Posted by Julia Bendis
Being at a car dealership this weekend, to finally get the recalled part on my car fixed, reminded me how much I truly enjoy car dealerships. Not only do I NOT mind haggling with the salesmen on a price, I look forward to it. After all, I am my father’s daughter. That same father that took me to a Saturn dealership for my first car, not just any car, my dream car. I wanted the two-door, sports coupe, with a sun-roof, a back spoiler and in a bright red color! I didn’t get either, but we got a killer deal on a Gold-colored sedan… Here is a little how the haggling went down:
Salesman: The total for this car, with tax and license will be $10,000.
My Dad: I will give you $5,000!
Salesman: Sir, we don’t negotiate on the sales price. Saturn dealerships have already low set prices.
My Dad: I tell you what I am going to do. I am going to write you a check for $5,000. We are going to get some lunch, and when we get back, you will have the car all washed and ready for us.
Salesman: Sir, like I JUST said, we do not negotiate on the price. I will give you some time to think about this.
As he walks away, my Father stands up to leave. At 16, my world is about to come crashing down on me! I can’t believe I will walk out of yet another dealership without a car. I beg my dad to come back, and promise to pay for my own insurance, gas and anything else that he wants. At that point, I didn’t care how far from my dream this car was, I just wanted A car, any car. We go back.
Salesman: Oh, good you decided to take the car!
My Dad: Yes, I will take the car, but I am not paying for taxes and license!
Salesman: Sir, the law requires for you to pay the taxes and registration fees on the car. There is nothing I can do about it.
My Dad: You can pay the tax and registration for me.
Salesman: Um, no I can’t. That’s the buyers responsibility. Sir, do you want the car or not? I work on commission, and I have already spent half the day with you…
My Dad: Well, there you go! You can pay for my taxes and registration out of the commission that you will make from me buying this car!
Salesman: Sir, I don’t make that much… But, let me see what I can do.
So after about 6 hours at the dealership, we finally walked out with a car. My dad beaming from ear to ear, the salesman pissed off, and me learning a valuable lesson. I learned that if you just sit there long enough, push your price on them long enough, in the end you WILL wear them down! See, what the sales people don’t understand is that I have all the time in the world to sit there and haggle with them. The more time they spend on me, means less money they make that day… I have no problem sitting there, eating their free cookies, drinking their free sodas and coffee! I can make a picnic out of it, bring the kids with their annoying, loud toys, squeaking animals, and have them empty out the whole vending machine. We can have breakfast, lunch and dinner there. All I have to do is give my kids the signal to be annoying, and the whole showroom will be empty in a matter of seconds.
My kids are talented that way, they can go from cute to annoying within a matter of a few seconds. It really comes in handy when you want people to do things your way, especially at the Doctor’s offices. But… that’s a whole other article. Stay tuned for that.
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January 6, 2011 | 4:04 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
Most people know, I am not a big sports fan. Sure I like to watch an occasional basketball game, only because every TV in the house has been hijacked to watch the Cleveland Cavaliers get their asses handed to them, yet again, by every single team in the NBA. But, that’s for later…
Until I met my husband, I didn’t even know what baseball was. I saw it on TV a few times, but had no idea what the hell was going on, or why men would wear such unflattering, tight pants and run around in a circle every single fricking time. I had no idea that straight, gorgeous men could have such a fascination with balls.
Unfortunately for me, I met my husband during the World Series of baseball in August of 1997, and him being from Cleveland was even more unfortunate (as I learned later)! After dating for a couple months, he told me that he was going to visit his parents in Cleveland, which was a little strange since we had just started dating. He did say that he was mostly going because the World Series games were to be played there. First of all, I didn’t know that going to “the World Series” meant going to watch a baseball game. I heard the words “world” and “series”, and assumed it was some kind of a international TV show or competition. Him working in the entertainment industry, somehow it all made sense to me. Second, when he tried to explain to me (for the fifth time), that it was a very important baseball event, and each team had to qualify to be in this event over the course of the season, all I kept hearing was: “Blah, Blah, Blabety Blah, Cleveland, Blah, Blah haven’t won Championship since the 1700’s.” And to tell the truth, that’s as far as I cared.
