They Love English
Jan and I visited the nearby Capitol Shopping Mall to look around and pick up a few souvenirs yesterday. The first thing that struck me, and Jan too, that the mall looked very much like the malls around us in the US. This, in and of itself, is quite understandable as the model is applicable all over the world. The local branches of Tommy Hilfiger, Sephora, Benetton, Swarovski, and many others show their wares, that too is quite normal as Istanbul and other parts of Turkey are lucrative markets for these brands. The extensive use of English in local store names, sale signs, even store stories was surprising. Most visitors would likely miss the message, but English must enter the store somehow.
One store, Mothercare was offering “Mid Season Sale.” Another one, Camper, had the company story on the wall “Camper is not a shoe. Camper is the result of a dream. …” Yet a third one had a greeting on the window “Merry Christmas, Best Wishes from Miranda Kerr” although very few may celebrate Christmas in Turkey. There were other store names in English although they appeared to be perfectly local, like Dry Center (dry cleaning,) Shoes Center, Key Shop. (If any of these are foreign stores indeed, my apologies.)
On the level below was a large display area and space for Le Petit Prince with nice floating stars, planets, and the prince himself. A large area was devoted to children’s activities like play, draw, learn, and so on. They apparently constitute the world’s largest The Little Prince book exhibition and children activity event. Since we were there on a weekday we did not see any kids around. I could not resist entering the Nike store (kind of namesake for us) and photograph the array of shoes on the walls, just like home!
As large and spacious the mall may be, the mall and the individual stores had poor ventilation and cooling. The stuffy, hot air made us both quite uncomfortable. But we managed to visit several stores, pick up everything we wanted, and return home in a couple of hours.
Shopping at malls has become a universal experience, especially for English-speaking people. Here are some views from the Capitol in Istanbul.