Turkish customs: almost everything delivered right to your door

In Argentina you can have your soda water delivered to your door; in many parts of Turkey you can get almost anything you need without leaving the house. Provided you live nearby, most shops and restaurants will deliver to your house, even for the smallest purchases. If you make a purchase in a bigger shop (a piece of furniture, for example), almost always the shop will deliver it to your home for no additional cost. In addition to this, a plethora of vendors roam the streets selling (or sometimes collecting) their wares.

Buying melons from a street vendor

The eskici normally pushes a cart, or he may drive an open-backed truck. In this case, he isn’t selling anything, he just wants to collect your old unwanted stuff, sometimes in exchange for a small fee.

In my old apartment, the simitci was a regular visitor. He passed at 8:45am every morning, carrying a tray of simits balanced on his head, announcing himself with a melodious cry. To stop him and buy one, you go out onto your balcony and yell “simitci, geliyorum!” (I’m coming, simit seller!). The man comes to the door of your apartment building while you run downstairs with your money, take your simits and run back upstairs to eat them.

Other regulars passing by the apartment were the farmer carrying his basket of eggs fresh from the village, and trucks or carts loaded with whatever produce happened to be in season: watermelons, cucumbers, cherries, potatoes.

Simitci (simit seller)

We don’t live in the city any more, and the shouts of street vendors have been replaced with birdsong and the odd tractor. It’s more peaceful, but sometimes I miss those sounds of everyday life.

Read more:
Recycling in Turkey
The tulip: symbol of Istanbul
Argentinian customs: soda water delivered to your door

About the author

Lucy (Liz) Chatburn
Lucy is English and first ventured out of the UK she was 19. Since then she has lived in 4 different countries and tried to see as much of the world as possible. She loves learning languages, learning about different cultures and hearing different points of view.
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  • i love the idea of being able to buy food on your doorstep- and fresh produce too!

    when i was in montevideo i experienced having a bottle of vat 69 delivered to the apartment i was staying in, at 4am, on a pink bicycle.

    it endeared me to the city forever.

  • We have a version of your eskici too in my parents’ neighbourhood. This guy drives a battered old pickup truck with a loudspeaker and every Saturday you can hear his “compro! compro! colchones, heladeras, cocinas, compro!” I buy old mattresses, stoves, fridges, I buy from you!

    • In the UK you often have to pay to dump your old stuff, so I was quite surprised the first time I gave something and they asked how much I wanted for it.

  • Our eskici always go through the bins for the metal and plastic. The street dogs follow him around because if there is any food in the bins, he gives it to them. He is kind of a fixture of our society now and if we do not see him, always wonder where he is

  • Granny Pat

    When I was a child in Manchester in the 50s the bread man,the milkman,the “pop”man and the butcher all came round almost daily so the housewives could select what they needed.
    Now the supermarkets send their vans with the internet grocery shopping.
    Full circle?