Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Only Those with Carts Need Apply

My feet are firmly planted on Israeli soil. And yet, I have found over the years that we’ve been here, that there are certain choices that I make in order to feel more comfortable. And they aren’t always the most “Israeli” choices. Saving money matters – but so does saving my sanity and saving my emotional health. And today I chose the latter over the former.

We bought into one of these insurance plans last year that covers a set number of appliances and is supposed to guarantee fast and efficient appliance repairs for a small set monthly fee. “Everyone in the neighborhood has it! It’s a great idea!” So far we’ve been relatively satisfied with it, except for the fact that they tell you when they are coming out (please be home and available from 8am to 1pm on Tuesday and we’ll show up at 3pm– no problem!).

But today, well, today was another story.

My oven broke. And Rosh Hashanah is just days away.

Those two sentences are enough reason for a crisis, for a chance to go running through the streets screaming.

But I tried to keep it together and I called the repair company on Sunday morning. “We can have someone there between 8 and 12 on Tuesday, they said. Or else you’ll have to wait until after the holiday.”

8-12 was perfect.

When the repair person showed up around 11, Josh texted me, “Are they yelling at you yet?” because for some reason the repair people who come to the house always end up yelling at me for one thing or another. “No, all seems ok shockingly,” I texted back in my naivete.

The repair man explained that he’d have to order a part that would, hopefully, well maybe arrive before the holiday.

But here was the good part.

He was shocked to see that I hadn’t removed the massive oven from the wall and placed it on the floor for him. “When I return,” he said, “You must have the oven on the ground.”

Come again?

Here is the oven that the oven repair guy insists I pull out of the wall myself. Hmmmm

I was too stunned to say much except, “Um, what????” And to make him repeat himself.

He, the oven repair person, was explaining to me that he would not, under any circumstances, remove the oven from its place himself but that I, the home owner and clueless oven person, would have to do it.

Aha.

He left and I called Josh to recount the conversation. “You’re kidding,” he said. “That would be like the car repair person asking you to remove the engine yourself before he repaired it. Or the surgeon saying you need to make the incision before he does the actual surgery.”

Hmmmm…good point.

So, I called the company where we bought this insurance plan and explained the situation to them. The woman put me on hold for a few minutes and came back after talking to the technician. “Yes,” she said in her best bubbly voice. “That’s right. We can’t risk having the repair person get hurt removing your oven or accidentally chipping your tile or anything.”

“But it’s ok if I get hurt in the process? You’re kidding, right?”

I tried every tactic. I gave her the car example, the surgery example, I pulled out all my big guns.

And she simply wasn’t budging.

I got off the phone confused and unsure what to do. The part was being ordered and the repair guy would be coming back at some indefinite time to bring it – but only if the oven was on the floor.


Drumming up my best Hebrew superpowers, I called back. And as I explained the situation to yet another woman from the company and told her that I wanted to cancel the order and not have the repair man come out she said, “Oh honey, you’re so right. This is a really dumb policy.”

And I wanted to cry. I wasn’t crazy! Someone was listening to me and understanding me! Someone from their company. I told her how incredibly stupid I thought the policy was and that, not only did I want to cancel this project, but I wanted to cancel my entire policy with the company.

“No problem,” she said. “You’re American aren’t you?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Kol Hakavod to you for living here. You could be in a place that has such better customer service. That listens to its customers and that has so much to offer. Why are you here?”

“Yes,” I sighed. “There are things that are less complicated there. But here there are so many other advantages. It’s so wonderful for the kids.”

“Ah,” she said. “Yes, the kids.”

I thanked her profusely for her help. She told me that someone would call to confirm my cancellation. 

They haven’t. 

And I’m sure that my battle isn’t over and that I’ll have to follow up 10 times to get my policy cancelled. But at least Limor had listened.

And then, I did what I have come to realize I need to do sometimes to feed my soul – maybe not my pocketbook – but my soul. I called the incredibly reliable American appliance repair man. He told me he’d be over within the hour. And he told me he was bringing a moving cart because he’d have to remove the oven from the wall and work on it on the cart.

Sigh.

This is what should have happened to begin with....

It’s a great country. But at times it’s one where you want to bang your head against the wall, until you realize that you have other resources at your disposal and that you don’t always have to go with the most Israeli way of doing things.

Because sometimes, you just need the easy way to get things done. 

And the one where no one will yell at you today.


And the one where they bring their own cart, take the oven out of the wall and fix it.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you found a good repairman. Decades ago, plumbers and carpenters expected the customers to provide tools since they traveled by bus.

    ReplyDelete