We were not able to avoid the carpet vendor...
Our guide took us to a carpet store. If you do not intend to buy, we suggest you to tell this to the guide at the beginning of the tour, to avoid negotiating with the shopkeeper. However, we thing it could be an interesting experience. Even if you are not interested in buying the carpet, you'll find out many interesting things about persian carpets. Let's see how the meeting takes place.
As you enter the store, they bring you a cup of tea, in Iran is a common custom before making any deal. The seller showed us carpets of various types, to tell us about the different kind of them. We saw marvelous silk carpets (very expensive) and carpets made of a mix of wool and cotton, Carpets with few knots per square centimeter e Carpets with many knots (more nodes they have, more precious they are), etc etc.
At this first stage, the seller tells you the cost of all kinds of carpets that shows you. After the "didactic" part, The seller tries to figure out whether you are interested or not to buy.
First try to figure out the size you might be interested in, It asks if you have a small or a big house, etc. Even if you have a tiny little house, you will be told that you can still buy a bedside rug.
At this point the seller shows you some carpets of the size you may be interested in. To speed up the sale, you will be asked to exclude carpets that you prefer less. At the end you will be in front of two only carpets. Now comes the real stroke of genius. Until then, all the carpets we saw had a different cost. At last, when you had to choose between two carpets only, The cost of the two remaining carpets was the same. How is it possible?
I think the seller does it for not giving you the price as a choice element. Let me explain better with an example. On the ground you only have two carpets to choose from. Let's imagine that on a scale from 1 to 10, you like a carpet 10 and the other 9. Most likely, If the one you like a little less would costs half of the other, you will probably choose it! So the seller avoids telling you the real price of both carpets. It tells you a high price, equal for both the carpets; from now on, the negotiation starts. Our advice, in case you are interested in buying the carpet, is: ask for the price of the carpets when there are 4 or 5 on the ground, I do not think the seller will have the courage to tell you they cost all the same.
About the payment: a bedside silk carpet could cost 2000 euros. In Iran you can only use cash and you may not have enough with you. So, many dealers are equipped with a POS attached to smartphones with foreign SIMs to get around the payment cards block, paying high commissions.
Paying in cash is better as the seller will make you a lower price. Regarding the price negotiation: we decided not to fight hardly on this. We told our acceptable price to the seller and we stayed on it (we cut 20% from the initial price).
You just have to be fascinated by these gorgeous objects and maybe buy one for you home!!!