Eyes wide and camera ready, I walk around one of Istanbul’s most magnificent tourist meccas: the Grand Bazaar. I haven’t taken twenty steps before a young, eager merchant springs out of his chair and into my face.
“Where are you from? Paradise? It must be; you are angel,” he coos, “Come, I give you good price!”
Let me translate that for you. It’s easy, really- just substitute “paradise” with ‘”America”, “angel” with “tourist” and “good” with “extra expensive” and you’ve decoded this charming young merchant’s message.
Make no mistake, sellers at the Grand Bazaar will know you’re a tourist and they won’t hesitate to capitalize on your bewilderment. The key to surviving in this haggling haven is simple: do your research.
Kathy Hamilton, an American textile collector living in Istanbul who leads guided tours through the bazaar, is an expert bargainer. She gave me some helpful tips before turning me loose into the chaos. Now, drawing from Kathy’s advice and my personal hassles, I’ve compiled a my own guide to help future bazaar goers. Continue reading