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Monday, January 19, 2009

My 'Mister Nice Guy' mask slips... revealing my inner Clint Eastwood

Some of you may remember an incident from last year which proved that I am nobody's 'frayer' (sucker) in the grocery store check-out line.  

I don't know why it should be so, but all of the worst cultural traits and stereotypes people assign to Israelis seem to come to life in the supermarkets here.  So I've gotten to the point where I don't even ask when I find a half-full shopping cart (whose owner is still wandering around the store happily shopping) parked at the cashier.  I just push the cart out of the way and start loading my stuff on the conveyor belt.  

I"ve even gotten my Clint Eastwood squint so dead-on that the miscreants stop mid-sentence when protesting that they were next on line.

And if someone comes up to me in the cheese or deli counter line and says "I'm after you", I don't hesitate to squint down at them and whisper around an imginary cigar, "Well, then you'd better hang around and make sure to tell the person who comes after you, because it would be a shame if you lost your place."

Yes sir, put me in a supermarket with a shiny cart in my hand and you might as well cue the theme music to 'The Good, The Bad & The Ugly', because my spurs start to 'jingle jangle jingle' the moment I walk through those florescent-lit doors. 

Unfortunately, I found out the hard way that not everyone in supermarket is lookin' for a show-down.

This past Friday morning I got up early and went to the shuk (Machane Yehuda) to pick out nice fruits and veggies for shabbat, and even picked up Zahava's favorite Challah (Tellers) while I was there.  But I'm not yet acclimated enough to buy meat in an open-air market.  I guess my inner American still needs to have the meat and poultry safely inside a refrigerated case, far from the flies, before I can comfortably call a chicken or a piece of flanken my own. 

So after I'd finished up at the shuk, I drove over to a Jerusalem supermarket to finish crossing out the items on my Friday shopping list.

At the entrance to the supermarket, the local sheriff (okay, the security guard) checked my gun license and nodded me through the electronic doors.  Once inside I went into 'take no prisoners' mode.  Knowing that the longest line in the store (after the check-out line, of course) is the one at the meat case... I went there first to get that out of the way.

As expected there were about 8-10 people waiting patiently in line with their carts for the two butchers who were busily cutting up and packaging orders.  It should be pointed out here that this is a supermarket that inexplicably does not have the little paper number dispensers, so you really do have to get on line and stay there if you want to be served.

On several previous visits to this supermarket, people have tried the old 'I was here' trick just as I've been about to place my meat order (when in fact they had not been around for the 15 or 20 minutes I had patiently waited for my turn).  Invariably, the person ahead of me, who had just received their chicken or chulent meat, would turn back over their shoulder and say, "Oh yes, he came by when I was on line and said he was after me"... to which I will reply, "So what?  If he wasn't here on line for the last 20 minutes, that's not my problem" followed by my placing my order with the butcher.

Seriously, I have no patience with people who think their time is more valuable than mine.

Well, this past Friday as I stood on the line for the butcher, I noticed that the cart ahead of me seemed not to have an owner.  So when the people ahead of me moved forward, I began to go around the 'abandoned' cart.  But before I could do so, a pretty young woman in a fashionable hat and a long skirt showed up carrying some yogurts and a couple of cartons of milk.  Smiling nicely, she plopped the items into the 'abandoned' cart... moved it up the line and set off to do more shopping.

I watched this happen a few times, but usually she was not back in time and I was forced to push her cart along the line for her.  As she set off on yet another foray to gather still more items from the far reaches of the store, I started to feel Clint Eastwood bubbling to the surface... and before I could stop myself I calmly addressed her back (in Hebrew);

"Ma'am.  I see you have a long list of things to buy today". [now I had her attention as she turned around]  "I have news for you....we all have long shopping lists.  What do you suppose would happen if we all went to do our shopping instead of waiting on line here at the meat counter?  Who would move the carts along?  You have to understand that the only way you are able to do your shopping right now is if the rest of us agree to move your cart along for you.  Do you think that's fair?  Don't you think we'd also like to be cutting down the time we have to spend here in the store?  But we can't... because somebody has to stay here on line to move the carts along!"

I was very polite but firm when I addressed her.  She was also quite attractive, which - let's face it - never hurts a woman's position in these situations.  But after looking at me in surprise, she began with the old 'but everyone does this, I'm not doing anything wrong' line.

I held up my hand and politely repeated, "Yes, but this only works for one or two people.  If everyone goes off to do their shopping, the system doesn't work.  So I ask you again... do you think it's fair that you get to go do your shopping while the rest of us have to stay here and push your cart along?"

