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The Inspired Carpet

“When making purchases never let the salesperson control the sale. They will use their banter and smarts to have you buy more than you intended. They will sell you things you never even asked for too. Watch out for those swindlers.”

I wrote this story in answer to the following prompts:
Pensitivity’s Three Things Challenge — Chance – Fair – Girl
FOWC with Fandango  — Transcript
Your Daily Word — Tithe
Rag Tag Daily Prompt — Inspired Carpet

The Inspired Carpet

A threadbare, stained and stinking rug means only one thing — It’s time for a new lounge carpet.

Bethan was on that very mission this morning. She entered The Loom, the city’s oldest carpet store. Bethan’s family had always shopped there for carpets. There was more than a fair chance, they’d have the perfect carpet.

Wandering the lines of giant carpet rolls, Bethan began to imagine what colours would look best in the lounge. There was every colour, pattern and texture you could ever want available here. They ranged from cheap to those requiring a mortgage.

Bethan stuck to those with a modest price range. Her little apartment and budget didn’t stretch to anything too extravagant.

“Mummy, mummy! Can I have the princess-pink carpet in my bedroom?” shrieked a little girl clambering onto the roll. Stretching out her arms, she balanced and walked across it.

“Ellie, get down!” demanded her mother.

Bethan winked at the little girl as she passed by. She remembered running along the carpets just like that when she was a little girl.

Rounding the end of an aisle, her attention was caught by what had to be the most garish offering in the store. The eight-foot square carpet had been stretched in a display frame between racks of rolled linoleum.

The carpet was so bright, Bethan was forced to remove her glasses and wiped her eyes. It looked for all the world as if somebody had stolen a rainbow and woven it into the most glaring, kaleidoscopic explosion of colour possible.

“Good morning, Madam. Are you interested in purchasing one of our special carpets?”

Bethan had been so dumbstruck by the almost iridescent carpet, she hadn’t seen the little man in the white suit approaching with an email transcript in his hand. His words made her flinch, “I erm, Oh, sorry. No, if I put this in my lounge, I’d be permanently dazzled!”

“Indeed, it is a little bright, isn’t it?” The man put his palms together before him.

“That’s putting it mildly. Why is it so — radiant?” Bethan ran her fingers over the multicoloured weave. Although soft, it didn’t feel as if it was woven with the usual wool, nylon or polyester.

“Why, this is our fantastic ‘Inspired Carpet’ of course!” The man threw his arms wide. “Every entwined colour is a brand-new splash of inspiration!”

“Oh right,” Bethan rolled her lip in disbelief. She felt sure this carpet would guarantee headaches rather than inspiration. “Why is it so inspired?”

“Well,” the man began pacing. “First off, it’s made entirely of recycled plastic. Anything that helps clean and protect our beautiful world is inspired, wouldn’t you agree?”

Bethan nodded.

“Then, of course, a tithe of the profits we make goes to the creative arts department at the University. Thus, it inspires the students to create beautiful things.”

“That is quite remarkable,” Bethan said running her fingers over the gaudy rug and allowing them to linger in the fibres. She couldn’t believe it was made of plastic, it just seemed too soft.

“Much obliged, Madam. So, would you like to buy one? It’s only five hundred pounds.”

Bethan felt warm energy exude from the carpet. It rushed through her fingers and flooded her whole body with energy. She tried to move her feet; to speak but she was frozen.

“Madam, are you okay?”

As quick as it came, the sensation left her. “Oh, yes. I’m quite fine. I’ll take a carpet, thank you,” she said all of a fluster.

The little man smiled as he bounced his fingertips together, “Excellent, follow me. I’ll have someone fetch you a rolled carpet while we complete the transaction.”

Bethan followed him through the store and soon paid for her Inspired Carpet.  She stowed it in her car and drove home.

An hour passed to her moving the furniture and laying the carpet in the middle of the room. It was then she grew quite annoyed.

“Why on earth, were you inspired to by this, Bethan. It’s so blindingly colourful; it’ll make you nauseous every time you enter the room. Worse it doesn’t even, bloody well, fit!”

Feeling duped by the little man, Bethan rolled up the carpet and returned to The Loom for a confrontation.

Entering the carpet store, she spotted a manager in a black suit. “Excuse me, I want to return this carpet.”

“Hello, madam. What seems to be the problem with it?” he said with a smile that dimpled his cheeks.

