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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Another example of 'different' being 'better'

One of the bad, bad things that we new olim (immigrants) to Israel do incessantly is we make frequent, and usually unfair, comparisons between goods & services we find in our new country to those we left behind.

That Israelis don't shoot us on sight when we begin every other sentence with "You know, in the US..." is a testament to the high regard in which they hold immigrants.

What we newbies fail to realize until several years down the road is that 'different' isn't necessarily 'worse'. In fact, more often than not, 'different' is as good, or often better, than whatever product or service we left behind.

I've already written in the past about the vastly superior Israeli traffic lights (not that Israel drivers pay them much mind)... so this kind of thing may become a trend here at treppenwitz.

It is now four years since we took the plunge and became Israelis... but it's only during this visit to my family in the US that I realize how different American call waiting is from its Israeli cousin.

In the US, when you are on the phone and someone calls, you hear a beep letting you know that a call is waiting.  However, the person who is calling hears only a regular ring... so they let it ring and ring and ring and ring...

In Israel (and elsewhere, for all I know), the person calling hears a broken ring when they call someone who is already on the phone.  This way they can make an instant decision to call back later (if the call is just a casual 'hi howarya') or stay on the line (if the call is urgent).  The person being called hears the beep of call waiting and knows that if the call is really urgent the person will stay on the line and more beeps will follow (and presumably will pick up)... and if it is not, they will call back later.

Just one more example of 'different' being 'better'.

Posted by David Bogner on August 21, 2007 | Permalink


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Hmmmm -- I don't know that I like that.

Now the person on the phone knows I decided against taking their call. LOL

I think I'll stick w/ the US version, thanks. lol

Posted by: Tina-cious.com | Aug 21, 2007 4:58:30 PM

Hi Trep,


I ddin't use the phone much in the Eretz and when I did, it was a cell phone so I had no idea!


Posted by: Maksim-Smelchak. | Aug 21, 2007 5:52:17 PM

Sorry, same thing exists in the states, at least for cell phones. If the person your calling is on the phone then the ring (or beep to be more specific) becomes elongated.

Posted by: G | Aug 21, 2007 6:32:34 PM

While in Israel visiting, i found something else that is different and better: free incoming calls on cellphones. It seems that the US is one of the few countries in the world that charges the receiving end as well (I did not do the research on the subject, so do not throw tomatoes at me if "one of the few" turns out to be "one of the many"). My cellphone bills would be much lower if they would not charge me for those incoming calls.

David S.

Posted by: David S. | Aug 21, 2007 7:04:57 PM

I like the call waiting caller ID function. It is a useful tool.

Posted by: Jack | Aug 21, 2007 7:24:47 PM

Another nice thing is that you don't get charged minutes if the other person doesn't pick up.
That said, it took me a couple weeks to get over my instinct to hang up everytime I called an Israeli cell phone and got what to my ears sounded like a busy signal.

Posted by: Emily | Aug 21, 2007 7:33:46 PM

actually, it used to work just that way - when call waiting first came out. I remember this because I was a teen when we got ours and knew every nuance of the system.
I wonder why they stopped that. It's a handy feature for sure.

Posted by: weese | Aug 21, 2007 7:42:56 PM

Tina-cious.com... The etiquette demands that you not hang on unless its urgent.

Maksim-Smelchak... Don't thank me... I'm a giver.

G... No need to apologize. :-)

David S... Don't get me started. I still don't understand how the US public hasn't rioted over the way they are getting screwed on cell phone tariffs.

Jack... Yeah, on the cell phone it is a handy feature, but I honestly like not having the pressure to answer the phone when I'm talking to someone at home.

Emily... Good point.

weese... I think there is a technical reason for it. You see, technically, the phone companies are all sh*theads. :-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | Aug 21, 2007 8:05:01 PM

They have a call waiting id feature on the regular phones too.

Posted by: jaime | Aug 21, 2007 8:53:57 PM

That Israelis don't shoot us on sight when we begin every other sentence with "You know, in the US..."

If they did, they'd have less people to throw them a "Tishma, ze looooo......". Sheer pragmatism. ;)

Posted by: a. | Aug 22, 2007 12:00:07 AM

As soon as I picked up on this feature, I loved it!

Posted by: tnspr569 | Aug 22, 2007 2:01:28 AM

back to traffic lights... Israel's the only place where the speed of sound is greater than the speed of light. How else, the guy behind is honking and I still don't see green??

Posted by: asher | Aug 22, 2007 12:49:30 PM

Regarding your traffic lights post (just read it now from your link) I wanted to point out that the red-yellow-green system (like the Israeli one) is the same system that is in effect in the UK and Europe (as far as I know). It looks like the USA is the odd one out here. Time for the USA to get with it!

Posted by: annie | Aug 22, 2007 5:04:52 PM

I'd like to nominate grocery delivery for a better-here-than-there item; yes, Safeway in the State will deliver IF you pay a bundle for it and IF you are infirm or old---here, it is standard and reasonably priced. Maybe I should make a list--I can think of a LOT of stuff that's better Here than There, starting with special education and the whole social welfare system (yes, I've heard the complaints about cut-backs--the complainants should try living somewhere else for a while just so they'll come to appreciate how good they have it here...)

Posted by: aliyah06 | Aug 23, 2007 4:02:05 PM

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