I never really understood what the big deal was about. I came from Russia, we didn’t have this obsession with sports unless you were the one actually playing for the Soviet team! And of course if Russia was playing United States, then we cared.
But as the time went on, and he would tell me stories about his 80-year-old Grandma screaming, and cussing at the TV when the Indians were loosing, I started to get the feeling that he was no ordinary sports fan. He was a Cleveland Fan! You know what that means? That means that no matter what is going on in your life, whether your wife is about to give birth to your first child or not, you plan around the Indians schedule! That means that if your wife is going to the hospital on October 31st, and the Indians are still in the World Series, you bring the radio with you, you find the closest waiting room with a working TV, and in between contractions you tell her that you’ll be back, because you have to check the score. And apparently, as the wife of a Cleveland fanatic, I have agreed to accept the part in our marriage vows that said: ” I agree to leave my husband alone when any Cleveland team is in the Finals, and never be upset if he ONLY answers those questions that have to do with sports. Any other questions will be asked, and answered after Cleveland has lost.”
I truly do get that never-ending love for your city, that undying love that makes you stick by your team even if they haven’t won a championship since you were minus one. I really do. Every time I visit Cleveland, I am still amazed at the amount of team t-shirts, sweatshirts and jerseys that are so abundant everywhere you go! Everyone is wearing some kind of Cleveland or Ohio paraphernalia, the young, the old, even babies come out of the hospital wearing their first Ohio State jerseys. They are truly the best fans any city has ever had! That’s not to say that here in L.A. we don’t have great fans, they just come in the form of transplants that lost their faith in their own city, so they decided to pick a team out of a hat and Wuala, L.A. was the one. But not the Cleveland fans, they stick with their teams til the end! They take it to their graves, sometimes literally.
Thirteen years later, I have finally come to terms that with now 3 boys in the house, I am better off getting a new hobby during baseball season, renting a small apartment down the street, or learning to sit next to them while they watch sports, with giant headphones and my laptop, of course.
So, as they say in Cleveland, “wait until next year” to see if my boys suddenly become un-interested in sports…
January 4, 2011 | 7:05 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
Don’t you just love when you visit a Doctor, and he tells you to go ahead and call him if you need anything else? I am still pretty shocked when I hear any Doctor say that, since most of them want you to come back, pay money, and THEN they will answer your questions, even if you’ve already seen him the day before… for the same thing.
What they don’t tell you is that you will NEVER get through to them, when you call! See, they have developed a great firewall, as in a computer firewall. When a patient calls trying to speak to the Doctor, a defense mechanism by the name of “front-desk-Judy” comes up to block you. “Oh, you really really need to speak to the Dr.? Sorry, he is in with a patient right now. Oh, he told you to call him? I understand, and will leave him yet another message that you called. Yes, I see here that you called prior to this annoying call, but he was at lunch then. And yes, we are only open from 9 to 4, and we take an hour lunch from 12 to 1, but don’t answer our phones until about 1:30 or so, and today we are leaving early. Why? The Dr. has a dinner appointment with his wife. Why don’t we just make an appointment for you to come in tomorrow, and he will answer any questions you may have! Yes, that will cost you another co-pay, and yes most likely he will be running late since we are getting in a little late tomorrow.”
Either way, you are screwed.
You see, I finally found a perfect Jewish Doctor in Orange County. He really is perfect, not only because he will sit and chat with you, but also tell you all about his family! When he is done talking about his everyday struggles with his children, and the trials and tribulations of his third marriage, he does occasionally look at whatever it is that brought you into his office. After which, he asks what it is that you would like for him to do to fix the problem…
Well, I am no Doctor but I think some kind of an anti-biotic would work just fine! What do YOU think, Doctor?
