1 May 2017

Glenn F, Sydney

Photograph by Peter Holcroft

I enjoy my job selling The Big Issue. I’ve been doing it a long time now, about seven or eight years, and it’s lots of fun. I try and interact with the customers walking past. I count down the lights for them, I spin my magazines (which is a trick I learned when I used to do pizzas years ago) and I try to make up spruiks that might make people smile or laugh as they go by. Seeing the customers happy when I talk to them puts a smile on my face.

Before The Big Issue I was looking after my daughter, who is in a wheelchair. She is 21 now, but it was a big challenge. I also couldn’t find proper work because of my arthritis and all that sort of stuff. I did some part-time pizza work down in Campbelltown and used to do letterbox deliveries, but I changed to The Big Issue because I enjoy it.

I’m originally from Adelaide, but I moved to Sydney about 20 years ago. At the time my mum wanted to come to Sydney for work, so my daughter and I moved over. We decided to stay here when Mum went back to Adelaide.

I’ve been selling down at Central Station for a long time now. Sometimes I do that with my partner, Eliza. I have also started doing Bondi Markets on the weekends with her. When I’m working with Eliza it puts a smile on my face, because she is a really nice girl and when she’s out with me she does a really good job. Sometimes my daughter comes with me, too. She loves speaking to my customers; they always put a smile on her face.

The best thing about selling The Big Issue is going out there every day. It’s a challenge, so you have to go out there thinking to yourself: ‘Okay, it’s going to be a good day or a bad day.’ Two-and-a-half years ago I had a rough patch. But I had a lot of support to help me through, especially from Eliza; she inspired me and told me to keep my chin up and keep going. Since I’ve met Eliza, life has just been happy. She’s changed my life, looked after me and welcomed my daughter.

Another good thing about this job is that you can travel and work. If I go to another state I can work there, no questions asked, no interview. I’ve sold in Adelaide and in Melbourne for periods over the years.

I do a lot of volunteer work at festivals, too. I’ve done Sydney Festival and Motorsport, and I do the Easter Show and Vivid every year. It is nice to do something different and I can go out and meet people.

For the future I’m hoping that I’m still doing this. I’d like to say a massive thank you to all the local businesses that have helped me over the years. And I’d like to thank all my customers, some who I’ve had over the eight years, for all their support. I’ll be around for a while longer.

Glenn F sells The Big Issue at Central Station in sydney on the corner of Elizabeth and Foveaux.

This article first appeared in Ed#528 of The Big Issue.

Interview by Sam Clark
Glenn F sells the big issue at Central Station in Sydney on the corner of Elizabeth and Foveaux.