The Aliyah Manifesto: Customer Service

If you have to complain, let it out. Even if everybody who has moved to Israel has complained about it.

I remember shopping in America. People smiled. They didn’t know me, but they smiled. They didn’t want to know me and that distance brought a smile to their face. The idea of customer service is something nice. Customer service is all based on a smile. I miss that. I like the idea of somebody smiling at me while I am losing money. Somebody should be happy when I am getting ripped off.

Many shopkeepers in Israel are angry at me for shopping by them. I appreciate that my business offends them. The makolet guy, at the bodega, gives me a speech every time I need milk. I apologize if my buying stuff from him hurts his business.  There is a reason why he tells me about his debt and how hard life is; I woke up and I need coffee and cake.

I respect a shop owner who doesn’t smile. They know how much money I am losing.  Service is about the middle man, smiling and just being happy to have a job. The middle man should have no aspirations. Many waiters and waitresses don’t like their jobs, I understand. No 20 year old likes to work. However, the job is to smile. Just to smile. To smile and make sure my food is at the table. My 20 year old burnt out annoying pain in the tuchis- You don’t have to worry about my food. The food you bring is secondary. Your job is to get the order correct and smile. The food should be hot, unless are taking a smoke break on the way to my table.

I am sure many waiters take smoke breaks on their way to the kitchen and back, but that volunteer work they are doing. Smoking is not part of the job description of how to treat customers, even if your cigarette is a vapor smoke spreader. The idea of going to a job that you hate and not taking smoke breaks every ten minutes is an American virtue, which does not exist in Israel. The smoke break of the Israeli worker, the scam they work for getting paid to stand guard as the doorman with a cigarette is another issue. If you just showed up to work five minutes and are now smoking, that is not a smoke break. That is an activity. The work would be a break from your smoke. So my boss friend and customers, why do you pay them when they do not smile? This is where I explain why I give very meager tips, because I have given up on dating. And I can care less what she thinks of me, as it won’t work out. I save a good 3,500nis a year by only tipping people who smile, and that is good policy.

My job, as a customer, is not to pay extra for a chicken and a frown. I did not show up to Café Koeset, to see somebody who is angry at me for being there. Even so, after the conversation about how much to tip, the only justification is, ‘She had a hard day.’ The Israeli waitress still gets the money because I am sitting with a bunch of losers who feel it is important to tip no matter what, because they live by the American standard of worrying what other people think of you. She had a hard day at eleven in the morning. There is no need to write, ‘Service not included.’ I know that. Which is another reason why I don’t like seeing tip jars everywhere. Tipping at the falafel stand?! If I am not sitting in my spot, at the time that you are bringing me my falafel, there is no reason for a tip. I am tipping you to walk my food for me. Otherwise, you are working in the kitchen. Chefs do not get tipped, unless it is a bungalow, camp or cruise. I have very strong feelings on all subjects dealing with food.

In America, I can understand an angry 20 year old who is working, as their parents should be paying for whatever they want until they reach their 30s. A 20 year old should be in college, studying a subject they will not work in. Their parents have a lot of money and the kid should be supported with whatever drugs they want. I empathize.


Service does extend to other work places, such as any retail store, but my focus here is on food. The only place where the tip comes into question is food. I tip the bellboy in a hotel because I am going to be eating breakfast there and I need my bags in my room so I can go down for breakfast. But I am willing to confront other work environments, even though I am not eating there.

Service is the backbone the hardware store. Your job as a hardware person is to explain. You chose a profession in which you will have to deal with idiots who have no idea what they are doing, all day. I love hardware stores, because I have no idea what I am doing. How can you not smile? Your job is to smile at me and explain what a nail does. Your job is to deal with cheap people, like myself, who will not pay for a repair man. You are the do-it-yourself place of the society, and you chose to work with Jews. You are in Israel. We cannot build. You have never seen something in my house from Ikea, which came out correct. I have a great bookshelf couch. But that was supposed to be a lantern. You are the hardware guy, so smile. Smile at my stupidity. I do not care. Customer service is about smiling and showing me where the screw driver section is. Your store is 10 meters, all you have to do is point. Even do a circle pattern with your finger pointed in the air, and I will feel like I was getting some service. At least smile. You know I am going to come back tomorrow, asking for what you call the dibble, because I didn’t put the plastic thing in the wall before I put in the nail. Now explain to me why my wall is crumbling apart. You know I will have to build a new wall tomorrow, so at least laugh about it. Laugh with me. But do not give that pissed off Middle Eastern angry stare for being alive. At least flash a smile when you charge me 8nis for a nail, because I am a new Oleh. Service is not my focus here.

