If you were lucky enough to read the New York Times this weekend, you got a glimpse into an emblematic New York story, a tale of woe familiar to anyone who’s ever struggled to make it in this harsh, costly city: A lady agreed to pay an insane amount of money to clean her Persian carpet and then her husband got mad.

The Haggler column is a last resort of sorts for NYT readers who got scammed by shady fly-by-night movers or who say “The Price is Right” did them dirty. This week, a couple living on the Upper East Side are rethinking a lot of things they once thought about each other after the wife agreed to pay thousands upon thousands of dollars to a carpet cleaning company.

The company, ABC Rug Cleaning, might possibly be trying to pass themselves off as ABC Carpet & Home, a better-known establishment. That matter is being litigated, according to what lawyers with ABC Carpet told the Haggler. They would like ABC Rug to cease, desist and change their name.

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The Upper East Side couple feels duped, which is understandable. What’s not—what has never been made clear—what we may never understand—is why the lady of the house agreed to pay $42,000 to anyone ever to clean her carpets. She just...did that. She put a $30,000 down payment on an American Express card, and then the rug guys rolled up something worth about the average American’s median household income and took it away.

The woman’s husband, a doctor, grew angry at some point after this, especially when his wife revised her original estimate of what she’d paid upwards from $5,000. He called the rug guys. He figured out they weren’t the rug guys he’d intended. He eventually paid the rug guys $20,000 to bring his rug back, apparently uncleaned. And then he called the New York Times and told them everything, which is, in itself, a bold choice.

We cannot stop thinking about these rug freaks. We may never stop. What do you think they’re doing right now? Are they staring at each other in stony silence from the opposite sides of a rug? Does the rug seem... smaller, somehow? Its colors more muted? Did this room always feel so stifling?


Contact the author at anna.merlan@jezebel.com.
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