The Istanbul Shoe Shine Scam

By wasatch | Jun 21, 2022
Middle East > Turkey > Istanbul

Our hotel was 2 blocks form Taksim Square, a hot bed of restaurants in Istanbul, so we walked out for dinner. On the way back to our hotel, an intererent shoe shine guy was walking just a head of us, and a shoe polishing brush fell out of his box. I picked it up and yell at him to stop. He expressed overwhelming gratitude at my kind saving his modest business from a catastrophic financial loss and, in return, insisted on giving me a complimentary shoe shine, which took a remarkable short time. Then He said, “That will be $6”.
I said, “Fuck off” and went on walking to the hotel, with him following, yelling and fussing like it was the end of the world. He shut up and slunk away as soon as the Doorman came in sight.

Don't know if was the same guy or a different crook when the same thing happened the next night, only this time, when the shoe brush fell, I picked it up, stuck it in my hip pocket, and ignored the shoe shine scammer, who quickly got agitated as hi shoe brush had disappeared into the void, and he knew not why. As we approached the hotel door, I threw the brush in the bushes. I don't care whether he got it back or not, but I hope not.

Turkey Istanbul Middle East Scams

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Written by wasatch
1st international trip: 1965. ~57 EU vacations. Visited 6 continets. Extensive USA travel. You can email me at

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