No matter how much you miss any American product, do not get it sent over. I made that mistake and then I had to meet a random member of the Rochester community I never knew. It was for a letter of refund, a reimbursement that I could use to purchase another product with, in Rochester. The whole America-Israel underground exchange of stuff that your mom forgot to send you is not a worthwhile venture. I had to chase the guy down. I went to three different hotels, before he realized he was in Tel Aviv. Then he had to ship it to another guy. I still don’t have my refund. I hope the other guy I also never met before brings the rebate back to Rochester, where he can use it.
To my friends in America, on behalf of all Olim, Don’t Send Stuff. It is too much to have to find the person who I don’t know, just because you wanted to save $2 on shipping. The $13 find the guy travel annoyance tax for having somebody do me a good will gesture is even more painful. Speaking on behalf of all, even worse is when mom thought of you. To have mom send something you don’t even want, and then you have to pay taxes on it. Even if it is sent by mail, there is an imported favor tax. The next thing you know, a member of Knesset is flying to America for a rebate, with your new mug your mother found at the shule’s gift shop. The mug she was so excited to buy for you in America, with your Hebrew name on it. Don’t send good will gestures. Save them until I don’t have to chase it down. Point is that I don’t want to have to chase down a guy I can’t find for a ‘Todah, bye,’ if he remembers to call me back.
Important disclaimer on behalf of Olim: This is all only in a case where we didn’t have it sent to your house on our own behalf, without you knowing. Sign that UPS package. In the case where I didn’t have electronics I needed, which I sent to your New Jersey home to also save taxes, send it. In that case, you should be shipping it over with strangers, as soon as possible. And I will not pay for the shipping, so strangers are fine.
My friend Simone from South Africa still doesn’t have her biltong. It was sent five months ago and she does not know the last stranger they left it by. The hotel staff might have eaten it already.

Oh yes! I am not the delivery guy. When I go flying to America, it is for shopping, not for delivering. Of course I have an extra bag when I fly back, but that bag is for the return flight and a wardrobe, for me. That is why we need the two bags. No flights should have to give two bags to America. They should have the one bag out of Israel and two bags in. The customs should realize I bought stuff. I am flying back with two duffle bags and leaving Israel with a carry-on. I did buy something in America and I will sell it in Israel. Until I can purchase Old Spice deodorant in Israel for less than 10nis, I will be the one selling it. My products in stock are Old Spice and the two laptops in my duffles. Yes, I am bringing stuff in. That is my right as an Oleh.
I am saying it here, but I am very weak. If you ask me, I am shipping whiskey from Duty Free to your second cousin in Mitzmutz, because I am going to America. I will even take the letter and fly out to hand deliver it for you. Why? Because you asked and you don’t want to pay the international postage of 50 cents. How much do people think international postage is? It hasn’t gone up in 40 years. International postage is cheaper than the phone call and it moves faster than my flight. People think it costs two hundred dollars to send a letter. They must, because otherwise they wouldn’t be chasing me down on yahoogroups to have me send a letter for them. Maybe they are just really lazy and scared of the line at the Israeli Post offices. Nightmares. Flashbacks hit them of their first year of Aliyah, stuck in a post office, the whole time. It has changed. They now have the number system. Now they give you a note to let you know you will be waiting for hours. But the horrific memories of none inscribed waiting are still there.
I should start a business of sending out letters for people. Even better, a business for saving their place on line at the post office. I can handle the business. Nobody uses the post office anymore anyways. Nonetheless, they are always packed with lines. How are there lines if nobody uses the post office anymore? The lines are left from the pre-internet era, when they did not have ticket numbers. The lines are made up of Olim who did not know how to claim their stake at the teller’s window. Finally, we make one good Westernized change for the country, of forcing people to wait on line, and it is obsolete. That is why I am fighting for people to use the post office, if they can figure out when they are open.
As new Olim, we should just be happy that they have the ticket stubs. With the Oleh DNA there is no chance we would have ever been able to have penetrated a numberless Post Office line.
Do not ask me to bring back sneakers. I know. I am with you. I have a place in my heart for lovers of Jiffy peanut butter and Vegemite. I would travel to South Africa for you. I would go to Britain and New Zealand, even Australia for your Marmite. It is shameful that Nike’s cost more than twenty bucks in the British Commonwealth. That is what I pay, after I complain. Complaining is my shopping secret. Complain and get stuff for free. That is what I left behind in America; free complain items and the ability to return the free stuff. Man I miss that ability to return after use. What kind of a society allows for a store owner to tell me that his product is not faulty when the sole wears out?!

Everything in America is amazing, and I gave it up. I had neighbors I never saw. I had a backyard, air-conditioning, a home entertainment system, my parents’ house had it all. Nobody was around, and the television had news channels I could watch to pretend like I cared. I gave it up for a meaningful life, and I have no idea what that means. I spoke the language. I was a person. I wasn’t disabled. I was just as dumb as the next American. I was considered educated. I would have had a steady, paying job.
There are positives to immigrant life. Living in Israel allows for creativity. That creativity, also known as unemployment, has allowed me to express who I am for the first time in my life. I have free time, and I have become an artist.
If I was in the Tel Aviv computer world, I would be set. But I don’t know computers and I did not move to Israel to work. I moved to Israel and I am now creative. I have an excuse to be unsuccessful. I made Aliyah. I have my alibi. I do what I want, because I am now a spiritual man. Spiritual, meaning I sleep a lot. I am now more connected with my internal self. I have a lot of time to think. I am not as physical as I had to be when I was employed. I am now lazy as hell and accomplishing a lot. When I worked, I didn’t accomplish anything. Now, I don’t wake up and I don’t work for anybody, and I am accomplishing everything I set out to accomplish. Today, I picked up groceries. I even thought about how the world is one universe. That took a lot of time, but I did it. I have even thought about what I do in life and I realized that I should be doing less. I am not an unemployed individual, I am spiritual.
Who needs cable? I can stream movies off the internet, and that is free. I don’t need cable, but I would like to have a chance to return the 20 dollar Nikes and the mug. Maybe I can find somebody to put the mug in their suitcase.
I know you all want in on the American smuggling action, but they don’t have Vegemite and Marmite in America.