'Burası Türkiye!' 'This is Turkey!'

I’ve Got A Slug!

your average family run business

Shopping in Turkey is a different experience from shopping in, say, the UK. Here, the preponderance of family run businesses pretty much ensures you will be treated with consideration, kindness and plied with tea for as long as you care to remain. There are the odd exceptions, of course, where the soft porn pages of the newspaper or the imagined rough end of a finger nail are deemed in need of greater attention and interest, but they are rare.

Returning a newly bought but faulty electrical item is a different matter. At first there is great concern and amazement that such a thing could happen. There will be much discussion and detailed examination of the object. Numerous attempts will be made to find even the faintest glimmer of life. When these fail they will offer to return it under guarantee.

Now, guarantees in Turkey are interesting things; they are seldom stamped and dated as they should be which can be a good thing or a bad thing. It’s a good thing when your guarantee has just run out and you are dealing with a shop owner who knows you and values your continued custom. He will take your unstamped guarantee, stamp it and write in an appropriate date. Then, because it is required, he will need to attach the original till receipt which none of us ever remembers to keep. This is not a problem because in the drawer under the counter are loads of old receipts that he’s collected and he will find one for the approximate value which he will now staple to the guarantee. He’ll smile and say ‘Problem yok!’ and point you towards the accredited repair man down the street who will have it all fixed up in no time at all.

some you win - some you lose

That assumes that it is not too complicated a piece of electronics or the supplier has a ‘return to base’ service policy. Here you run into a bit of a brick wall – ‘OK!’ you say, ‘How long will it take?’ Much sucking of teeth. Mostly he won’t know (he’s been in this business for 30 years but this is all a bit new to him). ‘Not good enough’ you say, ‘it’s brand spanking new. It doesn’t work and I want it replaced right now.’ Now he’s looking at you as if you are from an alien planet (which you are!). You expect him to take back a broken thingy and give you a new one. Are you mental? By now you probably are! ‘All right’ you say ‘give me my money back!’ Ha! Now you really have proved you’re a bug-eyed monster from another planet.

In the end you will see it his way and it will be sent away under guarantee and your chances of ever laying eyes on it again will be slim. You’ll call in each week in the forlorn hope that it has come back or a replacement has arrived only for your shoulders to sag as you slump to the stool the owner has thoughtfully provided. You hardly notice when a glass of tea appears, miraculously in your hand. The shop owner will be deeply distressed at your distress, he will empathise totally with you about the awful state of customer service and care in Turkey – suddenly his face will brighten, he’ll pull down a gleaming chromium marvel from the shelf, and cry triumphantly, ‘I’ve got a slug!’


Sound familiar? Below is an extract from the famous Monty Python ‘Dead Parrot Sketch’.

Mr. Praline: “VOOM”?!? Mate, this bird wouldn’t “voom” if you put four million volts through it! ‘E’s bleedin’ demised!

Owner: No, no! ‘E’s pining!

Mr. Praline: ‘E’s not pinin’! ‘E’s passed on! This parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! ‘E’s expired and gone to meet ‘is maker! ‘E’s a stiff! Bereft of life, ‘e rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed ‘im to the perch ‘e’d be pushing up the daisies! ‘Is metabolic processes are now ‘istory! ‘E’s off the twig! ‘E’s kicked the bucket, ‘e’s shuffled off ‘is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisibule!! (sic) THIS IS AN EX-PARROT!!


Owner: Well, I’d better replace it, then. (he takes a quick peek behind the counter) Sorry squire, I’ve had a look ’round the back of the shop, and uh, we’re right out of parrots.

Mr. Praline: I see. I see. I get the picture.

Owner: I got a slug.

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü


ps for those desperately disappointed not to have a picture of a slug – see below.

Giant Banana Slug

8 thoughts on “I’ve Got A Slug!

  1. I admire the make do and mend culture, really I do. However, this didn’t help when our expensive LG surround sound DVD system (one of the few luxuries we afforded ourselves to help see us through the cold and wet winter nights) started spitting DVDs out at random. The swarthy little repair man tried to blame us by suggesting we were inserting the wrong kind of disc (err, no, Turkey’s the same region as Blighty, stupid boy). Then my attached MP3 player started coming out in mono (No it’s not the MP3 player, stupid boy). It’s been back and forward to the repair shop twice now and it still doesn’t bloody work.

    I feel better now for getting that off my chest. I feel a post coming on.

    1. we have an old side-by-side fridge-freezer that was 25 years old when we shipped it over here. It has had2 new compressors (the last one up graded to cope with the heat) and is still going strong with the occasional service – I love the ‘repair it’ mentality too.
      Our treasured B&O got blown up by a power surge but was repaired good as new by the main service in Izmir – wonderful Turkey – most of the time!

  2. I bought a brand new compressed air staple gun (as you do).

    It failed to fire staples within a couple of hours of use given that it had, in its eagerness to please, functioned with such rapidity that it had choked itself.

    I returned it to the supplier within a week of purchase, fully expecting an immediate replacement.

    Noooo. As in Turkey, so in Spain. It had to be sent away for él técnico to pronounce upon it.

    Which he did, two months later, when I got it back all bound up with electrical tape where he had prised it open and damaged to lugs.

    But it worked, so why am I complaining?

  3. I concur with the love of make-it-work approaches in Turkey. Yavash, yavash, it will all get done one way or another. You paint the picture of this interaction so well. Even though I am sitting on the stool next to M. when he engages in all of this process, picking through the flying Turkish for bits I can understand, I know it captures it all perfectly.

    1. in the heat of a ‘situation’ it can be easy to forget all of the wonderful reasons for being here. When I worked in the prison system there was a great illuminated scroll on the wall of my bosses office, it said: ‘When you are up to your arse in alligators it can sometimes be difficult to remember that the object of the exercise was to drain the swamp!’ An apt comment on life.

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