The Sunday Review



by Sean Hignett


Travel Section / London, England


Haggle or not?


In the Grand Bazaar haggling is essential but it can be daunting, not to mention immensely time-consuming. You may never get the price a Turk would be offered - the only benchmark is to ask yourself whether you're satisfied by British standards. Across the Golden horn in the smarter shopping areas, with fixed prices, you may have difficulty finding someone who speaks English. Shopping can be a screaming nightmare.


Expat expert


The Screaming Shopper, alias Marilyn Hill Henderson, is a Turkish speaking expat who has built up a network of reliable traders and tells you when the price is right ... You pay only for her knowledge and experience and she guarantees that genuine shoppers will save more than her fee.

Departures Magazine


“You Tell Us”

Readers' Discoveries


American Express Platinum
Card Members Magazine




I recently traveled to Istanbul with three couples. Based on your suggestion in the March/April 1998 issue we contacted Marilyn Hill- Henderson, the “Screaming Shopper”. I am writing to verify that your choice was outstanding. Marilyn made our trip a more than memorable experience. She is an effervescent, intelligent, and wonderful person who knows everyone. She took us to places we never would have found by ourselves, and provided incomparable local insight to shopping and customs.


Dr. Richard M. Erhlich
Los Angeles, CA

The Educated Traveler


“A Guide's Guide”
November/December 1999


Screaming in Turkey


When Marilyn Hill Henderson traveled to Turkey with her husband and 9-year-old son in 1990, she says “this fabulous country jumped out at me from the minute I got off the plane... the sounds, smells, and tastes of this exotic land are totally addictive... and I fell in love with it all!”


It was during their second tour to Istanbul a few years later that Marilyn's idea for The Screaming Shopper came about. In Azerbaijan for a short trip, Marilyn began shopping for new things to export to her small retail shop in the U.S. This simple task was not as easy as she thought it would be and Marilyn was becoming “so frustrated I could scream” as the days progressed. Ulitmately she hired a hotel waiter to take her around and introduce her to the local merchants.


Accompanied by a local, Marilyn saw parts of Azerbaijan and experienced things she never would have on her own. This made her realize what many visitors to Istanbul, especially the less adventurous ones, must be missing. “I wanted to show Turkey in the great light it should be shown in. I think many travelers to Turkey come with misconceived ideas about the country and its people, but by spending time with a local who can smooth the rough edges, who has relationships with the merchants as people, not just aggressive businessmen, who can explain some of the local color as well as help timid gourmets into experiencing real Turkish food, then clients are more relaxed and can let go of some of the ideas they came with and grow to see Turkey in a different light.”


Now Marilyn, in her “Screaming Shopper” persona, takes tourists to shops where she personally knows the owners (many of whom are dear friends), thus eliminating the “persistent bordering on aggressive” style of doing business that turns a lot of folks off shopping in Istanbul. “I think it's important for first-time travelers to Turkey to remember that this is the land of great retailers and marketers, but you don't have to spend your day going in shops you are intimidated into.”


The Screaming Shopper is more than just shopping, it's the “real Turkey with all of the screaming taken out!” Marilyn loves to share her city with travelers and give them a taste of its unique culture, whether accompanying a client to have her hair done in a Turkish salon or taking another to her favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant to sample local delicacies. Marilyn even recently helped a traveler locate the jeweler in Istanbul who had designed a lost ring his mother had given him years ago, and had a replica made for him.

Istanbul's exotic call


By Anne Chalfant
Article Launched: 09/02/2007 01:52:35 AM PDT


ISTANBUL, Turkey -


Next time in Istanbul, I'm hiring the Screaming Shopper.


It was a hot July day when I was cooling my heels in the hotel bar waiting for friends. But the party had to wait until Joe and Mary Lou Rimsky finished their four-hour shopping blitz at the Grand Bazaar.


This was no small venture. The Rimskys were prowling for three new Turkish rugs for their Cincinnati home. Shopping for Turkish rugs is a complex ritual of tea-drinking and rug-unfurling, so the thought of scoring three in a matter of hours boggles the mind.


The Grand Bazaar boggles the eyes, the ears and the mind, with more than 4,000 shops spread over 61 streets under one roof. It's fascinating and confounding, with pulsating colors and beckoning vendors. Please, have a cup of tea and see our rugs. Lady, you like that purse? I make a good price for you.


The Rimskys, who had experienced Grand Bazaar madness on a previous trip, did a little strategic planning before this trip and hired the services of the Screaming Shopper, a.k.a. Marilyn Hill Henderson. Henderson is a British expatriate who promises to demystify shopping in Istanbul.


It worked.


The Rimskys walked into the hotel, grinning and dripping with sweat. Mission accomplished: They had bought three fabulous rugs that were being shipped to their home. And Mary Lou was adorned with a few baubles - a fantastic gold necklace and earrings. Joe sported a new Izod shirt, with three more tucked in a bag.


“Our luggage hasn't arrived yet, so I bought shirts just in case,” Joe said cheerily.


That was post-Grand Bazaar glow talking. Four Izods would be minor solace if they departed on their cruise the next morning without their suitcases.


But hooray! The luggage arrived in the next moment. We all went to have a drink with the Screaming Shopper, who was no such thing. The soft-spoken Henderson has lived in Istanbul 10 years and would be good company meandering through the bazaar, helping sort through rugs, leather goods, electronics, ceramics and all kinds of knockoffs. You could shop here for days on end.