The Grand Bazaar of Istanbul is today’s activity. The stores, if you can call them that, number 4000 and it is a labyrinth like maze of porcelain shops juxtaposed to leather shops. You can buy underwear right next to Turkish carpets and order a shot of steaming hot tea while perusing your favorite PRADA pocketbook knockoff. As we approach the ancient stoned archway you half expect the genie to jump out of the lamp and utter his famous “Your wish is my command.”
The boys notice that there is a spring in their mothers step and that something is just a bit out of kilter as we can see the entrance to the Grand Bazaar but a few hundred meters away. I chuckle and tell them to watch and learn. Seamus looks a bit befuddled as he’s never really seen his mom’s “shopping game face.” None of the boys have been privy to the Incredible Hulk like transformation of “Bargain Seeking Mom”. With each step she morphs into a negotiating machine with a glance here and a wave of the “don’t bug me” hand there. The Turkish salesmen think “easy mark from America” but look like guys left home on Prom Night as she utters those hurtful words “You’re price, not even close!” Eamon looks and says “Who are you and what have you done with our mother?” We’re pretty sure her eyes are turning green, “everyone watch out and whatever you do don’t make her angry by not negotiating or you will be sorry.” The kids get a kick out of their mom looking a guy right in the eye and saying “you want 60 lirasi I’ll give you 20 and that’s final.” Too bad she can’t negotiate tuition for school; now that would be great!
The boys split off on their own because Seamus and Eamon are each eyeing a pair of Chuck Taylor Converse sneakers. They ask “Hey can we go see if we can bargain?” Sure, “remember they have to give you the price first”, yeah we know said Eamon. Ann, Pearse and I headed off to watch mom torture some more Turks. Eamon and Seamus meet us on the way to the arched entrance. As they come into view they are grinning ear to ear. Mom asks “So how did you make out?” Seamus and Eamon “He wanted 45 lirasi for each and we said 55 for both or we’re walking.” They open the bag and Seamus’ neon orange low cut Converse shoes jump out of the bag by themselves and Eamon’s high top Chuck Taylor’s are barking “take me home my American friend.” A cool look of satisfaction from their mother and Pearse’s nod of approval says it all, “Life Lesson Learned - Price tags are simply suggestions.”