Learn how to get a reasonable deal on a rug by shopping for rugs at certain times of the year when rug stores have sales, and by knowing what to avoid when shopping for a rug in this podcast with Sam Presnell, owner of The Rug Gallery.
John Maher: Welcome to The Rug Gallery, with Sam Presnell. The Rug Gallery is an Oriental rug company and Carpet Store in Cincinnati, Ohio. I’m John Maher, and I’m here with the owner of The Rug Gallery, Sam Presnell. Hi, Sam.
Sam Presnell: Hey, John.
When Does an Oriental Rug Go on Sale?
John: Sam, today we’re talking about how to get a reasonable deal on a rug. Oriental rugs can be a little expensive, are there certain times of the year when they go on sale?
Sam: Yes, they are. Usually for most of the rug industry, I would say [sales happen] during the cooler times of the year. After summer, usually about into September, you start seeing the advertisements and we realize that’s when people want to buy rugs, and we want to promote when the market is there and that’s usually when we’ll discount in order to achieve that. I would say winter and then into spring, and then usually the fall is also very good. The summer is usually the dull times, and you see long periods of clearance sales, even though there’s not a lot of activity that happens during that summertime.
Going Out of Business Sales
John: Okay. What do I need to watch out for when I see that a rug store is having a sale? It seems like some of the rug stores that I’ve seen have been there for years but every so often they have this big going-out-of-business sale, but then they never seem to go out of business and they still stay there. What’s going on there? It makes me kind of question whether or not the rug store is being honest.
Sam: Boy, I am sure glad you’re aware of stuff like that. Sometimes I wonder how these guys do any business at all because that’s kind of their MO. They are constantly going out of business or [having] some liquidation in some kind of drastic situation going on and it’s 80% off, and if you bring this coupon in, it’s another 20% off. You start adding all that up you think, “My God, I’m going to steal this thing.” Yet, they’re still there, when you go in the store’s filled with rugs, you keep thinking, “Well, if they’re giving 100% off on the rug, this place should have a lot of stuff missing, they should be fully picked-over, there shouldn’t be that much product there. When you start seeing those kinds of things, I would say, ‘unbelievable discounts’ as my grandma always said, be wary, because usually it’s not what you perceive it’s going to be.
John: If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
Sam: It is true, and those guys have, in my opinion, pretty much ruined a lot of things in our industry. The consumer, I hope that they wake up. I think the consumer is getting smarter and smarter and realizing that a lot of these guys are not what I would call honest, or reputable, or have integrity. It’s all about making you believe something that isn’t. They really are masters of their gang, they prey on the greed of human nature and they’re very successful with these kinds of things.
How to Know You’re Getting a Good Deal on a Rug
John: Right. How do I know that I’m getting a good deal on a rug? If I’m not going to trust the people who have those going-out-of-business sales every single year or the ones that are discounting things with 90% off or that sort of thing — that seems unbelievable and it probably is, like you said. How do I know that I’m getting a good deal?
Sam: I think that’s the big thing. I think that’s like buying a lot of things like fine art or fine jewelry, or whatever you’re into, [because] rugs fall into that ‘fine arts’ category, I would say. It really takes a professional who spends his whole life [to spot a good deal on a rug]. Somebody that has integrity and has your trust, those are things that are hard to find today and if you can find that person, have some faith in them — they won’t lead you wrong. Most rug guys are not out there to take advantage of people, they just want to make a nice living and keep their employees. [They want to keep] the stores open and the lights on, and have a decent life. I think that’s what the majority of the good dealers are about and there’s several usually, or at least one in every community that I’ve been involved with. I’ve met both sides and you’ve got to trust them.
If you don’t really have that kind of trust or know anybody, the best way is to get out there and shop. [Feel the rug] and observe the workmanship. Get them asking questions, “Why are you giving 90% off? What’s going on?” If it sounds too good to believe, I would say the best thing to do is just walk out the door. They’ll be grabbing you and telling you all kinds of stuff and the price keeps getting lower and lower, pretty much at that point you can realize that it’s not a good deal. If somebody’s almost forcing it on you and it’s such a ridiculous deal, and they’re exaggerating these prices, be wary of that kind of situation. There are legitimate deals out there and there are companies who buy closeouts, but usually a closeout is for a reason. I mean, if it’s not a desirable rug or it’s had issues, it’s not as sellable as much as it was in the past and people just want to get rid of it.
So, there’s all kinds of ways of getting deals. The main thing is to get out there and pay attention, shop, ask questions, and do as much research as you can before you make that decision.
John: Right. Are there any other things that I can do to ensure that I get a reasonable deal on a rug?
Sam: No. I see a lot of people are very cautious and a lot of them come in very educated today. The main thing is to, again, do those basic things of shop, feel it, observe, and ask questions. I can’t believe people buy rugs today online, but I’m an old brick and mortar guy, because you really can’t judge quality, you really can’t judge color, you can’t judge workmanship. You really don’t know that – there’s just not that much information about what you’re buying and why. When you can get into a store you can actually [hear from someone who knows about rugs] ‘Well, here’s this and this is why this is this way and you go here and this is why it is this way,” [it makes a difference].
So, if you don’t have that ability to get out and shop, I think you’ve got to be able to trust the people you are buying from and also, realize that it is buyer beware out there.
John: All right, great advice. Sam Presnell, thanks for speaking with me today.
Sam: All right, John. My pleasure, thank you.
John: And for more information about Sam, The Rug Gallery, and Oriental rugs and carpets, visit: ruggallerycincy.com. Or call 513-793-9505 and make sure you catch the latest episodes by subscribing to this podcast on iTunes.
And if you can give us a little review on ITunes as well, we would appreciate that. See you next time on The Rug Gallery.