Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Customer Service, Israel Style

My younger brother, his wife and four children (aged one to Second Grade) moved to Israel almost three weeks ago, and have chosen to live in Jerusalem in the Ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Har Nof. They came for Zionist and idealistic reasons, my brother told me that he cannot see raising his family within the American value system;  none of them speak Hebrew and they are about to get a crash course on life in the Jewish country.

This morning, my sister-in-law called me and asked, "We ordered beds for the kids and they were supposed to come this week.  I spoke to the company this morning and they said that they are not sure when the beds will be delivered, maybe this week or maybe next week.  Is that normal customer service?"

Instinctively I laughed, not at the question but because I could recognize the American attitude and expectation over the phone.  "Welcome to Israel!" I bellowed. "The country where nothing ever really gets accomplished unless you yell and threaten, in Hebrew."

Then I asked for the suppliers phone number, because that's what family does for each other, especially when I in fact speak Hebrew and can shout with the best of them.  Otherwise, my nieces and nephews may never see a normal place to sleep.

Me:  Hello, is this Issac? I am calling on behalf of my brother, they ordered beds for their children and I understand that you were very unclear about the delivery date.
Issac:  Ah, I see that you actually speak Hebrew.  Thank G-d, I broke my teeth trying to speak in English on the phone.  Yes, I will admit that I am the person from whom your family ordered the beds.  But I don't know when they will be delivered.
Me:  What's the problem with the order?  These children came from the United States three weeks ago, they started school yesterday and they go to sleep on the floor at night. Don't they deserve a decent bed?
Issac:  Oh, you KNOW those Ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods, too many children and everyone sleeping on the floor and everything is always an emergency.
Me:  (gobsmacked)  So because they are more religious than you or me, their money and their needs are any less valid? I have my own issues with the Chareidi world but I am calling you right now as an Israeli and as a sister and as an aunt.  We must support and encourage the people who choose to live in our country, despite all sanity.
Issac:  It's like I told your sister-in-law, I can't make any promises.
Me:  You have no idea what kind of sacrifices my family made to be Jews in Israel.  Four children moved away from everything they know, from a country where they actually speak the language and have friends, where they each had their own bedroom and space to spare, and they moved into a two bedroom apartment for six people.  The least you could do is get them their beds, when you actually promised to deliver them.
Issac:  OK, OK.  I will do the best I can to deliver it this week, as I had said originally.
Me:  I'll be calling you back to make sure.

Because I will.

I wish I had a personal nagger on my side when I first moved to Israel 17 years ago.


Midlife Singlemum said...

The shocking part imo is not that he has outspoken opinions about orthodox Jews even though he should know to keep his big mouth shut, or that the beds might not be delivered this week. For me, the fact that he he admits he originally said they would come this week and now he doesn't even care that the customer is inconvenienced and that he may lose customers over it. The other stuff is just rude and ignorant but if he's in business he should at least care about that!

Doc said...

Like I told my sister-in-law, for better or for worse, "Welcome to Israel..."

koshergourmetmart said...

it's great you now have some family in Israel!