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Best advice: take your time, enjoy the experience, and have no fear at being merciless. You will never gouge a carpet dealer. This is an impossibility. Give up those fears now. These are experts and you are the novice.
When you walk into a good shop you will be taught many things about the carpets you are looking at. Take your time. One of the most impressive bits of info you will get is the truly harrowing amount of time that one woman will sit at a loom to produce the craft in front of you. Whether the carpet took 2 months or 2 years to produce these carpets are part of someone’s hard and intense work. Out of respect for their work many of us are willing to pay the high prices quoted when first given. But don’t forget that this is not a business run by women. If women ran this deal then they would be paid commensurate to what they deserve. Instead these incredibly skilled carpet weavers are paid by the piece and then these pieces go out into the market you are bargaining within. Have respect for these craftswomen but the middle men are getting the markup. The weavers are already paid and out of the deal by the time you walk in.
Carpet dealers are incredibly gracious. These men have perfected a sales technique of having no pressure and yet while you might walk into the shop appreciating the beauty, enjoying the learned conversation you’ll soon be lulled into the rhythm of rugs flopping down, tugs rolling out and rugs flipping in front of you. Then, sh’zam! you are a dazed new owner of a carpet. Enjoy the experience and be conscious that initially you are merely a novice here to learn. Prepare yourself before you go in to leave when you have seen enough. No one will go out of business showing you their wares.
Although you might feel quite good about buying kilims that are initially quoted as $1,700TL for under $500TL, you are still novice material. Prices vary but if you respectfully start low and know what your top limit will be you can pay what you feel comfortable paying.
If you are a couple you are susceptible to splitting. Once you have seen a few alternatives of what you might be happy with then find some time away from the dealer. Ask him if he could get you some more tea. Use this time to quickly discuss your bottom and top prices and who will present this. If your price was too low you may get a counter offer as you respectfully leave the store. Will you take that offer? It’s up to you.