Truro Big Issue stalwart Nick Cuthbert has spoken of how some of his customers were reduced to tears when reunited with him as he enjoyed a bumper return to his pitch.
Vendor Nick joined hundreds of vendors in yesterday’s big comeback after 15 weeks in lockdown following The Big Issue’s decision to remove vendors from the streets to protect them from the Covid-19 pandemic.
He returned to his Lemon Quay M&S pitch alongside his pet dog Bryony to be greeted with smiles from staff at the store and a strong reception from customers, selling 36 magazines.
It’s down to the hard work Nick put in to inform customers of his return, he insisted, after he put a sign on his pitch to spread the word.
“I wasn’t too surprised that sales were good because I had been around the city centre the week before laying it on!” Nick told The Big Issue. “I had a sign up on my pitch to inform customers that I was coming back so I was confident!
“You have to be confident – you can’t be ill or in a bad mood to do this job, it just doesn’t happen if you’re like that and if you let it get to you when you’re not selling then you won’t sell. It’s almost down to an aura coming off you.
“I’ve enjoyed seeing my customers again and a few of them have been nearly in tears saying that it’s a pity that we can’t hug.
“And all the staff at M&S have been telling me that it is brilliant to see me back and they have been greeting me with big happy smiles.
“Bryony been getting plenty of attention too and her tail has been going mad when she’s seen a couple of regulars
“It’s been a bit slower today but I’ve still managed to sell another 20 mags or so by lunchtime.”
While vendors have returned to their pitches this week, it has not been a complete return to normality. The Big Issue has brought in a series of health and safety measures, provided vendors with a new rucksack, PPE and a focus on contactless payments.
Nick was the first vendor in Cornwall to start using a card reader back in May last year and has adapted to the new rules so that his customers can feel safe and buy the magazine with confidence.
If you pay for the magazine you should always take it. Vendors are working for a hand up, not a handout.
He added: “For the customers who are really uncomfortable about distancing, I’ve got my card reader on a holder on a chair next to a big bottle of hand sanitiser so I can step away and they can use the machine.
“I think my customers have found it reassuring. I’ve had the card reader for a year and yesterday was the busiest it has been since Christmas.”
If you’re out and about this week, please support Big Issue vendors who are back on the street working hard to lift themselves out of poverty. Please buy the magazine to give them a hand up not a hand out.