From our own correspondent: Supply and demand hits my carpet plans

26 January 2009 00:00  [Source: ICB]

So I now have a little bit more money in my purse since gasoline prices have come down. However, it's still rather costly driving the 4X4 and the pennies are still tight with extortionate gas and electricity bills to pay and three little mouths to feed.

So even with this extra bit of disposable income, I am not in a position to recarpet my children's bedroom, which has been marked by pens, makeup, milk, and dirty feet.

An ivory carpet for a kids' bedroom is probably not the best color, but it looked great in the glossy magazines. It was lovely at first, a perfect room for little girls, with a real designer feel. But the carpet is now covered in stains and, quite frankly, it no longer looks anything like it did in the magazine.

Since I can't afford a new carpet I have decided to rent a carpet cleaner called a Rugdoctor.

I have used this very effective contraption before, and it really brings the carpets up a treat. But when I inquired about the cost, I learned something about supply and demand in a recession. For some strange reason, the price of hiring the unit seems to have doubled: could it be that across the country, demand for these machines and the chemicals they use has rocketed, and therefore the prices too?

Obviously DIY carpet cleaning is the new vogue in times of financial hardship. So, in my quest to save even more of the few pennies in my purse, I advertised on our company's intranet to see if any colleagues would like to share the hire cost. Well, the response has been phenomenal.

Only yesterday, while trying to talk to the polymers world, every second call I received was about my advert for the Rugdoctor hire. The calls came from far and wide, and from all walks of carpet cleaners. Despite our different needs, what we all had in common was a dirty carpet and the lack of funds to purchase a new one.

In total, I must have taken more than 15 calls from people inquiring about the share of the hire cost. At £37.50 ($51.68, €29.79) for 48 hours, it would have worked out at about £2.50 each, but owing to time and logistical issues, four people in the hire chain would prove enough. So my girls will have a carpet as good as new for approximately £9, rather than a new one costing about £500.

By: Julia Meehan
+44 20 8652 3214

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