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To expect Big Issue sellers to actually need our charity?

(51 Posts)
lefthanded Thu 20-Nov-14 10:02:51

This morning I watched the Big Issue seller in our local shopping precinct, take a pack of 20 Benson & Hedges cigarettes from his pocket and proceed to light one.

How much do 20 B & H cost these days? £8.50? £9.00?

Big Issue sellers buy the magazine from the publishers for £1.50 and sell it on the streets for £3 per copy. The idea being that earning money is better than begging and allows the homeless to have a way of getting money with dignity. Am I being unreasonable to think that anyone who can afford to pay £9 for 20 cigarettes doesn't need (or deserve) my charity?

Anniebach Thu 20-Nov-14 14:38:50

There are pushy an intimidating people in all walks of life , why expect differently in people who are in need ,

merlotgran Thu 20-Nov-14 14:43:17

There are also considerate and polite people in all walks of life. Why expect differently in people who are in need?

Anniebach Thu 20-Nov-14 15:00:07

I don't expect those in need to be any different to those who are not Merlotgran , be they pushy or polite, they are human beings

rosesarered Thu 20-Nov-14 16:13:05

I don't begrudge anyone who smokes, big issue seller or banker.
There are unscrupulous big issue sellers and there are genuine ones.The more dodgy ones in Oxford and surrounding areas I avoid.Sometimes you just have a gut feeling about people you meet.

rosesarered Thu 20-Nov-14 16:16:26

I know somebody will say 'but bankers can afford to smoke' but it would be very poor spirited to deny someone who stands outside all day flogging magazines the chance of a cigarette, wouldn't it?I don't smoke, BTW but as it's addictive, the seller was probably hooked before he was reduced to standing in the street.

rosequartz Thu 20-Nov-14 16:31:24

At least he was doing something worthwhile to earn some money.
I just passed a beggar hanging around in town and didn't give him any money. If I had had time I would have gone to the supermarket and bought him some sandwiches and a drink.

Soutra Thu 20-Nov-14 17:36:25

You are entitled to your opinion regarding smoking or drinking and nobody forces you to buy the Big Issue or indeed to give to down and outs. However handing out a couple of quid does not really give us the right to judge. Being poor is hard enough without (self) righteous indignation. Have we never indulged in something which to others is a luxury? It is very tempting to decide for others what constitutes legitimate spending but a cigarette may provide a few minutes' relaxation or respite from the harsh realities of poverty. "Judge not lest ye be judged"?

Ana Thu 20-Nov-14 17:56:42

Perhaps he should switch brands. Sovereign or Berkley are about £3 cheaper per packet.

mollie65 Thu 20-Nov-14 18:05:58

Soutra if someone is genuinely 'down and out' and sleeping rough I know that I would give help (and dog food for the dog as well) as would anybody.
big issue sellers are not necessarily poor if they are in receipt of housing benefit and the rest (tax credits etc) because they are deemed self-employed. Do they (rather than the Kleeneze man who goes door to door selling his wares) are more deserving of charity ?
did you read the link I posted?

Soutra Thu 20-Nov-14 18:16:07

Charity is giving there should be no strings attached. I too would often rather give a down and out a sandwich or packet of dog biscuits for his dog rather than money for his next can of beer but if I give him money I cannot insist he spends it "worthily". However I thought we were talking about buying The Big Issue, not charity handouts?

Anne58 Thu 20-Nov-14 18:24:42

Just a random thought, it might have been that the packet of cigarettes had been given to him, rather than something he had bought with his own money?

Things are not always as clear cut as they might at first be seen.

(grammar looks all wrong, but I'm claiming stress after a difficult interview!)

absent Thu 20-Nov-14 18:24:57

Just a thought – smoking acts as an appetite suppressant.

Eloethan Thu 20-Nov-14 18:28:10

Nobody forces anyone to buy the Big Issue. Is it reasonable that after someone has stood around in all weathers selling a magazine, his/her customers should dictate what he/she spends the money on?

soontobe Thu 20-Nov-14 18:30:44

Good points.

Hope your interview went well phoenix.

Big Issue sellers have to be defined as homeless to sell the magazines. The Kleeneze man probably isnt defined as homeless.

I learnt elsewhere that the definition of homeless, is something along the lines of, not having a permanent place to stay.

Ana Thu 20-Nov-14 18:48:07

Big Issue sellers have to be defined as homeless to sell the magazines.

That's not correct, soontobe

phoenix, I do hope you're not going to be job-seeking again...sad

tiggypiro Thu 20-Nov-14 19:03:02

I think I am joining you in your alternative universe lefthanded as I also have no idea what YABVU and YANVU mean. Can anyone explain please?

soontobe Thu 20-Nov-14 19:11:20

huh, Ana! smile

I went by what I thought I knew, and this

It appears their google headline and this bit, is not as clear cut as it looks.

rosequartz Thu 20-Nov-14 19:12:55

With a bit of help from the younger element wink

rosequartz Thu 20-Nov-14 19:13:23


soontobe Thu 20-Nov-14 19:13:41

Your link though does seem that you have to be in fairly big trouble to become a seller.

More trouble than the Kleeneze man may be in.

Ana Thu 20-Nov-14 19:16:27

Of course. But not necessarily homeless.

tiggypiro Thu 20-Nov-14 19:21:49

Thanks rosequartz.

soontobe Thu 20-Nov-14 20:26:52

No, true.
I wonder if selling Big Issues have saved some people from losing their homes.

Ana Thu 20-Nov-14 20:40:38

I don't know, they can't earn that much.

Probably saved the dignity of quite a few though, which is priceless.

soontobe Thu 20-Nov-14 20:45:25

No, probably not enough to save their house.
They would have to make a lot of money each week to do that, I would have thought.