I think I can honestly say that the last week has been one of the hardest that I have spent on the Bridge. Easter was early this month and a large number of people went off on their hols with their kids to places far and near, cold (skiing) and hot (Egypt and Portugal, if I remember correctly). So last week, just before the pay-days week, everyone was extremely broke! It certainly showed in my sales. I am now rather deeply in debt to several friends and behind with some bills and payments. As I still haven’t been able to save the money needed for my insurance policy, I am buying art card and double-sided sticky tabs in order to still have some sort of way to communicate with the 46,000 that pass me in the rush hour. However, in the last week, with the exception of a few kind people, my pleas for someone to “please buy a mag” have been totally ignored. I am rather looking forward to the start of the new week tomorrow, in the hope that, as people are paid they start to feel a little more generous to insolvent Big Issue sellers! If anyone happens to pass me on my pitch and finds me lying on the pavement, I probably just need a sandwich!!!
I arranged a limited liability policy last week so that I can use my whiteboard again and I deposited the money into my account. This is sometimes time consuming as I have an account with a great credit union, but their branch near London Bridge is only open Monday to Wednesday – on any other day I have to go a lot further into Peckham or Camberwell (places where I never normally go). Anyway, I emailed my policy broker asking him to ring me asap so that I could pay for the policy with my debit card, but he didn’t ring and I ended up spending some of the saved money due to rubbish sales from Tuesday onwards last week! Oh dear, so it’s back to saving again, although my broker did find me a better policy quote at £40 odd pounds. So hopefully, I WILL have the board back in a few days or I HOPE by the end of the week. What a complicated drama! Just thought I should keep you all up to date on this storm in a teacup and please feel free to show your feelings about this ridiculous matter at firstname.lastname@example.org and address them for the attention of Chris-Vendor Co-ordinator. Thank you so much if you do manage to email them – they need to know exactly how ridiculous people find their petty rules and the fact that they treated a vendor with a very good record like a dangerous criminal! Big thanks again, your support always means so much to me – I never feel alone like I did before I became a vendor – Sharon
I am sure you have all seen my whiteboard that I write messages on to keep the public up to date with what is happening in my life. This week a plain clothes policeman reported me to the Big Issue office as using language on the board that could be construed as begging. The notice on the board actually said – Lots of people on hols this week (lucky them!). Sales Tues 8/Wed 7 so not so hot – please stop and help, it will make you feel great!
So this was the supposed “begging” message. Unfortunately the Big I office was more interested in the board itself. The vendor co-ordinator, Chris, asked me – what is this board you have, where is it, how big is it, where is it in relation to the passing public etc. Now, everyone in the Big Issue office has seen my blog and also the film of my day that world-class journalist, Danielle Batist did for an online magazine article and my board features prominently in all these. I had to go into the office for a dressing-down about my potentially dangerous board and I have been told that I may use it only if I buy public limited liability insurance in case someone gets hurt by the board. Basically they are terrified that someone will try to sue them in such a situation, even though I am not an employee of the Big Issue as such, I am self-employed – if I was one of their employees then I would surely be covered by their own insurance. So now I have to raise £58 for insurance before I can entertain the passers-by with my wonderfully witty board! That’s definitely health and safety gone extremely mad – especially as my board has been in situ for three years already with no problems. If you have a minute, please email the Vauxhall office of the Big Issue and tell them how ridiculous all this is – thank you.
When I check the stats for this blog, I frequently find that I have about 5 or 6 fans who follow me in the United States. I would be very interested in communicating with these people to find out if they have anything like the Big Issue near where they live. So, if you are reading this in the US of A please leave a comment and I will be in contact to see if you know of any homeless papers where you live or work – it’ll be lovely to hear from you too! Sharon
Yet again I have added to the About Me section, in the middle this time. Have a read and see what you think of it!
Thank you so much to every lovely person who gave me cards and presents for my birthday on Wednesday. I took a very rare day off on Thursday and had a lovely lie-in and enjoyed it immensely! Also thanks again to Phil for the lovely lunch on my day off. I haven’t eaten so much in a long while. The bottles of wine, chocolates and other pressies gave me a wonderful feeling of belonging on London Bridge and it’s great that everyone thought enough of me to bother choosing a gift to cheer me up and make my day extra special. So again, thank you, thank you, thank you – I think that says it all! See you on the bridge – Sharon.
This Wednesday (18 March) is my birthday. I won’t say how old I am because it makes me feel ancient! Anyway, I just wanted to say a special thank you to Phil, who is taking me out to lunch (with real ale!) on Thursday. There’s nothing like a long lunch date to make you feel special, even when you are as old as me. Also thanks in advance to all the people who will give me a birthday gift this week – you are all so lovely to remember me on my special day. (Although as someone once said – you may feel special on your birthday but you share it with 14 million other people worldwide!) So I look forward to seeing you all on the bridge this week – my birthday week is always a great one to remember!