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To ignore the Big Issue seller

(59 Posts)
Beeyump Mon 07-Oct-13 10:41:54

There is a guy that sells the Big Issue right outside the station I use to get to and from work. For ages, I felt guilty walking past him - usually very quickly as I was rushing to the office - but eventually bought one. Sounds ridiculous, but he held it too high for me to reach for ages, before eventually tapping me on the head with it and giving it to me. Ho ho!

Anyway, fair enough, but since then he expects me to buy one every Tuesday, yells out at me as I go past etc. so that I feel a bit conspicuous. When I have bought one again, he's all 'Heyy Beautiful...or are you gay?' and other rather random things.
In my paranoid, twitchy head, I now dread seeing him every morning and don't want to buy any more but feel flippin guilty. Honestly, I can make life such a trial for myself. Should I just keep my headphones in and ignore?

squoosh Mon 07-Oct-13 12:34:36

But there are lots of people selling the Big Issue who have a friendly and professional manner. I'm not going to buy multiple copies so will always buy from someone like that rather than someone who makes me feel uncomfortable.

CocacolaMum Mon 07-Oct-13 12:35:16

I would ignore anyone who spoke to me like that. Whether they were attempting to sell me something or not!

fluffyraggies Mon 07-Oct-13 12:36:00

I don't think anyone has a right to make anyone else uncomfortable. On the street or otherwise.

YouTheCat Mon 07-Oct-13 12:36:20

So it's okay for him to challenge the OP on her sexuality which has nothing whatsoever to do with homelessness?

That won't make her question anything to do with that issue.

How silly.

Vivacia Mon 07-Oct-13 12:36:39

I tell them I get it delivered - usually takes them a minute to work that one out.

And how does that make you feel? Clever?

Chelvis Mon 07-Oct-13 12:36:56

So let me understand this - intimidating women is acceptable if you are living on the streets or insecurely housed. What about if he was making odd, rude comments to black people? Muslims? Gay people? If the things he is saying are unpleasant and intimidatory, then they are unacceptable, whatever his life situation. Please report, he's probably doing this to other people too and damaging a good organisation's name.

CeliaFate Mon 07-Oct-13 12:37:03

Yanbu. You shouldn't have to tolerate behaviour that makes you uncomfortable. You wouldn't accept it from the guy behind the counter in WH Smith.
I bought a Big Issue, went off shopping and then passed him on my way back. He asked if I wanted to buy one, I said Thanks, I already have. He then proceeded to shout at me all the way down the street "YOU LIAR!" over and over again. I was mortified and quite alarmed as to what he was going to do.
I vowed not to buy one again and just give to charity instead.

Libertine73 Mon 07-Oct-13 12:38:35

Honestly, just go 'no thanks'! As soon as he catches your eye.

I think reporting him would be going a bit far.

Chelvis Mon 07-Oct-13 12:39:14

niminypiminy, how is he challenging the complacent attitude of society by shouting comments at a woman about her sexuality? If he was asking 'off to your nice warm house tonight?' to passers by, I could understand. But what's the link between sexuality and housing?

Beastofburden Mon 07-Oct-13 12:39:31

niminy By all means let BI sales staff make us uncomfortable about homelessness.

Allowing them to be total arses about sex is a different matter and sounds to me like classic middle class liberal guilt speaking.

Just because they are homeless does not mean that everything they do is about homelessness.

EverybodysStressyEyed Mon 07-Oct-13 12:43:29

I wonder if you are talking about the same station as the one near my work. My colleague bought a copy once and since then he has been harassing her when she walks past. Not banter but crude comments about her looks in an attempt to sell her another copy (unsuccessful unsurprisingly). She finds it really intimidating.

The person who sold it there before was a friendly chap and you could have a chat with him. I hope he has moved on to better things.

YouTheCat Mon 07-Oct-13 12:45:01

Viv, why would it make me feel clever? I don't want to buy a BI. I don't have to. I get continual harassment from the same sellers every week and it pisses me off. Tbh I usually just ignore. The 'get it delivered' comment is reserved for the persistent and annoying sellers.

I give to other charities that I want to give to. I am not being guilted into buying a really crap magazine.

niminypiminy Mon 07-Oct-13 12:46:01

No, but I did say, in my first post, if you have complaints about his behaviour, phone the BI -- as an organisation they encourage that. They have a strict code of conduct for BI sellers and they will stop people selling if they break it repeatedly.

But you do need to understand that people who live on the streets have had the worst life chances -- they haven't been brought up in polite drawing rooms with Miss Manners.

I'm always shocked at the number of people who think it's ok to treat homeless people as if they weren't really people.

Beastofburden Mon 07-Oct-13 12:49:07

That's why I said that phoning the BI line would be feedback that could help the guy move on, not a complaint, so I would do it.

Better than leaving him with his appalling behaviour and just avoiding him, so he never knows what he is doing wrong and can't address it.

niminypiminy Mon 07-Oct-13 12:49:17

(And I always suspect when people say, self-righteously, that they give to other charities, or give food, that when you ask them how much and how often they actually give, the answer would turn out to be 'not much and not often'. Donations to charities are going down year on year, and the only group whose donations are staying stable rather than declining are the over 65's.)

CeliaFate Mon 07-Oct-13 12:49:47

Nobody's saying it's ok to treat homeless people as if they weren't really people. But just because they're homeless doesn't give them the right to harass people in the street, particularly when they're trying to get people to buy something from them.
They are a representative of the Big Issue charity and should conduct themselves appropriately.

YouTheCat Mon 07-Oct-13 12:50:57

So? I give what I can, when I can. It is no business of yours whatsoever.

Scarifying Mon 07-Oct-13 12:55:34

Don't be embarrassed, just smile and say no thanks.
Repeat when necessary.

It really is that simple

KillerKoalaFace Mon 07-Oct-13 12:56:20

Actually niminy I feel like you are dehumanising the homeless by making out they don't have the same ability as the rest of us to be respectful and not intimidating.

I always buy the Big Issue when I can afford it and I was really friendly with one years ago that I saw every day and would buy an extra coffee for him. I was devastated when he died after an artery collapsed.

OP I agree that contacting the office is a good idea and just keep ignoring him until he leaves you alone.

ubik Mon 07-Oct-13 12:58:53

op - Say hello, buy the mag if you want to but if not, just say 'no thankyou.' And walk on. It's a tiny thing, not worth worrying about.

CeliaFate Mon 07-Oct-13 12:59:32

Yes, I agree Killer. You're pitying the homeless niminy and making out that they lack the social skills accorded to the rest of us.

ubik Mon 07-Oct-13 13:02:09

I remember being in Oxford Street at about 3am and some bloke on a striped shirt and trousers, clearly hammered and probably more, walked past some poor homeless kid sat in a doorway and shouted "get a fucking job" in his face. Cunt.

KatoPotato Mon 07-Oct-13 13:06:05

I remember my friend telling me she was no longer buying the Big Issue because the seller didn't remember her and that she'd already got it.

FFS how entitled?

niminypiminy Mon 07-Oct-13 13:11:12

It's an irregular verb -- you say pitying, I say empathising.

I don't think I ever said that BI sellers shouldn't behave well. I said that we need to stand in their shoes and remember that it is easy to be nice when your life is nice.

Beeyump Mon 07-Oct-13 13:14:27


Okayyy... I did say that I thought 'that could be me' re. addiction etc. (having had great life chances btw) I don't think the man should be making people feel uncomfortable with weird and slightly aggressive remarks, whatever his situation is.

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