She couldn't really say much  since nobody else had sprung to her defense (thank G-d for small favors), but she clearly wasn't pleased.  From that point on she stayed with her cart as we shuffled closer and closer to our shabbat chickens and flanken.

But at some point she must have glanced over at the shopping list in my hand, written in English in Zahava's neat, purple script, because she suddenly turned to me and said, "You speak English!", as if had unfairly hidden this from her.

It quickly became clear that, while her Hebrew was excellent, the reason she hadn't argued with me beyond the initial objection was that; a) she simply wasn't up to making a scene in Hebrew; and b) she was a polite former American like me.

She quickly set about explaining again - in English this time - that it was really common practice to leave the cart on the butcher line and go pick out items from nearby shelves.  I agreed, that if it was something really nearby that caught her eye, there was no harm in walking away from her cart for a few seconds to go get it.  But I pointed out that I had watched her walk to the other side of the store and disappear for almost 5 minutes the last time. 

I didn't feel like reiterating my 'it's simply not fair' speech, so I just smiled and said, "Look, you seem like a very nice person.  I know you aren't trying to do anything mean or devious here.  You are just going to have to understand that until this store wakes up and puts a number dispenser at the meat counter, there will be people who are going to feel put-upon when you walk away and tacitly imply that they need to push your cart along for you."

She seemed to accept this with good humor and smiled to show there were no hard feelings.  She then introduced her self and mentioned that she was from Efrat [gulp]. She then asked where I was from.  I grudgingly admitted I was also from Efrat... silently praying that she didn't know me (or more importantly, my wife)... and introduced myself.

Her eyes lit up and she said, "I know you... you write that blog, treppenwitz, right?"

Busted!  This was bad.  Worse than bad.  It was like nailing a passing car with a snowball, only to have the car stop and your mom's best friend get out and recognize you!

I could feel my cheeks burning, but I smiled and said, "Yeah, that's me".  It turns out that we knew lots of people in common, and she was all too familiar with this website.  [~silent facepalm~]

We chatted affably for the rest of our shared time in line, and afterwards ran into each other no less than a dozen times in various aisles of the store... each time smiling and exchanging pleasantries.  We even helped each other find items to complete our lists.

But when I was finishing up in the check-out line and saw her walk up to the neighboring cashier, I felt another wave of embarrassment at having taken someone to task that not only lived in my town... but who knew me personally.

Lesson learned:  Israel is such a small country that I'm going to have to figure out a way to modify my Clint Eastwood 'quick-draw' act to the point where I won't be routinely taken advantage of... but at the same time, if/when it turns out I've taken a shot at someone I know... I'll be able to look them in the eye the next day.

So pretty lady from Efrat... please accept my apologies for my behavior.  I'm a work in progress - a construction site, of sorts - so thank you for excusing the mess.

Posted by David Bogner on January 19, 2009 | Permalink


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We also like Teller challa, and if you didn't know, there's a guy who will deliver it to your home every Friday.

His name is Avi Shalem, you can email him at [email protected] and his number is 052-8655690.

Oh - and it turns out he has a website as well: http://www.shalemgoods.co.il/

Posted by: Dave (Balashon) | Jan 19, 2009 1:17:12 PM

Emmm, I don't have a cigar,and I need to work on my squint, but I would really like to know how to say "Well, then you'd better hang around and make sure to tell the person who comes after you, because it would be a shame if you lost your place." Iin Hebrew. Please. Transliterated would be great. :-)

Posted by: Carol | Jan 19, 2009 1:54:02 PM


[sorry, honey]

Yes, supermarkets do tend to bring out the best in folks. Even poor Yonah has had some embarrassing moments at the Super (remember, זוזי?/move!?).

Also, remember that time we were in Mega in kinyon Hadar 2 weeks after making aliyah? I was completely flummoxed by the Hebrew, and being 6 months pregnant in the summer heat wasn't helping my ability to adjust... I had left you in line to pick up a forgotten (but necessary item) and when I tried to get back in line some horribly impatient man first wouldn't let me in, and then began giving me מוסר (mussar/a lecture) about how olim should learn to speak proper Hebrew?! Tee,hee! Turned out, as I recall, that he is married to an old friend of ours, and that she caught the tail end of the exchange....

As I also recall, that made for an interesting, "Gee *woman's name,* what have you been doing since we last saw you 12 years ago..." conversation.

