Buying at a Jewish shop vs. a Non-Jewish shop

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  • #591764

    Kasha
    Member

    What are the halachic parameters when deciding where to purchase a product from a Jewish shop vs. a non-Jewish shop? All things being equal, obviously you purchase from a Yehudi. But which of the following considerations — as well as other considerations not listed — can be taken into account to allow purchasing from a non-Yehudi:

    Price. (And how much deviation; i.e. if the Jew is 2 cents more [everything else being equal] can you shop elsewhere?)

    Convenience. (How do you define this?)

    Return Policy of merchant. (i.e. the non-Yehudi has a more liberal policy — longer return period and/or is more accepting of returns.)

    Also, how is a Jew who isn’t religious (i.e. Torah observant) considered for these purposes?

    And what is a corporation or partnership considered for these purposes (i.e. a mixture of Jewish and non-Jewish shareholders).

    My question pertains to the halachic basis (including minhugim, proper hashkofo, etc.), NOT personal opinions.

    #690880

    philosopher
    Member

    Who defines proper hashkofa?

    #690881

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    My question pertains to the halachic basis (including minhugim, proper hashkofo, etc.), NOT personal opinions.

    Fair enough. But then I’m left to wonder why you decided to post this hear rather than asking your LOR, where you can probably get a better answer than from the lay-folk here.

    The Wolf

    #690882

    Kasha
    Member

    I was hoping perhaps some readers may have knowledge of the halachic issues involved on this issue that they can share, as often they do on other halachic topics discussed in the CR. Obviously anything posted here is not to be considered as binding or even as necessarily accurate. Simply as a springboard for analysis, discussion, and even further fine tuning the details to ask a shaaila should the situation present itself.

    #690883

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    I was hoping perhaps some readers may have knowledge of the halachic issues involved on this issue that they can share, as often they do on other halachic topics discussed in the CR.

    Fair enough. 🙂

    The Wolf

    #690884

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Also, how is a Jew who isn’t religious (i.e. Torah observant) considered for these purposes?

    And how is “religious” defined for the purpose of this question? 🙂

    The Wolf

    #690885

    Gabboim
    Member

    A Yirei Shamayim will choose to give a Yid parnassa whenever possible.

    #690886

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    A Yirei Shamayim will choose to give a Yid parnassa whenever possible.

    I don’t think Kasha (nor I, for that matter) was disputing that point.

    But do you have to do so if he charges 5% more? 10%? 25%? 100%? What if it will take you an hour to get to the Yid’s store while the other one is across the street.

    We can all agree that *all other things being equal* you shop by the Jew. The question is, how far does it have to be unequal before it’s okay to shop elsewhere?

    The Wolf

    #690887

    oomis
    Participant

    I try to always give a yid parnassah first, and in fact, if I buy from a Jew who charges substantially more than a non-Jew down the street, I cheshbon the difference that it cost me as part of my maaser (yes, yes, I asked a shailah). I would rather spend a little more and a help a Jew. BUT – if the Jew is obnoxious to me when I buy from him, if the service is lousy, and he does not make good on refunding my money for inferior merchandise, then I will not hesitate to go elsewhere. We should support our bethren, but not allow them to cheat us.

    #690888

    mosherose
    Member

    You should always buy from yidden. Why is this a kasha? The only time not to by from a yid is when there is no Jewish store that has what you want to buy.

    #690889

    Absolutely not true mosherose!!!! There are halachos as to what you can buy. If it’s farther, more expensive, how much….

    #690890

    moishy
    Participant

    I would define convenience as i.e. a non-jew owns a store and a jew owns a store and you are walking and the non-jew’s store is closer ( a few blocks

    #690891

    lesschumras
    Participant

    Putting this issue another way, how would you react if the government enacted a law forbidding non-Jews from patronizing Jewish-owned stores?

    #690892

    Mosherose –

    There are many halachos regarding this issue. All poskim agree that if the goy’s store is cheaper (machlokes HOW much cheaper ), has better quality/more convenient one is allowed to shop at the goyish store. mutar 100%. Many times it is this way because jewish stores are more “mom n’ pop” types and you can get better prices at these company owned stores. (major example – clothing)Goyish stores a lot of times have excelent return policies that are not offered at Yiddishe stores.