Customer service has nothing to do with complaining about the fact that you are on the job, and how hard it is to get paid for waking up and getting pissed off at everybody. For small business owners, customer service has nothing to do with you explaining to me how your business is in debt, because you opened it, and got pissed off at every customer you ever had. If you are turning your falafel joint into a tzedakah box (and that charity box in front of your register is making more profit than you), then I understand. And if you are a professional box holder, asking me for money, smile at me. I am sick of giving charity and not receiving some customer service.

And take a message. This deserves a new paragraph. If I call IdioTech, to speak with Shana, and she is not there, take a message. You are a secretary. Do not tell me to call back in twelve minutes. Your job is to sit there with a pen and paper and to pass the information. That is it. That is the only reason you sit there. I do not have to call back. That is the only customer service you have to do as a secretary. There is a pen in front of you. That is there for a reason, and you are there for that reason. And when I do show up to the office, point to their room. Look up at me and point. At least throw your finger in the air and do a circle. You can also use a computer. Do not take down my email, if you do not know English. English being the letters used for all computer stuff, or Latin form of written French or Spanish. If you only know Semitic languages do not ask me for an email. Having to explain my email for an hour and a half is not customer service. And why are you saying twelve minutes and not ten minutes?

I am saying, force them to smile. We need bosses that force customer service. I gave up seeing forced smiles on peoples’ faces. Have one day of staff training where you teach your workers to smile because they hate their job, and to point in a circular pattern. Invite me in for staff training day to teach the concept of why customers are important to your business.

I gave up customer service, but this one I will fight for. I made Aliyah, it is my right. I come from the world of American Kosher restaurant service, where they have made it a point to not hire Jews. They understand that if you want your staff to smile, they should be from the Far East.


Forget about smiles, people are always yelling at me. ‘My pizza not good enough you?!’ Now given, I do complain about pizza, your English is horrific and you should not be taking emails. The time has come for the creation of a pizza slicer, which cuts all pizzas the same size. I always feel like I am getting ripped off.  Yes, your pizza is not good enough for me. Ripping me off with the last slice. You should call it the half slice and charge me half. People are now charging 12nis a slice, for pizza. Gourmet food is cheaper. It is the overhead of the window they have to slide the slice through. That is sarcasm you pizza shop yutz. It is pizza, keep it cheap. Pizza is Italian for cheap cheese. Why does nobody buy pizza anymore, you ask? I tell you. Because you are charging the same amount I can buy fish and chips for. Do you see a problem? I do. And if I want good pizza, I have to go to New York. In NYC the pizza tastes awesome, and there is even more of a chance I will get a smile. They have non-Jews from third world countries working in the pizza shop, with aspirations for good sauce to cheese ratio. That can only bring a smile. How do you mess up pizza? They don’t use enough preservatives.

Israel has one thing that makes the pizza good, Charedi Sauce. A mayonaizish type, red hot sauce, and that makes the pizza taste great. I understand that everybody is mad because the pizza is sub-par. But if we take the special Charedi Sauce from the ultra-Orthodox community and start using it, then we will have created our own way of making the pizza tasty. Ultra-Orthodox, because Charedi Sauce is ultra-awesome. I have given up the good pizza, but I have learned to condimentisize. We have to learn to condiment each other. That will make for a better society. At that point, we will maybe get some smiling on the service.

It is a cyclical affect. It starts with the 20 year old who spent his day’s wages on a slice of pizza that didn’t even come out good, with no Charedi Sauce. He is angry, because he is now missing dinner at home. How can anybody smile, when all that is going to be left over from dinner that is not too cold to eat is the last slice of the family pie’s presevativeless pizza?!!!