What’s even better about my wonderful, Jewish Doctor is that I recently found out that he is Canadian. Yes, that country above us that for some reason thinks its an Actual country of its own! Now, no need for hate mail, I love Canada! Really, I do. I even have some relatives that live there. People are very nice, and super friendly and I don’t have a single problem with them. However, I am not so sure about their Medical professionals…
Oh wait, that’s not the best part. Here it comes. I recently found out that my Jewish, Canadian doctor also went to school in Mexico! Yeap, that country right below us. Again, I have no problem with that country either. People are even nicer than Canadians, hard workers, always eager to help, etc, etc, etc…
I am starting to understand his willingness to give me whatever I want, whenever I want it. I am also starting to understand the shady hours of operation. What I don’t understand is why can’t I find the perfect, Jewish Doctor…
To read more on my quest to find the perfect Doctor, please visit my blog at: http://easternblocklox.wordpress.com
January 3, 2011 | 6:28 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
Let’s talk about Vests. Maybe I am the only person that doesn’t get this, but what is the point of a Vest? And more importantly, what the hell is the point of a warm winter jacket if its missing sleeves! I don’t get it.
If you need a warm jacket or coat to keep you warm, what in world would possess you to buy one that has no sleeves??? Let’s follow this logic:
- You go to a store to buy a warm jacket.
- You walk around looking at various ones.
- Oh look, here is a pretty one.
- Oh look, it has no sleeves. Perfect.
- My whole upper body will be nice and warm, but my arms will be freezing. Perfect.
- I’m buying it!
Really? I don’t care how cute it is, or how much fur it has, you step outside in that thing in 50 degree weather, you will be sorry some idiot cut off the arms on it.
To read more of my useless articles of clothing, and other rants check out my blog: http://easternblocklox.wordpress.com
January 2, 2011 | 10:31 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
* As usual, Nik (the 5 year old) was taking forever in the bathroom. I yelled out to him: “Are you OK? Did you fall in the toilet?” “No Mommy, ONLY my butt fell in the toilet! But, its OK. I pulled it out!”
* As we were all driving one day, a car cuts us off. I yell out: “Why is that guy an idiot?” My 11-year-old, Tyler: “I don’t know, Mom. Why is a pickle green?”
* My 5-year-old has started to take a shower on his own, with my husband or I watching in the bathroom, and making sure he cleans everything. One day, while he was in the shower my husband was telling him to make sure to wash his behind well. As Nikolas was about to do it: “Oh, this ain’t gonna be pretty!”
* On the plane a few months ago:
Me: Would you like some beef jerky?
My kid: Yea yea beef jerky!
He starts eating.
My kid: “Oh, its spicy, I need water”
Me: I don’t have any water
My kid: Well why did you give me this then?
Me: Not sure. Spit it out.
My kid: I need a napkin!
Me: Ooh lucky for you I found a napkin
My kid: No, no – lucky for you.
* When Nikolas was taking a very long time in the bathroom one night, my husband asked him if he was alright, if his stomach was hurting, and if it was diarrhea. He looks in the toilet, looks up: “Oh, its your lucky day, Daddy!”
* My son didn’t want the Oats on the Oat Bran muffin, so my husband started to scrape them off. He finished, and our Nik says: “That’s good enough, Dad. You can take a break now!”
* Nik wanted to have the leftover Halloween candy, and was trying to get it. Me: “Oh, don’t eat that, its a month-old!” My kid: “No, you are a month-old!” He thought I was calling him a baby.
* While trying to clean up the house, the little one kept whining that no one is giving him anything to do. It was getting on my nerves, me: “What’s with you?” My kid: “Stop saying that, there is Nothing WITH me, I don’t have anything WITH me!”
