Case in point: We were going to an orthopedic shop to get an orthotic for Pam's foot, which is still suffering from foot drop. The man who was fitting the orthotic was on his cell phone THE ENTIRE TIME he was working with her, and this despite the fact that she was obviously distressed about having to get the orthotic in the first place and the fact that it didn't fit very well. When I suggested that perhaps he should allow her to walk around a bit to see if he could get it to fit better, he stalked out insulted since he said it would take a longer time to wear in to see how it would fit. Gee, I never walk around in new shoes to see if they fit, do you?
In any case, when I challenged him on using his cell phone ("Who were you talking to that was more important than us?" "Did someone die in your family?") he got very huffy and sarcastic. ("Enjoy your trip." Did he think we were tourists because I had a camera around my neck?) As we were leaving (I stormed out of the place which, by the way, was a real dump) we ran into a little, old bubbie lady walking in. She had twinkling eyes and a bright smile. On the off chance she might understand English, I said to her,
"Don't go in there. They are very rude."
"Why," she replied, "what did they do?"
"The man in there was on his cell phone the entire time he waited on us."
"Oh," she laughed, "Everyone in Israel does that."
Everyone in Israel does that! Well, not if they want to do business with me. Not if they are a medical professional performing medical services for me or my family.
Just before Shabbos I had my regular call from Uncle Rafi to see how things were going. I told him this story, which I was still exercised about, and he said to me,
"Well, you're right and they're wrong but let me tell you this. I was once in a meeting with a man we wanted to start a business partnership with, and he was on his cell phone during the whole meeting talking to his wife and friends about a BBQ they were going to have."
"I would have walked out."
"We didn't do that but we ultimately didn't do the partnership."
Herewith I begin the Cell Phone Wall of Shame to call out those who are so rude that they think the person on their cell phone is more important to talk to than you. And while they are doing business with you, no less!
Establishment: "Ha'mercaz L'Briut Ha'regel"; The Center for Foot Health
Location: Old City; Be'er Sheva