Posted by: zahava | Jan 19, 2009 1:55:16 PM

Dave (Balashon) ... Well you just made our day! Thanks.

Carol... I'm sure there is a more elegant way to say it in Hebrew (feel free to jump in here Sabras) but here's what I said:

אז שווה לך להישאר כאן כדי שמי שיבוא אחריך ידע שזה המקום שלך. חבל להפסיד את התור

Zahava... Thanks honey. I knew I could count on you for sympathy and understanding.

Posted by: David Bogner | Jan 19, 2009 2:49:48 PM

Carol: transliterated that is:
Az shaveh lach/lecha l'hisha'err kahn k'day sh'mi sheyavo achareicha/achareic y'da sh'zeh hamakom shelach/shelcha. Chaval l'hafsid et hator.

[although, I think makom might be feminine -- if so, the zeh before should be replaced with zot!]

Posted by: zahava | Jan 19, 2009 3:19:15 PM

Actually, "Makom" is masculine. It is one of the irregular words whose plural is like the feminine (mekomot), but the word itself remains masculine, so "zeh" was indeed correct. "Chalon" (window), "Yitron/Chesron" (advantage/disadvantage) and "Ephron" (pencil) are all also in the same category.

(Batya, my ulpan teacher, would be so proud! ;-) )

Posted by: Jonathan | Jan 19, 2009 3:41:59 PM

Thanks Jonathan! Now everyone knows why I get alot of:
"אה! את לו תיפשת -- את רק אולה חדשה"(hey, you're not an idiot, just a new immigrant). :-P

Posted by: zahava | Jan 19, 2009 4:14:42 PM

Drat! Olah should be spelled with an ayin not an aleph!

Posted by: zahava | Jan 19, 2009 4:15:24 PM

Weird. You really figure they'd hire some people to be baggers. It's not one of those jobs that commands a college level salary and it would really speed up all those lines. And the tickets by the deli counter....I mean is there some mental block in Israel against doing things in at least a semi-orderly fashion?

Spot on about the wagons too. That happens sometimes in Manhattan, and you still get dirty stares from the people who run off to grab some forgotten item, and return 3 minutes later to find you've gone by them to get your things scanned. Now, if I can only find some way to get them to have more than one checkout person at Duane-Reade (Pharmacy) when 30 people are waiting in line, and the person at the check-out is arguing about an expired coupon for Chapstick. Yeesh!!

Posted by: Joshua K | Jan 19, 2009 4:31:08 PM


Posted by: David Bailey | Jan 19, 2009 6:29:14 PM

the truth is, you really had nothing to be embarassed about. when i taught in a local grade school, i used to be so embarassed to see parents of students i had disciplined in class. until... i realized that if these parents, some of whom were my friends and acquaintances, knew how their kids behaved in my classroom they would be the ones who would want the earth to swallow them whole when they saw me. not the other way around. demanding to be treated decently and fairly by those around you is not an unreasonable request and you have no need to hang your head.

Posted by: nikki | Jan 19, 2009 6:39:04 PM

Just read the post, and wasn't going to leave comments the nice (but initially inconsiderate) lady can read (what can I say, I'm chicken)...

However, if she's a reader (maybe I read into her recognizing your blog) then she'd apparently not taken what you'd posted to heart and continued to go with what everyone else was doing.

But, I don't see what you are "face-palming" for... you're in the right, and the silent line that was around you either agreed or received a lesson too, particularly the person that was ahead of you/her... No, not in the proper method of identifying the individual you're dressing down who may be someone you didn't know you knew (or lived near), but in changing an obviously flawed practice. They may not all be Treppenwitz readers (their loss, though some may be now if they were paying attention and are now curious), so they may not have access to this insight... so you can't effect a change where there's an obvious need (in this "far-removed, nowhere near an Israeli supermarket" individual's opinion).

How else do you suppose good habits are embraced by society at large, than by a few (at first) pointing out the failings of the poor ones?

Just my .02,


Posted by: Jethro | Jan 19, 2009 7:11:55 PM

Hahahaha! (I actually did go "*GASP* Hahahaha!!" out loud when I read her question. Thank goodness we have the day off from work.) I hope she leaves a comment. :o)

On an unrelated side note, I've apparently had "shuk" and "shul" mixed up for about three years. (Believe it or not, I used to be good at foreign languages. Guess I've outgrown it.)

Posted by: Tanya | Jan 19, 2009 7:19:02 PM

LOL..that is so funny.. it just goes to show, people will be people no matter were we are, however, it did have the right effects, for her, because she was a pretty Lady..

