He Got Me

When you walk down any street in Turkey it seems like outside every shop, restaurant and hamam is a man sitting, watching, waiting for you to pass so he can shake your hand, ask you where you’re from, and show you around his business.

Maybe I was getting worn down by all the “no thank you”s I was apologetically offering. When this guy offered to show me all his nice clothes and bags I said “No, I’m just looking at restaurants” (true). I said I didn’t want to buy clothes (true) but he insisted, so I let him give me his tour.

After a couple of minutes he showed me a wall full of t-shirts, and asked me my size.

“Errr, large, but I don’t want a t-shirt”

He looked around and grabbed a black “Polo Ralph Lauren” t-shirt. “Take your shirt off, you try it on.”

“No, I’m really sweaty.” (true)

He took it out of the wrapper. “It’s got long sleeves, you need long sleeves because it’s cold in England.” He held it against my chest. “It’s your size, it’s perfect, see?”

“Yes, but I don’t want it.”

“I do you a deal on two. Here, Tommy Hilfiger, black or white?”

“Black, but I don’t want to buy any clothes, sorry”

“How much you want to pay? You name your price.”

“Sorry, I don’t want them.”

“These two are 240 Lira. You name your price.”

This went on for a bit, until finally I decided to give him a stupid price to end the ordeal. So I said “I don’t know, 150?”

“150? What’s your best price?”


“Ok, 150 Lira.”

“No, sorry, I don’t want them.”

“You break my heart, 120?”

“No, sorry.”


And he had me. Because when I was trying to think of a price so stupid that I would actually buy, I’d thought of 100 Lira, but I’d thought it was too insulting, so…

“Ok, 100 Lira,” I sighed, and handed him the cash, but of course that wasn’t the end of it.

As he handed over the t-shirts, he pleaded again “You break my heart, 20 Lira for me to burn?”

I just wanted to get out of there, the deal had been done, but what was he going to think of me if I walked?

I gave him 10. He took it, and gestured to my wallet again.

“10 Lira for my cigarettes?” I thought he was going to cry. What a master craftsman!

“Ok,” I sighed again, and handed it over.

He shook my hand and wished me well, and I walked off in a daze.

I won’t be surprised if the logos come off in the wash, and probably the sleeves too. But, never mind, it cost me about £17 for two t-shirts and my very own Turkish haggle story.


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