Friday, October 29, 2010

the turkish everything-you-don't-need-store

there's this store near my house.
it's one of those random metal/plastic item things that you think is the small mom-and-pop equivelent of a Target in 1/900th of the size that sells everything you need - until you go there, repeatedly, and find out it in fact stores entirely useless items, none of which are ever even remotely what you are looking for.
a short list of normal items that i have looked for in said store but they never have:
-a mixer, blender, or anything that might facilitate the making of soup or hummus (i live in a turkish/lebanese/algerian neighborhood where NO ONE can make hummmus. no, it's not just a clump of tahini and chick peas, people, you actually need lemon, salt, garlic, maybe olive oil? i know you guys have olive oil.)
-a strainer, like for spaghetti
-a toaster
-deck of cards (we were in the bar next door and really wanted to play a game of heartssss)
-a hair dryer
-an iron
-thing to heat up milk on the stove
-a non-plastic basket (i thought turks were into that stuff)
-champagne flutes (prosecco is mad cheap here)
-all purpose cleaner, like, for the bathroom
-a square cake pan, like for making banana bread or, the wurst-cake i plan on making next weekend for the cake and wurst party (thus: wurstcake.) 

and i go here, because, i haven't found anything that resembles a target or store that sells useful items, that is not ridiculously expensive or within biking distance. and because everything is closed at 7pm, and on sundays, your window for searching for said establishments is very limited. and because you presume, within all the crap that's in the windows and exploding onto the sidewalk there must be what you are looking for. it's not just me, my dad and mom both fell for the place too. we are suckers.

the store routine goes a little something like this:
i walk in, and the really old turkish lady with the head scarf behind the counter smiles, but other than that makes no facial reaction to what i am saying. she may be deaf. i wander the 2 aisles, and then the guy comes out, he's clearly the awkward 40 year old son who still lives with his mom.
he pushes mom over to help in my quest, and takes her place as master/cashier/translator.
i then explain in broken german, or more often hand motions and charades "this is me, with wet hair, i am cold and miserable! brrrr!"  that sort of thing.  
the guy then explains - nay, screams to his mom what i'm looking for. which i imagine is the turkish equivelent of (brooklyn accent) "Ma!! she wants a hair dry-ah!!" the old lady, then digs through the piles of stuff and pulls out the furthest thing from what you want.
that is a spatula. i wanted a strainer?
no, that is paint. i wanted cleaner? you see, this is me, cleaning, my apartment so dirty!
that is a scooby doo blanket. i asked for a cake pan? because i want to put wurst, mmm wurst, in a cake - oh, forget it.
she then shows me every single oven-friendly dish that you would never fathom cooking a cake in. are these for baklava?
or, i have no idea what that is, but i was looking for a deck of cards.

now, i do realize there are ample opportunities for miscommunication in this game of telephone, but they really just do not have anything i need.

so, in case you were wondering, things they do have:
-scooby doo blankets, and casper the ghost blankets, and strawberry shortcake blankets. if you are a turk in berlin, i imagine you are often cold.
-clothes drying racks. lots of them. these people they have very clean, wrinkled clothes (they do not have irons! only rolling pins).
-rolling luggage. this is the hotbeds of cheap chinese luggage. Ramsonite brand, just fell off the truck. not that you ever see anyone rolling through the streets with luggage or anything.
-thermal food bags. it is october, which means it will no longer get above freezing, no need to go to extra measures to keep my food cold thanks, i think my picnics will now be inside. probably until june.
-teapots! millions of teapots! metal, glass, porcelaine, teapots of every shape size, brand and color!

well, i already have a teapot. so i can only hope for the day when i actually find a use for something in your store. elveda, gule gule!