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don’t let the layout rip you off…

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legal warning: The information here should not be understood legally as financial advice. If you believe anything on this site is in error, please contact me. I am always open to corrections, new ideas, and new opinions...


There are some stores that are designed to rip off the typical consumer.  Theses stores know that they only have one type of necessary item, so they intentionally place it in the back of the store, forcing you, the consumer, to go through the entire store and possibly buy one of their tremendously overpriced items:

#1 – Local pharmacies, especially Nu-Pharm and Super-Pharm.  These places sell one thing you need – drugs.  Everything else is eye candy to bait you while you’re waiting.  They intentionally under staff the pharmacy in order to maximize your stay in their stores where nothing is priced reasonably.  It is important that if you go to these stores, to resist the temptation to buy any household items, specifically food, unless you know for a fact that the price is less than the local super-market.  Don’t be fooled by a sale price – usually the sale price is still even higher than the local supermarket price.  Also, be aware that most items that are sold at pharmacies are around 30% less at your kupat cholim’s pharmacy.  Most items, including coldex, strepsils and even gauze pads, are partially subsidized by your kupat cholim, so there is little excuse to go to one of the aforementioned money-pits.

#2 – Book stores, specifically well known chains like Steimatsky – The important item here is children’s books.  Most adults read a book once or twice and put it aside forever, but children need the comfort of a familiar book to be read hundreds of times.  When going to a book store, focus on the children’s section and skip the adult section, which is designed to rip you off (notice how the children’s’ section is always in the back, just like the pharmacy, and does have places for adults to sit, so they’ll stand and look around the more interesting areas.)  If you’re looking for books to read in English, try looking for local social groups and charities where the members are English speaking (these libraries may cost a bit of money to join, but certainly less than buying books.)  AMIT, a non-for-profit in Israel, has a small library of English books in the Talipiot area.  Many Yeshivot, seminaries, and community centers all of the country carry a small library of English books as well.

The point is not to be fooled by the layout of a store.  Bring a list and rarely deviate from your needs.  Know why you’re going to the store and resist the urge to become the robot that all the marketing wizards want you to be.


  1. moshe says:

    very nice. good tips. keep it up! i wanted to share with everybody a money saving store i stop into from time to time.- its between kanfei nesharim and beit hadfus, next door to a hobby store. i think the street is called shatner but i am not sure. far from a regular closeout store (they sell allot of damaged,expired or going to expire stuff) you can sometimes find things you need anyway at a fraction of the price. check it out

  2. Yevgeni says:

    “It is important that if you go to these stores, to resist the temptation to buy any household items, specifically food, unless you know for a fact that the price is less than the local super-market.”
    It is important to know reputation of Super-Pharm as place of trusted brand manufactured goods – and not the counterfeit – as in many Israeli supermarkets.

    • jonnydegani says:

      Hi Yevgeni. please be aware (1) supermarkets usually offer the EXACT same items from the EXACT same brands only cheaper, (2) there is nothing so “high quality” about these brands anyways – a generic is usually the exact same thing, (3) among the largest producers of generic brands are Super-Pharm and Nu-Pharm, who often overprice these items and (4) no Israeli Supermarket chain (the real ones, like Shufersol, Shefa Shuk, etc.) carry counterfeit products. Maybe in the shuk, but really, anyways, what is the problem with counterfeit soap. Soap is soap.

  3. Yevgeni says:

    (1) Usually. But, at least for branded cosmetics, shampoo, and similar products, significant quantity of products in “Israeli Supermarket chain (the real ones, like Shufersol, Shefa Shuk, etc.)” have counterfeit products.
    (2) Usually. But, for many products, exist difference in quality, safety, support, etc between the product of original brand manufacturer and the similar product of no-name manufacturer. For the electronics, toys, etc the difference is evident. In many cases, people prefer sure high quality, despite the higher cost.
    (3) Usually.
    (4) Are you sure about Israeli supermarket chains?

    • jonnydegani says:

      (1) This is clearly an argument of reality. I have personally never seen a counterfeit product in a regular supermarket. If anyone sees to the contrary, then they are free to prove me wrong; I can’t argue with what is in front of my eyes. Additionally, the OECD, which has criticized Israel reputedly for selling counterfeit products, chastises Israel for bootlegs and the like, but never anything in a supermarket
      (2) Some higher end brands have better quality, although I believe that most do not. Is there any difference in buying a “name brand” towel? Most of the time a brand is leveraged in order to drain money out of your pocket. I will admit that when it comes to major electronics, I stick with major brands, not because I think they are magically better, but because I know that if something goes wrong, they have a reputation to defend if they don’t honor the warranty. But most inexpensive electronics (space heater, hair dryers etc.) have little to no difference whatsoever.

  4. Yevgeni says:

    Good example with a “name brand” towel: the difference is between many years of using the nice towel vs the short towel life is starting from fransfer of the color to the other things in the washing machine.

    I stick with major brands for electronics and other sophisticated products due to another reason: the reputable brand manufacturers pedantically keep the technology, and use high quality matherials and components. The similar products from no-name manufacturers have very similar visible performance – until some surprise is discovered in a totally non-convenient time.

    Let example of an electric kettle.
    Even one-year warranty permits free exchange of the non-operating item, the repeatable activity on the warranty repair adds bad feeling and wasted time.

    Each consumer needs his/her own compromize between the one-time cost of the product and the other considerations: duration of normal operation, time spending on the shoping, safety, etc.

    • jonnydegani says:

      Yevgeni, you make a lot of good points. I think we are moving into a different conversation, the question of when it is better to buy higher quality products. Take towels – more expensive towels usually keep their color and remain softer longer. So which ones do you buy in the shuk? Well, any towel that no one will see (a bath towel, a dish towel, a face towel) is probably better off being bought in the shuk. My wife likes to have nice towels out for guests and netilat yadayim, so the ones we hang up decoratively are the more expensive ones. Most of the other ones are shuk quality.

      The real issue is knowing what you’re paying for, which is the topic of the most recent blog post

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