I love my readers for so many reasons. But topping the list are the wonderful stories you send me, tales that often parallel my own adventures and misadventures, like my recent wacky sojourn through the world of Turkish rugs.
What began with me in a rug shop in Kusadasi, Turkey, curious but highly suspicious, ended with my turning into an unrepentant rug snob, a poorer but happier fine-rug owner.Thanks to your emails, I now know I am not — as I thought I surely was — the only person who has been pursued across the ocean by a relentless rug merchant, and seduced in her own home by the indisputable beauty and craftsmanship of these woven pieces of art.
So this week, I’m stepping aside to let you tell your stories:
We were clueless
My husband and I were also invited into a rug shop by our cruise tour guide in Kusadasi. We were clueless about rugs, but drawn to their beauty. We left with a receipt in hand and a serious case of buyer’s remorse. Questions swirled in our heads as we flew back home: Did we overpay? How would we know? When would they ship? Would they send the ones we paid for or switch them? What felt like months later, the silk rugs arrived — the same ones we bought — and we were delighted. We wished we’d bought another. But, luckily, the rug people called last year to see if we would like to buy another rug. “Would we?!” They showed up at our house and unfurled rug after rug. We bought another silk rug, which is now a centerpiece of treasured art in our home.
— Christina Fong, Castro Valley
They will find you
Years ago, we, too, cruised to Kusadasi, Turkey, and visited “the rug shop.” Unlike you, we bought a rug there. When it arrived it was unsuitable for our living room. We shipped it back and received a full refund. Much to our surprise, sometime later the call came from the rug dealer. He arrived at our home with a truck full of rugs. We bought a beautiful rug that was perfect for our room. Ten years later, the rug traveled with us to our Florida home. We thought surely that would be the end of the annual calls. He found us! He still calls.
— Barbara, Sarasota, Florida
Your column made me relive our visit to what was most likely the same rug dealer in Kusadasi several years ago while on a cruise. We enjoyed learning about the different fibers and gained an appreciation for these rugs, and ultimately bought one of the 18-by-30-inch rugs woven with silk. The cost gave us some second thoughts, but it now hangs on our wall where it brings back wonderful memories.
— Lucy, Sarasota, Florida
Getting to yes
My wife and I spent two years in Turkey, and became friends with several dealers. Two young brothers ran one of the rug shops, and changed me from a “no-way” customer to an often-returning one. They would call and say, “We have one you might like.” They figured out our preferences and almost every call resulted in a new carpet. They had a full, no-questions-asked, return and refund policy. We brought back a good collection of rugs — almost 30. When we visited 10 years later, one of the brothers described every carpet he had sold us and asked what room we had it in.
— Charlie, Breckenridge, Colorado
Rugs are addicting
Once you start using handmade rugs in your design, you’ll never use machine-made again. My first rugs we’re good quality, wool machine-made rugs. I didn’t know the difference. Then I graduated to low-quality handmade rugs, but soon moved up to very good handmade rugs. Now I prefer antique Persian rugs, so you can see that as my taste has evolved so has my price point.
— Karen Hriso, Denver, Colorado
Run, Forrest, run!
My wife and I, too, were on a cruise in 2015 when our ship docked in Kusadasi. What we thought would be a rug-factory tour turned out to be the same whirling-dervish sales pitch complete with coffee, sweets and spinning rugs cascading around us. We could not wait to escape, which wasn’t easy. What upset us more was the phone call we received at our home three months later from a representative of the rug shop telling us he was “in the area” and wanted to stop by to discuss rugs. My advice: Do not buy a Turkish rug from anyone, anywhere.
— Mark, Orinda
Tale of two Husseins
My wife and I reeled with laughter after reading your column. We were also visiting Turkey, and dropped by Kusadasi in 2010. To make my departure from one persistent young rug merchant named Hussein, I made the cardinal mistake of handing him my business card. Back on the ship, I enjoyed a lively conversation with our cruise manage, also named Hussein.
A year later, I got a call from Hussein. He wanted to drop by for a visit. With the image of the cruise manager in mind, my wife and I eagerly opened our door to discover it was not that Hussein, but the persistent young rug merchant and his wife, 6,000 miles from Turkey. We invited them in with “how have you beens,” but remained in shock. After about an hour of conversation, Hussein said he had something in his van to show us.
He began bringing in massive rolls of beautiful woven rugs. At that moment, we heard the dropping of a trapdoor — and we were the caged rabbits. Under pressure, we bought one. But in our morning-after second thoughts, we changed our minds and returned it. Hussein and I remained cordial, and he still calls me faithfully each year.
— Ed, Altamonte Springs, Florida
Many years ago, when my husband and I were stationed in Germany, the Officers Club hosted a rug bazaar. We browsed with no intent of buying, since we weren’t in a financial position to do so. But, you know what they say about art. … We went home with two of them. We ate beans for months but we ate sitting on the rug where they tasted like filet mignon. I learned from that one purchase how a beautiful rug can center a home. Fast-forward 20 years. I have developed a long-standing relationship with a rug merchant in town, and now have beautiful rugs in every room from several countries. That first rug is a slippery slope.
— Laurie, Orlando, Florida
Contact Marni Jameson via www.marnijameson.com.
Published at Wed, 17 May 2017 21:00:36 +0000