Vendor Profile: Jeff

29 July 2016 Anastasia Safioleas

Vendor Profile: Jeff

Vendor Profile: Jeff

I’m a Melbourne boy. I was born in Brunswick, then I moved to Yarraville and then after that we went to Braybrook and then moved to Moonee Ponds. That’s where I am now. It’s where I live, with five others. I like living with them – five people and two staff. They look after me and I get along well with them. They are my friends.

I used to work as a packer. I used to pack things for companies. I enjoyed it and did it up until we didn’t have any more work. Once we ran out of work we used to sit around doing nothing. And the money was bad. Not that great. And when I heard about The Big Issue I thought that would be more interesting and there would be more money in the pockets.

I’ve been selling The Big Issue for about four years. I had a staff member who used to work with us and she got me this job. She said I’d be selling magazine after magazine. I thought it sounded like a good idea. And when you’re selling the magazine you get to chat to the customer. I like the customers. I like talking to them.

I was on crutches first, which I used for a long, long time to walk with. But since I put the weight on, my legs buckled and I’m finding it a bit easier in a wheelchair. But once I lose this weight – I’ve lost nearly two kilos so far and I’m on an exercise program right now – it means I will have an easy time getting out of this wheelchair. I like crutches – I will start walking again.

Magazines are $7! Come and get one! I’m saving up for an electrical wheelchair. This one is on its last legs. I’ve already got half of my money saved up. The government pays half and I pay half. I have about $1000 left to go.

I love sport. I love the footy. I barrack for the Cats. I go to the footy over in Kardinia Park [in Geelong]. I go and watch the night footy down there. I don’t go to every game, just when I can. We’re going to win the flag this year. We’re in with a chance.
I want to keep selling The Big Issue. I’m pretty happy. A job is a job. And that’s it. Thank you very much for buying The Big Issue. I’ll keep selling The Big Issue to customers.

Jeff sells The Big Issue at Target in Bourke Street and at various other locations around the Melbourne CBD.

interview by Anastasia Safioleas photograph by James Braund

This article was first published in Ed#517 of The Big Issue.