25 Mar 2012

Tax Free Claims in the Ataturk Airport. Oooo boy.

We shopped for two items, yes you read right, two items in Turkey. A handbag for myself and a Longchamp one for my mom. Kim my husband, who loves to make and save money was very excited about the tax savings that we could enjoy, which amounted to Turkish Lira 26 which would be approximately USD 14.

Wow. Big sum right?

Anyways, it dawned upon me that he seemed to have the impression that my being a housewife is equivalent to my being a cowering ignoramus that needed a desperate lesson in tax free claims at the airport, and he chose the Ataturk airport to set me on the path of greater knowledge.

I was very annoyed let me not mince words here. As I pushed the airport trolley petulantly he asked me, "If you found the money on the floor, would you pick it up?" Of course not and in my mind, there was a better argument, would I throw away THB 450? Again of course not. I was raised by my parents to treat money with respect. So without much argument just a stick-out-my tongue moment I trampled off to the long line at the tax free customs.

And so we waited in the very long line. There was an Egyptian man and his wife beside me, he was a pleasant looking nerd with squarish glasses, his wife startlingly pretty. Ahead of him was a Danish hippie with Agean blue eyes (but he was a little effeminate), he was accompanied by his Russian girlfriend. They were getting quite cosy in their chats the four of them, about the ordeals of tax free claims, "You had better photocopy your passport too." said the Danish guy. "When is your flight?" asked the Egyptian bloke. All very nice when all of the sudden a lady cuts in ahead of me and spoke to the tallish sleepy looking man (also Danish?) standing just in front. He turned down to me (I did mention tallish) and said, "She was behind me before." I looked up and said, "I see. Like an hour ago?" He shrugged his shoulders and smiled apologetically. "Is she travelling with you?" I continued. "No." Then the Egyptian guy chirped in good naturedly, camaraderie at it's height on their side of the queue. "It's okay, let her go." Hah! Easy for him to say. I turned my intense gaze at him and responded with, "I am particular about queuing up. And she left the queue 45 minutes ago and expects to be ahead of me now I am next at the counter?" The Danish gentleman with the Russian girlfriend said, "Come on. Let her. You can come ahead of me if it will make you feel better." How sweet of you was my quick reply. How annoying.

It is not that I am nasty by nature. But I deplore very deeply people who love cutting the queue I think it is the epitome of rudeness and selfishness. However, I allowed her to come ahead of me because she smiled beseechingly and was nearing her time of departure. From a quick scan of her papers, I could also see that she had not photocopied her boarding pass. So it would be but five seconds before she was told to go off the line and do the needful. Yes it was not all completely generous on my side.

I got my tax free clearance and the cash was ready to be picked up once I have pass through immigration control.

Twenty minutes later, Kim and I slowly made our way to the tax free counter, lo and behold who do we see there getting into a frightful argument over the queue? The effeminate Danish guy and his Russian girlfriend was fighting with a Chinese girl. Chinese girl said, "I am late!" voice rising, she turns to the girl at the counter, "Please only five minutes. Please help me." "You are cutting the line!" shouted the Danish guy. The Russian girl mumbles her own arguments. "Yes, but my flight is leaving! Leave me alone. Go!" Chinese girl is screaming now. "We have been here for over an hour." returned the Russian girl. "You leave me!" There is some pushing and shoving, and I hear the Chinese girl shout aggressively. Four letter words flew here and there, all over this whole business of queue cutting.

Oh well, a bit karma-ish don't you think? To think that he so exhorted me to allow queue cutting, and there he was getting into a terrible raucous over queue cutting. Ironic.

Lesson learnt, avoid tax free claims at all cost. And after all that lining up and all that lesson learnt my husband promised me that I could by some bit of nonsense as a reward. I am afraid he did not keep to his word and I am a little peeved with him.

For those of you who would like to make claims on your tax free at the Ataruk Airport of Istanbul Turkey. Please be sure to bring along your Tax Savings form when you pay for your goods. When you arrive at the airport, do not check in your goods, but bring them along to the Tax Savings office where you will be required to submit your passport, flight tickets or boarding pass and a copy of that boarding pass, plus your receipt and form. You should be alright.

In the end, I got my Lira 27 and will use it to buy myself a lovely book to read in the airplane. Excuse me a moment while I once again enjoy the incredible Turkish Airline lounge in the airport. If you have your Star Alliance Gold Card, please make use of it here. You will not regret it.


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