Swedish mall’s fee scares off Red Cross volunteers

A mall in southern Sweden has drawn fire for its decision to charge a fee to charity organizations like the Red Cross and Salvation Army for placing volunteers in the mall to collect donations.

Swedish mall's fee scares off Red Cross volunteers

“I’ve never heard of such a thing,” said Petra Lindskog from the Red Cross to the Blekinge Läns Tidning (BLT).

The Wachtmeister Galleria in Karlskrona requires all organization to pay 1500 kronor ($220) a day to have representatives stand on the premises.

“Those who stand in the mall meet an average of 12,000 customers a day. The fee we take is appropriate,” said the mall’s Kajsa Gabrielsson to the newspaper.

“We run a shopping centre, not charity activities.”

Gabrielsson added that the registration fee is also a way to ensure the safety of mall customers by allowing managers to keep track of exactly who is standing in the shopping centre’s corridors.

But Wachtmeister Galleria’s stance makes no sense to the Red Cross.

“We have close and strong partnerships with the business community and different store chains. As far as I know this is the only place in the entire country that wants to get paid so that we can collect money. It’s really strange,” said Lindskog.

She added that the Red Cross has no plans to pony up the cash demanded by the mall, but will instead instruct volunteers to frequent more friendly establishments.

Lindskog interprets the move as a sign that the Red Cross and other charities aren’t welcome at Wachtmeister Galleria, but left the door open for further discussions.

“But there won’t be any discussion of paying,” she said.