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Aug 23, 2006

Just like in America!

There is a very common marketing ploy used here by companies who want their product to be instantly successful. I am not sure if it actually works, as I did not speak with any marketing experts about it, but regardless, if you walk down the street you will see many products advertised as "k'mo b'america!" or "Just like in America".

I remember when RC was introduced to Israel. The marketing ploy was, "The cola that turned America on its head!". Having grown up in America I do not remember RC being a major change in culture or tradition. People generally tend to prefer Coke or Pepsi, unless they are looking for a cheaper drink, which would lead them to RC.

Just open your local advertising brochure that gets stuffed in your mailbox on a weekly basis. Flip through it and you will see many products advertised as "Just like in America". People seem to be under the impression that everything American is top quality, and if they tap into that, whether it is true or not, they can dupe the public into buying their product or service.

Why am I talking about this?

I work in Ramat Gan. I usually do not have the good fortune to be able to walk around the neighborhood where I work. I pretty much go from the train to work taking the shortest and quickest path, and back from work to the train. Occassionally I have to take the short walk to our factory and sometimes I go out to buy a falafel or shwarma for lunch.

Another "feature" of this neighborhood, other than its tall office buildings and a hub of business, is the seediness of prostitution at night. Rumor has it that this neighborhood is loaded up with prostitutes at night. Walking around, one can easily find the brothels and strip joints. There is one right across from the factory and some others a bit further down. It is a shockign juxtaposition seeing the classiness of the business activity by day and having that smut within the same area.

Today I had to go to the factory. As I was leaving the factory I got stopped by one of the local Chabad missionaries. He knows me by face, as he gets around alot trying to put tefillin on people. he is the typical Chabad missionary. Nice, friendly and pushy. Anyway, he stops me in my tracks. He tells me he has to run into the building across the street to put tefillin on somebody he had promised. It will just take a couple of minutes.

What did he want from me? He was parked illegaly. He said they are very quick to tow cars and if you even leave the car for a minute you will likely come back and not find it where you left it. He wanted me to watch the car for him for a few minutes. It took me a minute to register what he wanted. The hood of the car was open, as if he was waiting for a mechanic. He promised me again it would just take 3 minutes. All I had to do was sit in the car and he would be right back.

I felt kind of guilty considering he was asking me to do this so he could go put tefillin on somebody who, he said, was waiting for him. I said ok, but really only a few minutes because I do not have time - I have to go back to work. He promised me again and ran off.

As I am sitting there in his hit car, I am wondering what would I do if the cops show up. He did not leave the car keys in so if they tell me to move the car, it would not be pretty. I am sitting there lookign around and right across the street is one of the aforementioned places of ill repute.

Out of boredom and nothing else to do I was reading the sign. Among all the offers and services they provide, one thing struck me. They were advertising their services with the slogan, "Just like in America!".

To be honest, I have never been inside one of these places, neither in the US of A nor in Israel. I have no idea, other than from my wild imagination and having watched too many movies and read too many books, what goes on inside these places. But I am curious what they meant by Just like in America!.

Are American Women of the Night providing service differently than those in Israel? Are they indicating that they use anglo women? Have they trained the Arab, Russian, East Asian and Romanian women who seemingly work for them to somehow act American?

I have no idea what the sign meant. It just seemed wildly out of place.


  1. Annoying missionaries! Funny they put that sign I guess they think it would attract more attention since Israeli's like anything that is similar to America, funny and sad.

  2. On a side point - did the "missionary" return in 3 minutes? I would have agreed to that time of 3 minutes, and left after that given time period. Also, so many questions come up about your story. Why is it ok to park illegally to put tefillan on someone? Whatever happened to "dina d'malchut dina"? Also, perhaps that sign means they serve food "like in america". Like inside they have cheeseburgers and french fries? Finally, your story was slightly unclear as to where the "missionary" was going. At one time while I was reading it, I thought he was going into the "special clubs" to put tefillan on somewhere in there. That would have made your story a lot more interesting....

