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Big Issue vendor - did I do the right thing?

(18 Posts)
WigWamBam Sat 19-Mar-05 17:46:25

Bought a copy of the Big Issue today from my usual vendor, and after I had paid him he said, "You don't really want the magazine, do you?", to which I said I did, and took a copy from him. He then complained because he had only got 8 copies left, the Big Issue office was closed for the weekend, and he couldn't get any more stock to sell until Monday, and he wanted me to give him the money and not take the magazine.

The Big Issue often have a note in saying that vendors shouldn't do this, yet now I feel guilty for having taken the magazine, although I would have felt taken advantage of if I had just given him the money. I always give more than the cover price, so he got his money's worth, but what would everyone else have done in that situation? Am I just a mean old haridan?

WideWebWitch Sat 19-Mar-05 18:08:04

Don't feel guilty, he shouldn't have suggested it, you're not mean IMO, I'd have done the same and I'm a bleeding heart pinko Guardianista!

Freckle Sat 19-Mar-05 18:09:48

Absolutely not. If he's acting in direct contravention of directives from the Big Issue, that's his problem, not yours. If you paid for the magazine (and more than the asking price), then you are entitled to take it. Sounds like he's trying to scam you. At the end of the day, if he wants money for nothing, he ought to be honest about it and try begging.

Sounds heartless, I suppose, but there is obviously a reason why the Big Issue put those notes in there.

hub2dee Sat 19-Mar-05 18:14:41

No. He's being rude. You're in the right.

WWB, I wonder if you saw my challenge to you ? here

Perhaps you already have ?

bonym Sat 19-Mar-05 18:16:22

You definitely did the right thing. As Freckle says - money for nothing is just begging. Funny though because I often have the opposite dilemma - I frequently buy one but hardly ever read it and end up throwing it away so wonder if I ought to just give the money and not take the magazine?

WigWamBam Sat 19-Mar-05 18:28:56

I saw it, hub2dee ...

I think it's because I've been a regular for a couple of months that I feel guilty - and perhaps that's why he thought he could ask as well. I wouldn't have had any problems giving just the money to our old vendor, but he had always been very kind to my dd and shared things like his strawberries and chocolate with her, so it's a different situation.

I still feel guilty - what if he can't afford to eat tonight?

jampots Sat 19-Mar-05 18:30:06

Then take him a sandwich WWB - please your helping him to help himself

WigWamBam Sat 19-Mar-05 18:33:12

Yes, I know you're right, jampots, I just can't help feeling that I should have done more to help.

I'm just being soft, I know it shouldn't be niggling me like this.

jampots Sat 19-Mar-05 18:39:51

please stop torturing yourself WWB - you bought a mag that he was selling.

WWB if I asked you to send me a quid would you do it?

WigWamBam Sat 19-Mar-05 18:41:42

Actually, I probably would, yes. I know, gullible or what?

jampots Sat 19-Mar-05 18:43:25

excellent - i;ll CAT you my address

WigWamBam Sat 19-Mar-05 18:44:17

Many more like me and you could be set for life!

Tinker Sat 19-Mar-05 18:50:56

Must admit, I sometimes give them the money and don't take the mag - never read 'em.

hub2dee Sat 19-Mar-05 18:51:24

Teaching him the hard lesson of capitalism. Next time he will buy more stock !

WigWamBam Sat 19-Mar-05 18:53:58

But what if he couldn't afford to buy more stock?

I know, I know, not my problem.

mummytosteven Sat 19-Mar-05 18:56:29

I would have done the same, I get irritated when this happens to me TBH as I feel that it detracts from the whole Big Issue system, and deters people from buying the issue.

hub2dee Sat 19-Mar-05 19:02:28

By buying the magazine, you are giving them some money.

By paying an extra on top, as a gift, you are giving them a little more.

By asking if he can keep your money and your magazine he is putting himself out of a job.

So, you are helping him secure an income and move out of homelessness, WWB. I can understand your concern for him, and it's obviously not a situation anyone would like to be in, but just continuing to buy the magazine, fairly, is the best way to help him, IMO.

moschops Sun 20-Mar-05 10:45:49

i always give more than the cover price and usually stop for a chat too. ( we don't have sellers in our town, so only see them when i go to the city)

the only time we did have a seller in our town i used to buy him lunch three days a week (sandwich and cup of tea) and as it was winter and bitterly cold he used to come round to my shop and i'd make him a cuppa and let him warm up for a bit. i got to know him and he really had been dealt a hard hand. he was trying to raise enough money to get to his girlfriend as she was due to give birth. in the end he was a fiver short on the train fare which i gave him (and he took under protest). off he went and i never expected to see him again................he came back a month later to tell me his son had been born on xmas day, and he had found accomodation for himself and his new family.

and he gave me my fiver back, which i accepted under protest, but understood he had some pride.

so you absolutely did the right thing. i am a soft touch but learnt pretty quickly how to deal with homeless people (i live in a seaside town, they are starting to arrive now!)..........some of them really do want to get out of the poverty trap and will accept any help offered. others just want money for drugs/alcohol and selling the Big Issue is a legitimate reason to be asking for money.

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