Rich rug, poor rug

This post could also be titled ‘how to spend money quickly.’ Do you remember the game show or TV program that gave people a set amount of money and whoever could spend it all in the given time allotment – say an hour – would win? Well, if someone were given a hundred thousand bucks to spend in the fastest manner possible, I know just what I would tell them to buy in order to win: rugs. You could easily spend a hundred thousand bucks in 10 minutes.

Luckily (?) I don’t have one hundred thousand bucks to spend, let alone to spend each one of them on rugs. However, if I had that much money, I would have been sorely tempted to drop them all on some of the sumptuous magic carpets I saw yesterday.

We are still in the settling-in process with the house. The main moving-in process is finished, however, we have the odd things to do (some of which will never get done…if you miss the initial moving-in/settling-in window, forget it…some open items remain forever open until a move to a new location makes them either obsolete or gives one the necessary motivational boost to tackle them), such as…

  • Small table to put stereo on (it’s currently on the floor)
  • Chairs for living room
  • Ceiling lights (we now have dangling electric chords, something that you would never come across in the US – based on my, granted, limited homeowner’s / renter’s experience there – however, it’s quite common in Europe…in fact, I had a friend who moved into an apartment in Germany that didn’t have anything but wires sticking out where there would be lights, refrigerator, stove, washer, dryer!…it was totally bare…I remember thinking that I would forever be living in the dark, like some cavewomen, so hopeless and helpless I am when it comes to understanding the workings of anything beyond a wheel…I can use technology, I just can’t install it)
  • Outside grill (this is top item on hubby’s buy list)
  • Buy some decorative yet useful knickknack  for an empty nook in the entry way (this will very likely never get done but I keep it on my ‘to buy’ list just in case I come across something that looks nice but serves some function greater than just standing around looking pretty…nothing against that but at the end of the pay day, function trumps fashion, especially when there is still a grill to be bought…an item which means less cooking for moi)
  • And rugs

So yesterday, the marvel that is my husband’s assistant accompanied me on an expedition to buy rugs. Turkey is known for its beautiful handcrafted rugs. There are a limitless number of rug sellers in Istanbul, and, because the quality can vary greatly, it’s important to know where to go. Luckily, networking is the backbone of Turkish society. I suppose that can be said of most places, but it truly helps to make this place an efficient problem-solving machine. Solutions (not to mention discounts) are handily identified via the contact net of friends, former colleagues, current colleagues, friends of friends, friends of colleagues, etc.

So, our first stop is to friend #1 of my marvel-guide. Friend #1 works for a high-end (probably the high-end) jewelry store whose designs are the most unique and beautiful I have ever seen. Truly. And I don’t say that lightly as I am really not that impressed with jewelry. NOT because I have scads – because I don’t – but just because I find many designs to be ho-hum (luckily for my better half). If I (or my hubby) am going to spend the kind of money one has to for jewelry, I would much prefer to go on a great vacation…buy a Jaguar…add a wing onto our house.

Feeling very under-dressed for the occasion (although it did briefly cross my mind that my decidedly unprosperous-looking outfit of sturdy street shoes, jeans, and serviceable wool coat ideal for being out in the inclement weather pervading this week might garner some sympathy and, thus, deeper discounts) – I follow my marvel-guide (in pointy heels and beautifully tailored wool coat) and Friend #1 (in designer suit and even more designer silk tie) across the street to a rug store.

Where we meet Friend #2 (also dressed from head to toe in Italy’s finest).

And see some rugs (can these be called rugs? it seems too basic of label for these things…do people really walk on these?).

Oh.

My.

No expert of rugs, but even I can recognize that the ‘rug’ hanging in the display window is a masterpiece of craftmanship with its almost 3-dimensional design of plumes reminiscent of luxurious silk robes a sultan would wear. (I am sure that rug alone would take care of the one hundred thousand budget in one swoop of the credit card.)

Fortunately, the store has a range of quality rugs, so I don’t need to be tempted to spend our sons’ university funds on the gorgeous works of art that are the silk rugs. (Correction: I was definitely tempted. Luckily, I did not act on that temptation.)

Still, it is easy to get into a hazy-fantastical world where one thinks one should – ahem, could – actually drop $30 big ones on a rug. As the workers flamboyantly spread one beautiful rug after another across the floor and prices in 5 and 6 digits are thrown out casually, one almost gets desensitized to such high figures, figures that when initially mentioned, left me gaping in astonishment (at least gaping inside…after all, as I was already dressed like a country bumpkin, I didn’t want to act like one, too, by showing my shock on the outside).

Still, even though one can spend tens of thousands of dollars on rugs of highest quality, there are high quality rugs that one can buy that won’t break the bank. I bought 3, hoping that Friend #2 would not take his knife to one of my choices in order to prove its worth (a little trick he did to one silk masterpiece, scraping at its surface to show that the rug didn’t shed like a rug with lower quality fibers would…my husband’s assistant and I both almost lunged at the man to unarm him…apparently, he knew what he was doing and the rug was unharmed).

I am sure I could have gone to countless other stores that would have been just as good. Maybe they would even have had lower prices. In the end, I spent what I (and our bank account) felt comfortable with and at a reputable place where I know I have recourse should I have any issue with the rugs.

Which I don’t expect to have (thanks to the knife scraping test that I was not able to dissuade Friend #2 from doing). The rugs we bought may not be worthy of being framed, but they are beautiful, functionable, AND I won’t have a fit every time someone walks on them with dirty shoes, muddy paws, or, worse, someone spills a glass of red wine on them (friend #2 said no problem, just wipe it up).

Not that’s my kind of rug.

Next up: Friend #3’s furniture store

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