Pazarlık (n.: bargain, haggle, deal). My lost skill.

Once upon a time there was this young, somewhat broke, college student.  She was studying in a foreign land and did not pack the appropriate clothing options.  She was an American college student so she wore jeans and t-shirts on fancy days and pj pants on normal days to class.  But in this strange new land her peers wore Dolce and Gucci to class.  Daily.  She knew she had to find a way to fit in and not be so American… so she did what any normal person would do: went shopping.

In this magical land there were bazaars where she could find nice clothes cheap (and some fakes…) — especially if she haggled with the guy standing on top of the mountain of clothing shouting out his prices.  Our heroine went back to her dorm and spent lots of time studying up to be able to yell back that he was asking outrageous prices and that she demanded a better deal.  And you know what?  It worked.  She was able to get amazing deals on all sorts of things once she learned these basic skills.  She learned some from books, but mostly from watching the locals argue over quality, quantity and prices.  This is also how our heroine finally learned her numbers (up to the equivalent of about 30 bucks because anything more than that was just too much anyway so she wouldn’t need to understand the answers).  (Don’t worry, she has since learned the rest.)  She got so good at this haggling/bargaining/negotiating that she even did it for food sometimes… and we’re not talking about at the market.  We’re talking restaurants.  And pathetically, it worked.

The heroine would have gotten a better deal than I did. Though it should be mentioned I still love this bag. And got a good deal. Just not great. Because I’ve lost my touch.

The story should end, “she kept this skill and lived happily ever after.”  But it doesn’t.  I have no idea what happened, although I suspect it was that I got a job with a pretty nice salary and got lazy about it, but I can no longer haggle with the best of them.  I feel guilty sometimes trying to beat someone down even by a few dollars.  And I always believe their sob stories these days about how they’d lose money if they gave it to me for that price.  Which we all know isn’t true, but I can’t help it.  It’s pathetic really.

I bet she is a better negotiator than I am.

Pazarlık is part of the buying process definitely for any large item, but even for small things people are almost always willing to negotiate.  Especially if you’re at a ‘pazar’ (or bazaar in English, but basically just a big place with lots of vendors hawking their wares).  They don’t feel like you’re insulting them by not just agreeing to the first price they say and at worst you’ll pay that price… it’s not like they’ll increase their asking price if you try for a lower one.  It’s just strange how much I’ve changed in my views on it.  I really do think laziness is involved since Turks treat bargaining like an artful dance that sometimes is just long and exhausting to us (re)novices.  Either way, I love me some pazar action.  Even if it is insanely crowded and loud and crazy.

And it was crazy.

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