Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hondeling - Jerusalem Style

I went to buy a baby mattress for my granddaughter's crib today. After I picked the size, thickness and outside material, the store's owner announced, "190 NIS".
Since I live in Greater Jerusalem, an official Hondeling (Bargaining) Capital of the World, I know better than to say, "Sold," on the first price, so I asked for a discount. He bellowed, "Discount!?!?!"
I said, "Yes, discount! This is a warehouse. There should be a discount."
He said, "Okay, 180 NIS."
I told him I'd be happier paying 150. "Impossible," the large Sephardi man said (with great flourish, I may add). "Just think of it as chai (life = 18) x 10."
I said, "170. That's 180 (chai x 10) minus 10 for the aseret hadibrut (ten commandments)." He retorted, "Impossible, believing Jews never go down in kedusha (holiness)."
I wanted to pay 150, but he wasn't budging from 180 NIS. He said that the price was very good.
So, I thought, "When G-d created the world, He said that it was very good. There are seven days of creation x 10=70, plus 100, which is a name of G-d. 170 NIS!!"
He said that there was no way that he wanted to go down any further, but because he enjoyed my "figuring", it was worthwhile for him to make the price 170 NIS.
It wouldn't have happened anywhere else but Jerusalem. You gotta love it.


  1. Cute. Reminds me of when I bought my first heater in Haifa. The salesman said the 20-rib heater was, say, 800 NIS, and the 21-rib one was 1000 NIS. I said, "200 NIS just for one rib?!" He looked at me with a smile and said, "One rib? Woman was created from just one rib!" Sold.

    (By the way, the salesman wasn't wearing a kippa - the Torah is deeply rooted in the culture - even in Haifa).

  2. Great story, Sharon. This reminds me of something Lorelai Kude, of Radio Nachlaot, posted to Facebook the other day. Lorelai is currently visiting in Tzfat. She posted: "Only in Tzfat can it be considered normal for a guy to jump up & down & shout "KETER!!!" when taking a number at the Misrad haPanim (when the number is 620). Nobody even batted an eye."

    I am going to share your terrific hondeling story! Kudos!

  3. Reminds me of the way my father,of blessed memory, used to buy things in Meah Shearim on Fridays in the early 70's.The conversation used to go something like this:

    DAD: How much is this pocket Tehillim?
    SELLER: 6 lirot
    D: Make it 5 lirot
    S: okay
    D: How much is this Havdala Candle?
    S: 7.50 lirot
    D: Make it 7 lirot
    S: okay
    D: How much is this set of Machzorim?
    S: 32 lirot
    D: Make it 30 lirot
    S: okay
    D: How much is this pair of tzitzit?
    S: 12 lirot
    D: make it 10 lirot.
    S: okay
    D: How much is this siddur?
    S: 22 lirot
    D: Make it 20 lirot.
    S: okay
    D: okay, wrap them up. What is the total?
    S: 72 lirot
    D: Make it 70 lirot.
    S: okay
    D: Shabbat Shalom. I'll pay you next week!