12 derb hejjaj av hassan 2, Fez, Morocco
Dar Zaouia Fez Reviews
Be careful and smart when buying rugs from Dar Zaouia in Fez May 05, 2008
I was in Morocco with a small tour company that took only you and your party around the country. Therefore, all the city tour guides were connected, and all the hotels and stores that they take you to were connected. The following is what happened to us when we tried to buy a small throw rug.
While taking our tour of Fez, I mentioned that I would be interested in buying a small throw rug to our guide. Right away he took us to Dar Zaouia within the medina. The building was absolutely gorgeous and there were large, magnificent carpets all around. The tour guide left us in the care of the rug dealers and wandered off. The main dealer was very good at what he did. They brought us mint tea and had a slew of people bringing out all sorts of rugs. The main dealer separated my boyfriend and myself and continued pushing a rug sale. I told him that I was deep in college debt, only lived in a small apartment, and only needed a small throw rug. He said that a small throw rug was not a rug. I must admit that the rugs were beautiful, but he was super aggressive, and with no way of escaping the store (our guide was gone for about two hours), we were left to the devices of this dealer. He kept saying that he would give us a good price; he did not. He told me that I could turn around a resell the rugs in the USA and make back my money as well as turn a profit. This was a lie. He used a hand held calculator to show me the deal he was giving me, but this was only my second day in the country and the currency conversion was still quite confusing. I told him again, and probably too politely, that I was in a lot of debt, and could not afford the very large rugs he was trying to get me to purchase, and that I simply wanted a small rug. He refused to bring me a small rug. He brought back my boyfriend after an hour or so, and was trying to finish the sale. At this point, I was so weary and wanted to leave, but without the tour guide and being alone in a very complex city, I was defeated. I finally agreed to buy a rug, just to get out of there. That wasn't good enough. After it was all said and done, I ended up with three very large rugs for about $10,000 US. This was quite ridiculous for me. I was a college student in a small one bedroom apartment in the city. Again, my math was bad with the currency conversion and I did not realize the high price but I unhappily consented. Finally, the tour guide reemerges from the depths of the city, greets the rug dealer with kisses, and finally takes us from the rug shop. I must admit that the workers for the rug dealer were quite wonderful and sweet, but the rug dealer himself was cunning and very good at his craft.
On the train to Marrakesh, we started speaking with a Moroccan passenger and told him about the rug fiasco. He told us blatantly that we had gotten extremely ripped off and told us step by step how to get out of the sale. This man saved us $10,000 US. He was a blessing.
While in Marrakesh, our city guide was quite upset that we had already purchased rugs and kept asking us how much we spent. We didn't answer because we didn't think it was his business and he was rude to us for the rest of the tour. The wonderful manager at the hotel we stayed at, heard our story, and let us use his phone multiple times, his internet for free, brought us delicious Moroccan coffee, and refused money for his help. He was another blessing. We saw that antique rugs of similar size were selling for only $1,000. We had gotten completely ripped off. After many phone calls and following the train passengers advice, we finally got out of the purchase.
By the time we were out in the desert, the guide out there had heard from the tour company about the rug disaster and wanted to hear our side of it. He confirmed that making a profit is one thing, but the rug dealer was completely ripping us off.
The moral of the story is know what you want to buy, be firm, be familiar with the currency conversion, and make the tour guide stay with you during your purchase. The rugs were quite beautiful, and I would have like to purchase a small one from Dar Zaouia, but got one from the souks of Marrakesh instead.
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