The lack of happy customer service and ability for returns, or to have anything positive coming out of shopping other than dried fruit, is not to be blamed on Israelis. It is a type of Middle Easterner, or type of Israeli. It is the working class, the type that have jobs, the kind in sales, city workers, people who interact with other people in their jobs, the educated ones, the lower class ones. But it is not every person living in the Middle East. It is only the ones I see every day.


The service in Europe or anywhere else in the West is not better. Everybody outside of North America is angry. You smile and they get mad at you. People only smile in third world countries, because they don’t know what it is like to have Ipads, plasma TVs and food. Hence, they are excellent at pizza. Even in North America, where they smile at you, they can still be nasty. In their own passive aggressive way, they will say nasty stuff like, ‘Excuse me Sir.’ In Israel I don’t have to use nasty words like ‘Sir.’ When I don’t like somebody Israel allows me to say ‘Jerk Face.’ So yes my US friends, you can take your 800 choices for the extra Large button down and go ‘Sir’ somebody else, because I know what that means. But I do like the smile.

The idea I am presenting in this Manifesto, is to make Israel exactly like America. To get them used to smiling. That is why I bring my reverse customer service to them. I made Aliyah and I have a right to fight back. My own battle for giving up customer service. As much as I should give up what I had when I was in America, there a dreams and fights I will keep up. As the explorer Oleh, I will not give up till that day that I get back a world of customer service, where I can return my warn out shoes, because I wore them too much. I take pride in my revolution and it makes me happy. Now, I smile at them. Yes it makes them angry, having to look at somebody who is not pissed off for being alive. I am sorry for that. I miss customer service and a friendly face from strangers who would love to kill me for being Jewish. Until that day where they smile back, my motto is the retailer is always correct.


What have we learned? There are four reasons to tip: The service staff smiles. The person is walking with something in their hands that is for you. Food is involved, even passively. Fear that you will be hexed.

As long as we hold the tips, people may start smiling. Today, in our day and age, you will notice random people in different fields of work, smiling. There are pockets of revolutionaries in the covert society of happy people. In Tel Aviv, I merited to see a random man throwing a falafel ball into my Laffa (tortilla looking thing) and he smiled. He even gave me a wink. I don’t know what the wink meant- repeat customer or relationship. It was kind of awkward to have a random man passing by Falafel BLaffa throw a falafel ball into my shwarma. Nonetheless, it was a smile. A smile I have received before, and a wink I have tried to forget. The smiles might be spreading. The redemption is upon us. Israel may one day be like America.

Thank you random passerby for throwing a falafel ball at me and winking.


About the Author
David Kilimnick: Jerusalem's Comedian performs at his Off The Wall Comedy Basement- Jerusalem's first comedy club, every Thursday in English and every Wednesday in Hebrew, in downtown Jerusalem. David may also be contacted to perform for tour groups in Israel & Synagogue fundraisers around the world, and for your private parties. Contact: 972(50)875-5688 David Kilimnick, dubbed Israel's father of Anglo comedy by the Jerusalem Post, is leading the new pack of English-speaking stand-up comics in Israel . At his Off the Wall Comedy Basement club in Jerusalem (the first of its kind), Kilimnick has been offering up penetrating observations of life in his turbulent adopted country. Tourists and native Israelis alike have been flocking to his cozy, intimate club and raving about his unique ability to transform the daily chaos and aggravation of Israeli life into an evening full of laughter. Kilimnick's material covers the rocky transition from his "New York Cocoon" to his new life as an "Oleh Chadash" or Israeli newcomer. Still single, Kilimnick touches on his religious upbringing, his rabbinic insights, the injustices of Jewish grammar school and Jewish summer camp, and the looks he gets from his Jewish mother because he isn't married yet. Meanwhile, Kilimnick's universal humor takes you on a tour of funny through the Holy Land. Incorporating routines from his shows 'The Aliyah Monologues Classic 1 & 2','Find Me A Wife,' 'Frum From Birth: Religious Manifesto', his music show 'Avtala Band' & more, David Kilimnick justifies his Aliyah (move to Israel), while taking you through the reality of life as a single immigrant, Israel experiences, holidays & family left behind. You are sure to walk away entertained, enlightened, or with David. David has recently appeared on "Bip" Israel's comedy network, צחוק מעבודב and has been hailed by the tough Israeli media as a rising star who possesses Seinfeldian charm when he takes to the stage.