The Freckles of Israel: "Convenience" Stores

By Naftali Ehrenkranz 

Dear Internet,

Before I go on, I’d just like to say that I love Israel. It’s a beautiful country with beautiful landmarks and beautiful people. There is so much to gawk about, but the one thing that remains is that it is not perfect. WHAT?! ISRAEL’S NOT PERFECT? WHAT ARE YOU EVEN SAYING?! I know this comes off as a shock to you, but it is true (and you’re sure of it now because it rhymes). Israel has many flaws, but like most things in life, the imperfections make it unique and endearing. So, before you go on to call me a cynic or some kind of delightful combination of expletives for what I write in this blog, remember this: I’m writing about the tiny little freckles I’ve came to notice on Israel’s pretty little face, so it would mean so much to me if you could just CALM THE CLUCK DOWN. Now sit back, relax, and enjoy the blog :).

"Convenience stores"

 In the US, when you hear that phrase, you tend to think of a place, usually near a gas station, where you buy tiny inexpensive 10,000 calorie snacks, which you’ll have to spend working out until next Haley’s Comet to burn off. It’s the kind of store you go in and purchase a slushy with a flavor like PINK WATERMELON STRAWBERRY EXPLOSION!!, even though it tastes like orange. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that these types of stores are primarily meant to be convenient for the customer. Don’t give me that weird look; I’m just a guy speaking his mind hereSo basically now you know what I used to think convenience stores were all about before I entered Israel.

"Makolet"

That’s the Israeli word for convenience store. There’s no CHHHAAA sound, so all y’all gentiles should be able to pronounce it. Now, I’m going to go back on what I said before: these are not convenience stores. They may appear that way at first glance, but it all goes downhill when all you want to do is buy one darn chocolate bar.

First of all, by the entrance, there will always be two balding, obese, old men sitting by the entrance. And by the entrance, I mean blocking anyone from going in or out of the store. Now it seems to me that this would be bad for business, but EVERY SINGLE MAKOLET has a pair of these guysIt’s almost as if they’re hired to sit on their tushies all dayAnother fun fact about these guys is that they somehow survive off of cigarettes and vodka. Let me repeat that for you: CIGARETTES AND VODKA. Nothing else.  I’m no doctor, but I do believe that it might be a bit unhealthy to solely consume tobacco and alcohol as your diet. Seriously, though, scientists should be researching this, because, these guys are medical anomalies -annoying medical anomalies at that.

Once you manage to squeeze through these two blobs of everything bad for you, which usually only occurs if you’re a size -4 or literally a toothpick, you’ll be safe inside the makolet. The food, snacks, drinks, and thousands of brands of cigarettes (Seriously, I didn’t even know Playboy cigarettes existed before I got here) surround you. You now get to choose what to buy and get the cluck out of there as soon as possible. BUT, WAIT! As soon as you select what you want, the cashier, who, moments ago, was glaring at you for just existing, has mysteriously vanished. If you take a good look around you, you’ll find that he somehow managed to escape “Mission Impossible” style to another makolet on the other side of the street.

Nothing to worry about though! Right before all your impatience causes you to transform into the hulk (which has happened close to a dozen times to me here already), he’ll be back to charge you like FOUR DOLLARS FOR A SINGLE SNICKERS BAR, which at this point you won’t care about, because you’re just happy to be out of there before people start to think that you’re missing.

So, boys and girls, what we learned today was very simple: In Israel, convenience stores are not meant to provide you with fast and cheap service, rather, they are home to those humble enough to use their superpowers, whether it be the ability to drink and smoke without eating or the ability to teleport to another makolet, just to piss you off. Nah. Seriously, these are places that both teach you so much about patience and the bare resources makolet blobs use to survive. So, next time you’re about to go to a makolet, take a deep breath … and head to a supermarket instead. 

P.S. IT WAS TOTALLY WORTH THE SNICKERS BAR

Photo Credit: Classic Israeli play Makolet B’Idan HaKanyonim

6Israel, Current Participants, Masa Israel Media Fellows, makolet, convenience store, shopping, medium,