Keeping your wits when shopping overseas is difficult when you have the pressure of time, language, currency exchange, cultural difference and great sales skills.  This is only too evident when you arrive with a busload of tourists to a prearranged “shopping site”.  It is not unusual to end up barganing over something that you are not really interested in and would never buy in your own country. It is the allure of the shiny object made even more shiny by a slick sales person’ enticements.

Enticements can include:

  • tea/coffee/champagne/juice/water/snacks
  • nothing is too much trouble attitude – delivery to your hotel, driving to your next destination with the item, free air freight and insurance.
  • long demonstrations of a manufacturing process. (If this is done well, you will be buying it!)

  • Silk factory, Turkey – history and process of extracting silk from silk worm cocoons;
  • Carpet factory, Turkey – history and demonstration  of hand knotting (30 minutes)
  • Cameo factory, Italy – history and carving of cameos (1 hour)
  • Chateauneuf de Pape winery,  France – growing and turning grapes into wine.(1 hour)
  • Provencial Lavender Farm,  France – growing, distilling, extraction of lavender oil ( 30 minutes)
  • Ceramic factory, Turkey – moulding, firing and painting ceramic plates and vases.
  • Glass blowing factory, Venice – blowing, designing Venetian glass

We bought this.


We fell under the spell of the hand painted ceramic factory in Turkey. Nothing was too much trouble. We  were sold on the process and atmosphere. I don’t buy ceramics and really didn’t know anything about them before our trip. I don’t even buy souveneirs usually but the atmosphere and selling drew me in.

They promised to send it by air freight marked as fragile and included insurance for free – so we bought it.

As you can see, it broke in transit – but the insurance company refunded what we had paid.

This is what arrived.






Chania, Crete