While some of the shops in Arasta Bazaar are, indeed, quite nice and the owners are very polite and accommodating, the only bad experience that I had throughout my otherwise enjoyable stay in Istanbul happened at a jewellery shop (opposite the cafe end) in this very bazaar. As soon as I looked at the necklaces in the window, the man standing outside insisted that I get inside "just to have a look, pleeze-pleeze". That's when the nightmare began... He took all kinds of necklaces from the shelves, made me put some of them on, implored that I buy something, when I said that they're too expensive he started literally begging me to choose one, as "the season is bad and I'm starving". He offered his hand for a handshake and wouldn't let me go. Then he started haggling on the price of one that I said I liked (just to get him off my back, silly me!), kept squeezing my hand and pushed it onto me for 1200 lira (the price started at 2200). He lied about it being silver with inset rubies, made in Anatolia (the truth, as subsequently proven - carneol, bronze, made in Thailand). I was so exhausted and confused by the attack that I finally surrendered and paid by credit card. On the next day, I asked my husband to accompany me and went back to return it. After a heated argument I had to ask for help the manager of Arasta Bazaar and was given back 900 lira - as they put it, the rest was deducted for expenses related to the credit card payment. Such a horrible scam! Istanbul is a wonderful city that I will surely visit again, but I will never ever go near Arasta Bazaar in my life!
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