Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Something Amazing

Hat tip: Stam

There's a really interesting article in the Wall Street Journal which takes a closer look at the growing phenomenon of Israeli kiosk salesmen in the US, particularly during the holiday season.
At malls across the country, shoppers are being besieged by a determined crop of salespeople: young Israelis who man mobile carts and have a no-holds-barred selling style.

Amid the grimmest holiday season in years, these workers are approaching passing mall shoppers or calling out from their stations, pitching body lotions, irons, toys and knickknacks. They demonstrate their wares by flying remote-control helicopters, steaming shirts and applying makeup. Instead of charging American-style fixed prices, they harness the culture of the bazaar and often quote numbers based on what they think a customer will be willing to pay.
While I have somewhat mixed feelings about how some of the Israelis tend to do business, most of them tend to be eminently respectful (if a bit pushy) and admittedly great salesmen. Their attitude and self-confidence is amazing (in the article one talks about being able to sell ice to Eskimos), and they certainly get the job done. It's a good piece, check it out. Below is the music video the article mentions by Rami Feinstein, a well known Israeli musician who wrote a song about his annual stint as such a salesman.


  1. that video is really funny! everytime they say to me, "can i ask u something?", i always think they have a real question! lol

  2. One of my cousins did this when he first came here. There have been other articles about this phenomenon - one that I remember reading was this one

    a while back. Looking forward to playing the song once the pre-sleep chatting in the kids' room dies down . . .

  3. Yeah, I've seen the Israeli salesmen at Kings Plaza mall in Brooklyn, but I always hurry past them because I know how persuasive they can be, and I don't want to blow money on the junk that they're selling.
    I can't believe that someone actually bothered to write a song about it though!

  4. I once took one of those water massage things (where everything but your head is in a tube) at Roosevelt Field Mall only because the guy was Israeli, and very charming.

    Cost me ten bucks.

  5. We've had those people selling Dead Sea skin care products in the mall in my hometown for years. They stay year-round at the big mall now (hence my "Ushpizin" post of a couple years back).

    There aren't many Jews in my hometown. As soon as my mother utters a few words of broken Hebrew, they chop anywhere from $5 to $20 off the price. And because she's a sucker, she buys the stuff. :-P