My Friend

By Erika Hoffman

My friend, my friend, I’ll give you a good price on that rug.”

I smile; I nod; I stroll past, admiring the intricately designed creation hanging on the wall.

“My friend, my friend, touch it. Feel how soft.”

I study it. I touch it. I nod in agreement.

“My friend, my friend, see the white silk threads – the highlights in the wool. See the thick pile, my friend?”

“And how much is that particular rug?”

“You have a good eye, my friend. You know your Turkish rugs. Have you been to Turkey?”

“Yes.”

“My friend, come here. Look at this one, too. This is a tribal rug–Herake.”

“Apache-looking.” I then glanced over at a densely decorated one displayed on the floor nearby.

“And that?” I ask.

“Persian, made by prisoners. Old rug. You like this one, my friend? I’ll give you a good price.”

“Hmm.”

“We can’t get Iranian rugs any more – embargo. You know why they had prisoners weave rugs?”

“To keep them occupied?”

“To teach them patience. My friend, let me make some calls. All these rugs must go – the last of my rugs. For you, I mark them down. Special price.”

“Well, after all, I am your friend.”

He smiles at that.

Turks are good salesmen. They understand the power of the words “my friend.” They know how to compliment a potential buyer without coming across as unctuous. They act as if everything is negotiable. And they’re good at sizing you up.

“And where were you in Turkey?” he asks.

“Istanbul.”

“And did you see the Basilica Hagia Sophia?”

“The Blue Mosque I visited. We took off our shoes.”

“And did you like Turkish coffee?”

“Too strong.”

“And you took a cruise, my friend?”

“Docked in Kusadasi.”

“And visited the Oriental carpet shops? They gave you tea?”“Wine.”

“My friend, you buy these rugs from me, and I will get you certificates of authenticity. Usually they cost $40.00 each. But for you, my friend, free.”

He signals to his helpers to peel back more carpets from the stack to show them to us. It’s heavy work lifting carpets.

“You like this one with a medallion that looks like Versace’s logo?”

“Hmm.”

“You like this one—the tree of life. Birds?”

“Pretty.”

“My friend, see this one without borders?”

“Interesting.”

“They’ll last a lifetime. You can give them to your children.”

“True.”

“How many you want, my friend? I give you 90% off if you buy three.”

What a deal. I can purchase these works of art at a good price and make a “new friend” in the bargain. “Has anyone told you that you look a little like Jimmy Fallon?” I ask my new Turk best buddy.

“Jimmy Fal… who is that?”

“A late-night comedian, very funny.”

“Oh, that’s me! I’m funny, too. I joke. Aren’t I funny?” he inquires of his helpers.

I laugh.

***

We bought the rugs, and my husband and I felt no tinge of the usual buyer’s remorse when we got them home that night. “Unique, one of a kind,” we commented as we gazed at our purchase.

A week later, my phone rang. “Hello,” I said.

“Hello, Miss Erika?”

“Yes?”

“This is your friend”

“My friend? Who?”

“Your friend from Turkey. Good news for you, my friend. I’ve a new shipment of rugs!”

About this writer

  • Erika Hoffman

    Erika Hoffman

    Erika Hoffman has written a few books which are on Amazon. She lives in North Carolina.

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9 Responses to “My Friend”

  1. Linda O'Connell says:

    Ha ha! I can relate to this as we had similar “my friend” experience in Mexico.

  2. Eileen Williams says:

    Oh Erika, your “friend” had no idea with whom he was dealing! I am always suspect of these deals! Now he can call!!

  3. Chuckled! I could identify with your Turkish experience! I experienced this when visited Istanbul! Our cruise docked in Kusadasi too! We didn’t buy any rugs but listened to the spiel! Loved your story!

  4. Rose Ann says:

    Lots of doting friends in the tourist towns of Alaska. I, too listened to the spiel and bought jewelry at a “bargain”. LOL!

  5. Jamie Weeks says:

    A seller of rugs and a weaver of words! Well said, my friend. 😊

  6. Claudia Frost says:

    Thanks for the smiles and chuckles. I enjoyed the directness and straight to the point thought line of your story.

  7. Carol Trejo says:

    Very funny! When I read your stories, I feel like I am right there with you traveling the world and totally enjoying every minute. Thanks for the laughs and smiles you bring to people.

  8. Susie Kim Park says:

    We seem to get in trouble one way or other by these rugs. A friend made me realize these rugs were made by five and six year old’s help, they work with their tiny hands to nod the fiber. In the future, I will buy our machine made ones!

  9. Jane W says:

    Always entertaining!

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