    #690893

    koma
    Member

    The EY perspective on this is a great deal different. It is not really hard to patronize Jews, but the perfusion of cheap Arab labor is sometimes hard to avoid. I regard as a rare treat doing the shabbos shopping in a supermarket with Jewish stock help. In my sector, home repair and construction, Jewish labor is really rare, in part because most Jews are averse to physical labor, and many wrongheadedly judge only by price. There is also and issue of lo sechaneim, but who would worry about a simple lav when there is shekels to be saved?

    #690894

    mosherose
    Member

    “mutar 100%.”

    because its technically mutar doesnt mean you shoudl do it. Naval breshus hatorah and all that.

    Again, unless there is absolutely no way to get it from a yid, you should always buy from a yid.

    #690896

    Kasha
    Member

    From Business Halacha by Rabbi Meir Orlian:

    Question: Is there halachic basis to give priority to patronizing Jewish businesses?

    The poskim debate whether the law applies if the non-Jew sells for cheaper. Rama (Responsa #10) cites this law to give priority to an edition of the Rambam printed by Maharam Padua over a competing, cheaper edition printed by a non-Jew. He understands from the Gemara (B.M. 71a; Pesachim 21b) that the law applies even when there is a price difference between the two and there will be a loss in buying from the Jew.

    [Edited to correct attribution. Thank you WolfishMusings.]

    #690897

    apushatayid
    Participant

    For the purposes of defining a “Jewish Store”. If you have a non jewish owned store that employs more jews than a jewish owned store that employs lots of non jews, whose parnassah takes precedence? Does halacha discuss this?

    #690898

    WIY
    Member

    I have a shailah on this. If a Jew overcharges (Onaah) would buying from him be a Lifnei Iver and even worse dont you get an Aveira for paying Onaah?

    So technically it may be Assur to buy from certain Jewish food stores?

    #690900

    smartcookie
    Member

    Here’s a story:

    I bought a little boy tshirt for $20(quite expensive)in a local Jewish store. A few hours later I went to return it because I decided that I have enough tshirts and really shldn’t have spent that money now.

    The store refused to take it. No refund AND NO STORE CREDIT because it was a sale item.

    Our stores are BEGGING us to shop in non jewish dept stores. We get much better service there, besides the better prices.

    Why in the world should I ever shop here again if they have such crazy policies?

    #690901

    says who
    Member

    WellInformedYid

    I think I remember that Onaah is only when there is a set market price.

    #690902

    btdater
    Participant

    heres what bothers me. In my neighborhood there is a non Jewish liqour store who has a large supply of kosher liquors and wine and has been around for a number of years. He has a loyal customer base and has always been polite to his customers.

    A few years ago a Jew opened a “kosher” liquor store. What bothers be is I feel like we now have to go to this Jewish guy and shop at his store. Additionally I dont like the idea of a kosher liquor store since there is no hashgacha on the place and there are legitimate shailas about the kashrus of all the bottles of liquor in the store.

    Additionally when I buy wine i dont want to be bothered. I go to the nonJewish guy i find a cheap bottle and i pay for it and leave.

    It seems like every time i go to the Jewish guy if i pick a bottle he tries to sell me a different bottle which is a few dollars more.

    I am not a wine connoisseur, Im just getting a bottle to be nice and i dont think my shabbas host cares if i spent $12 or $16 on a bottle

    #690903

    myfriend
    Member

    “What bothers be is I feel like we now have to go to this Jewish guy and shop at his store.”

    What makes you feel like this? Your halachic conscience?

    “Additionally I dont like the idea of a kosher liquor store since there is no hashgacha on the place and there are legitimate shailas about the kashrus of all the bottles of liquor in the store.”

    No more than compared to the non-Jewish store.

    “Additionally when I buy wine i dont want to be bothered.”

    This is a service question, which the OP ancillary addressed in his original query.

    #690904

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Additionally I dont like the idea of a kosher liquor store since there is no hashgacha on the place

    Please forgive the ignorance, since I’m not a drinker…

    Why does a liquor store need a hashgacha? I can certainly understand why you’d want one on the actual bottles of liquor — but why does the store need a hashgacha any more than a Shop Rite might (which it doesn’t).

    What are these legitimate shailas that might prevent you from buying a sealed bottle of liquor with a hechsher at the store?

