I’ve lived my entire sheltered, suburban, new construction life with wall-to-wall carpeting, which is probably why I broke my foot from walking barefoot on concrete too much. I’ve never known a living experience in which there was a hard surface to lay on other than the kitchen or bathroom floor (not that I’ve done that too much, ha ha.)
But I’m kind of a weirdo. My computer is on the floor, and when I say “on the floor,” I mean the main case, the monitor, and the mouse and keyboard—all on the floor. The monitor doesn’t even have a stand, it just leans up against a subwoofer.
So I spend a lot of time on the floor at home, laying on my stomach to type, game, or read the news. I can’t imagine doing that on hardwood floors, so rather than get a computer desk, I’m looking to drop my life savings on area rugs. How expensive could they be?
As it turns out, I could buy an entirely new computer for the price of one rug. And I don’t need a little one. Nope, no puny 3'x5' is going to work in my living room. I need something bigger. At least 8'x10'.
One thing I noticed pretty quickly about rugs is that 9 out of 10 look like something you’d see hanging on temporary display in a gas station parking lot. They’re the overstock oriental rugs you see everywhere, and even those are expensive. I’m more of a minimalist, so I don’t want stupid fancy decorations all over the floor, and floral is out.
Mission: Find a non-oriental, non-floral 8'x10' or larger area rug without spending too much.
Unfortunately, what constitutes “too much” is impossible to determine in the rug world. That’s because it’s an industry with such wildly insane prices that your spirit is broken within minutes of shopping, and you begin to think that $350 for something your dog’s going to wipe his ass on is a “good deal.” Example:
I’ll just Google an 8'x10' contemporary rug and sort results from lowest- to highest-priced. Ooh, look at that tacky one! I’d pay $50 for that.
Okay, so I can get it as low as $50. I’ll check out the Rug Stop because they also don’t charge tax and offer free shipping.
Oh, really? You mean it’s not $50, it’s in fact a mere $770?
Well, let me just get out my credit card and pay $770 for this tacky-ass rug. Note that the 2'x3' is still more than $50 by about 150%.
And so it goes in the world of rug shopping. You can see by now how one’s spirit can be broken so easily. Your choices are oriental rugs, flower rugs, or paying hundreds and hundreds of dollars.
They had at least an 8'x10' in their house, so I figured if I can afford to buy their house, I’ll probably be able to afford this rug, right? Couldn’t be more than $150 or so. Wrong. It’s $280 for the 5'x8', the largest size I can find. But hold up for a moment, that’s not even totally accurate, as this comment on the Bed Bath & Beyond website eloquently points out:
I realize that for rugs they round to the nearest foot, however, you vshould know that this rug is 4'7" by 7'7" - In my opinion, the absolute minimum size you could be to call it a 5'x8' rug. Since is $280, I thought I would let others know. It is a soft rug.
Thanks, nickname55. I noticed this myself when I first looked up these rugs: Rather than calling it 4.5' by 7.5', (which would be 4'6" by 7'6"), they’ve technically moved up into the 5' by 8' category (by rounding up from 4'7" by 7'7".) Isn’t that sneaky? So, overpriced, too small, and practically false advertising. How much did the current tenants pay for their magical unobtainable rug?
55" x 91" = 5005 square inches, and 96" x 120" = 11,520 square inches. If the price scales evenly, then we can assume this logic:
$280 / 5005"^2 = $.056 per square inch, so 11,520 x $.056 = $644.48. Crap.
I can’t afford $650 for a rug! Not with a $932,698,326,903 baby due in 10 weeks! So, it’s off to Ikea to buy the world’s crappiest rug. Their selection is amazingly crappy, yet modern, like my tastes. No oriental rugs there.
Without looking too long, I find a $200 rug at 9'x10'. It looks like cheap apartment carpet. Oh well, that’s what I’m used to, and it’s what I lay on already, so cheap Ikea rug it is. But still... $200? Why are rugs so expensive?
Seriously, you walk on them, spill stuff on them, and your baby drools on them if you have one, so what’s the point in paying a crapload for one? And how do they justify charging so much? I asked Jeeves. A rug maker in India responded:
Expensive is a relative term. You need to get more objective here. Being a rug manufacturer in Agra , India ; I feel that my customers (who import the rugs) charge a King;s ransom when they sell a rug made by me to the retailer, but what the retailer charges from the consumer is even more than a Kings ransom.
An oriental rug of size 8' x 10' takes upto 4-5 months and 5 weavers to make. Thats a lot of time. A 8x10 rug may have anything between 640K Knots to 1.7 million knots in it depending on its quality. Each knot is tied by hand. IF you take out the price per knot it will be much less than a cent. Each knot takes an average of 7 seconds to tie.
If you ever happen to come to Agra, call upon me and I will take you to the looms where the rugs are woven. Then you will truly come to appreciate the value of these rugs.
Thanks man, but the plane ticket to India would cost me three rugs. Don’t we live in the era of robots? I just want a machine-manufactured piece of shit that emulates carpet and can eventually be rolled up and thrown on the side of the road somewhere so I can drive by it every day as it slowly decays without thinking about the 5 weavers that dedicated 4-5 months of their lives to creating it.
Mission accomplished, I guess. I just didn't think that $200 would be "not too much." I guess I have a different view of the American Dream. Follow @torqtorq