Friday, February 18, 2011

Parking in the New Israel

Temple Mount and Western Wall during Shabbat

Image via Wikipedia

One of the stereotypes of Israelis is that they are rude, brusque, and that customer service is a concept that doesn’t exist.

That stems from the early, rougher, more socialist days, but I continue to see evidence that this is changing.

By no means 100% the case (of course, it’s not like that in the US either, is it), the tourist-facing industry is solid and customer-friendly.

Beyond that though, there’s positive change.

Case in point.

In Jerusalem (and many other places in the country), you pay for parking on the street by going to a kiosk and indicating how much time you intend to park. You pay accordingly and place the receipt on your dashboard.

It works fine.

We stopped at one lot and I went to the machine. It wasn’t working. Tried multiple coins. Asked a local. Nothing.

The last thing I needed was for the car to get booted or towed.

So, I called the 800 number (it actually is an 800 number) on the kiosk.

I explained I was visiting (in Hebrew) and what was happening.

She asked for the kiosk number.

She asked for the make, model, color, and license plate of our car.

She told us, “don’t worry about it. It’s not a problem.”

I expressed my gratitude.

Then, she said, “Welcome to our city and thank you for visiting.”

15 years ago, from a municipal employee, that NEVER would have happened.

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