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Friday, June 30, 2006

Photo Friday (vol. LXVIII) [jumbled cave edition]

There are a host of complex formulas that retailers are supposed to use to measure how much profit they are earning per square foot.  This kind of analysis has led to narrower aisles in clothing stores and to gas stations converting their repair bays into convenience marts.

Well, it seems that Israeli retailers have taken this concept of maximizing profit per square foot (er, I mean meter) to completely silly lengths.

As exhibit 'A' I present to you one of my local hardware stores.  We actually have two in town but except for the man behind the counter they are otherwise absolutely identical.

Lest you think we are primitive cavemen, Israel has had hardware and office supply superstores for many years now.  But the neighborhood 'mom & pop' hardware store is still holding its own in smaller towns.

These stores have a dizzying array of merchandise.  And what they lack can be ordered and picked up a few days hence.

Here is the cave-like first aisle of the hardware store.  See what I mean about trying to maximize every possible inch, er I mean centimeter of space?:


I showed you that aisle first because it was the neatest one.  Here is the next one:

The space between the towering shelves is so narrow that a person almost has to turn sideways to pass.  Two people at a time?  Fagetaboudit!  My claustrophobic wife won't set foot beyond the door in this place!


Anyway, since I probably misled some of you with my title I feel like I should show you a real cave.

Here is a cave I pass on my drive through the South Hevron Hills every day.  It is set into the side of a large hill and overlooks a rolling valley through which a stream gurgles (the stream is out of sight behind the hill that is in the foreground on the right.) If you look closely there is a shepherd and his flock on the lower left side of the picture:


I am absolutely convinced that this cave must have seen thousands of years of occupation in the mists of pre-history because of the following factors:

  • It is set high enough on the hill that it would be easily defensible against wild animals and men.
  • It has a commanding view of the entire area.
  • There is plenty of agriculture and grazing land within line of sight.
  • The entrance to the cave (on the left side) is set back and there is an overhang that would keep rain and sun from reaching the entrance.

I have been hankering to go explore it... or even to get close enough to look directly into the entrance.  But it is set back behind Arab fields and is nowhere near a 'friendly' area.  So, I (and you) will have to settle with this zoom shot for the time being:


Shabbat Shalom!


Posted by David Bogner on June 30, 2006 | Permalink


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Have you been to the new hardware store in Neve Daniel? It's a real mekhaye (pleasure)...

Posted by: Dave (Balashon) | Jun 30, 2006 6:08:46 PM

I love your "slice of life" posts. I'd do the same as your wife...I'd never step foot into that store! Shabbat Shalom!

Posted by: Essie | Jun 30, 2006 6:13:05 PM

I don't think it's the width of the aisles in the store that prevents your wife from going past the doorway... there is nothing of interest in that thar place, I'm sure! Now if there interesting baking ingredients or graphic design software - narrow aisles or not, she'd muster up the strength and determination to get over her 'issues'!!!
Shabbat Shalom to you and the family.

Posted by: val | Jun 30, 2006 6:36:16 PM

Wow... those aisles are definitely intimidated. In my case, I'd be more worried about stuff falling on my head!

That cave looks so fascinating. Shame about its location. *sigh*

Posted by: Irina | Jun 30, 2006 8:28:03 PM

> Here is a cave I pass on my drive through the South
> Hevron Hills every day.

Aaah, you're one of these master race freaks, that
enjoy to stone pal. children on their way to school and
that poison their wells?

Didn't you know, that the latter is an antisemitic

Treppenwitz? Yes hebrew facism really is a witz.

Posted by: attempt2 | Jun 30, 2006 9:57:58 PM

Attempt to... what?
Leave a comment that makes no sense? Well then, mission accomplished buddy.

Posted by: Shifra | Jun 30, 2006 10:11:30 PM

google makes sense:

israel maon settlers stone children
israel hebron cave dwellers

Posted by: attempt2 | Jul 1, 2006 12:30:19 AM

I swear I saw that same hardware store in the Lower East Side in NYC.

I hope someday you will be able to befriend some locals from the village and go exploring.

Enjoy your wknd.

Posted by: jaime | Jul 1, 2006 5:28:54 AM

Give me a time and day and I'll go spelunking with you (as long as we can reach the hill by (your) car that is).

Posted by: JoeSettler | Jul 1, 2006 9:08:01 PM

I spy Brasso...

Posted by: oceanguy | Jul 2, 2006 5:32:56 AM

Either cave would be fascinating to explore.

Posted by: seawitch | Jul 2, 2006 6:14:54 AM

It's a real chessed for whoever can shop in a store like that. Interesting post about shopping and the caves.

Posted by: social worker frustrated mom | Jul 2, 2006 7:52:16 AM

Dave... Zahava was over there on Friday and said it was a huge improvement over the Efrat stores. I'll have to check it out.

Essie... I may have to rethink that open invitation to you. I'm afraid you and my wife are too similar to risk it... you might team up against me! :-)

Val... If you look closely the story is about equally stocked with 'guy' and 'girl' stuff. Honest.

Irina... Who knows. Maybe I'll take Joe Settler up on his offer. :-)

Jaime... Somehow I doubt the locals are in much a mood to make new friends just now.

Shifra... Please don't feed the trolls.

Joe Settler... it directly across from Otniel within about 50 meters off the main road.

Oceanguy... I'm surprised! Maybe they used something different in the Atlantic fleet, but in the Grapefruit fleet we used 'Neverdull'.

Seawitch... I'm with you on the second one. take it from me that the first one is just good for getting your blood pressure elevated.

Social Worker... Thanks. The truth is I really do try to patronize local merchants. But this sort of mess suggests to me that they don't care much for me as a customer.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jul 2, 2006 3:39:07 PM

Hey- sorry for feeding the trolls, I just hated for that person to have the last word while it was still Shabbat in E'Y.

A tiny hardware store just opened up in my town (well it's not really "open" yet he's just setting up shop but it reminded me of this post.)

I'll have to take photos when the little old man who owns the place has his "grand opening."

Posted by: shifra | Jul 2, 2006 6:55:04 PM

Hmmm. Over there.

Well, then maybe we'll have to bring Jameel too (just in case).

Posted by: JoeSettler | Jul 3, 2006 12:25:16 AM

Never Dull is new school... solvent soaked wadding. Brasso was omnipresent during my time in Annapolis... daily belt buckle polishing, and as a plebe, a weekly polishing of the statue Bill the Goat's balls.

Posted by: oceanguy | Jul 3, 2006 12:58:50 AM

All I can say is, I guess there's not a big risk of earthquakes in Israel...as a native Californian I get the heebie jeebies in settings like the hardware store.

Posted by: Liz | Jul 4, 2006 1:23:13 AM

Shifra... No problem. I'll look forward to comparing our hardware caves. :-)

Joe Setter... That sounds like fun, although I only have two climbing harnesses. I guess Jameel can stand guard.

Oceanguy... My guess is that it is because of that kind of degradation that it subsequently requires an act of congress to turn plebes into 'Gentlemen'. :-)

Liz... Ironically we sit atop two of the world's great earthquake factories; the Dead Sea rift and the Jordan Valley Fault.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jul 4, 2006 11:56:24 AM

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