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Import Tariffs are a Bear July 8, 2006

Posted by KG in Back in DC.

Wandering around Georgetown today, I walked into a rug vendor (I think the place was called “Turkish Caravan” but can’t remember) out of curiousity. How crazy could markups stateside be?

The store’s main salesman was clearly a member of the International Carpet Salesman Federation, with all the benefits given to members. He had the “Salesman thinks He is Talking to a Novice” conversation down, with all of the classic lines; he even dropped “Carpets are like people” line, which is like the “to be or not to be” speech of carpet sales. When I asked, rather bluntly, about prices, he dodged and parried like Cassius Clay, a clear master of the “rope him in with exoticism” dance. The best was when I asked to see some of his carpets and he told a decidedly inaccurate but highly exciting tale about how all carpet designs are, in reality, Turkish. Not so different from my Persian salesman friend’s belief in the primacy of Persian design. Unfortunatey, the quality of his wares weren’t up to his carpet selling game. I didn’t see anything particularly impressive. In fact, most looked like new knockoffs of the real deal, washed to look old. The wool wasn’t high quality and the designs were boring and fairly ugly, though he had some rockin’ Turkish kilims.

So, the answer to the markup question? About eleventythousand percent. It was a serious sticker shock moment when I saw what the dude was charging — and I mean, quite literally, saw, since he never once was willing to tell me the price. I did a mental triple take before slowly getting the heck out of the store. The guy’s game was plenty good, but he totally failed to keep it real. Price wise, that is.



1. M. - July 14, 2006

I never want to shop for suits or clothes in general in the US myself.

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