Both Iran and Turkey make world famous carpets. I almost bought one in Esfahan in Iran. Having looked at about 50 in different sizes and colours on one particular shop, I saw one that would go well in my living room. The asking price was €600. I wasn't convinced and anyway I couldn't afford it.  Then "just for you" he said "my best price is €400." I thought I'd chance my arm, so I offered €200. After much scribbling and scratching he said he'd take it if I paid cash there and then. It was my first carpet shop so I declined. As it happens, I didn't visit any other carpet shops in Iran.

Today I went with George to the Grand Bazar in Istanbul with no particular objective. Just before closing time we stopped for tea. Right next door was a carpet shop, so we chatted over our tea with one of the salesmen. We talked about carpets and Iran and about the mix of wool and silk, and so on. He knows Esfahan well and sells Iranian carpets as well as Turkish.

I told him I was out of the market but I liked his wares. I also told him about the carpet I liked in Esfahan. He showed me one more than twice the size just to show off. It was really nice, but way out of my price range at €1400.

Then the owner of the shop came out and joined the conversion. While he was telling me about the quality of the carpet in question I could hear George chatting in Turkish with the salesman. A nod in my direction seemed to indicate they were talking about me. George translated: "I told him you're a teacher so you don't have much money."

The boss overheard.  "You're a teacher?" he asked. "I have great respect for teachers. Thanks to my teachers I can speak English with you.  How much could you pay for this carpet without causing yourself pain?"  I had no intention of buying, so I replied "If I offered you €200 I bet you'd be offended."

With that, the boss issued some kind of orders to one of his assistants. Next thing I see someone rolling the carpet and wrapping it. "This is going to be my calling card in Paris. You'll tell everyone where you bought this, and that's worth more than money to me."

Next time any of you come to my place, I'll happily give you his business card.

Unexpectedly pleased!

1 comment:

  1. Post a picture of the carpet! Need to see this work of art!


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