Posted by: Joan | Jan 19, 2009 7:24:05 PM

So you start out being Clint Eastwood (and perfectly justafiably so) then end up apologizing? Hmmm...

Posted by: Marsha, freezing in Englewood | Jan 19, 2009 7:48:52 PM

making friends where ever you, huh, Dave?!! Classy! But I'd have done the same thing, as why is anyone eles's time more important than mine. And MAYBE it would have been understood if she had asked if you mind pushing her cart, but she ASSUMED that you'd just do it. WRONG!

Posted by: Val Bogner | Jan 19, 2009 8:24:56 PM

Hah. That is pretty funny.

Posted by: Jack | Jan 19, 2009 8:31:13 PM

(1) Trep; I think you, as a work in progress, have the right to try and change the dominant culture (which is also a work in progress).

(2) Once, when we were young, my brothers and I were throwing water balloons at passing cars IN FRONT OF OUR OWN HOUSE, and I think it wasn't very long before we threw one and the lady's driver's side window was down and the balloon went RIGHT IN THE CAR, which was horrifying and funny enough at the same time, but then she pulled into the driveway pretty much right across the street from our house. We bolted like rock-throwing youths for the safety of our respective bedrooms, as the woman came over to discuss the matter with our mother...

Posted by: Wry Mouth | Jan 19, 2009 8:32:56 PM

P.S. the line maybe should be, "Lady [or punk], in all the excitement I've forgotten how many items I'm supposed to buy here at the meat counter, but being as I write "Treppenwitz," the most awarded Jewish blog in the world, and I can take your head clean off -- metaphorically speaking, of course -- you have to ask yourself one question: do you feel lucky?" etc., etc.

Well -- do you?

Posted by: Wry Mouth | Jan 19, 2009 8:39:34 PM

I'm with Marsha on this one. Supermarket rudeness should no more be practiced by Pretty Woman Walkin' Down the Street than anyone else, and the fact that "everyone else is doing it" is no excuse. (If everyone else was jumping off a cliff...?) You were civil and reasonable in your way of handling the situation; can it be that if she had been plainer you might not have been so embarrassed? Ah, frailty, thy name is Treppenwitz. (I'm from Efrat, too, but people who mess with me in the supermarket get the Sweet-Smile-then-Deafness treatment. With my new-olah Hebrew, that works best for me.)

Posted by: Shimshonit | Jan 19, 2009 8:54:58 PM

Oh thanks for the laugh. You made my day.

Living in a country with a smaller population than Israel, I know that it pays to mind your Ps and Qs. I"m an immigrant, and feel sometimes that everyone knows everyone else - except me. So I HAVE to be on my best behaviour, or someone will find me out.

Posted by: Noa | Jan 19, 2009 8:59:16 PM

Embarassingest supermarket moment with twin toddlers: Reminder: Always PUSH the cart. NEVER PULL the cart behind you.

I put the eggs gently in a far corner of the cart, below the seat where Emily sat, chewing on a cookie. Julia, ever so helpful to her older twin, opens up the eggs, and hands them, one at a time to Emily, who drops them to the floor, leaving a trail of broken eggs Hansel and Gretel couldn't miss. The egg trail began in the dairy, and went round the corner into the next aisle, and finally, a customer said, "Look behind you, ma'am." I did, and I caught the little varmint in the act of vandalism. It was hard to be angry, though. Following the trail back to its point of origin was funny. "Cleanup in aisles 9 and 10!"

Posted by: Jewel Atkins | Jan 19, 2009 9:06:29 PM

But you apologized. Why? If she is intelligent as well as attractive, she will know you were right (though she may wonder at the nature of a man whose quest appears to be slaying the ettiquette dragons of Israel.)

Posted by: Kae Gregory | Jan 19, 2009 9:18:15 PM

i was in costco last week with my wife. as we got in line, a woman with no cart scoots in front of us. i realized that her husband was on the next line with the cart and she was holding the spot in case she got to the register first. i started arguing with her that they have to choose one line. all of suddent she turns to her husband and starts talking about us . . . in hebrew. (i was not identifiably jewish.) israelis. i should have known it. i started arguing with her in hebrew and explained that this is not israel and i won't let her get away with it.

then my wife called today from the doctor's office. guess who works there.

Posted by: Lion of Zion | Jan 19, 2009 11:10:04 PM

Why on earth are you apologizing? You are just reinforcing her extremely annoying behavior!

