuinely pleasant man. What he does with the money, that’s not for me to say or judge. At least he is trying to earn his way, so fair play to him.
I’ve had a little read of The Big Issue magazine, not a bad read. Kept me entertained over my lunch, and certainly worth paying £2.50 for, even to help someone out.