    The Wolf

    #690905

    If it had a reliable hashgacha, the advantage is that you wouldnt have to be a buckie on all the difficult liquor shailos. You could put your trust on the store’s mashgiach, like any store that is under a reliable heksher. If this particular store does not have a mashgiach then it is not a “kosher liquor store” but only a stam liquor store owned by a Yid.

    What are these legitimate shailas that might prevent you from buying a sealed bottle of liquor with a hechsher at the store?

    the shailos are not primarily on sealed bottles with a heksher. the shailos are on bottles without a heksher. (most whiskies, beer, etc.)

    #690906

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Smart, thats more of a small business thing than anything else.

    #690907

    philosopher
    Member

    Why in the world should I ever shop here again if they have such crazy policies?

    I ask myself the same thing.

    I just decided that the the one thing I buy for my kids in a frum owned store, shoes (besides for food) I will stop buying bl”n. The supposedly good quality shoes I pay full price on (believe me, this goes against my nature) usually don’t last a full season. And if they do, they look they they went through a war zone.

    Here’s what happend this time that made me say, zeh hu. I paid full price on supposedly good shoes. And what did I get? Garbage. The shoes didn’t last for one full month.

    No, the shoe store owner did not supply us with new shoes, even though I saw other torn shoes from this company lying on the counter. Obviously they were returned because they were defective.

    Now I’m not saying all the frum shoe store owners don’t give good service and maybe I even feel bad the owner who would lose all his money would he give new shoes for free for all of the people whose shoes got torn. But why would I keep on going back and spending good money for shoes that tear before the season is over?

    #690908

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    the shailos are not primarily on sealed bottles with a heksher. the shailos are on bottles without a heksher. (most whiskies, beer, etc.)

    Ah, thanks for the clarification. Since I don’t drink beer or whiskey (or anything else for that matter), I would not have even known that such things can be sold without a hechsher.

    I guess that’s the price I pay for being such a gross ignoramus about such things (and other things in general).

    The Wolf

    #690909

    Ben Levi
    Participant

    In regards to the poster who said store would not take back an item because it was on sale. You do know that most Goyishe stores do not allow returns on sale items as well?

    #690910

    myfriend
    Member

    I tend to agree many of the service comparisons being made here between “Jewish” stores and “Non-Jewish” stores in reality are comparisons between “mom and pop” stores — Jeiwsh or not — and national chains. Larger retailers tend to have longer more liberal return policies, while smaller stores tend to be more stringent about returns.

    #690911

    philosopher
    Member

    In regards to the poster who said store would not take back an item because it was on sale. You do know that most Goyishe stores do not allow returns on sale items as well?

    As a buyer who basically shops at chain stores and department stores, I never came across such a policy except for once. The chain store that had a final sale policy sold exclusively maternity wear and I could understand their reasoning for such a policy.

    #690912

    smartcookie
    Member

    I never came across such a policy in the goyish big dept stores.

    I understand if they don’t want to refund. But at least give me a store credit and I’ll use it at a different time.

    Another thing, I once picked up a robe on sale and wanted to pay with a store credit. They told me a big NO- we don’t take credits on sale item. Only cash!

    What is wrong with them?????

    #690913

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Smart, credit card companies take a cut of the amount charged. If the robe is on sale, they are getting less profit from it, and allowing credit card charges means that you are cutting into their small margin of profit.

    #690914

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    What is wrong with them?????

    Sometimes, stores make items available for less than cost in order to get you in the door in the hopes that you’ll buy other stuff too. It’s called a “loss leader.” I can understand why they would not want you to purchase such items with store credit.

    The Wolf

    #690915

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Oh I misread that smart. Wolfs answer is good 🙂

    #690916

    smartcookie
    Member

    SjS- I asked them why, they told me because the first time I bought it, I already used time and service from them, so I can’t use this credit for cheap items.

    It doesn’t make too much sense to me. I even offered to add a few dollars to my purchase for the “previous service”(if any!) I got from them! But they didn’t let.

    #690917

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    That is strange then.

    I generally don’t shop in small stores because I don’t like their return policies. Except for my local knitting store. I go there because they are super helpful with my projects.