Posted by: Miriam | Jan 19, 2009 11:12:07 PM

It isn't fair to kick a man while he's down, but. But I always knew you were a sucker for a pretty face.
If it's any consolation, so am I. I recently payed an obscene amount of money for shoes because two, yup, count 'em, two pretty saleswomen performed the classic scissors technique thereby outflanking me and rendering my otherwise higher intellectual faculties null and void. I was a goner the moment I stepped foot on their terrain.

Posted by: QuietusLeo | Jan 19, 2009 11:32:23 PM

You have nothing to apologize for! Most people in her position would have thought "Oh dear Lord, please don't let me end up in his blog!"


Posted by: What War Zone??? | Jan 19, 2009 11:36:41 PM

Terrible, next time you will push her cart.

Posted by: Mongrel | Jan 20, 2009 12:04:48 AM

Fantastic-could you come to my supermarket in Queens and help me on the 10 items or less line?

Posted by: Adrienne Derison | Jan 20, 2009 12:29:09 AM

Oh no, that sure was a bit embarrassing, but still - priceless! :)

Posted by: Kathrin | Jan 20, 2009 1:37:36 AM

lion, i *have* to respond! the same thing happened on the line at passport control in JFK. a couple tried to hedge their bets and stand on two lines, per your costco story. the savvy guard realized what was up and asked the husband if he and his wife were traveling together. when he received an answer in the affirmative, the guard then asked, "then why aren't you standing together?" the man hemmed and hawed and finally the guard said sternly, "WE do not do this in THIS country. if you are traveling together, you stand together. choose ONE line." awesome baby!

Posted by: nikki | Jan 20, 2009 8:38:51 AM

Call me obtuse, but I thought SHE should have learned her lesson, not you. Your point was still valid, regardless of her town or looks. You made your point very politely. She might have apologized to you--no?

Posted by: Delmar Bogner | Jan 20, 2009 9:03:52 AM

Joshua K... The lack of baggers here is one of my pet peeves. It slows down the whole check-out process.

David Bailey... or free, depending on how you look at it. :-)

nikki... Yes, I may not have had anything to apologize for, but I certainly will feel uncomfortable at having taken her to task in so public a way... especially if it turns out we know a million people in common. Even if I was right (which obviously I was), it feels icky to have had to be confrontational.

Jethro ... Excellent comment. Look, I wasn't wrong, but the facepalm was over the fact that I went a little postal on someone I will probably have to see every day now.

Tanya ... I can see where the confusion came from. in both places there is an exchange of things going on. In a shuk it is goods. In shul it is prayers. :-)

Joan... I hope she takes the message to heart. We'll see.

Marsha, freezing in Englewood ... It's a cultural thing with men and attractive women. Even if we are totally in the right we tend to cut babes a little more slack than we probably should. It is wrong... but it is true.

Val Bogner ... Oh yeah, like if Ellen DeGeneres cut you off in traffic you wouldn't be all 'Oh that's OK, I've been wanting to run my car into that guard rail for ages. Thanks!' :-)

Jack... Maybe from your perspective. :-)

Wry Mouth... Yeah, that's all I'd need. To really go Dirty Harry on her and then have her come to my house and sit down with my wife to tell her about it. Can you say 'couch?'

Shimshonit... agreed. But for some reason guys just can't help pulling the punches when dealing with attractive members of the opposite sex.

Noa... I've had that feeling here too. It feels like everyone is somehow related to one another... except me. :-)

Jewel Atkins ... Excellent. I'll have to keep that in mind.

Kae Gregory ... Because I'm a guy (meaning I was helpless not to). No seriously, I didn't apologize for pointing out the error of her ways. I apologized for being confrontational with someone who I will likely have to interact with in the future. Think about it, if you were to go to the DMV and you got a run around from a clerk... and it turned out the clerk lived right around the corner and belonged to the same shul... you'd really give him/her the same level of dressing down as you would a total stranger?

Lion of Zion... Israelis are positively everywhere. Zahava and I have a book of stories regarding strange places we've met Israelis.

Miriam ... See my reply to several people above. It's complicated.

QuietusLeo ... Forget about it. I won't even go into the shoe stores in the mall anymore. I think in the new employee handbook they tell the female employees to wear low-cut blouses so that when they are helping middle aged men try on shoes the we will will lose our minds and order 30 pairs. No thanks... I buy shoes over the Internet now. :-)

What War Zone??? ... Who do you think I am, Walter Winchell? :-)

Mongrel ... It crossed my mind. :-)

Adrienne Derison... Follow the link I posted for the story from last year.

