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"I'd like to thank all in advance for their time invested in reading my lengthy story. Hope it will serve you well in making your purchase decisions, not only at the "First Rugs."
My name is Marina Dobusheva. I was born in St. Petersburg, Russia and worked as a certified tour guide at the Hermitage. I have been living in Prague, the Czech Republic since the USSR collapse and am an art dealer, advising clients on art purchases. I am also a chief editor of the EU award-winning cultural magazine "Russian Word" in the Czech Republic and a guide for exclusive/boutique tours in Europe for small groups.
I visited a friend of mine in the US for the first time in my life - none of my family members have been to the US yet. I shopped at many antique / art stores in Boston area. A local Russian friend of mine suggested to also look at the collection of rugs at the "First Rugs" store.
My impression of the store was that it is below the standards of the comparable stores in Europe. The outside appearance doesn't give justice to the contents - the selection of the rugs is impressive. However, I found the service level at the store sub-par. I am always modestly dressed in black jacket and trousers and am a petite woman in mid 50s - not wearing any jewelry or holding fancy bags. You wouldn't pay attention to me or notice me in a crowd, so to speak.
When I walked into the store, a bald gentleman behind the desk was eating soup, slurping, and made no motion to help me. Another person, a tall younger gentleman with dark hair, gave me a brief overview of the inventory.
When I told the local Russian friends of mine about my experience, they shared that the US stores are very different from European stores in their appearance. However, I bought a pendant for my daughter at the Tiffany store at the Prudential center, and they even offered me tea in very nice china. The ambiance of their store is what I am used to in Europe.
As a journalist, I recorded the following feedback of the Russians who shopped at the "First Rugs." When you visit it, make sure to inquire about their prices (they give a lower price if you pay cash). Ask about their refund policy and the rules if something goes wrong with your rug or if you change your mind (the return policy was not posted on their website as of the first week of March, 2018). These guys love cash and prefer it as a method of payment, so get a receipt with their signature (paid in full, cash received). This is also helpful if you are taking the rug with you outside of the US.
One woman told me that when she entered the store with two toddlers for the first time, looking tired and wearing very casual attire, she was greeted by the lady-owner: "Hello, our rugs are quite expensive." The mom took the comment as if she was perceived as a stay-home mom with modest financial means. What a snobbish way to "welcome" a customer and judging by the cover / appearance. I believe it happened to me too - when I entered the store and a young guy in sporty attire greeted me and showed me around.
Weigh all your options before making a choice. Look for the stores which strive for the higher standards if you are going to make an investment in expensive valuable art (rugs or anything else), like that at the Tiffany & Co. No wonder the company has been in business for 180 years and it's a delightful experience to visit them, no matter how you look and how substantial your purchase is.
You can find me on Facebook. I welcome you to Prague for exquisite experience of art and culture."