  3. whats- funny comment.. first of all, why'd you change your name?

    now to the comment - I left it vague on purpose for the intrigue.. he said he was going to the second floor fo the building.. Where he actually went I have no idea. It was a real quickie if he went to the first floor..
    He did come back in 3 minutes. I was just about to leave when he showed up.
    I will not, at this point, debate the issue of parkign illegaly. It is wrong, but people do it all over the world, worst of all in religious neighborhoods! So while he should improve on that, I will not use thios as a time and opportunity to bash those who park illegally. At least he was not blocking anybody nor anything like that. Just parked in an illeagl spot.. along with a bunch of other cars...
    maybe the sign meant they serve food like in America. The sign was nto specific, but I must say, the sign was not talking about food anywhere else, so i doubt that phrase was...

  4. I changed it because i never really liked the first one and because I saw something similar to it which reminded me of it. I also have a great respect for Shakespeare's works, and I have to admit its one thing i miss about America. At the same time I like the philosophy of it. All too often people are being named after someone else or using a name without really considering the depth of the name itself (Ie the meaning or the effect of what comes with it).
    We'll see how long it sticks. there is also a very funny Rodney Dangerfield routine where he uses that question. highly recommend looking into it....

  5. 1) rc is not a cheaper version of coke or pepsi. It is more along the lines of a specialty like dr.pepper and the like, it has a different flavor. actually, i like it better than either coke or pepsi and it costs the same.
    2) very strange collection of circumstances drawing you to sit in front of those places....hmmmmm.....
    3) as your older brother I feel it is my duty to teach you about things so if you can get leslie to give me permission, I would do the research necessary to find out how these entreupaneurs behave "just like in america".
    4) when you say "honestly...." does that mean that up untill now you may be lying?
    5)HAPPY B_DAY!!!!!!!!!

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  7. On 2nd thought, it's not important what the sign said. It's more important what the sign didn't say.
    I was thinking about your situation - being in a hurry and having to drop everything for a Mitzva. Your choice is very inspiring. Thank you

  8. BTW, I just read your personal description. I see you studied in Touro College. I worked there for many years - Dean of Students office, on 6th AVenue and then on 23rd street, NYC - men's division.

  9. nava - I studied in Touro in israel.... so our paths probably did not cross...
    the sign just offered services..not important exactly what... the location is close, it was not called the dungeon though so it must be a different one... does nto really matter which. I did not say the name so i was not advertising it, just mentioning something they had on their sign as a form of marketing...
    I do not know if I made the right choice. I hope I did. I definitely did not do it for the mitzva but because he made me feel guilty...

    anyway, thanks for coming in and taking the time to comment..

  10. shaya -
    1. I was nto aware that it is a specialty drink like Dr. P. I thought it was just a cheaper version of a Coke. I like it better too but if I had to take a taste test I would not be able to tell the difference between any of them. I drink them all and it does not matter o me which it is, as long as it is cold...

    2. very strange....

    3. Thanks. I will talk with her and see what i can work out...

    4. could be but that would mean I have really good stroytelling capabilities and a good imagination. None of that is really true... so it must all be true...

    5. thanks.

  11. First of all, Happy Birthday Rafi! (I didn't know we shared the same sign... maybe I should also be a shochet...). Secondly, I would like to comment on this RC issue. By no means do i think it is a specialty drink. I could actually past a taste test and would like to participate in one. RC tastes a lot like cheaper coke, with more water in it. But it is cheaper here, can't deny that. Also, why can't Israel have more specialty drinks? I would love to see some cherry coke and root bear at the same price as all other drinks! I am so sick of the standards!

  12. whats- I completely agree... A number of years ago they started sellign Cherry Coke here. If I remember correctly, it only lasted a few months before they stopped bringing it in. I guess Israelis did not like it and they did not find it justified...

  13. raf and whatsin...

    rc is exactly the same price here in chicago as every other name brand soda. I have passed taste tests and rc is not watered down coke. but, as this is a taste issue, it seems silly that we are debating it.

    cherry coke here is avaliable, as is diet coke with lime and diet coke with lemon.

  14. Happy B-Day Rafi.

  15. where exactly is this place?

    i dont want to god forbid forget my american roots while im there

  16. meier - they have not paid me the monthly advertising fee, so I am not going to give them a free ad by posting their info here...


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