That Old Double Standard

If it isn’t us, it isn’t on the front page: Afghanis killing Afghanis leads to no global outrage, eh?

Service without servility: One of the great myths about Israeli culture is our rudeness and poor service. Granted, you don’t get the groveling obsequiousness of a 1902 village greengrocer addressing Lord Mumbly Whosis. Then again, I’m not sure that kind of service exists anymore outside of the fond memories of a few aging snobs. I’ve had plenty of shoddy service in the US and Europe: snippy clerks, supercilious waiters, rude cabbies, and a host of others. I’ve been treated to large doses of ignorance and laziness (the former when I end up knowing more about a product than the person selling it, and the latter when I deal with someone who can’t be bothered to help at all). 

So here are a few raves for some locals who gave me something to smile about this past week:

  1. The guy who runs a little frame shop is unrelentingly cheerful and pleasant. After being told several times that my picture wasn’t ready, I ran him to earth in his messy rat hole of a workshop. He found the picture (still in the original bag), which was now missing one part of the frame. He is completely unapologetic about sitting on the damn thing for a year, yet he drops what he is doing, cuts a new frame piece, cuts the glass, and fixes the whole thing on the spot.
  2. A plastic clip on one of my ceiling lights broke. I took the pieces to Home Center. “We don’t carry replacement parts,” said the clerk, but he suggested that I try another supply place.  They also didn’t carry parts.  I then thought of the store that carries nothing but lights. “We don’t have replacement parts,” said the clerk, and she was fairly snotty about it.  I decided to wait for a few minutes and then tackled a different clerk. I asked for the manager and then explained the problem.  He took apart one of the lights in the store and handed me the clip! Voila!
  3. The guy who runs a little produce stand who sold me a watermellon with the promise, “If it isn’t wonderful, bring it back!”

Who are your retail heroes?


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