Vendor moments 2017: “I’m totally in awe of being a vendor nowadays”

Maurice B., 46, sells The Contributor in Nashville, Tennessee

I’m most proud of being able to not only have a mapped corner, but to constantly, on a repetitive basis, fulfill the requirements of keeping my map badge. To be able to deal with all of the rigmarole of individuals who are flying signs and panhandling and those who are just new vendors coming to my spot, and having the understanding that I have the right to be there first. Earning that right to have my map and keep my spot it is my greatest achievement this year.

My most memorable moment in 2017 was the time that a vendor told me that he had a mapped spot, and he chased me off one of his corners! But because of that I turned around and got my own corner. That was the most important thing for me: to get my own corner. In actuality, ever since I became a vendor, it’s a thing of me having to strive every day to make it and offer papers to my customers. I’m totally in awe of being a vendor nowadays.

What came as a surprise is that I had to recognize that some of my customers chose to wait until the Christmas wrapping paper was on sale. They can’t wait for it to come out, but they are also holding off on purchasing papers because they are waiting for the Christmas wrapping paper. Another surprise is that I have been able to maintain the possibility of living in a motel and not being put out on the street. The papers have been able to help me manage those finances.

The only challenges that I have really had was with respect to differentiating myself from those who are panhandling with signs and those who have papers and badges. Those are the only challenges.

But the best challenge that I’ve had is being able to pay my daily rent at $65 a day. By selling these papers. They allow me to pay my daily rent and buy food and other things that I need. Selling papers has helped me overcome that challenge of not having what I need.

In the new year, the goal is to get a place to stay, and a vehicle. What we’re looking to do is manage finances from the paper to help us have a place to stay besides a motel.