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Brigitta Claudia, Marks & Spencer, Argyle St, Glasgow

Brigitta has been job hunting for two years and hopes one day to be a cashier, but until then she’s happy selling the magazine

I’ve been selling the magazine in Glasgow for more than five years now. I am originally from Romania but I came to the UK for a better life, that is most important for me. I came here with my two boys and my parents, but in the last year my father has had some problems, so he has stayed in Romania.

I started selling The Big Issue because I needed the money. When I came from Romania I wanted to find a job, but nothing came through for me. I have in my phone more than 100 emails but nothing came through, believe me. I have had just one interview in the past two years. I had another tell me that “we will call you” but they never did. I do want to find a job. When I was in Romania I was a cashier, and I want to apply here to be a cashier as well, but it is hard for me. It is my dream to find a job here. But until then I am fine selling The Big Issue because it gives me enough money to live on.

I’m outside Marks & Spencer now, but I used to be nearby at TJ Hughes until it closed down and moved, and that meant I needed to find another pitch. They told me M&S would be good because it is not far away from where my customers usually are. I’ve been on this pitch for three months. I am happy to be here, I like it. It is very busy and there are a lot of people, sometimes too many! There is a lot of street music too, but I don’t have any problem with them because I think music is one thing and selling the magazine is another, and I think that people help everybody here. 

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I was one of the first vendors to try selling with a card reader in Scotland – I am on the poster in the office encouraging other vendors to try it. It came quite easy to me to set up. Some of my customers prefer cash and some prefer cards, but they are all very nice to me, I enjoy chatting to them. Sometimes they stay here for a long time, some are here for two hours! They also ask me if I have eaten something or if I need to eat something and they get me food if I need it. I want to sell more magazines and I hope to be better in the future.  

The thing I like best about the UK is the schooling for my two boys, they are six and 10 years old. When I arrived here I knew a little English because I finished my high school and I try my best to learn more and improve, but sometimes my children come home and teach me. My children are quite young so I don’t know exactly what they’re going to do when they’re grown up, but my boy tells me he wants to be a hairstylist. They spend every single hour in front of the mirror so I tell them yes, you will do it.

I’d like to do more things outside of selling the magazine, but I have a family and once I get home and I have looked after them I am very tired. I get, “Mummy, mummy, can we go to the park?” And then after the park, I get, “Mummy, mummy, can we make doughnuts?” And then at about eight or nine o’clock I am very tired. Then on Sunday we go to church. I am Pentecostal, that’s my religion, so I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I don’t do any of those bad things. I am very happy with my family here though, and all my friends.

I want to say to my customers that I love everyone. I want to be friends with all of them. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting me.

Interview: Liam Geraghty

Marks and Spencer, Argyle Street, Glasgow, UK

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