“Istanbul’s shoeshiners have a great trick: They drop their brushes in front of pedestrians, and when the more goodhearted pedestrians return the brushes to them, they offer to shine their shoes. The mark, thinking this service will be on the house, readily agrees, and is surprised when he is asked to pay after his shoes are cleaned. Experienced locals see the brush falling from the shoeshiner’s set, and walkover it, as if nothing has  happened. This is what we are learning to do in Istanbul this year.”



For many years the British journalist Matthew Engel kept little red notebooks of random quotes he found interesting, resulting in the compilation Extracts from the Red Notebooks. In the same spirit, this occasional feature shares things I think are worth knowing.

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