ABC: Christmas charity or profit?

There are few places more beautifully decorated this season than ABC Ashrafieh, one of Lebanon’s fanciest malls, whose indoor-oudoor concept is one of the most architecturally interesting I’ve seen anywhere.

So in addition to the eye candy, I was happily surprised to find that stands had been set up for Lebanese charities on the lower level, around a set of escalators:

The little wood box stands represented a number of non-profits like the Children’s Cancer Center.

The idea, one would assume, is that revenues from the products you purchase go toward the charities selling them. How wonderful of ABC, I thought– here’s a rare example of a corporation actually interested in giving–not just taking.

But when I decided to buy something, the prices were extraordinary. I picked up some dried fruit, a plastic container the size of a take out dinner. It was 19,000. I can buy a similar sized container for half that price at the supermarket so I asked the woman why it was so expensive.

“ABC takes 30 percent,” she complained. “So we have to add that to our prices. What can we do.”

I wonder if this is true. Is ABC actually charging charities rent, which drives up prices and discourages people to give?

I hope that the woman was exaggerating, but she seemed pretty serious. Maybe someone can weigh in on this?

You May Also Like
Read More

Adding Rambo

Just in case the atmosphere wasn’t tense enough in Beirut, Lebanese film distributors have decided that we could…
Read More

Peace please!

Despite the last few days of reverberating machine gun volleys, the loudest sound in Hamra tonight was that…