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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

This T-Mobile Store is Kosher

Earlier today I ordered a new phone I can't afford, a Samsung Gravity, in case you're curious, to replace my Crackberry (the Blackberry Curve) that has a gaping hole in it and keeps dropping calls like crazy.

Sending it to the insurance company would mean paying a $130 deductible and they would only send me the same kind of phone and I'm done with Crackberry. I mean, what does a girl who spends every waking moment about 5 steps from the computer need with a Crackberry? Okay, if I need to Twitter from the shower or the toilet...yeah, too much. Where was I?

So I ordered the phone online and it said it would ship UPS but I got ansty anyway and when I found myself downtown hours later (near 107th St. and Broadway) I decided to see if I could cancel the order and get the T-Mobile store to give me one right then and there.

The sign in the window says the store is closed as of an hour ago but a gorgeous Indian lady leaving the store tells me it's open as I get to the door. I walk in and am quickly helped by an extremely nice Indian guy who has a bit of an accent and is wearing a baseball cap. He looks up my order on the computer and everything.

"Why didn't you just get it in a store originally?" he asks.

"Oh, there's no T-mobile store where I live in Riverdale," I explain sheepishly.

"Riverdale? This guy lives in Riverdale" and he points over the counter to the Indian guy wearing an AT&T shirt in the chair in front of him.

I consider playing Riverdale geography but instead, I gawk at the guy and ponder asking him why he's wearing an AT&T shirt in a T-Mobile store. No, I decide so I just shake my head.

And then the first guy starts flirting with me.

"So, I could open a store for you in Riverdale," the first Indian guy says. "Just for you. For you I would open a store! Just for you!" And he's very insistent so I think he means it.

I turn red as I whisper I'm married. I'm afraid he'll say, "Lady, I wasn't going there" but he says, "That's okay, I need the business! It's good business!"

"Well, the last cell phone place in the area closed so I wouldn't do it," I tell him. "Plus the other cell phone place is just busted and rundown and I don't think they do too well either."

He nods along as I speak but he doesn't respond and he goes back to clicking on the computer. I look down at my sneakers and then I think What am I still doing in this store? and so I tell him that I'm happy he was so helpful and I'm "gonna go now."

"No, thank you!" He reaches out his hand over the counter to shake mine.

I start to say "Sorry, I don't shake hands..." and he makes THE FACE "with men...." I finish. Now, he looks curious.

"Why not?" he asks.

"I'm an Orthodox Jew."

I wait for him to say, "Funny, you don't look Jewish" but it never comes.

Instead, he yells "Mazel tov" with the most excitement I've ever seen outside of a yeshiva.

"Um, thanks," I say after I finish laughing.

"L'Chaim!" he yells, really getting worked up now.

I grin. "You know, usually, people start with 'Shalom!'"

And at this point, because everyone else in the store (about 4 or 5 Indian guys and 2 white guys) is listening in, the whole store bursts into a big chorus "SHALOM!"



"SHALOM!" And then, finally, we're all Shalom-ed out.

"I could throw a bottle up against the wall for you if you like," he offers as he throws an imaginary bottle in the direction of the nearest wall.

I laugh again and explain that this custom is usually done with wine glasses at weddings.

"Oh." He looks dumbfounded for a second. And then, the lightbulb goes on. "Well, I'm sure someone here is getting married soon." He looks around for a likely suspect.

"Ah yes, maybe, but are they Jewish?" I ask with a mock serious face. And at this point we both look around at the other customers.

A bald, middle-aged guy who looks like Larry David raises his hand. "I'm Jewish." The whole store turns to stare at him for a moment.

"Well," I say. "then I guess you can go ahead with throwing the bottle against the wall."

Seriously, does this kind of stuff happen to other people?


  1. Shalom! Shalom! Shalom!

    Thank you Aliza this story made me laugh. It is awesome sitting in a row of cubes and laughing by yourself.

    Whenever I come down to the city I get a nice "Jewish" story. Up here in Boston I am ignored on a regular basis but in NYC it is unique encounter per day.

    The best is when I go with my friend who's Mom was Jewish and converted before having him. He says he is Italian but that German Jew eeks out and we get more than one encounter a day. It happened 4 times in one day the first time I traveled with him.

    I will take all these positive and odd encounters over any of the negative ones that I (family) was worried about. :>

  2. hahah, great blog btw (found you from Heshy)

    My old boss used to randomly yell out "Sukkah" to me. Thinking about it now, I wonder if meant "Shalom"

  3. Thank you Aliza! I really needed that. That was really special. Thank you for sharing with us.

  4. Yes, MTP, these moments almost make those other moments bareable.

  5. Duddes02:

    i hope your boss wasn't Russian...

  6. AHAHA!

    I've never had anything *quite* that dramatic happen, but usually if someone pegs me as Jewish, yeah, they bust out whatever Hebrew they know and start asking me if I keep kosher and stuff. I can't tell if that's genuine curiosity, or them trying to show off that they know stuff and trying to relate to me.


    that is a quintessential New York encounter.....

    Once in Flushing I was in a fruit/vegetable market where a hasidic male was asking questions of the Korean clerk....when she couldn't help him a woman in the store wearing a Hijab gave him the info...everyone was pleasent and lovely...not as fun as your story...but you just got to love a city where so many folks can bump into oneanother every day!