* We asked our oldest, Tyler (who was 9 yrs at the time), to do us a favor and give a shower to his little brother (4 at the time), kind of as a joke. Really didn’t think that he would actually do it. He obviously took it as a way to make a quick buck… We got this (see a photo to the right) as our bill of services rendered!
* We let Tyler (10 at the time) ride his bike down to the neighborhood park, with his friends. After he got back home, I asked him, “Tyler did you guys stay at the park the whole time?”. Rolling his eyes at me, “No, Mom. We went to the bar, had a few beers, you know, the usual!”
* “Mom, when you were a little boy in Russia, did you speak English?”. “You mean: when I was a little GIRL in Russia”, “no Mom, I SAID, when you were a little BOY in Russia! Everyone is born a Boy, and then some turn into girls!”
December 30, 2010 | 8:45 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
I got a letter from my car’s manufacturer, saying that my car is part of a Recall due to a faulty brake part. I was told to call the nearest dealership immediately, and bring the car in to get the part replaced.
They listed all possible malfunctions that could result from Not getting the new part:
-At first, the brakes would start making noise.
-Then the noise will get worse, and worse over time.
-Brake fluid will start leaking out, making the brakes weaker and weaker.
-And finally, the brakes will completely fail when you try to stop the car.
Sounds like a dream, right?
So, as any sane person would, I got on the phone and started calling dealerships. Their service departments informed me that they haven’t received the needed parts yet, and don’t know when they will. Apparently, they made only a small amount of needed parts, and they haven’t been distributed yet…
Now, I am no genius but before starting a countrywide panic attack wouldn’t you, first want to make sure you have the necessary part? What the hell is the point of sending out letters to thousands of affected car owners, telling them that they might possibly get into accidents, get hurt or even die because their brakes won’t work, and at the same time NOT have any way of preventing all of this from happening???
In the meantime, we will all just drive very, very carefully or walk everywhere…
December 27, 2010 | 1:09 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
Being a wife, a mother and a woman in general, you find yourself at a grocery store quite a bit. I also find myself quite a bit pissed off when I am there. I really thought that America was all about business, and customer service, and giving really good customer service. I guess I just assumed that coming to this country from Russia, where back in the day most people didn’t know what “customer service” even meant, I would only find happy, go-lucky people everywhere I went.
Apparently, I was wrong. I keep hearing the phrase “good customer service is hard to find”, from everyone these days. I never really thought about it, until I started paying attention. Take my neighborhood Ralphs grocery store for example. I was in there the other day, and was hoping to find those small, Persian-type cucumbers. I remember that they used to carry them there. One of the produce guys was working close by, I went up to him and asked if they ever get those cucumbers in. Without even looking at me, he blurts out: “No!” And keeps working. No explanation, no offering to see if they could order some, NOTHING. Me being a big mouth, and wanting my damn Persian cucumbers, I ask him if they ever order those anymore? “No”, he says. Well, at that point I couldn’t back down, even if I wanted to. “Do you think you COULD order some, and I will come and buy them all?” This time he actually turned to look at who in their right mind would actually have the balls to keep bugging him! What a miracle, I thought!
He says: “Fine, I will see if we can order them!” I am sure what he meant to say was: “I will order them, if you take your annoying ass out of here.”
Did I mention how much I dread going to my neighborhood Ralphs, or shopping for groceries altogether? The problem is that the closest store besides Ralphs is miles away, and when you only need a couple things, the last thing you want to do is drive 20 minutes each way to get it.
And I’m not saying that other stores are any better. I tried going to the Persian store, further away but was told they have the best produce, and carry a lot of Russian and Israeli foods, which I was very happy about. I learned fast that if you don’t speak Farsi, they just ignore you! They are very nice when you first walk in, and assuming that you are Persian (having dark hair, and dark features, I’ve been taken for Persian, Italian, Mexican, Armenian, everything BUT Russian), they say: “Salom”, which I have no problem with, but that’s as far as my Farsi language goes. Once they realize you have absolutely no clue what they are saying, they turn around and leave. I’ve tried asking for something a couple times, only to get the same response as the moron from Ralphs, “No”. Once you finally get to the checkout stand, the checkers don’t even look at you to say a “hello”. They just keep scanning and bagging your groceries until you are done.
