Wednesday, June 16, 2010

SHOPPING: New Friends, Old Friends

When a new store opens here in Israel, everyone goes wild. Remember the day that H&M opened its doors at Malcha Mall? The lines reached from one end of the Mall to the other. And everyone was sucking on way-cool H&M lollipops.
Well, there's been equal or even greater excitement about the opening of the new Rami Levi store at the Gush Etzion Juncion. It started with the news that Arabs were being forbidden by the Palestinian Authority to shop at Rami Levi. It continued when Arab employees of Rami Levi and other Jewish-owned businesses expressed their fear that they might be fired as a backlash to the edict against Arab working/shopping at Rami Levi.
Boy, Rami Levi should write the Palestinian Authority or at least its Prime Minister Salam Fayyad for all the publicity that has made folks wonder, "What on earth is going on in Rami Levi? I've got to get there."
Well, it seems that just about everyone, except maybe me, has been shopping in Rami Levi since it opened a few days ago. No problemo. I understand the need for growing families to save money on their groceries. And I understand that it's fun to try something new.
Usually these new stores see excited shoppers at their launch, and then shopping habits calm down, and things more or less even out as they did before.
Rami Levi's affect on the supermarkets in Efrat or other neighborhoods in Gush Etzion might be immediately damaging, but as folks decide whether or not they like the staff of Rami Levi, if their service is sufficient, and how they feel about shopping in a mixed environment, many will ultimately return to their Efrat/Gush Etzion shopping places.
Secondary Shopping
But what I'd really like to talk about is the secondary shopping - not the supermarkets, but all the stores in the Teeina and Dekel shopping centers, in Alon Shvut's old and new neighborhoods, as well as Neve Daniel, etc., that benefit from a shopper's trip to the supermarket. These stores were empty today. The shopping centers were ghost towns. The parking lots were empty and the stores we love with the shopkeepers we have known for many years stood silent. As they say in Willy Wonka, "No one goes in, and no one goes out."
No matter what shoppers ultimately decide in regard to shopping at Rami Levi, they should do their best to pop in to the local stationery, clothing, lingerie, book stores, and even the local supermarkets.
The loss of one store, due to lack of sales, could cause a domino affect. What's really better for your town, a bustling shopping center, or an empty one with "For Rent" written on the front windows of stores that couldn't hold out?
Our local stores have serviced us in good times and bad throughout the years. Now is the time for us to show our gratitude for their years of service. Shop wherever you like, but also for the sake of our towns, SHOP LOCALLY.

1 comment:

  1. People have been leaving their small towns to shop at Patit, Mr Zol or Rami Levi in Beitar, as they are going to shop at the new Rami Levi. I see no worry in the local shops, at least not in the far run. Those small things youll need, a some vegtables you need, toilet paper that ran out, some cheeses, I think people will think twice if they should drive out all the way to Tsomet Hagush to buy.

    One more thing, is that I have seen at least one local store that hires arabs...