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Getting my money back, the easy way.

In Turkey there are some pretty insistent scammers who won't take 'NO!" for an answer. For example in Istanbul I lost the chance to make a new 'friend for life' when I refused to have tea with him at his relatives shop. My loss, of course, since his cousin lived in New York and was president of the World Bank. Imagine the opportunities I passed up. :-)

Then there was the shoe shine guy who dropped his brush on the street and when I returned it to him he insisted on giving me a 'shine' and could not believe I would not want it. Of course, at the end, he told me the story of his child who needed medical care.... blah, blah, blah.... So be careful about returning dropped items and just keep walking if you don't want a freebie, new friend, or other goodie.

However, as one person used to say "Wash your ears out with this." On two occasions, I left stores without bothering to scoop up my change. My fault entirely. The clerks followed me down the streets and returned the money that I had left behind. 99.99% of the Turks are great people.

Posted by
7050 posts

Happens to everyone, me included as a solo traveler. Minor annoyances compared to fabulous trip in a vibrant, interesting country (and city of Istanbul). Hope you had the tulip shaped tea hot somewhere. It's great tea (albeit strong). I was offered tea at an small local art gallery and I gladly took it. I poured over some prints with the owner and had a great time and enjoyed the hospitality - the decision to buy something was mine and I wasn't going to get strong-armed into it.

I think shopkeepers feel the need to be persistent just to make themselves stand out - Istanbul is one giant bazaar and tourists have seemingly thousands of shops to choose from with similar items (roughly) of similar quality.

Posted by
11613 posts

In my opinion, Turkey is the gold standard for hospitality toward strangers. I have so many great memories of people going out of their way to assist me, and of course there are some spirited salespeople, but you are unlikely to be a crime victim in Turkey, or scammed into buying something worthless.

Posted by
16894 posts

I agree that most Turks I've met have been very hospitable and that most salesmen have been very persistent. Shoppers need to be aware of the value of the currency, only buy things you want, only pay prices you are comfortable with, and only listen to come-ons that you want to be bothered with. If you replied to every salesman who spoke to you in the Spice Market, you'd be there all day. I have had tea in carpet shops (and even a bank) without buying anything, and there have been times that I did buy. When the tea changes to raki, keep your wits about you.

Posted by
795 posts

I love Turkey. The people are warm and welcoming and keep in mind that many are poor and have no other opportunity to make money to support themselves and their families than by trying to get money from what they consider to be wealthy foreigners (to them, you are rich). I don't mind having tea and who knows, maybe there is something in the relative's shop I can get as a souvenir for someone at home. You can be kind and compassionate without having to be scammed.

Posted by
518 posts

Was in Istanbul in fall of 2012 and encountered nothing but smiles and friendliness. Although I agree, some shop keepers and vendors can be quite persistent.

Posted by
43 posts

I visited western Turkey during the winter. The weather was good though sometimes chilly in the evening. If I stopped at a little place for tea the "regulars" would automatically move over and wave me to a warm place by the stove. It is also not unusual for a shopkeeper to offer you tea, no strings attached.