Gary Butchart, M&S, Queen Street, Oxford
Oxford Big Issue vendor Gary Butchart is a happy man after the football club he supports won the Champions League
I used to sell The Big Issue back in 2017 before leaving. Back then my pitch was in Botley where the old shops used to be. I left because I was getting fed up with it. It’s very different over there now. This time I’ve been selling the magazine since March. It’s been going alright since I got back and sales have been going OK.
People have been giving me lunch on my pitch, I have a few regular customers who look after me, and everyone’s got to know me at M&S. It’s a lot better selling the magazine over here than it was in Botley.
Meeting people is what I like most about selling the magazine. It’s why I came back to sell The Big Issue. I like getting out and about. I chat to people for quite a while, we talk about the weather, how they are doing, whether they’ve had a good week. Last week I saw an old lady fall over on my pitch and I helped her. She was alright thankfully.
I’ve recently got a card reader and it’s going alright so far. I’ve made quite a lot of sales with it. I’ve sold 19 today and I’ve got one left.
Last Friday just gone I sold a whole pile of magazines all the way down in less than two hours. I sold about £40 worth.
I found the card reader quite difficult to set up at first and they had to show me a little bit in The Big Issue office. Before I had the card reader I had people saying, “I don’t have cash” a lot. So it’s helped me get more sales.
I don’t have any big plans for the future if I’m honest, I just want to carry on selling the magazine.
Without The Big Issue I know exactly where I’d be: I’d be bored!
The money is helping me at the moment. I rent a flat privately and I’m able to get by with the magazine sales. I used to live in a night shelter, but it was a bit rough.
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Prices are going up but people want to help me out. Particularly at Christmas time when people give me more money.
I’m a Manchester City fan so this season has been good, we’ve won the league and the FA Cup, and now the Champions League.
I watched the Champions League final against Inter at home on my own and it was a good match with a good winning goal.
I always thought City would win because they are the best team. I didn’t celebrate too much but I think The Big Issue should have blue on the cover after City’s win.
I thought we’d win the league to be honest, we’ve won it loads of times now. I support City because they are the best team and because my mum used to support them. I’m not from Manchester, I used to live in Banbury, not far from Oxford.
I don’t have a favourite player or anything like that.
I liked growing up in Banbury and I still like living in Oxford now. It’s a lot nearer to work! I like walking round town and spending my time around the centre. I like being around M&S to be honest.
The scenery around Oxford is great and there is plenty of green space and plenty of parks.
I hope everyone who reads this has a nice day!
Marks and Spencer, Queen Street, Oxford, UK