Thursday, October 09, 2008

Lucky Heather

I’m accustomed to weaving my way between Big Issue sellers, Chuggers and Living Statues in my lunch hour, but recently their ranks have been joined by another group looking for money; Lucky Heather Sellers.

Whilst you might be moved to give money to the Big Issue sellers or the fundraisers (encouraging those living statues is inexcusable), I’ve yet to see anyone parting with their money to a Lucky Heather Seller. When I’ve been feeling particularly glum, I have contemplated it, wondering if that is what is wrong with my life, but I’ve never actually succumbed. Ever the rationalist, I realise that if I want to change my life, I have to do something more about it than purchase a dried up weed from a buxom woman who accosts me in the street. Luck does play a part in most successes, but I doubt this product comes with a guarantee.

So I’ve ruled out buying it. But what about selling it? Is this a profitable business? The outlay is presumably pretty small (you could pick plants growing in the wild for free), but it is labour intensive, hanging around the street all day haranguing passers-by. My haranguing skills aren’t up to much anyway. Another career change ruled out.


Glen said...

Hmmmm?!? Would you please school an American fellow on what exactly the following are so I may enjoy this post a little better:
1.) Big Issue seller?
2.) Chugger?
3.) Living Statues?
4.) Lucky Heather seller? (my personal favorite)

Thank you so very much!

Confused in Baltimore, Maryland,


SandDancer said...

Of course (I was going to link to an explanation of Chugger)

Big Issue is a magazine sold by homeless people as a way for them to earn a living without begging.

Chugger is a composite word for Charity Mugger meaning the aggressive fundraisers in the streets.

Living Statues are those people who are painted (usually in a metallic paint) and stand completely still and then move to scare unsuspecting tourists.

Lucky Heather Sellers are usually woman, perhaps of Irish or Romany origin who sell bundles of the flower claiming it has luck giving properties.

Hope that clarifies things. Do you have anything similar in Baltimore?

Glen said...

Oh…I think I would absolutely adore the Living Statues. Just the mere fact of strangers painting their bodies with metallic paint and startling people is quite bizarre. Baltimore does not have such exotic and interesting denizens. We only have the Urban Campers, who come in two varieties:

1.) The “original” Urban Camper: Down-on-their-luck homeless people who sleep wherever they can find a spot and beg for money in busy traffic intersections holding signs describing their misfortune.
2.) The “sham” Urban Camper: Lazy, good-for-nothing bums with no physical or mental deficiencies who would rather beg for money than work for a living. These lovely individuals typically attempt to scam you with a bogus personal misfortune story in an attempt to coax $$ from your pockets.

They have something similar to “Big Issue” sellers in Chicago, Illinois, except they sell independent newspapers. Chuggers in the States can be closely related to the political campaign volunteers who work vigorously for their Democratic or Republican candidates. The closest thing to a Lucky Heather would be Hispanic gentlemen who sell flowers on street corners, except there is no disclosure or expectation of luck if purchased.

Thank you for taking the time to explain…I love the post even more now that I understand it ;)

Mellifluous Dark said...

I've not seen lucky heather sellers on London streets for ages – until I was in Covent Garden a week or so ago. People walked past the buxom woman (I wonder if it is the same woman?) with practiced ease. I once bought heather from a seller in a market about 20 years ago, when pretty young. Nothing different happened.

I cannot bear chuggers – they drive me mad! And the statues give me the creeps.

Claire said...

I've never bought any 'lucky heather' either, but the women selling it are quite aggressive sometimes - they don't exactly threaten you with a curse or perennial bad luck if you don't buy it when they thrust it in your face, but I've had some very unpleasant glares in the past. An element of superstition in customers trying to avoid the evil eye must do wonders for their sales.

Hotter Than... said...

Where have they come from?! I haven't seen "Heathers" for ages yet the other day when I was rushing to meet a friend for brunch, I passed 2 who claimed their dead cuttings had magical properties.

Can't be all that lucky, she had loads and didn't seem to be able to persuade anyone to part with "a few coins"

Mellifluous Dark said...

What you up to, Sanddancer? Hope all is well with you.

Anonymous said...

We definately have Chuggers in the US... at least we do in St. Louis they can be very instistant and often walk around with big pieces of flair which contain licenses and stuff that make them some sort of official begger. At least when you give them money, you know it won't go to booze.

Anonymous said...

Lucky Heather sellers sometimes use the pinning on of the heather to pick a victim's pocket. The pinning on action gives them an excuse to touch thee victim, and distracts the victim from seeing what the other hand is doing.

Anonymous said...

Big issue sellers are not actually homeless, in order to have a job and get paid you need to live somewhere. That's why I once saw a big issue seller wearing animal jeans and dc trainers.

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Anonymous said...

I think I'd rather sell heather.