Thursday, October 22, 2009

OII #17- It's a Gemach, Not a Store

Well, I'm basically settled in, and I started to explore the neighborhood. But I had a secret confession to make: I used to live next door, literally, to a major cheap supermarket. So, I was determined to find a way to do my shopping in the same manner- convenient, close, and cheap.
Little did I know that those things are possibly oxymorons.

At first, I took the bus ride to the nearest large and cheap supermarket, thinking that with all the money I'll save, I can make up for the bus ride and delivery charges. This was true, but a major hassle.

Then, I found a smaller, not as cheap, but still large supermarket, a short bus ride away, that I would also have to pay for delivery. Not financially worthwhile, except on the days they have major sales.

I tried the store advertised in the local circular, but although they have sales, the other items are inflated to much higher prices.

The local market suited me fine, as it was a makolet with it all, but I heard rumors about the Arab men working there, and that just scared me off.
So where to shop?

Then I heard about the other local makolet. It was stocked with American products, albeit that the prices were sky high, but everyone, and I mean everyone, shopped there.
Why? What was the hype? I had to go and check it out.

The first odd thing that struck me was that the store owner was manning the checkout.
The second odd thing was that he said hello to me, and welcomed me to the neighborhood.
The third odd thing was that every one, all the workers, were Jewish, and not only that, but were extraordinarily helpful.
Even odder- they all spoke English.

So I shopped there. And continuing with the oddities, I was subjected to the help asking me if I needed any.

When I checked out, I asked for delivery, and how much it would cost. "Free," he remarks to me, asking where I live in the next breath.

There was a small notecard box next to him, and I immediately realized that this was a store where people shopped on credit. If they had money, or they didn't have money, everyone was able to buy food, and then pay it off when they needed to.

I remarked on my unusualy experience with the Rebbitzen of the neighborhood, and she informed me that the owner has a heart of gold. He can't stand to see anyone go hungry, and he allows all who need to pay over many months. "It's a 'gemach', not a store," she told me. He just keeps on giving, and those loyal customers who actually do pay are keeping his business afloat for those who can't.

Mi K'Amcha Yisroel- where a storekeeper uses his entire shop to perform mitzvos. May he continue to have success in his business.


itsagift said...

Wow! Good for you that you found this place to shop! That's amazing!!!

Dude with hat (aka BTS) said...

Would you ever find such thing in any other than Jewish community?

Thanks for sharing this, it's very inspirational too!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing!!
Wow :) I feel so lucky to be a part of this nation when I hear things like this

mekubal said...

Ah Israel...

When R' Aryeh Levine and R' Mordechai Sharabi was alive there were a great many more such places. The Rabbanim would call the store owners their "partners" by this they meant partners in Chesed, as these two Gedolim would raise funds to make sure the owners never lost money.

I know of a few stores that continue on in such a vein in remembrance of these Rabbanim that so touched them with their Ahavat Yisrael.

Qtap said...

That's one of the most awesome things about Israel, that we just don't have here. The makalet on the yishuve where my grandparents used to live was the same way. I was astounded when I went there.

Why can't there be more people like that in the world?

Dude with hat (aka BTS) said...

@Qtap - because then there will be no sensitivity to these things

ProfK said...

Wonderful and inspiring to hear. The chesed part is great but I'm still in "awe" about the owner being polite and welcoming--not all that usual for stores under frum auspices no matter what country you are shopping in.

Anonymous said...

and by shopping there you're helping indirectly...

Dude with hat (aka BTS) said...

@bad4 - rebitzen said that :)

nmf #7 said...

Itsagift- It's phenomenal. I still can't get over it, every time I go there.

BTS- There are other places, but I've never found one as nice and as welcoming as this. And you're welcome.

Tembow- Me too.

Mekubal- Wow- never heard that story, thanks!

Qtap- On small yishuvim this type of thing is far more common- there is usually only one or two stores, so one of them usually practices such niceties. But still- awesome.

ProfK- I know- so amazing. And all his staff is Jewish, frum, and helpful too! Last time I went, the store owner took time out to play peekaboo with my baby.

Bad4- That's why I continue to shop there (despite the fact that the prices are not the greatest).

Israel Boy said...

So where, exactly, is this mysterious makolet?