One of the last times I went there, during the checkout process, I asked the clerk: “Why are you so mad?” He looked up at me, and I swear I wasn’t sure if he was going to ask me to get the hell out of the store, or throw groceries at me. Without answering, he proceeded to bag my groceries. The people in line behind me didn’t seem to find it funny or amusing either… Let’s just say that was the last time I went to that store.
You know, you almost expect it from the Russian stores, I don’t get mad at them. I know they can’t help it. That’s just how they behaved themselves back in the old country. During Communism, life was crappy, not enough food, sometimes no food and they were the bearers of bad news. When you’ve been waiting in line for 3 hours for a skinny, un-plucked dead chicken with its hair, his head and neck still on, the last thing you want to hear is that they ran out!!! The fat, ugly He-woman standing behind the counter is the one to deliver the bad news to you. You know she hates her job, but its a job and someone has to do it. I can only imagine how my Mother felt after a long day at work, having to stand in line for a promised chicken only to find out the guy in front of you took the last one… I know I wouldn’t have taken the news well, and probably would have reached over the counter and tried to strangle her.
When that same woman behind the counter immigrated to the U.S., the only job she could get was being a store clerk, and with no English, she had to do it at a Russian store. Unless you are Russian, and used to that sort of thing I don’t suggest going into one. Its almost as if they forget they are in America, and once enter the store start reminiscing about the bad-old days. They forget that its not the “first-come, first-get-it” mentality. There is no need for shoving and pushing, and on top of that yelling, very loud yelling over everyone’s heads!
I remember the first time I took my husband to a Russian store in LA, back when we were still dating. Boy, was he scared. Even though he is a 3rd and 4th generation Russian, his grandparents never talked about their days there. He is still learning about the culture, and the way life was there. He was definitely Not prepared, and I almost felt bad for him. Some 80-year-old woman shoved him in to a corner, while trying to grab bread behind him. I must have been busy yelling at the clerk because I didn’t even notice him standing quietly in a corner, with his eyes about to pop out of his head. Its a pretty scary sight for a newbie to be thrown into that chaos.
I am pretty sure that I am on some kind of a “list” in every grocery store in Orange County, they all have had enough of me and my efforts to “change” things… Oh and you know how much we, Jews LOVE being on lists! I try to avoid being placed on any kind of lists, even the good ones. Going to a bar or club, I’d rather wait in line in the freezing cold than have my name be put on a list. I don’t care that its a VIP list, its still a list.
December 26, 2010 | 10:26 pm
Posted by Julia Bendis
Maybe its just me, but what’s wrong with this picture? There is a Medical company in Connecticut that started selling stuffed plush microbes, bacteria and viruses. Yes, I said bacteria and viruses. The plush toys are exact replicas of what a real microbe looks like. There is a pretty yellow star that is supposed to be Herpes, and a feminine looking Mononucleosis virus, also known as the kissing disease, with some beautiful long eyelashes!
They also sell the same cuddly organisms as Christmas tree ornaments, can you imagine that?
I can completely understand how medical students may have good use for these, but the general public? What the hell do we gain from buying these microbes? I can even understand using them to educate children about the effects of proper hand-washing, and safe sex, but other than that… what are we supposed to do with them? The way I see it, the only thing it would do is the complete opposite of what this company wants! Looking at these pretty, cuddly and fluffy toys will glorify these diseases, OK so maybe not glorify but make them seem less harmful than they really are! Am I wrong?
Who in their right mind decided to sell these “Toys” to the public? Who came up with the genius idea of making replicas of deadly diseases and viruses??? What else is even more interesting to me, is who are the regular people that are buying them? I mean, besides the health educators, medical personnel, etc…