Long years ago, Rob Roy McCampbell discovered the world of carpets at the age of 61 and became addicted to the Grand Bazaar. In the end, McCampbell married a Turkish girl and to him, the Grand Bazaar is not only the place of carpets but also friendships.
Not only in the Grand Bazaar, but also in eveıywhere in the world, the store owners or tradesmen, that is to say anyone who tries to seli something, tıy to get an idea about their customers’ purchasing powers by looking at their outlooks and outfits. This is applied in the Grand Bazaar maybe more; because in a day, countless people from countless nations pass in front of its shops. In order to understand the potentiality of the customer, there is a series of criteria known by the experiences. For example, in any case, the seller would look at the customer’s shoes. Even if the dothes do not show anything about tl1e customer; shoes may give important clues about the customer’s financial situation. If 72 years old American citizen Rob Roy McCampbell was glanced attentively by the ones, who did not know him before, as he entereel in the Cebeci Inn, he would most probably fail and considered as someone unwoıthy to dea! with. But, some of the people knew him. When he first came, he introduced his name as “lavtık” (means ‘jerk’ in Turkish).
This was not a joke playeel by a funny Turk over him; he knew the meaning of the word. He Nas a goocl customer. He was collecting kilims anel carpets from the bazaar anel seliing them in America. His concern was not to sustain his living. He was living alone in America, neı-.’1 to a lake belonged to him, away ti·om the so cal! ed ‘blessings’ of the civilization. But this time he was not going to live alone when he returneel back. Because these seventy two years old experiencecl American young man marriecl a young Turkish gir! whom he met in Selçuk. He has been coming to the Grand Bazaar for eleven years. He had an interesting life story. He stucliecl the Byzantine Histoıy in Princeton University. At the time he graduatecl, he put all the information about Byzantine asiele anel workecl as a banker with his brother for thirty one years. Then, one day, be said gooelbye to his job anel cruised up to Rhodes Isiand with a ship. ’vhen his ship stopped by Kuşaclası, he met with the carpets and kilims; the signs of carpets anel kiliıns brought him to the indispensable enel, the Granel Bazaar. From then on, he was addicted to the Grand Bazaar. And he clieln’t seem !ike he was complaining about this adeliction. “Doesn’t care about what the others say. Human relationships here are sineere anel waım. The people’s nice attitudes are not the forced ones in oı·der to gain the customer. During the eleven years I have been conıing here, I made close friencls. Especially some .. .I have to give these three names: Erol Kazancı, Chubby Osman and Ahmet Hazım. My relation with here is not just through tracling. I come here whether I buy carpet or not.”
He was generally collecting Anatolian/Caucasus sumacs and kilims. When he returneel back to the U.S., he was putting those to the back of his van anel tıying to seli them to his friends/customers in Jackson, Wyoming, Santa Barbara, Califomia or in Scotsclale, Arizona. His customers were generally rich businessmen. For instance, Cargills, who is largest privately helcl corporation, was one of them. But, the economic erisis slowec.l his business a lot. According to McCampbell, whenever the economic stagnation began, one of the first items which clecreasecl in elemanel was carpets. However, McCampbell clicln’t care about that. “As I said before: I come here whether I buy carpet or not because I love this place and its people veıy much. The sinceriry of people when they invite me to clinner during Ramadan is inclescribable. I feel myself safer here than I do in America. I have been coming here for all those years but I clicl not face with any negative events, except one. Yet, the way this event had resulreel was again a score for the Grancl Bazaar. One day, I bought a considerable amount of goocls from a shop where I had never done shopping before. The man packeel up the goocls and we settlecl the accounts; I was going to the
aiıpoıt and fly clirectly from there. He callecl a cab, while we were ralking iı1side, his men loaded my caıpets into the cab. When we said farewell to each other anel I went out, I saw tl1at the cab was not there anymore. I went to the police office right away anel explainecl the situation. I also told that I suspectecl the owner of tl1e shop as well. The cab stı·angely appearecl tl1e next day. The man kept saying that there was a misunclerstancling, I didn’t persist. But tl1e whole Bazaar heaı·cl ilie event anel macle tl1eiı· own comments. The reputation of the man, who I tl1ought deceivecl me, was ruinecl. He coulcln’t stand it for long, he had to close his shop and leave ilie Bazaar after a shoıt w hile.” For a second, Rob Roy McCampbell caught the sight of a kiliın hanging on ilie window of tl1e shop next cloor from where he sat to clıink coffee in iımer Cebeci Inn. It was a Caucasus Aımenian kiliın in a light green color with a cleer figure on it. They tolcl tl1e pıice, he clicln’t think or bargain about it anel paicl the money. It was obvious tl1at iliey pıicecl it coıTectly. While he was showing tl1e kiliın to his young wife, he said: “Since tl1ere is tl1e Grancl Bazaar, tl1ere is no neecl to go to Caucasus to buy CaLıcasian kiliı.11S.” ”I buy 90% of my goods from tl1e Grancl Bazaar anyway.” He finished his coffee, he was happy. He was ralking about his home in America to the people arouncl. He took the package of the kilim to his one hane! anel his young wife to the other anel left the Inner Cebeci Inn.
Rob Roy McCampbell