Photo Thursday: Where Do They Teach You These Lines?

One thing you absolutely can’t escape when you are in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar is the insistent calling of salesmen. It is an endless stream of “Hey, beautiful!” “Lovely lady, this [scarf, necklace, plate, etc.] is almost as beautiful as you are.” and on and on and on.

My favorite went something like this:

  • Salesman (mostly directed to my blond friend): “Ah, you are so beautiful. One look into your eyes and I know I am dead.”
  • My friend and I: “You’re dead?”
  • Salesman: “You are an angel and angels are only in heaven, so I must be dead.”
  • Me: “Do you all go to a special school where they teach you these lines?”
  • Salesman (without missing a beat): “Sometimes they work.”

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7 thoughts on “Photo Thursday: Where Do They Teach You These Lines?”

  1. It's quite an interesting sales technique – my 14 year old daughter was a bit uncomfortable with it when we were in Istanbul last summer. Nor was she overly impressed with the tour guide who kept telling her that she was beautiful like a Turkish girl and that she needed to come back in 4 years when she was 18 because he had a cousin for her! 🙂

    1. I imagine it would be pretty uncomfortable for a young teen – all the attention really isn't a compliment and doesn't feel like one.

      In Egypt a couple years ago the young teen traveling with our group initially declared headscarves degrading and that no woman should wear one. (The first day of the trip someone offered her parents a bunch of sheep or camels for her, which wasn't a good start.) After a few days of watching how much less attention I got when I put a scarf on, she got one and asked me to help her tie it! While no one would mistake either of us for Egyptians, it made us harder to spot and left the salesmen who did spot us a little off-balance and uncertain as to exactly who they were dealing with – which was to our advantage.

  2. Too funny! This reminds me of the salesmen in India, although they were not nearly as brazen as in Istanbul. Mostly they just repeated "Madam, madam" over and over while gesturing into their stores. I can't complain about the service though…most shops I went into immediately offered me a seat and some tea or soda to enjoy while perusing the wares 🙂

  3. This guy was one of our favorites because he was willing to acknowledge that it's all a game. We bought a few small things from him, in part because he was such a good sport when we gave him a hard time.

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