A Cultured Exchange With Bezeq

All I wanted was to call the Cameri theatre http://www.cameri.co.il/eng/menu.asp in Tel Aviv. I am a cultured, advanced sort of person, as is already evident, so I behaved in a cultured, advanced and incidentally thrifty way: I entered the Bezeq 144 directory website.

A search for the value "Cameri Theatre" resulted in three phone numbers. All were wrong. Why? Only Bezeq and its website know the truth. Maybe they didn't notice that the theater had moved two years earlier and, for the occasion, changed its numbers. Maybe it was just random mistakes. Annoying as it is, the formerly government-owned monopoly can make mistakes just like anyone else.

Up to now, we're still in the realm of the cultured.

Lacking choices, I elected for the non-thrifty option of calling 144. In a cultured tone, I explained to the operator that the website had it wrong and asked for the updated number of the theatre. I also suggested that because I had been forced to call the directory service because of a mistake in the website, I believed I should not be charged for the call.

Bezeq charges a high price for calling 144, partly because it wants to teach users to use its website. I didn't need such prodding, though: all I needed was for the website to actually do its job.

Out of depth, the operator transferred me to the supervisor, who did not hesitate a second before summarily rejecting my request. "Madam," she rebuked me, "it is your problem that the Bezeq website is not working. You should have opened a phone book."

Because I am cultured by nature, I couldn't even think of an appropriate response. Only while writing this article did it occur to me to wonder if Bezeq would have behaved the same if it had not been a degenerate monopoly.