Posted by Steve Price on March 04, 1999 at 05:34:42:
In Reply to: Would you buy a rug on the Internet? posted by Jerry Silverman on March 03, 1999 at 23:26:33:
I guess the question might as well be, "Would you buy ANYTHING on the internet?" The answer would almost surely be "Yes", but with a whole lot of qualifiers. Internet shopping, for the most part, means dealing with anonymous people, often with no more than post office boxes for addresses. The risks are, as I think every sensible person recognizes, much higher than buying "in the flesh".
Rugs, particularly collectibles (as opposed to rugs that are purely utilitarian and decorative) present some special problems. One reason is that the wool quality and colors are so crucial (it takes little color difference to affect aesthetics and value), and these can't be reliably determined on a monitor. Folks also have to bear in mind the strong tradition of con artistry within the rug trade, and the internet offers the almost ideal environment for this to be practiced. The hotel short notice auction and the going out of business sale may soon disappear as their practioners gradually discover the low overhead and safety the internet auction offers them, not to mention the enormous size of their buyer pool.
I do not mean to imply that every rug dealer on the internet is dishonest. That would neither be fair nor accurate, and my own limited dealings with a few have been very positive. But it is a wonderful venue for the poseurs, and they are abundant on it.
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