By Dick Wolfsie
— In last week’s column, I bemoaned the immensity of our current household project of having new carpet installed. My wife has spent the last two weeks carefully packing our collectibles in bubble wrap and placing them in boxes. My job has been to walk around the house shaking my head and saying, “There’s no way we’ll be ready in time.”
Prior to delivery, I headed to the store with my down payment where I was given a brightly colored brochure with the following photos on the cover: a cup of coffee, a glass of wine, a chocolate ice cream cone, a muffin with jelly and a bowl of tomato soup. Were these serving suggestions for the big party I’d be throwing in our newly-decorated house? No, it was a collage of foods that are covered in the manufacturer’s stain-proof guarantee. They also gave me three different bottles of spot remover. Talk about knowing your customers.
Included in the brochure is an alphabetical listing of 50 different things that can potentially discolor your carpet. I counted all the different items in my fridge that day, so I know there are way more than 50 possibilities for me. Each item has a letter (A through H) that matches one of eight different techniques the manufacturer recommends you employ to sop up the various potential spills. I’m not going to get into any detail here, but there’s a lot of blotting, very little rubbing, and a fair amount of scraping. Also a boatload of vinegar and ammonia. It says that baby stains are the toughest to get out. I have no idea what a baby stain is, but it’s clear that you need to be real careful if you are squeezing one over your carpet.
One of the stains on the list is mercurochrome. Half of those reading are wondering if it’s really possible to remove a mercurochrome stain. The other half are wondering: What the heck is mercurochrome? Of course, some stains are excluded from the warranty. For example, they do not cover acne medication, which is OK because Mary Ellen and I haven’t had a pimple since the very day we were married. No matter, anyway. That stain wouldn’t even show on our carpet. When we chose a shade of beige we decided against ecru and went with the Clearasil.
Also in this leaflet is a list of things to “expect” after your installation. All I really anticipated were a few oohs and ahs from friends. Instead, I discovered that what I may get is some shedding, sprouting, crushing, tufting, rippling, fuzzing, piling and snagging. These are some of the very same side effects — as I recall from a TV ad — that you get from an overdose of Flomax. Fuzzing, by the way, is “the effect on a fabric surface caused by wild fibers or lack of yarn twist.” This was similar to the warning on a hairpiece I considered buying a few years ago.
Also in this handy guide was the assurance that the new rug would not generate static in excess of 5.0 kilovolts. This was especially good news to our cat who rubs up against everything and lives in constant fear of being electrocuted.
And finally, the manufacturer promises that our new purchase will maintain a rating of 3.0 on the international texture scale. You can’t buy that kind of peace of mind. Not for $4.78 a square foot. Not for any price.