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Monday, August 29, 2011

How to Buy a Turkish Carpet

Numerous vendors, most who speak excellent English, will approach you in Turkey, and invite you into their shop for cay (tea). Some shop owners will even offer lunch and introduce you to their families. By all means, except and enjoy their hospitality. After tea, they will throw down carpet after carpet, explaining in detail the point of origin, age, materials, and processes of weaving, knot-tying, and wool-dying techniques. Undoubtedly you will feel indebted to your new friend. The owner knows this, because that’s when he hooks you.
    “Which one do you like?”
    “I love the one in the corner,” you say while lunging for the prized possession.
    “Yes, you have a good eye. It is very fine workmanship. Over a hundred years old…How much are you willing to spend?”
You name a price and the owner shakes his head and laughs. He then looks at you and acts insulted. “I have to earn a profit. I have a family to feed.” Pangs of guilt emerge and before you know it, you’re walking out of the shop with a carpet you paid three or four time the normal price. This is the typical scenario and mistakes are plentiful. Here are some tips to assure that this won’t happen to you:

Never purchase a carpet in the first store you enter. By going into several stores before buying your carpet, you become knowledgeable about pricing and gain bargaining experience.

Act indifferent. If a shop owner realizes you love a carpet, he will overcharge you.

Make the owner quote the first price. Shop owners want you to say a price first. Don’t do it.

Test the age and quality. An older rug is usually more expensive than a new one. A slightly worn look can add to its charm.

Be patient. Bartering is time consuming. You might have to walk out of the store a number of times.

Never feel obligated to purchase a carpet. Since acting like a new friend is part of the shop owner’s sales tactic, this can be difficult. Never buy anything you don’t truly want.

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/29/11 at 01:00 PM
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Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk. is an Austin-Lehman Adventure's Top 125 Best Travel Blog Semi-Finalist

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