“I was swindled into buying it. The colours are awfully bright and it doesn’t even fit!” Bethan stood the carpet on end and let it fall toward the manager. “I want my money back so I can buy a new carpet in the right size and colour, please.”

The manager grabbed the offending carpet and frowned. “But there must be some mistake. We don’t sell this carpet. Are you sure you bought it from The Loom?”

“Yes, I always buy my carpets at The Loom. A little man in a white suit sold it to me using some kind of magical chicanery.” Bethan scowled at him.

“Well, I’m afraid that’s quite impossible. No such man works here and as I said these carpets are not sold in this establishment. I …”

“Let’s go!” Bethan marched along the aisle to the backline where the ‘Inspired Carpet’ had been hanging. To her amazement, there were only three racks of linoleum here now. “But it was right here!”

“I told you, Madam. We don’t sell this carpet here.” The manager stood a few feet away looking bemused and maybe a little scared of Bethan.

She felt shock setting in, she just couldn’t process what was happening. Without a word, she marched the manager back down to the front of the shop by his suit sleeve.

“Madam, unhand me, please!” he demanded.

“The little man sat at that till when he completed the transaction for this garish carpet. I want you to find my sale and reverse it please.”

The manager took his arm back and sighed, “Okay, let me have a look. Don’t suppose you have a receipt?”

Bethan delved into her handbag and came up with her purse. From inside she took the receipt and handed it to him. “There it is.”

The manager looked from the piece of paper to his customer and back again. “I don’t understand. This receipt is a Loom’s receipt but it’s completely blank.”

Bethan snatched a back and gawked at it for a moment. “Unbelievable!” She grabbed her mobile phone, selected the Internet, and logged into her bank account. Her thumbs moved at rapid speed as she navigated to the transaction statement. “There!” She thrust the screen toward the manager.

“Five hundred pounds, credited to Inspiration?” The manager scratched his head. He made a frustrated sound went to work at the till.

Bethan watched him clicking away with one eye. The other she kept searching for the little man.

“Well, there it is. The till shows the same as your bank account.”

“So, reverse that charge, please,” Bethan demanded.

“Seems, I have no choice.” The manager took Bethan’s card and processed the refund.

Bethan left the store forty minutes later with a new carpet in a perfect shade of coffee cream. It looked magnificent in her lounge. That evening she sat enjoying it with a cup of hot chocolate in hand. It was then it occurred to her. “That rainbow rug was called an ‘Inspired Carpet’ because it inspired you to buy it when you touched it.’

The End

Thanks for reading my friends.

There’s more in the Poetry CornerPoetry Nook, and the Short Story Collection

Have a great day!


27 thoughts on “The Inspired Carpet

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    1. Me too. The worst I’d when you walk into the shop and they jump you with ‘Hi can I help?’ At that point you haven’t even had chance to look at anything have you.

      The prompts were tough today but I’m happy with my creation. Thanks for reading, Shweta!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the great challenge. I started thinking ‘I can’t use that!’ by the time I’d begun commenting brain was like, ‘Oh yes you can!”‘ love it, thanks for the prompt and for reading my story!


  1. The way you described that carpet made me simultaneously be repulsed by it and want it more than anything. I’m also thrilled she won in the end, well done.

    As far as salespeople trying to add more stuff to your order, I have found a simple response works beautifully: “oh! You’re giving that to me for free?” They look at you like you lost your noggin. That’s when you say, “I came in here for X, not to be told about Y and Z. The next thing you mention will be free, or I’m leaving without any purchases at all.”

    They are hard-wired to try, and it’s kind of entertaining to watch them start to try to add something to your purchases and stopping themselves mid-sentence because they cannot (nor do they have permission) to offer any of the items in the store for free. If they do throw it in for free, 9 out 10 times they will owe the store the balance of what they gave for free (unless they’re the owner who will see it as a loss), and so they are now on the hook for buying something they won’t even get because you have it. They go away. If they stay like they’re glued to you, allow them to talk until they actually manage to get more than 3/4 of the sales-pitch out, act excited and say “really? I can have it for free???” They will suddenly remember they have another aisle to go look after and you go about your business.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh it def had the right effect. I knew why she would buy it even though she hated it. I didn’t have to touch it to just KNOW.

