How many of us have walked quickly, trying to avoid making eye contact with a Big Issue seller? I’m sure we’re all guilty of it, I know I am! Every now and then I’ll look up and politely decline, it must be so hard being ignored by passers by when you’re desperately trying to make a living..
I hadn’t thought too deeply about this until I read an article in the Metro last week when I was travelling to work. You see, these people selling The Big Issue aren’t ‘scroungers’ ( I read that sellers often get verbally abused for this) they’re actually trying to make a living. Yes they’ve lived tough lives and most of them have been homeless (I’m not sure on the ins and outs of each seller, I know I don’t know them personally and I am aware that some of them may have committed crimes etc in the past), but I thought at least they are trying to help themselves!
You may know this already, but each seller pays £1.25 per magazine (which I presume means that if they don’t sell, they lose money) and they then sell it on to the public for £2.50- which I think is a lot to do with the lack of interest by the public. However, after reading the article I felt a pang of guilt, I know I don’t owe them anything, and some might go as far as saying they got themselves in that situation in the first place, but surely sparing £2.50 to somebody less fortunate can’t be that difficult?
This struck a chord with me, which is why I stopped and bought one from the first seller I came across- and he was so grateful-it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!
I’m not suggesting we all have to buy from them every Tuesday, but every now and again is a good place to start!
You can read more about the Big Issue and their work to help the homeless here!