The 11th Floor

A Perpsective Overlooking Jerusalem, Israeli Life, and Talmud Torah

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Story of the Crack(ed) Pot

It was Thursday afternoon when the first pot was purchased. A tired gang of three, we meandered around the streets of Jerusalem, in the hot sun, in search of necessary house wares. As we walked down Agrippas Street, we peeked into a doorway to discover Japanese Lanterns hanging from the ceiling. This was one thing on our list and we crossed the threshold. I busied myself with searching for a pot - and discovered a lovely aluminum version with black plastic handles and top - it looked sturdy and held 5 liters and did not seem overly expensive. We bought it.

On Friday morning I busied myself with "kashering" our silverware so we could actually eat some of the excellent food we'd acquired in the past three days of hunting and gathering. This requires boiling the silverware in a large pot. With much excitement, I opened the cardboard box, and the plastic wrapping - only to discover a small crack in the aluminum on the rim of the pot. A decorative feature? No - this was indeed a defect! For now it was small but who could say how it might grow and cause troubles throughout a year of use. And it was not particularly cheap either. But what to do? We needed silverware - and the pot was unsellable anyway. I boiled the water and kashered the silverware, intending to return the pot later that afternoon.

Well, Friday went hurriedly along and there was no time to return the pot (nor was there time to take a bus so a five shekel (~$1.5) sketchy cab ride had to suffice) so it had to wait til Sunday. The pot had been washed and packed up in its plastic and box. I walked with my chin held high, reviewing the Hebrew and tone that would be necessary to achieve the desired ends. No, not this random house ware junk store, not this one... finally there it was on the left. I recognized the counter and the man who had sold us the pot, though there was a different woman behind the counter. I prepared for the attack.
"I bought this on Thursday and when I opened it, it was broken."
"Did you use it?"
"No," I say as I open the box to show her.
"It looks like you used it."
"I just used it for water. I had to boil water - but it was cracked right when I opened it. I'd like to exchange it."
"One second." She calls over the man who sold us the pot.
"It's dirty."
"I just used if for water - I had to boil water - but it was broken right when I opened it."
"Well, clean it and then I can exchange it." He walks away.
"It's clean! We cleaned it. It just had water in it. You can't sell it anyway - its broken!"
"Go home and clean it very well, then bring it back and I can exchange it for you."
"I live far away! I can't go home and clean it."
She calls him over again.
"Go home and clean it - then I can exchange it."
"I live far away from here - I can't go home and clean it! Besides, you can't sell it. It's broken!"
"Fine. Clean it in the kitchen here and then I'll exchange it." He points to a door in the back of the store.

So that is how I found myself washing dishes in the back of a houseware store, one of many similar houseware stores on Agrippas Street in Jerusalem. I didn't even know hardware stores had kitchens. I leave the pot to dry on a counter next to the sink and hope it won't get mixed up with the assortment of plaster and carpet pieces. And who knows if this sponge is even kosher?

He's put another pot on the counter and I tell him I'll check it to make sure it's ok.
"I checked it already but fine - you can check it."
I open the box and unwrap the plastic, take out the pot and look over the rim. Sure enough - there is a small crack.
"It's small, but it could get bigger. Maybe it's a problem with the company."
"No, it's not a problem with the company," he assures me. He wraps up the pot and brings me another one. This one is perfect. I leave feeling victorious, and almost more intimately connected to these houseware store owners because I've washed a pot in their kitchen. But I hope I don't have to see them again anytime soon. And I really hope they don't sell those broken pots to anyone else for 139 shekels.


Anonymous Becka said...

Viva, was this you? It was really funny! Keep 'em comin'. Love you, B

11:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vives, this sounds like you. how funny! i know the little shops you're talking about, Japanese lanterns and all! i can only imagine that dishwashing scene. how poinent and hilarious. looking forward to readin' more. :) Love ya, L

8:46 PM  

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