Victor Grancea, Sainsbury’s, Euston station, London
Victor has made many good friends among the staff and regulars at the station, and he’s always smiling on his pitch
I do a long shift on my pitch because I work at a train station. A lot of people are on the go in the morning and running through the station. When they are coming back from work I want to be here so I can catch them then. I’ve been selling the magazine here for five years and it’s going alright, but a lot of people are still not coming in every day. Some people only come in for one or two days a week after the pandemic and it’s not very good. Now the last day of the week is Thursday, not Friday. It used to be very busy on a Friday but now it’s changed.
It was very hard for me during Covid. I couldn’t do my job and lockdown was very hard. The Big Issue gave me vouchers and that was alright. Fortunately, I had some friends who helped me pay my rent. When I came back to my pitch not a lot of people came close to me, they kept their distance and it was slow to get back to normal, for people to give me a hug. It was a big difference and I found it hard to deal with.
I haven’t seen many of my regulars as they have not come back. Maybe they changed their job or they are still working from home. I find that I still have maybe 30 per cent of my regulars, but I’ve got new ones and make friends every day. They ask me if I need a drink or I need food or how my life is. A lot of my customers have my contact number, and if they are not coming in they text me to let me know. I do like selling The Big Issue. I feel very happy when I’m on my pitch. People like me here and they tell me that I am always smiley. I’m very popular and I respect everyone: I say good morning and hello to people.
People are always happy at Christmas. My friends on my pitch give me gifts. They bring me socks and clothes, hats and gloves. Sometimes they give me a hug. I get that a lot. At the station the railway staff and the people who work in the shops come to me for two, three, four magazines. They’re my friends. I feel safe here too. The security and police here always ask if I’m OK, and if someone wants to give me trouble they always come to help me. I used to be at the front of the station but now I’m in front of Sainsbury’s inside the station. That means I’m covered, so even though it’s a bit cold and I try to keep warm at least it’s not raining on me.
I started selling the magazine because I had a difficult situation when my father passed away. A few days after he died, I started selling the magazine to support my kids and my family at home. I have two boys aged 17 and 10, and selling The Big Issue has been a big help for me in my life by helping me to support them. I wish for my kids to go to school and to have a nice life and a job.
I think it’s very important to be happy when I sell the magazine. I always like to give people positive energy. The people who walk past me might have some problems with their job or with their family, but when they pass me I want to make them happy. I want to wish everyone all the best from my heart. Not just my customers, everyone who sees me here on my pitch in the station.
Words: Liam Geraghty
Euston Station, Euston Road, London, UK