Kathrin ... My life is a cautionary tale. :-)

nikki ... Airports bring out a whole new level of aggravating behaviors. Don't get me started.

Delmar Bogner... OK, you're obtuse (sorry, you asked for it). No seriously, I didn't apologize for the sentiment behind the scolding... just the scolding. I am going to be living (G-d willing) in Efrat for a very long time. I don't need to make enemies.

Posted by: David Bogner | Jan 20, 2009 10:12:34 AM

David, not only can I say "couch," but in my house, I have to BUILD the couches that I sleep on first, as we get them from IKEA. Oy.

Posted by: Wry Mouth | Jan 20, 2009 10:48:31 PM

You were right - what are you embarrassed about? If you were mean to her, then be embarrassed. But telling her the truth about how to behave in public is nothing to be ashamed about. Here in Los Angeles, people put stuff on the conveyer belt and then disappear - it drives me crazy!!!! Makes me want to work on convincingly saying "Do you feel lucky, punk?"

Posted by: nr | Jan 21, 2009 3:56:09 AM

Much agreed with the commentators above. You were polite. You didn't scream. You were right. What are you apologizing about?

I once berated a woman @ SuperSol for standing in the middle of two aisles, saying she was in both. At first she thought I was going along w/ her, but when she wanted to go "But you weren't in this line. You can't be in more than one line at a time." She was totally confused, I was adamant. She ended up having to go back in line in the other aisle b/c she ended up losing her place there. The cashier was shocked. I said "you can't wait in more than one line at a time" and he was so shocked, had never heard such a thing, and sort of accused me of being a silly oleh. My response, we all have to learn to be polite. And, I hate to say this, but to me, that's the ultimate in not being a friar. Being a friar is not having to wait in line for a few extra minutes, but rather accepting rudeness.

OTOH, I'm not sure I agree with the commenter that you can't have multiple people standing in multiple lines and picking whichever is first. The difference, of course, is that someone is physically there. But if someone wants to promote etiquette, maybe I would give on that.

Posted by: amechad | Jan 21, 2009 4:06:19 PM

amechad -- the problem with dividing up to wait on multiple lines is this: a person chooses which line to wait on based on several factors one of which is how few people are ahead of him or her, in the hope that fewer people would equal faster line. if your line is the lucky one that happens to be moving along, you would think that you'd be out of there, on your way to your next errand. imagine now your turn is up, suddenly yet another person jumps in line ahead of you with the person standing immediately in front of you now causing, in the case of passport control, another person/passport to process... or in the case of the supermarket, another entire wagonload to check out. suddenly the line you so happily chose is not moving along so well and you are delayed. see the reasoning? why is someone else's time more important than yours?

Posted by: nikki | Jan 21, 2009 4:28:29 PM

I was thinking of you last night. I was watching something (Tivo'ed last week) on ABC News, something like "What would you do?" Where they watch the reactions of people in various places. In one scenario, they had a older woman (actress) with only two items ask if she could cut in line, as her husband was in the car and getting upset. When the people say okay, her "son" then comes up with a cart loaded with food. It was a good thing there was no rope around, because some of the people looked like they were ready to string her up!

Posted by: JDMDad | Jan 21, 2009 5:12:09 PM

Israelis are positively everywhere. Zahava and I have a book of stories regarding strange places we've met Israelis.

For me, it was an entire family doing something mildly illegal out in the Everglades. When confronted, the patriarch saw the name on my shirt, asked if I was Jewish, and proceeded to work that angle until he figured out that "No" meant NO and yes, he did have to stop doing what he was doing. :)

I've been out on a few traffic stops involving Israelis. The Israeli ex-pats in Miami-Dade County would drift over my way on occasion. Nothing serious, though.

Posted by: Karl Newman | Jan 24, 2009 1:25:53 PM

Treppenwitz I thought of you on Friday morning when I was trying to pick a line at the supersal. One is the idiot cashier - it will take ten times as long with her. Seriously. So that is a no go. the other is the ten items or less lane - lots of people - because of all the specials - takes forever. No go again. Next one is the one I picked - someone has left their trolley with all their shopping, but luckily the person in front of her is done, so I move past the trolley and start putting my things down. The woman comes back and dares to give me lip that I didn't wait for her to sashay back and do us all the favour of putting her things on the conveyor belt. After a nice little argument, I was furious, but didn't give in, still going before her. I would have loved for you to come and teach her some manners as I did not succeed!

Posted by: Katherine | Jan 25, 2009 9:55:41 AM

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