        It’s a polite way to say buzz off. Because you seem genuinely excited for what they’re saying but you know you’re just chasing them away on purpose. If you say “leave me alone,” or “I’m fine” your shadow will step back for like 2 minutes and decide you need their unwanted service again. Chasing them that time typically means that within 4 minutes, the store that had only one employee chasing you and one at the register now has a new shadow just for you! Suddenly, there’s an endless supply of shadows waiting to convince you to buy more. If you’re nice about it but mention “free” enough times, they wave off even their star sales person. The first two frees gets you out of 90% of everything. Unless Star salesperson is on-site. “Oozing charm from ever pour they oil their way across the floor”* to sell shit to a horse farmer. Shit them down fast with “I have just enough money for what I came in for. Anything extra will have to be free or you are truly wasting your time. I’m sure there are other people with a better chance of being able to afford the extras, I am not one of them” they will try twice – always twice for some reason. Even if they offer you the golden apple for Aphrodite herself for a quid, say “omg! That’s beautiful! You’re really going to just give it to me, just like that?” They’re good and they’ll say yes because they want you to like it and they’re not lying because they will hand it to you to put in your cart so they gave it to just like that. That’s what makes them masters. They twist that rope around you so there’s no escape. So when they say yes you shoot back with “my wife/husband” always said nothing in life is free! Thank you for the free gift it’s beautiful” and put your hand out for it. You’ll see their brain trying to figure out some fancy dancing to get you to accept it (and the cost) after you’ve made it clear that you WILL NOT pay for it and even mentioned being excited to tell someone else IMMEDIATELY that you got it for free so they can’t sneak the charge in and hope your just gonna suck it up. It will never touch your hand and will go back on the shelf. Now you’re a true challenge and you get the second try from Ace Salesperson. Handle this however you want, but I suggest a repeat of husband/wife (there doesn’t have to be one at all, but it works all the time), and the word “free” again. Be as pushy as their being. They’re going hard, you go equally as hard but stay polite. Once you lost your temper, they’ve actually got you – they will follow until you buy SOMETHING you don’t want just to make them go away. And if u call the manager (who knows why Ace has been called out) they will seem very understanding but let Ace torment you further. Ignoring is the same. They will try until they get your attention and make you mad. Being too soft means you’re an easier target than you’ve let on. Go as strong as them but stay polite. Use the key terms and even a repeat of the excited “really it’s free?” Whatever you want. But stay firm and clear: free or no go. If you want it, pay for your goods, pack your car, and go back in. They all remember you and will leave you alone as you buy that extra thing they wanted commission for.

        You won and they lost. Their powers do not sway you. You are their kryptonite. If you wait a day you’re going through it all over again. If you stick to right after you left a glare at an approaching shadow would do nicely if needed, and they back off.

        *a quote from My Fair Lady soundtrack

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Learned it from my dad who haggles over everything.

        Ooo do I have some stories about him and my mom tag teaming poor sales people and we walk out having more free shit than they even sold!!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Most countries seem to prefer haggling – except US and UK primarily. In Africa, we went to a mall where the was a big sign: If you don’t haggle, don’t come in. My father took that as a challenge. The mall was not what we know – it was 2 story structure comprised of multiple….stands.. is the best word. So It wasn’t walk it stores, someone sat inside a stand of sorts, you stood outside it (still in the enclosed building) asked for what you want, they place on a table between you and them so you cna see and touch it. Nice trick… They were expecting the American to haggle and get 10 cents off. That’s now how it worked. I mean the braceets they sold for 12 cents he wanted 10 cents off, not the beautiful chess board that was over $100 though. He learned how to haggle when he first went to Africa when he was in college. They got so annoyed at him that it traveled like wild-fire and most of the stands told us to keep going LOL The place he learned it thought he was too much of a pain in the arse. LOL

