Posted by: mollyscafeistanbul | April 16, 2010

bad neighbours at molly’s cafe

this is sort of a bitch session, so skip it if you like.

there is a maganda woman downstairs who has a dress shop.  (a maganda is sort of a low class man, who might wear white shoes and a gold  chain).  when i had the cafe across the street, she was friendly, but things have deteriorated greatly.  she keeps complaining that she was told that the kitchen downstairs would be hers to use as a depot.  that makes no sense, as a dress shop does not need a kitchen.  so, that has been a bone of contention for the past six months.

soon after i moved in, i replaced the timarhane sign with my own molly’s cafe sign.  it is lighted, about a meter wide and 2/3 meter up and down.  i spent some money on it and did not think anything of it.  when i put it up, one of the landlords (there are 3) was standing beside me in front of the sign and the woman said she would keep that area clear.  instead, we have been struggling for months about her putting her mannekins in front of the sign.  i would move it and she would move it back.  she is impossible to talk to because she immediately starts shouting and there is no way to discuss anything that way.

today things came to a head.  i planted some flowers in a planter in my window and she said i had spilled dirt and flowers on her stuff.  i refused to talk to her, which was probably wrong.  i did not go out to see how much had fallen. according to her a mountain of dirt had fallen, which was not the case.  all of a sudden she and her maganda daughter were in my cafe, both shouting about how rude i was.  along with them was the tea guy, the guy from across the street, and various other guys from up the street.  i give the tea guy a lot of credit because he was trying to maintain the peace, unsuccessfully.  my turkish is ok but i am not used to arguing in turkish, so i resorted to telling them to get the fuck out of my cafe.  the girl tried to kick the cat, which is unforgivable, and then she tried to attack me.  i threatened to call the police.  the men finally bundled both of them out of the cafe.  i was zinging by then.  i was wrong in not apologizing for spilling a little dirt, but she was not right to roar into my cafe, still complaining that the kitchen was hers. thank goodness there were no customers in here to watch the show.

needless to say, i do not shop at her place.  the shops up the street do not like her because she is low class and sells crappy merchandise at inflated prices, while they sell quality goods at quality prices.  she hangs her stuff outside so it looks like a bazaar and they do not like that either, as it lowers the class of the neighbourhood.

the other bad neighbour, though less so, is the people at cherrybean coffee.  they took over the space of my old cafe.  there is a tradition here of people paying hava parasi, which is move out money.  they were supposed to give me 5000 lira, which is not all that much (the guy up the street is asking 50,000).  they paid me 1000 and said they would pay the rest at the end of the month.  instead, they complained to the landlord, who told me that if i did not pay that money back, he would not give me my deposit back.  so i paid it back and got my deposit.  in retrospect, i wish i had just bit the bullet on the 250 lira difference.  after all this, the brother had the nerve to ask me if i was going to buy coffee from them.  ha!  no way.  it costs three times as much as the coffee i get and tastes about the same.  meanwhile the maganda kadin is friendly with them, so i feel a little ganged up on.

today i saw the two women talking about the event this morning and it made me feel bad, as i was the subject of their malicious gossip.  some people have asked if they are like this because i am a foreign woman.  usually i say no, but i think on some level it is true.  people gang up on the outsider and women are really terrible at this.   the thing is, if we all have a civil relationship, it helps all our business.  as it is, i tell people not to go to either place and i suppose they do the same.  what a waste of energy.

thanks for listening.

p.s.  that evening one of the men who works on the street but missed the show came to commiserate.  he told me that all the people on my street really like me and are sorry for my troubles with her.  they do not like her at all. he also said he had some friends who could “do something” but then it would seem it came from me, so it was not a good idea.  it was not a good idea anyway, but i am gladd for the support.

thought you might like to see this comment:

Wow… I have booked a trip to Turkey for this summer and I am currently researching restaurants. Your cafe was recommended on Virtual Toursit, but after reading this post I definitely will be avoiding your restaurant! All I can think is that if you’re this unprofessional on your blog, what must go on in the kitchen? For public relations’ sake, I definitely encourage you to delete this post and re-think the type of image you want to project to potential customers.

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Responses

  1. Wow… I have booked a trip to Turkey for this summer and I am currently researching restaurants. Your cafe was recommended on Virtual Toursit, but after reading this post I definitely will be avoiding your restaurant! All I can think is that if you’re this unprofessional on your blog, what must go on in the kitchen? For public relations’ sake, I definitely encourage you to delete this post and re-think the type of image you want to project to potential customers.

    • feel free to avoid my cafe. my blog is personal and certainly fighting with my neighbour does not affect what goes on in my kitchen. if that is the only post you read, sorry as this place has become a meeting point for foreigners and turks who live here or who pass through. i have many regular customers who live here and who are satisfied with my cafe and sympathetic about the neighbour. you have no idea what it is like to live here, so please do not be so quick to judge. turkey is a fabulous place and i hope you e njoy your trip here.

  2. I’ve been to Molly’s many times and am always impressed with the good home cooking, the homey ambiance and the exceptional hospitality that I’ve received. Hopefully the previous poster will realise that a blog is a blog is a blog. I want to hear about the street politics that happen in and around the cafe. It gives me a better sense of what it’s like for a foreign woman to forge a professional life in a country such as Turkey. Molly is well liked in the neighbourhood and is a respected business person who is a valued presence in the Galata area. Keep up the posts, Molly. You’re a courageous and fair-minded woman, and I’d be the first of your long line-up of customers to want to learn more about your business adventures

  3. This is in response to the criticism left by the pompous person “researching restaurants”. Rest assured, we all know now that you have a degree in culinary arts and public relations, and we admire you for it; still, your premature and ostentatious air of so-called professionalism stinks and misses the mark ! I have lived above Molly’s cafe for three months and was a customer there daily. Whatever came out of Molly’s kitchen was delicious, made with a degree of love and dedication that takes one back to the days of mother’s or granny’s good ol’ home-cooking ! It therefore satisfied any discerning customer. So I suggest you take another course, this time choose unassumingness and diplomacy. Andrew Daniels


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