Devon has been settled by many immigrant groups throughout Chicago's past. Along Devon was or is an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood, a Russian American neighborhood, an Indian American neighborhood, a Pakistani American neighborhood, and a Bangladeshi American neighborhood. Locally, though, it's known most, I'd say, for being Little India. Block after block is punctuated with sari stores, Indian restaurants, Indian video stores, grocery stores advertising Indian spices and other imported goods, and more. In between these there are Orthodox Jewish bookstores, Chinese restaurants, cell phone vendors, furniture stores, and RUG SHOPS!
Our first outing in the rug hunt included Lanie, and it was more a research expedition. We went into at least four different rug shops, and found they were filled with great items, very comparable to what we'd seen in other stores and online, and generally for great prices, or at least reasonable prices that seemed fair. So this was the spot. We found a shop we liked and decided we'd come back another day with the car to make our purchase.
Then it started raining. For days. DAYS! Today, finally, the sun was shining, we decided it was the day, and we drove back over to our shop. After wandering about the store a bit, looking through some of the piles of beautiful (and less-beautiful) rugs, and listening to Indian customers bartering with the shop employees, we were finally approached by someone and asked if we could be helped. After showing us somewhere in the range of 30-40 options in the size-range we were seeking, we finally landed on our pick. Previously we had been looking almost exclusively at more traditional, Oriental-style designs. Our choice, while traditional, is not in that style at all. But we both really liked the colors, the look, and the feel.
But I digress. Bartering. The rug we picked was out of a pile with a "fixed price." Once we'd agreed on a selection, Dave looked up at the guy and said a price $50 lower. The guy looked at us and chuckled out loud, and then repeated the "fixed price." Dave repeated is offer. The man scoffed, audibly, and told us "no, no. We set fixed prices so they are fixed, you see." We saw. But still, Dave was unrelenting. "You can't do anything for us?" He asked. "We'll walk away with it right now." He said no, and walked away. "Fixed price." We mumbled between us a bit. I was feeling a little like it might be time to let go. We either buy the rug at the fixed price, or take a walk. There were at least four other rug shops we'd already been to on this very same street that we could revisit. But Dave persisted. He went up by $25 and told the man he'd pay in cash. "Cash, credit card, no matter," the man said, "the price is..." Fixed, we know. Dave's eyes twinkled at him. He came back over to the pile and lifted a few rugs to show us another we'd considered and said he'd give us that one for the reduced-by-$25 price. "That's not the one we want," we said. "Come on," Dave said, and repeated the price. The man began walking away again. I was squirming. Let's go, I looked at Dave and silently insisted. And then, suddenly, the man turned around. "Okay," he said, "but plus tax." We won! (sort of.)
So that's the story of buying a rug. Now see what it looks like in our living room:
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