Charles Moore, Vendor of the Week. Photo by J.P. Gritton
Charles Moore pounds the fist of just about everybody he comes across in a friendly salute.
But first and foremost Moore, this week's vendor of the week, is a businessman. A few months ago, Moore was averaging about 200 papers a month.
"Next month, 250," he said. Sure enough.
Last month, he sold 300.
"Next month, 350," he said. Now he averages between 350 and 400 papers a month. Like every capitalist, this week's Vendor of the Week has his eye on growth and the bottom line.
Moore was born in Seattle and lived here until the age of 12, when he was moved to a group home in the Skagit Valley.
"A lot of rules," said Moore of the home where he spent so much of his youth.
"You get released when you're 18. So on midnight of my birthday, I had all my stuff packed and, man, I was out of there," he remembered.
Since then, Moore's worked as a cashier, a cook, and sold the P-I. He spent five years in homeless shelters, but, one day decided he'd had enough.
"Shelters are okay, but you kind of have to work your way out of them," he said. "You sleep really close to people, they kick you out at five in the morning." So he moved into a share-shelter (a kind of supervised studio), and he's been off the streets since.
About two years ago, Moore started selling Real Change, and his sales have risen like a hot stock, a little more each month.
"The paper's done a lot for me," he said. "It helps me deal with people better." Last week, when a heckler told Moore to "quit selling that garbage," he shrugged it off.
"I didn't say anything. I just walked away--what else can you do?"
To the faithful customers at his Second and Seneca turf, Moore says, "Thank you."