I asked the salesman if he could do better. At first he talked about 80 percent being an unprecedented discount, but then said he could probably get an extra 10 percent off if he called to get approval, which he did. The extra 10 percent would save another $55.
With an 80 percent (plus another 10 percent) discount, there are some excellent deals, but shop carefully, as all sales are final.
It's a good idea to check the quality of the wool. Rub your hand back and forth briskly across the surface. If the rug sheds lots of fuzzy fibers, it's a low-quality wool. Better wool feels softer and sometimes almost greasy because of the lanolin in it. To test color fastness, rub a damp cloth on the rug.
Don't make a big deal about knot count unless you're comparing virtually identical rugs: Generally, the higher the knot count, the better.
Some Oriental rugs, usually those of lower quality, may have used illegally employed child labor: Consumer Reports recommends looking for GoodWeave, Kaleen or the Wools of New Zealand labels. Unfortunately, these labels are rare. The most reliable way to avoid supporting child labor is to buy a machine-made rug, according to Consumer Reports.
With the store expected to close March 17, it's possible that discounts will deepen throughout the store, but the 80 percent discount on rugs will probably stay the same since buyers can haggle.
As the Hyatt Regency Hotel (1300 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-338-1201) remodels its rooms, furniture and accessories are being sold at very reasonable prices.
Sample savings include upholstered chairs for $55, large framed mirrors $25 to $75, night stands with granite tops $65, plant stands with granite tops $32, writing desks $28, office chairs $28, granite vanities with hardware $45, metal cocktail tables $32, wall sconces $5 to $10, wall-mount hair dryers $10, full-sized mattresses $85, and framed art $15 to $65. A 10 percent buyer's premium is added to the purchase price.
The sale will continue in March until everything is sold. Additional items are put out for restocking. Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. One employee said that Spike's Sports Bar items would be put out in mid- to late March.