Israel Stories

Friday, September 02, 2005


The warehouse was dark, the atmosphere musky the fumes from polish stung our eyes and the smell of little Sephardi man eating garlic overwhelming. This was not Ikea, this was a furniture shop, Israeli style.

I blame my parents for the saga of our furniture, if I had be born a year later, then I would have been married a year later and made aliyah a year later and Ikea would have been open. But alas I wasn’t and it wasn’t.

Our shopping list comprised of the following:

1 Sideboard
1 cabinet
1 Dining Room Table 3m extended
10 Dining Room Chairs
1 Coffee Table
1 Unit for the TV plus draws
3 Sofas

Big order, eh? A salesman’s dream. Something that would command good treatment, attention, service, you’d think, but this is Israel, and all Israeli’s are equal. They all receive the same treatment unless you are a relative or a relative of a relative or the friend of a relative of a relative. We have no Moroccan relatives or friends, but at that time we would have gladly hired a few.

We were young, naïve, wet behind the ears, innocents abroad. We presented our list. Mistake number one, we expected a positive response. Wait here, we were told. So we waited and waited after a number of circuits of the warehouse we eventually found comfortable sofa and relaxed, only to be told to get off the sofa, this wasn’t a hotel! We decided to leave. Our Moroccan friend ran up to us, apologetic, said he was alone today apart from some of the shleppers (technical term). Ok, he got the benefit of the doubt. We of course forgot to use our trump card, the baby. Ora was only a few months old, and looking back the obvious asset. Ora was going nuts in her stroller so we let her crawl around a bit. Suddenly all the female staff materialized. Everyone became a mother or grandmother to Ora. We became the center of attention. In no time we were being waited on hand and foot. We were served coffee and cakes. Ora crawled on the forbidden sofa and everybody laughed and shepped nachos.

So we chose the designs the wood and the material. Agreed a price and left. A few weeks later were back at the warehouse without Ora, mistake number two. We were practically ignored. When eventually we were seen to we were told that while they were well on their way to completing our furniture it transpires they haven’t started making it yet. We thought, mistake number three, that when we agreed and left a deposit, they would at least make a start.

The day of the big furniture delivery, a large articulated lorry pulls up in front of our house, two months late.

You’ve probably already guessed the next bit. The wood was wrong the material was wrong and the table and cabinet were chipped. Phone calls, hair pulling, threats and accusations filled the next month.

Eventually almost everything was put right.

The table was still chipped and despite repeated repairs it still looked odd. When the manger came to inspect, I suspect he wasn’t really the manager, he accused us of having tried to repair the table and botching it. That was the final straw. It was the small claims court for them. I calmly told them that unless they made my table perfect we would sue.

A few days later the manager phoned us in a panic, I’m sorry you’ve had problems, there’s no need to sue us we’ll come up with the perfect solution, just give me an hour.

And what was this perfect solution?

A free table cloth.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home