Friday, April 12, 2013

Trimming Costs

After yesterday's experience with the police I'm on a bit of a warpath against authorities.

I don't want to get put in jail so I'm taking my orneriness (is that a word?) out on my phone service, specifically, on my service for overseas calls.

For you young 'uns, I will mention that the difference between today's phone service and what it was like when I came to Israel in 1983 is like night and day. Back in those early days, making phone calls was a costly and time-consuming process. Getting a phone installed, first of all, was a major procedure -- my cousins, who made aliyah in 1978 and who lived in a rather nice apartment in the center of the country, managed for years without a phone. It wasn't their choice and they weren't trying to save money -- the phone company was simply not installing phones in their area. If I wanted to call them, I would call their neighbor who would run to summon one of the family members to the phone. (A local story from the same time recalls a Tzfat doctor who would be beeped -- he'd go out to the pay phone on the street to call the hospital to find out what was happening. His neighbors remember him huddling in next to the phone in torrential rainstorms, trying to reach the hospital which wasn't always easy either).

Phone calls to "chul" (outside of Israel) were another story -- very expensive and difficult to find an open line. Most calls were made before the holidays or if there was some type of emergency (I remember trying to access a phone line to the States during the 1991 Gulf War....forget it, took hours) when everyone else was trying to make their calls at the same time. For awhile, the rates were marginally lower on Sundays and even though that petered out quickly, for years afterwards, everyone had it in their minds that they had to call on Sunday, if at all.

Today, of course, there's a new world out there. It takes me awhile to make changes but one of the newest changes involves signing up for my cell phone company's 99 shekel ($30)/month plan which gives me unlimited cell phone calls, both within Israel and to Chul. (texting too). Meaning, that for 99 shekels/month I can dump my 59 shekels month overseas phone service (to which I had to add a price-per-minute for talking) and take care of all of my phone needs.

My cousin was the one who put me onto this....he has actually hooked it up as his Internet service and doesn't have any additional phone or Internet costs.

So today I made the call to the phone service and voila, saved some more money. It doesn't address the police's incompetence, but there is a small feeling of satisfaction there.

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