I am filling in a form for someone who basically does a variety of odd jobs to make a living, including reselling items, but "Sales" is not really an accurate way to describe their occupation. I am thinking of describing them as "self-employed" but that's a bit too vague.

Thanks for your suggestions.

  • How about freelancer or independent contractor? – bookmanu Aug 24 '18 at 15:27
  • Is the person selling items on the street and/or itinerant? There's a difference between this and running a business from a private home reselling stuff. For example if you're just reselling merchandise from a location indoors you wouldn't really be a hawker, or huckster, or peddler. – Zebrafish Aug 24 '18 at 15:32
  • @bookmanu Yeah, freelancer would probably come the closest to a good description without using condescending terms like "unskilled laborer" – Dominique Aug 24 '18 at 15:32
  • @Zebrafish The person sells items on the street. I suppose "hawker" is also another word, but it brings to mind negative stereotypes. – Dominique Aug 24 '18 at 15:33
  • 1
    @Zebrafish Street wares vendor/street vendor is accurate and neutral. I also liked another word you used - "itinerant". The meaning isn't immediately obvious to most people but it's accurate. – Dominique Aug 24 '18 at 15:42

Is your goal to help the individual in some way (for instance, to secure a job or benefits)? If so, I might avoid words like "hawker" or "peddler." (If not, those are fine choices.)

Is "purveyor of second-hand goods" too lengthy?

  • The person is part of a research study, so that's why I'm looking for something accurate yet neutral. If it were a job application I'd definitely use something more professional-sounding. "Purveyor of second-hand goods" sounds fine but I feel it's too specific for this case – Dominique Aug 24 '18 at 16:26

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.