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Carpet stores. CARPET stores. Carpet STORES???

We recently went to our fourth carpet store today. This was four too many. But, now no-one can deny that I am qualified to rant about how their business model is broken and insane.

Let me run you through how it works:

  1. Walk into store.
  2. Whoah, there are a lot of carpets on racks.
  3. They all look sort of the same. Mostly beige.
  4. There is no visible signage. No types of carpet, no pricing, no obvious organisation aside from a group of carpets from the same brand being together. Sometimes.
  5. When you get really close, you notice little brand names next to the carpet (oh, this is a Bridge River carpet, and that's a Moods of Monet? Awesome).
  6. There are also signs everywhere (and little text) repeatedly warning you not to take the carpets off the racks, or, God forbid, walk on them.
  7. You decide you can risk lifting the edge of the carpets off the racks, which at least means you can read (upside down) what brand they are and what they're made of.
  8. You stand around vaguely confused, touching carpets with your fingers aimlessly, before realising your fingers are not your feet.
  9. You do enjoy that there are different carpets on the floor, but there is no indication of what these carpets are (not even little printed meaningless names).
  10. Finally, a salesman takes pity on you. You think - ah, this must be how they operate, they present a completely opaque and meaningless set of choices, and then the salesman steps in to direct you to whatever they want to sell today. Nevertheless, you welcome this, since you are now desperate for any sense of direction, even one you can reject.
  11. You slowly extract basic information from the salesman: the nylon ones are in the middle, and the wool ones are on the edge.
  12. How do you know how much they cost? Ask him for each individual carpet (this is immensely tedious, as he has to look in a many page book to find the lineal metre price, which you then have to convert in your head to square metres since this is a _sane_ measure that doesn't vary based on the width of the carpet).
  13. You point to one of the 3 or 4 carpets that have prices; they're 'on special'. What was it originally? After a minute of looking in his book, he decides that it's the only price, as it's 'new'. Also, unlike the prices he's been quoting, this is exclusive of underlay and installation.
  14. You point at one of the carpets you've touched that's nearby - do you have any more like this (mixture of cut and loop pile, if you want to know, which you don't)? Oh, we have very few like this. Where are they? That's the only one.
  15. You give up. Salesman leaves.
  16. You immediately find a Wool one exactly like that 5m away in the 'Nylon' section.
  17. You also realise that some carpets have separate samples in drawers underneath which you assume you can take out and walk on, but not most of the ones you're interested in.
At this point, I was going to explain my plan for how to start a carpet store for sane people.