This blog entry could be entitled “Turkey would be great if you could just get rid of the hucksters, which I figure to be least 50 percent of all Turkish men.” Today, before my flight out, I had lunch at an overpriced restaurant in Istanbul and watched a straw boss, a low-level manager who is exploited by the real bosses but still thinks he is a big dog and superior to his underlings, humiliate this young woman because he claimed she had not paid her bill. Then he chased after her when she left the restaurant, which apparently created a spectacle out of my sight judging from the turned heads and the expressions on the faces of the passers-by who I could see.
The woman, maybe in her early 20s, returned to the restaurant and was clearly distraught, looked almost terrified, and was choking back her tears, which left no doubt in my mind who was in the right. In meantime, the little prick—Joe Cock as my friend Jack Carrigan would have called him—just stubbornly insisted he was correct and tried to rally his staff, even a worker from next door, to his side. He persisted even though one of the accused women’s two friends tried to patiently explain to him that her friend had already paid for her lunch and described the exchange. Mr. Cock, who treated me dismissively when I came in, wouldn’t budge. I was about to suggest she simply leave and I would deal with the asshole.
But before that could happen, the accused woman’s friend, apparently the peacemaker of the group, offered to pay a second time just to get the matter resolved, but the young woman would hear none of that. “Don’t pay him. I have already paid!” she said, and turned around and again walked out of the restaurant, all of which created yet another scene, which is probably why ol’ J.C. decided not to chase after her a second time. I finished my tea, paid my bill, left no tip, and told the straw boss and one of his ass-kissing allies, the cashier, “You treated that woman awfully.”