Home  /  The Big Issue Magazine  /  Vendors  /  Michael T

16 November 2018

Michael T


Michael sells The Big Issue in Melbourne CBD.

I was born in NSW. King George V Memorial Hospital in Camperdown is what it says on my birth certificate. But I’ve lived in Melbourne my whole life. I grew up in homes and orphanages until I was 18. It had its tough moments. I didn’t get a proper education. In the homes they move you around all the time, so I didn’t get a chance to finish school. I guess you can say I went to the school of life instead. I’ve met my birth mother, but she died a long time ago. I don’t have any siblings. It’s a complicated story. My file is probably up to the ceiling. It’s not that I don’t want to talk about it. I can tell you about some terrible stuff, but people wouldn’t want to read about it. It’s too heavy.

After I turned 18 I lived in boarding houses. Flop houses aren’t that fun, but I lived in places like that for a long time.

Prior to The Big Issue I used to hand out leaflets for a shop in the city. At the time I had to hand out a few thousand leaflets before they paid me $20. It was a bit exploitative… I’ve also worked in a car wash. I had a job selling pens from door to door once. That was pretty hard.

The Big Issue is now my job. I’ve been selling the magazine, on and off, for 22 years. I was there when The Big Issue was born. This job now seems easier in comparison to what it was back then. Nobody at that time knew what it was. But I am good at sales. I wouldn’t do it otherwise. Some people don’t like their job but I actually do. Not everyone can do it. Some people have said to me they’d be too scared to do it. If you’re out there selling on the streets you’ve got to be confident.

I’ve got a place. I’ve been there a couple of years. It’s just me. I don’t have a partner. I’ve never been married but I am looking for love. Interested parties should get in contact! Maybe I’ll get thousands of girls throwing themselves at me, but I only want one. All jokes aside, I have been single for quite a long time…

I’m big into swimming. I can’t get enough of the ocean. I also read books to relax. And I write letters to penfriends. I’ve been doing it for years. I’m writing to someone in Hungary, America, England… I’ve never met any of my penfriends. I’m not the travelling type. I’ve never been out of Australia.

I’m happy at The Big Issue. Selling helps me save money. I need that money. I think I want to buy a car one day. I’m going to keep plugging away and try and save as much money as I can. I mean, I put in the hours. I work 10 to 5 every day except Sunday. To my customers, come back and buy another Big Issue. Be a regular customer. Please come back next time.

Photo by James Braund.

Interview by Anastasia Safioleas
Michael sells The Big Issue in Melbourne