THE Big Issue has come a long way since its Scottish launch in 1997.

Its vendors have become a ubiquitous sight on our street corners, outside supermarkets and in many other locations. It could be argued that, in some ways, it has become a victim of its own success, because the sight of vendors has become so commonplace they sometimes do not impinge on the consciousness of people going about their busy daily lives.

Such was the experience yesterday of a variety of guest vendors taking part in The Big Sell-off, a project in Glasgow and Edinburgh created by the Glasgow-based International Network of Street Papers (INSP) and the Big Issue as part of INSP's annual International Street Paper Vendor Week.

Loading article content

The guests tasted what Big Issue vendors encounter every day - being blanked by hundreds of people, sometimes to the point of rudeness. But they also met people who were warm and receptive, and who parted with their £2.50 gladly.

For one hour they stood in the shoes of those for whom a job, an income and a sense of purpose have been truly life-changing.

It is for those reasons we hope that the Big Issue continues to flourish.