        Also in Africa, we went to see a tribe. He wanted a bunch of stuff and was haggling. Ex and I went back to the car because it was hot and he would be there until he got what he wanted and we knew it. Suddenly like 8 or 9 of their warriors (carrying spears) came over to the spot they were haggling and the driver was like “Miss….get your pop. They will kill him.” I said “no they won’t. Besides, he’s having fun.” he kept trying to get me to get my dad because there were armed me around him and he really was worried the were going to kill my father. Probably in any other family they would pull the man away or say “just pay what the want at this point already!” and get the hell out. Instead, i read my father’s body language (he didn’t feel like he was in troube, so I got situated more confortably so I could see what he was doing and just watch. Couldn’t hear a word, the car was too far away). 3 more of their warriors came out, also armed, but the chief’s son was with them. He got into the mix and did those warriors. The guy was now terrified because the chief’s son could order him killed. I again, was not in fear for his life. The guy was on a verge of a heart attack as about five more warriors came over (armed to the teeth this time – giant knives around their waists and spears and clubs – and I promise you the guide almost passed out. Then this little man came out from in the center of the group, and it was the chief. The guy was now transfixed – no one had ever gotten the chief to come out in any of the small tribal villages he ever went to. He didn’t know whether to be impressed or completely terrified because a guy in his care we most certainly going to be killed. My dad stopped haggling long enough to say “what else do you guys want?” We jumped out of the car to go grab what we wanted and give it to him and put it on the ground between him and them. The arguing commenced. It was kind of awesome. Then another car pulled up with more tourists. My dad saw it, and knew what that meant. His next offer was so low-ball they should have thrown him out. But the new people would see that and not shop there. If they kept up the insane haggling, whatever my father managed to get it al for, they would expect as well. The chief said “fine – fine!” That was that. They helped us carry it to the car because it was so insane. We got 8 (I do not know why) spears, 10 of those decorated rocks on a stick that they use to kill their animals for food, about 20 hand braided and beaded bracelets, and like 18 of whatever it was my ex wanted, plus two or three things for my mother and my aunt (each). It was (in their overpriced minds as they use the money for whatever they use it for) all together worth almost $50. USD. We got it all for $3 USD and a broken watch (the chief’s son loves watches broken or otherwise, and my father saw them up his arm and through that in so at least he had a sort-of ally). Also lied through his teeth and said the watch was a VERY good watch and would work forever if they could get a battery for it. We got it quickly at a box-store while purchasing necessities for the trip and it cost us $5 and some change. Suddenly a group of warriors came up to the car (yes the drive was about ready to pop out of his skin) and they brought with them a ton of other stuff that we didn’t buy and his son walked up with them. They put it in the car. My father said “I didn’t buy this!” The son had extensively good English and said “My father wants to thank you. It was most entertaining for him” and we got almost double the insane amount of stuff my dad wanted, but it was all sorts of things (thank G-d – it was impossible to break down the spears we had to put in luggage so that we wouldn’t have to deal with customs thinking we were going to take over the plane!)

        We actually had to throw away some of our clothes to do it. That’s why we hit the big box stores before we go. Get 20 shirts for $10. They’re good shirts and last a long time – but there’s no big loss if you have to get rid of them to fit the stuff you’re bringing home. Kept just enough of them to wrap the points of the spears and knives so they wouldn’t stab through the suitcases. We went to Africa with two weeks of clothing for each of us. We each came home with what was on our backs and what was in carry on (2 outfits each, total) and some of the more mundane things (the bracelets and whatnot) didn’t fit in the luggage as it was so packed so that got split into the carry ons.

        Those are just two stories out of a million regarding my father’s haggling. The ones with my mother are generally so excessive that we need to buy a new suitcase to get it home.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Holy Mackeral! Thats some incredible stories you could tell on your WP for great views. To think Haggling could cause all that trouble! What an amazing amount of stuff you got too! I love adventure stories like this!


      5. maybe I will write about them – eventually. When I am able to do ANYTHING with this stupid program again LOL

        But then again, I don’t think I will out of spite. My father randomly asked me how many followers I had back when I started back up again and it was about 50. He told me that I was posting all about him because he’s the interesting one and that I was probably selling autographed photos on my site of him LOL

        If I wrote about him and ANYONE likes it or comments, and he finds out (I don’t know how he would, but he would), he would TOTALLY torment me with it for the rest of my life LOL

        Liked by 1 person

      6. My father is jist one of those people who loves to THINK they’re super special. I remember as a kid, I knew what paparrazi were because he used to come home from work and say something like “you wouldn’t believe it. The paparazzi were outside the office ALL DAY trying to snap my beautiful picture” Once I understood it I told him that they were busy trying to catch a glympse of Marilyn Monroe not waiting to take a picture of grizzly Adams. He got mad, and so paparazzi never followed him anymore. Now just everyone wanted his autograph (and no one did and he knew no one did, he was mostly messing with us). But I did try. I had a test I didn’t do great on from grade school, and I told him that a friend of mine wanted his autograph and acted like it was the first paper I saw. He caught me so fast it was silly. LOL

        Liked by 1 person

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