Tuesday, July 10, 2012

We Tackle Orange

You are probably imagining us in some orchard in the Negev trying to get fruit off the tree.  Not that Orange.  Orange is the name of our cellphone company.

When we arrived, our wonderful son in law Donny trooped over with us to the Orange store to help us pick out phones and a plan.  He spent literally hours with us translating what the salesperson was saying, and we picked out a rather expensive plan, mostly because we weren't sure what we'd need.

Fast forward a few months.  There is a huge war going on here with cellphone companies.  You'd better sit down for this one.  The supermarkets are now offering cellphone plans.  And the home improvement stores.  And the guy selling newspapers on the corner.  OK, a bit of an exaggeration, but only that last one.

So I decided to look at our cell phone usage and try to figure out if we have the best plan possible, since with all of this competition we could probably do better.  But I will not get my cellphone from the grocery store.  Something does not sound stable about that.  I mean if the price of milk drops, will my cellphone service go up?  Do I get an extra bag of Bamba if I go over my limit?

So one day a couple of weeks ago we bravely went to Orange to discuss changing our plan.  I mean, really, this took guts. 

Why?  Well, first of all, no one wants to be a "freier."

[Side note: For those of you who don't know, a "freier" is a sucker.  It's someone who someone else takes advantage of.  The WORST thing you can be called in Israel is a freier.  I can't say the word without thinking of my parents, the butchers, and a type of chicken they used to sell.]

Second of all, we were going to have to conduct this whole discussion in Hebrew.  It's bad enough worrying about someone trying to take advantage of you in English, but in Hebrew it's downright scary.

However, I'm proud to say that we walked out with a much cheaper plan, feeling pretty good about our bad selves (we kinda felt like Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder in that movie strutting around saying, "We bad, we bad.")  In the back of my head, though, there was a little voice saying that we were still freiers, but I kept squashing it.

Then we get our first charge under the new plan.  Guess what?  You'll never guess!  They charged us the old fee!  Hahahahaha!  We ARE freiers!

So for a couple of weeks I have been planning to go in and fight the good fight.  We went yesterday, armed with our bill and our analysis of what we SHOULD have been paying and......their computers were out. 

Went back today.  Went to the little kiosk where you type in your phone number, and receive a little ticket giving you a number.  Then you sit and wait for about 3 weeks.  Then they call your number.
So I took a number but noticed that the number machine kept vomiting out number slips that were conveniently falling into a trashcan which had been placed in just the right spot to catch them.  Hmmmm....

After a few minutes, so as not to be a freier, I went up to the manager and asked if the ticket I received from the machine was OK.  NONONONONO he said, and gave me a handwritten piece of paper with a number on it.  HUH?  How was I supposed to know to do that.

Anyway, after a brief wait (surprise!) it's our turn.  The woman smiled at us and started speaking VERY quickly. In Hebrew.  I felt like Charlie Brown in those holiday shows where all he hears is "WAWAWAWAWA."  Hold on, sista, I'm an olah.

I said to her, in Hebrew - I am still in Ulpan, so please speak slowly.  She smiled and slowed down.  I'm just glad she didn't do like some people, and start to speak louder.  I'm not deaf, honey, just illiterate.

Then we proceeded to have a great conversation.  At the end she (of course) convinced me that our plan was OK (frankly I was so grateful that she slowed down that I didn't care what she was saying). 

But I did remember very new Ulpan words which came in handy-dandy. 

We walked out feeling pretty good.  But we probably signed up for an additional 5000 shekel per month of services we don't need.  I'll keep checking the bills.

For now the Battle of Orange is enjoying a ceasefire.

1 comment:

  1. Ugh, the cellphone companies are the worst. I'm with Cellcom and it's the same. The main store in Jlem is horrendous. I know I am overpaying but arguing with them is a nightmare.