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Shopping in Israel: More Rules

September 27, 2011 2 comments

As promised, I’m posting more shopping rules.

Membership Cards
Nearly all of the chain stores have membership cards to get sale prices and discounts. What makes them different from the ones in the US is that you have to buy them.  Before you buy one:

  • Ask how much they cost. Some of the small neighborhood shops offer them for free. I’ve spent anywhere from 40-80 shekels depending on how nice the store is.
  • Shop around before you buy the cards. Figure out what stores you like and plan to frequent, then buy those cards.
  • Make sure you understand how they work. Some offer a flat discount regardless of purchase amount. Others require a minimum purchase for the discount to kick in.
  • If you have expat friends here, they can tell the cashier your phone number to use your card for the discount. You can strategically buy cards and share.

"5 Shekel" key chain fob

Always Carry 5 Shekels
Unless you shop at an upscale market like Teva, you will have to “rent” a cart for 5 shekels. The carts are chained together and the coin frees the cart for you… the cart keeps the coin until you return the cart. I never have enough change for anything and going through security and around to customer service for change  is a royal pain. The solution is to have a special key chain fob shaped like a 5 shekel coin. You can buy one in the hardware store where they make the keys.

There Are Slow Times To Shop
I haven’t attempted shopping on Friday, so I can’t speak to it. I have managed to find some slow times to shop in general. Israelis are night owls. If you get to the grocery right when it opens in the morning you can park just about wherever you want and get in and out quickly. Between 4-5 PM is also a good time to shop. Late night shopping is also good. Most of the chain grocery stores (in Netanya at least) are part of strip malls. If you go at 9:00-9:30 when the small stores are closing you can park with no problem. Ace and Office Depot are open until 10:00 while SuperSol and Super Pharm are open until midnight.

1+1 = Buy One, Get One Free
’nuff said.

Buy Housewares Just Before Rosh Hashana
Personal gifts and gifts for the home are traditional for Rosh Hashana. There are lots of sales happening. It also just happens that I”m setting up an apartment right now so the timing is really good. 🙂