Friday, July 13, 2007

Bait and Switch

While Jameel likes to crown of himself the King of Barbeques, he will happily acknowledge that I, JoeSettler, taught him everything he knows when it comes to barbequing hot dogs and steaks. I guess that make me a Kingmaker.

There are probably a few American in Israel who brought over their BBQs from the US on their lift. Along with the BBQs many presumably brought along the 20 lb. LP gas tank that came with the system (the ones that cost a mere $10-$15 back then).

I, of course being different, also brought my gas tank to Israel, but I brought mine with me on the plane as carry-on luggage. Of course, that was before 9/11. Still, it was an interesting story getting it through the security check (after they couldn’t get it through the X-Ray machine – can you imagine they tried?!) .

I quickly learned a lesson from friends of mine.

Those gas canisters are mighty enticing to some people.

It used work here sort of like printer cartridges do today. You returned your tank to a store and received a different when it was ready. No big deal when you are talking about the same cheap Israeli balloons that used to float around.

But our American tanks were something different, something desired - they were twice as big as the largest Israeli size and were clearly made of higher quality parts.

At least 2 friends of mine, right off the boat, lost their gas tanks to the stores that switched them. Of course their old balloons were never to be found again, and the storeowners cheerfully explained to them that they only switch canisters and never, ever return the originals ("and some other customer got them") – that was policy.

Remember, this was almost 2 decades ago, and customers (especially green ones) didn’t have much recourse.

I learned from my friends' mistakes and shopped around until I found a store that promised to not switch them (Gaz Nuni on Bar-Ilan St in Jerusalem) and they kept to their word.

Unfortunately, all that ended a few years ago when one day I walked into Gaz Nuni and they told me they can no longer fill up my balloon. The law had changed and it was decided that American balloons aren’t up to Israeli standards so they aren’t allowed to fill them anymore. It would be illegal to fill them – they’re considered substandard!

My American balloon was outlawed.

It took a while, but eventually I found a “hole in the wall” shop that would quietly refill my balloon as long as I didn’t make a fuss about it. And that lasted for a while, and over the years I sent them a few quiet customers, until I (like Jameel), out of convenience, eventually ran a gas pipe directly from the wall to the BBQ.

I’m writing this today because JerusalemCop desperately called me up this week trying to find out where he could fill up his American balloon.

It took some research, but I found my “hole in the wall” shop again, and they did their thing for JerusalemCop. Unfortunately they told JC that this would probably be the last time they can do it, as their supplier was afraid of getting caught and was no longer willing to refill the tanks.

As compensation, they said if they can’t fill it up again next time, they offered to go to his home (for free) and help him retrofit his BBQ to (“superior”) Israeli standards when this tank ran out.

In all seriousness, I think that was nice of them to offer.

I still want to know what is substandard about my American gas tank that is/was sold in America in every Sears in the country.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael


Gee a Moron said...

I had the same thing two decades ago exceptthat both my tanks (I brought an extra) came by boat and are still in my back yard rusting away. One day I was in Home Center and I saw a fitting - threded brass gas pipe to a rubber hose nipple like they use on stoves. I bought it and lo and behold it fit in place of the tank regulator nd every since then the grill is connected to the house.

I've had to replace the grill burner at least five times since they rust out and I changed the lava rock when it looked grungy so that really the only original thing is the firebox and the valves.

I put in the outside gas point myself and it was fine for ten years until one day a gas company inspector turned up and told us that he had to make sure that our gas equipment was "up to the newest codes". He gave us the choice of either spending 900 sheqels or having our gas disconnected until he would come again and approve of repairs made by somebody else. We paid to make him go away. In all fairness he did upgrade a few things including the outside gas valve but it was quite a blackmail situation.

Anonymous said...

Smaller tanks means more frequent refills. More frequent refills means shelling out more money in more individual transactions. More individual transactions means more VAT for the government. Nekuda.

mother in israel said...

I wouldn't be so skeptical that the "updated standards" business is a scam (although it's possible). I bought a new stove three years ago and I am happy with the new safety features. Did you ask what features your old tank was missing?

MUST Gum Addict said...

Speaking of going through airport security, take my advice and don't try taking a watermelon in your carry-on bag. I don't have time to explain at the moment, but just take my word for it...

Maybe one day I'll post about that story...

Jack's Shack said...

A watermelon? Please try convincing airport security that the bear cub in your bag is just a robotic prototype.

Sara with NO H said...

I tagged you on my blog.

[<( - _ - )>] ® said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
JoeSettler said...

I saw a guy try to take a cooked turkey through customs. They found the video camera he his inside it.

tnspr569 said...

joesettler- would you be willing to give me a lesson or two the next time I'm in your area?

If you taught Jameel, I can only imagine how good your grilling must be.

Michael said...

Joe & Jameel:
I am truly sorry, but you just can't do a grill right with gas. It's got to be a charcoal fire.

Call me a traditionalist, call me a Luddite, call me a caveman; I will never back away from this one.

JoeSettler said...


I agree, but sometimes convenience just wins out.

elchonon said...

when ami invited for a cookout? btw where the heck can u get good 'ol american franks?

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