This is part one of a five-part mini-series on the importance of relationships in Cappadocia. If you are visiting Cappadocia (or anywhere in Turkey, for that matter) you will want to read each post. Understanding this aspect of life in Cappadocia will help you in all your dealings, be they shopping for that special item or simply connecting with a local on the street.
The rest of the series:
Part 2: Sour Grapes in Cappadocia
Part 3: Friendless = Homeless in Cappadocia
Part 4: The Dark Side of Turkish Relationships
Part 5: Tourism and De-Humanization in Cappadocia
Remember that you can subscribe here.
In the latest of our never ending attempts to grow Cilantro in Turkey, Laurie sent me out to buy some ceramic pots made by one of the local shops down the street.
As I was heading out the door she mentioned that the price should be a few liras each. I left focused on the mission at hand…
I arrived at the shop in a few minutes, jumped out of the car (with Ankara license plates), and told the guy standing outside that I needed a pot. He sized me up as a tourist, took me inside and showed me the stack for 20TL, the cheapest he had. I realized I had messed up, thanked him, and jumped in the car.
A couple of hundred meters later (can you tell I lived in Los Angeles- driving 200 meters!) I hopped out at the next shop with a different strategy.
A potter approached me wiping off his hands and I greeted him with a leisurely smile. We shook hands and our conversation began.
“Hello. I live right down the street… How are you doing today?… Tell me about your business?… Could you give lessons to my kids?”
We talked for a few minutes, and he showed me around. Turns out the kids can try it out for free, and he will give them lessons. Eventually I got around to explaining my need.
He pointed to a pile of pots and let me know that they were useless for food or display but would be perfect for plants. They were just 3 TL each. I grabbed three that had minimal cracking, paid the 9TL and headed to my car having just been reminded of the importance of relationships in Cappadocia. I went to get some pots and returned having made a friend.
How does this compare with your experiences? Have you found that making the effort to form relationship has helped in how sellers in bargaining contexts respond to you?