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Carpet Buying Guide

Buying carpet is the third most expensive purchase the average homeowner will make. Purchasing carpet ranks behind the purchase of a home and a new car as the most common and most expensive single purchases in dollar terms. While most purchasers carefully consider the current condition, anticipated life, anticipated repairs, the cost of maintenance, resell value etc. in the purchase of a home or new automobile, the primary decision in the purchase of new carpet typically rests with color and whether it will match the sofa or wallpaper.

For most consumers, carpeting is a blind item in which the purchase decision weighs heavily on the salesperson’s recommendations. Little does the consumer know that the salesperson may have been selling TV’s or washing machines two weeks prior. In addition, most retail carpet salespeople take the path of least resistance during the sales presentation. They tend to lead the consumer to products that other consumers have purchased in the past or they search for a product with a color line that offers the specific color that a consumer is seeking. After much deliberation as to specific color or a specific shade, the consumer plunks down a 50% down payment and waits for the happy day to arrive when the carpet is to be delivered.

When the happy day arrives, the carpet installers show up three hours late and take two days longer to install the carpet than promised. The happy day begins to sour. One month following the carpet installation, the visible seams that were supposed to disappear are still noticeable and the coffee stain beside the sofa has permanently stained the. The traffic lanes have begun to change in texture and the new owner is certain the carpet is beginning to “wear” so the retailer is called to inspect the carpet. The salesperson is now selling TV’s again, but the store manager assures that someone will be out to inspect the carpet. After four weeks have passed, no one has been out to examine the carpet, so the store manager is again called and he explains they are waiting on a factory representative to travel into the area to make the inspection. Four weeks later, the manager is again contacted and he explains that a factory rep will be in the area in two weeks.

While this scenario may appear to be an exception, it is more likely the rule with a large percentage of carpet purchases. In new homes, where builder grade carpet has been used, this scenario occurs quite frequently. Often the happy new homeowner has upgraded from the builder basic carpet, but the scenario is repeated time and again.

The carpet manufacturer can not always receive blame that these incidents occur. Thousands of carpet styles are manufactured, many offer very good performance characteristics. However, most consumers purchase items that offer perceived value rather actual value. In most instances, when a consumer is given a choice between a product with obvious value and perceived value, obvious value seldom is selected. While most manufacturers would prefer that obvious quality be sold, the manufacturer must provide products based on consumer demand.

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