Monday, June 18, 2012

Missed opportunities in Istanbul

Today in Istanbul I almost bought a carpet. It was beautiful -- a work of art, really, and so different from the kinds of carpets you find in Dubai or Abu Dhabi, as many of these are Persian carpets and not Turkish carpets. Turkish carpets have a character all their own, and many of them have great stories behind them.

I wasn't planning to buy a carpet actually as I have quite a lot, bought on the first day of every visit to Turkey. Each time I'm in Turkey I tell myself I'm not buying another carpet, but until now I've never been able to resist getting one after the salesman has flogged a hundred beautiful pieces in front of me and told me each of their stories. By then, it's not anymore about "should I buy a carpet" but "which one I really like." How clever of them.

But today I walked into a store and was offered the customary apple tea by a friendly salesman. That's the aha moment by the way. Never accept a cup of apple tea from a friendly salesman unless you're prepared to walk out of his store with a carpet. I can almost guarantee that he will not let you out.


But somehow, with one excuse or another, I ended up not buying the carpet. I think I told the salesman that I was looking for a carpet with more soul.

He probably understood what I meant about the need for more soul because he actually let me off the hook -- and off I merrily went down the ancient alley towards the Grand Bazaar to look for more suitable items to bring home like Christmas tree baubles or curtain trinkets. Stuff that wouldn't take up too much luggage space.

Tonight, however, I experienced pangs of regret. Perhaps I should've bought that carpet, I thought. It would've looked nice on my dining room wall, even if I already had another carpet there. But tomorrow I'm leaving really early for somewhere else so there's no more time for carpet shopping.


And you know how it is with people and missed opportunities. Opportunities for an adventure, a friendship, a cruise, a dinner or a carpet stare people in the face all the time, but lots of people pass up these opportunities for one reason or another -- and everyone has their own reasons for doing so.

For me today, it just wasn't the right time. I liked the carpet but my mind was on other things. But if the salesman had been more convincing, perhaps I would have taken out my credit card and bought it in a flash. It takes two to make a sale happen in the first place. But he never knew how close he was to making a sale. And now all I have is a missed opportunity.

Or, actually, all I have is extra luggage allowance and a still untouched shopping budget. He's the one who missed the opportunity. And this probably happens to him all the time, as well.

Just another day in a never-ending Travelife. And good night from Istanbul.


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