Monday, July 9, 2012

Turkish in America

One of my goals while in DC was to purchase a car for Ellen. And there's nothing that says,"Here's an eager buyer" more than arriving at the front door of the dealership in a bright orange., minivan taxi. No sooner had I jumped out the taxi than I was greeted by Ali, ready to sell me a car. Ali was a nice enough guy and he had the right "conversation starters" plastered on his desk...a blue Nazar (the protection from the evil eye) and four post cards of Istanbul. Having just arrived from Istanbul 16 hours earlier, I asked the logical question. "Are you Turkish?" No, his wife is. He is Iranian but he had visited Istanbul. We exchanged pleasantries and our love for Istanbul,. We then viewed a few cars from the lot and selected one to test drive. Minus the brown, melty foam that was blowing out of the semi functioning AC on this 106 degree day, the car I had selected to test drive drove fairly smoothly. But my gut said to keep looking.

I walked down the hill to the next dealership where I was greeted by another salesperson. I explained what I wanted and he found a potential match. More polite conversation and it turns out this salesperson's parents were from Turkey, his wife is Turkish, and he had lived in Turkey and always wears the blue eye "for protection" around his neck. Even better, his surname is Mutlu which means "happy" in Turkish. Cool that I know that, huh? I'm pretty sure based on the nice conversation we were having I would buy a car from Mr. Mutlu, if he had what I needed.

We had lots to talk about...the current state of affairs in the Turkey, the fact that his parents (not realizing the consequences) registered him as a Turkish citizen and now he can't travel to the country or he will be required to do his mandatory military service (he's my age), the fact that he started school in America not speaking English and now he remembers very little Turkish, and the story of how is parents immigrated to escape poverty in Turkey...a nice senator and a sponsorship..

I did buy the car even though my initial "low ball offer" was met with a smile and a "We're not in Turkey. This dealership has a sticker price and does not haggle." The price was a little above NADA blue book and a little below Kelly Blue Book, the car met our criteria, and there are other things I would rather do than buy I car, so I paid the sticker price and wrote off the difference as a pleasant Turkish experience in America.

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