Lebanon’s cowboys, and entrepreneurial spur
Beirut is not the place you’d expect to see a rodeo show. But anything can happen in the Wild West, says Katherine Azmeh.
April 21, 2010 5:51 by Katherine Azmeh
He did. Lebanese property brokers require no registration, specific training, or education, Elie explained. Anyone can be a broker – and indeed, they are: Elie introduced me to three ‘brokers’ that day – a vegetable seller, a hair stylist, and a kindergarten teacher.
Fruit market price wars
A friend describes the day she bought her favorite seasonal fruit from a local vendor. “On my way home every night, I pass two vegetable stands. They’re next door to each other, sharing the same sidewalk, with nothing between them, yet they’re completely different businesses. I think the owners are either feuding brothers or feuding friends, but in any case, last week, I stopped at one and bought a box of loquat fruit. I paid 2,500 lira ($1.65), which I thought was a bit pricey. I took literally three steps along the sidewalk and saw the adjacent vendor’s loquat priced at 1,000. I returned to the first vendor and pointed out the discrepancy. He smiled, but nothing else. I’ve walked by the two markets everyday for a week, the price discrepancy remains. Go figure…”
The phony Gulf millionaire
The March issue of Lebanon Executive magazine recounts the tale of a shifty man purporting to be a property broker, who approached a wealthy local businessman.
The phony broker claimed to know of a rich Gulf client, keen to buy a plot of land for $2 million. The broker said he knew of a plot for sale, worth $1 million, and suggested the wealthy businessman buy the plot and sell it to the ‘Khaleeji’ for $2 million, realizing a tidy profit.
The phony broker claimed he’d do the deal himself, but lacked the funds. Interested, the wealthy businessman said he’d like to meet the Gulf investor, so the fake broker arranged a meeting. At the meeting, the ‘Khaleeji’ confirmed his interest in the deal.