Last Updated 11/24/2019 at 3:00 PM
Ramat Beit Shemesh-Mem Sofit: “Is it a fast day? Some kind of holiday? There is some religious reason why people aren’t shopping now, right?” asked Israeli-born makolet owner Rami K. as he stood outside his mini-market in Ramat Beit Shemesh-Alef. Rami dragged on a cigarette and wondered out loud exactly why his business has come to a dramatic slowdown this past week. “I sell everyday things that people need: toilet paper, trash bags, tissues, laundry soap. These Americans living here still use the toilet, right? So, if they aren’t buying toilet paper in my store, where are they getting it from…. America?… hahahahaha. I make joke, yes?“
The Daily Freier had to gently inform Rami that the downward turn of his business was in fact due to Amazon.com and their recent free shipping offer (stop us if you’ve heard this one before). After a few glasses of Arak and an hour on Facebook, we managed to convince our Israeli friend that Americans were indeed buying their trash bags, toilet paper, and laundry soap from the United States. “You Americans are crazy.” said Rami as we showed him that in the great tradition of Jews building community, there are now multiple Facebook groups dedicated to shipping Amazon to Israel… and they can’t stand each other.
The Daily Freier then set out to ask RBS-Alef residents exactly why they were shopping online for their basic necessities. “It’s just easier to buy on Amazon and wait a week for delivery” explained local homemaker Esty C. “If I need to buy from Israeli stores, I actually have to… you know…. speak Hebrew. I thought I was done with all of that… are we still in Hebrew Day School or something?”
As we left RBS-Alef, we asked Rami if he had ever considered taking his makolet business online and creating a user-friendly website for Americans to buy his products online. “Yeah, My daughter said I should make a nice website, but then I woud actually have to… you know… speak English.”