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Friday, October 10, 2008

Truthfulness in Weights and Measures

It is almost 9:00 AM following Rosh Hashana and my son has pointed out that our Yom Kippur yartzeit candle (overstock from Pesach) is still going strong, or in his words "maybe it will burn forever." An early Chanukah miracle?

Unfortunately, the yartzeit candles I bought right before Rosh Hashana haven't been so kind to us. (Good I still had one left over from Pesach). On Rosh Hashana during first day lunch, my son noticed that the candle looked like it was about to go out. Fortunately we noticed this in time because within about 20 minutes after transferring the flame, the flame sputtered out. The second candle didn't make it to lunch the next day, but fortunately I no longer needed a light by then.

The bad news is that I bought this particular brand of candles for the entire Tishrei and now I realize that it will take me double candles to make it through the chag. (I bought double, so at least I don't have to run to the store). Yes, I did pick this brand over another because they were on a better sale. But, each candle contains the same amount of wax and each candle makes a claim to be a yartzeit candle for the chagim.

Perhaps we just happened upon two defective candles this Rosh Hashana and that Sukkot will be different (I will report back if that is the case). But right now I would like to send a message to those who manufacture goods for our communities that truth in weights and measures is a mitzvah. Perhaps it is high time that yashrut gets some posters of its own?

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've had the same problem here in Israel. I was wondering - would it help to pour some oil into the candle holder? That should add some time, no?

Not that that solves the yashrus issue, of course.

SephardiLady said...

Sounds like a potential fire hazard to me. I will happily use extra candles than risk a hazard from combining different elements.

I've had enough problems with cups filled with oil exploding to think twice about that idea.

BTW-the candle is still burning.

tesyaa said...

I have no choice - I have no gas in my house, so in order to light the second night of yom tov I must light a 48 hour candle to avoid the problem you describe - it's happened too often. You can buy large generic candles in the supermarket that are not labeled yahrzeit that are cheaper than 48 hour yahrzeit. Or I buy 7 day hurricane lamps and keep reusing them. But for me, buying larger candles is a peace of mind issue. I do not like going to my neighbors (who all have gas stoves) and carrying the flame across the street, sometimes in the wind, hoping it won't blow out. I'd rather spend the extra few dollars a couple of times a year.

My husband has told me not to transfer the flame on the first day of yom tov in order to use to light the second day, just the way you can't cook the first day for the second day w/o an eruv tavshilin. He doesn't have smicha, however. Ask your LOR.

tesyaa said...

Also, you can argue all you want about yashrus (I'm with you in theory), but remember: you get what you pay for. Not always a true maxim, of course, but often enough.

SephardiLady said...

tesyaa-The candle I had left over from Pesach is currently on sale for the SAME price as my defective brand.

I had in mind to use the transferred flame for making a cup of tea because you can't prepared for the 2nd day on the first. Unfortunately, that is a different story because my stove "locked" the gas earlier than expected.

Child Ish Behavior said...

I just want to point out that you did get the candles on sale. so you get what you pay for in life. Don't go expecting high quality when you pay a low price. The price is usually supposed to be the indicator of the "value" of a good. So by charging less they were being careful in weights and measures. They were telling you that the candle you were buying was worth less than the more expensive one. You really can't complain. There is a reason cheap things have to go on sale, people don't want to pay high prices for cheaply made goods, and in order to sell more of them in the short time that people use them is by lowering the price.

Child Ish Behavior said...

As for the other brand being the same price, this could be for any number of reasons, some of which may have to be with the defective brand lowering the price, and there being people who don't realize the quality difference, the companies will now all have to lower their prices to stay competitive. And who knows maybe the paisach candle is on sale now because it is left over from paisach and not fresh.

Knitter of shiny things said...

In my house we actually use saint candles, those candles you see in the supermarket which come in these tall glass jars. Some of them have Christian imagery and stuff, but they also make ones in plain jars. They last for at least 3 days, probably more like 4 or 5. And since they're not made for Jewish holiday celebrations, there's no price gouging around Yom Tovim or at all for that matter.

SephardiLady said...

Child Ish Behavior-Perhaps you need to get out more. Today I bought zuchinni 2 lbs for a dollar. It is gorgeous zuchinni. And yet another store is selling zuchinni that is not nearly as beautiful for almost triple the price.

Brand name products are commonly packaged in store brand packaging.

The idea that you can lower a price and then not meet the measure you are advertising to meet is perverted at best. We just said al chets yesterday and I sure didn't see any footnotes.

SephardiLady said...

Knitter-I've also used the plain white candle. I can't always find them plain when I need it.

Child Ish Behavior said...

Perhaps I was unclear. If you go to a bargain store, you don't expect to be getting the same quality as a store that isn't selling with the idea of getting people looking for bargains.

As for your zucchini, with any vegetable that you can pick and choose you expect some sort of variation in the produce.No two vegetables are the same after all.They are being sold by the lb. and not by the item. You can search through all the ones you like and still pay the same price. Different stores have different quality produce and the valuation of a "nice zucchini" is subjective. However, with items bought in the store that is relatively the same, the price should be the indicator of quality.

SephardiLady said...

Child Ish-I bought the product in an upscale grocery store. Either I hit upon a batch of defective product or there is a truth in advertising weights and measures issue.

Hopefully I just got the damaged batch accidently and that there are not shomrei shabbat all over the nation who are experienced the same issue.

BTW-the other brand candle I used for Yom Kippur that I bought for the same price at a different grocery store just went out.

tesyaa said...

You have to know where you're shopping. A store that specializes in having nice produce may indeed have better prices and better quality than a store for which produce is a sideline and a big margin item. In general, I don't think this experience negates the maxim of you get what you pay for (usually).

ProfK said...

Just a little note--the "same" candle from one brand to another or even within the same brand is not necessarily the same, regardless of the weight. Some waxes are denser than others and will burn at a slower rate. And some candles are larger than others while still being the same weight. And then there are those that are larger and denser. I've found that in general the candles in the tins do not last as long as the candles in the glasses--size and density difference. And in general these yahrzeit lecht are not meant to last for 48 hours, only for 24 or so. It's a matter of experimentation for which ones last the way you want them to. When those go on sale buy a year's worth. Otherwise it's not that you aren't getting what you paid for--it's that you bought the wrong type of candle.

anonymous mom said...

I have had this same problem and each year, I forget which brand was "good" and which wasn't. I do feel that the ones in the tins don't last as long as the ones in the glass. I do also pay more lately for the 7-day ones as a precaution. And, Childish, zuchinis are not always the same price in the same store because there are "discount zuchinis" believe it or not. The discount kind are uglier and bigger than the more dainty and even-looking more expensive ones. I go for the ugly big ones every time and they taste just fine.

triLcat said...

If it's advertised as appropriate for chag, it should be. End of story. It should last at least 25 hour.

You buy what they advertise, not according to the price tag.

BTW, a lot of people swear that freezing the candle before you use it makes it last longer.