    #690918

    Ben Levi
    Participant

    I am sorry for what I stated about goyishe stores not accepting returns on sale items,I meant to write clearence items.

    As for clearence what Wolfish states is basically correct, I have a relative who has a store and takes credit card on everything but not sale items since it cuts into increases the loss by to much.

    Incidentally, I would posit that if more Jews would be makpid to purhase from Jewish stores then the profits would go up allowing stores to increase their profits and institute better return policies.

    #690919

    myfriend
    Member

    I believe if a store institutes a liberal return policy, it will draw more customers thus increasing their profit. The reason large succesful retailers have liberal return policies is because they know that policy entices more shoppers.

    #690920

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    I believe if a store institutes a liberal return policy, it will draw more customers thus increasing their profit. The reason large succesful retailers have liberal return policies is because they know that policy entices more shoppers.

    Forgive me for my extreme ignorance and stupidity, but isn’t that supposed to be a good thing? Shouldn’t stores be doing what they can to increase the number of customers?

    Or is my feeble little brain missing something here?

    The Wolf

    #690921

    myfriend
    Member

    isn’t that supposed to be a good thing? Shouldn’t stores be doing what they can to increase the number of customers?

    Wolf, Yes, that’s exactly my point. I was suggesting that small Jewish retailers ought to implement that successful strategy. What did you think I meant??

    Incidentally, I would posit that if more Jews would be makpid to purhase from Jewish stores then the profits would go up allowing stores to increase their profits and institute better return policies.

    Ben Levi, IMHO, I think it needs to work the other way — that the Jewish retailers liberalize their return (and customer service) policies, and that will draw more customers and increase profit. The point is that the customers currently already have alternative choices with easier return policies, and as a practical matter for the Jewish retailers to compete they have to match that.

    #690922

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Wolf, Yes, that’s exactly my point. I was suggesting that small Jewish retailers ought to implement that successful strategy. What did you think I meant??

    My apologies. Apparently I was too stupid to discern your intention. I beg your forgiveness.

    The Wolf

    #690923

    le7
    Member

    Of course we should buy from a yid, they need parnasah

    #690924

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Of course we should buy from a yid, they need parnasah

    I don’t think anyone disputes that, all other things being equal, you should buy from a Jewish shop. What we’re discussing in when things are not equal.

    What if the non-Jewish shop has what you want at a significantly cheaper price?

    What if their merchandise is of better quality?

    What if their service is better?

    What if it will take you four hours to get to the Jewish-owned store but the non-Jewish-owned store is only ten minutes away?

    Those are the types of issues we’re discussing. Personally, I know that I’m too ignorant to answer those questions, but I’m sure there are others here who can do so.

    The Wolf

    #690925

    Max Well
    Member

    Perhaps you can purchase from a Yid at a higher price, and deduct the difference in price as maaser?

    #690926

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Perhaps you can purchase from a Yid at a higher price, and deduct the difference in price as maaser?

    Maybe. Have you asked whether or not that’s acceptable?

    The Wolf

    #690927

    oomis
    Participant

    I did ask that once, and was told that it can be included in maaser, IF our reason for shopping by the Jew was specifically to give him the parnassah (as opposed to going to his store because it was closer by and we didn’t feel like driving for another fifteen minutes to the cheaper non-Jewish-owned place). It goes to motivation.

    #690928

    Max Well
    Member

    (From:) Business Halacha: Patronizing Jewish Business if Pathmark is Cheaper

    Question: Am I expected to patronize the local Jewish grocery store if the Pathmark Superstore is cheaper or more convenient?

    He leans towards differentiating between a small price difference, in which case you should patronize the Jewish store, and a large price difference, in which case you are not required to suffer a loss. [This is also the understanding of the Chofetz Chaim (Ahavas Chesed 5:6-7) in the opinion of the Rama.]

    However, Minchat Yitzchak concludes that if the small Jewish storeowner will be driven out of business and lose his livelihood, there is a greater need to support him even if there is a significant price difference, if the customer can afford it.

    Thus, according the Maharsham and other achronim mentioned last time there is no requirement to patronize the Jewish business if it more expensive. However, it is meritorious to follow this middle position and patronize the Jewish business if it costs only slightly more, and certainly if it is only an issue of convenience, as mentioned last time in the name of the Maharam Shick.

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