Brigitta Claudia, M&S, Argyle St, Glasgow

Brigitta has been in Glasgow for a few years now, and can finally understand the accent

I started selling The Big Issue because I was trying to get a job and nothing would come through for me. A friend referred me. 

I’ve been selling the magazine for more than six years. I’ve been outside M&S on Argyle Street for around two years. I used to be in front of TJ Hughes nearby until it closed down.

I like selling The Big Issue, of course, if I did not like it I wouldn’t spend my time here. And I want to sell more magazines. 

I like it here because the people are friendly and kind. I have lots of customers who really love me and when I am not here for one day they call me: “Where have you been, Brigitta? What happened to you?” 

Some of my customers do more for me than just buying the magazine, they bring me breakfast and buy me stuff for my children. I want to tell every one of my customers that I appreciate them. They are very kind to me and I love everyone. 

I am married and my husband is working as a kitchen porter at a restaurant – it’s his birthday on 21 February and I want to tell him I love him and all the best. I also have two boys. They are eight and 12 years old. During the week when I’m selling the magazine they are at school and after three o’clock my mum picks them up because sometimes I can be late back from my pitch. 

The cost of living is very hard for me at the moment. I am in arrears for my rent by one month. The rent is £550, it used to be £450 but it’s gone up and now my bank account is in arrears by £550. 

I’m lucky because I called my agency and told them that I am in arrears but they have given me time. I can’t really talk about the gas and electricity because that will kill me one day as I have to top up every two days. It’s very hard sometimes with the food or kids needing clothes or things like that and I can’t afford them. 

But sometimes the salary is not enough and it’s not possible to pay rent, bills and everything like that and for the rest of the month I don’t have any more money in my pocket. If I don’t come here to sell the magazine and do something for my family, I don’t know what to do.  

Big Issue helped me so much. When I have not had the money to pay my bills Big Issue has given me vouchers for gas and electricity when I need help. It just makes things possible and all of my problems are resolved after that. 

I’ve also had vouchers to top up my phone and last year they got me a new phone and I was very glad about that.

I’ve been in Glasgow for eight years. I like everything about it and I understand the Scottish accent now. My boys will speak English to me when they come home from school and I will do their homework with them and they teach me. When I finished high school I finished with a medium score in reading and writing English.

When I’m not on my pitch I like to spend time with my children and my husband. At the end of the week I like to take them to McDonald’s and KFC and just play together. 

I just want to carry on selling The Big Issue for now. But my 12-year-old boy wants to be a barber in future. He likes to spend too much time in front of the mirror and doing his hair so I told him maybe he should do that for a living as it is a very good job.

Interview: Liam Geraghty

Marks and Spencer, Argyle Street, Glasgow, UK