As soon as we spied the engsi that afternoon we called mr robert emry and, as we had done one other time in the past, asked him how much he wanted for it.
After hemming and hawing a bit emry said:
"Well, I was thinking about 400 dollars."
RK knew emry was basically lost in the sauce when it comes to correctly identifying a Turkmen weaving, or as he has demonstrated any old oriental rug, but at least we expected him to say a price that was vaguely commensurate with the history and beauty this engsi exhibits.
We, of course, said “OK” and after emry said the shipping cost would be 11 dollar additional we agreed and duly sent emry the 411 dollar payment.
After almost two days of not hearing from him, RK emailed and got this reply:
I did receive the ***payment. I have not yet sent the engsi.
Instead of sending the engsi, I intend to refund the ***payment,
and take the engsi out of circulation for the time being. I will try
to explain why.
Yesterday morning I had emails from several ebay watchers, including
one who had already bid on the engsi, saying they were disappointed
that it was withdrawn and that they had expected to have a chance to
compete fairly for it. So I spent the day yesterday trying to decide
the right course to take---who should be disappointed, you or the
bidder who had already committed to buy it? And I realized once
again why it has been my policy not to stop auctions and sell
directly. You might recall that the previous time you called,
wanting me to stop an ebay auction and sell directly to you (an old
Tekke engsi), I insisted that you had to use the buy-it-now option
(which I had on that listing), the same option that was available to
everyone else, and thus fair to everyone. It was improper for me to
agree to sell this engsi to you on the phone, and it was also
improper for you to call and ask me to sell it, or for you (or your
scout---I still don’t know who “***” is) to email and ask to
it directly. But in this case it was especially improper to sell it
directly, because this auction had no reserve, and thus I already had
committed to sell it to that ebay bidder, or to whoever bid more.
The proper procedure for buying things listed on ebay, is to bid on
ebay. I have, so far, a very good reputation on ebay, and a number
of collectors/dealers who buy from me regularly, whom I respect for
their knowledge and support, and who respect me for being fair.
Stopping auctions that they have bid on, or intend to, undermines
I hope you will understand that voiding my oral phone agreement to
sell it to you is also done in the interest of fairness, and stopping
that agreement is not worse than stopping the ebay auction that
already had bidders, and thus already an agreement to sell. So, I
let my guard down and compromised my principles, twice, and now I
have to make amends. I intend to continue selling things on ebay,
and I don’t want to get the reputation stopping auctions and selling
directly. If I list something on ebay that interests you, you are
welcome to bid on it.
I am sorry that I agreed to sell this engsi to you, but I will like
myself better for undoing it. It isn’t about money---I don’t
care what I sell the engsi for or even whether I sell it---it is
To which we instantly replied:
this is really silly
why are you letting some low-rider ebay bidder
auctions are stopped EVERY DAY
100's or them probably thousands
please do not allow someone to tell you what to do or
to make you go back on what you have arranged with me
you made an agreement with me - right or wrong you did
and i carried thru on my end
i really expect you to think this out better and send
me the piece
returning the money nonsense
what more do i have to say to impress you with the
reality of this
if you have good pieces on ebay anyone will bid,
regardless of whether or not you stop this auction, or
dozens of others
please now, Robert, be fair to me and my client who
has now been assured we have the engis
and send it
i will not ask you to ever stop another auction but i
expect you will honor your word and agreement and send
us the engsi”
After some hours and no reply from emry we sent him this second email:
“I would jsut like to add one thought:
We made an agreement and your emails confirm that
Our agreement is far more binding than your taking
down the auction.
I will not let you, or anyone, abrogate an agreement
for the nonsensical reasons you have stated.
I am no stranger to the court system and promise you I
will not allow you, or anyone, to treat an agreement
unilaterally as if it did not exist.
Please consider what I have written carefully -- your
not doing so could have consequences you will not
This is my last word and unless I hear back from you
that you are sending the engsi to me, and honoring
your agreement to do so, I will be glad to take this
situation to the next level.”
Again emry did not reply so we sent him this third email that afternoon:
“Let's cut the shit here
you made an agreement to sell me the engsi
and i fulfilled my end of the bargain
i expect and insist you do the same
if you don't i will haul you into a court of law and
win hands dowm -- you have no defense, morally or
actually -you made an agreement and must hold to it
and this is not a threat, it is a principle of good
business and community
By the way: the deal with *** was another example
of your inability to honor both good business and
if the positions had been reversed i would have
supported your problem with *** and insisted he
send you the piece you won
before I paid him for mine
but you selfishly went to get your piece and left me
hanging out to dry
not very nice
so unless you agree to honor our agreement and send us
the engsi, i will be forced to do what i said -- sue
you and get not only the rug but damages as well
whatever excuses you want to use now will be laughed
at in court and you will lose
and lose more than you will be pleased to lose
got it now, my friend??”
Again, and after no reply from emry, we contacted our attorney and had him send emry a letter explaining our position -- that he should send the engsi immediately. If emry did not reply in 7 days, the letter said we would begin court action.
Another week and no reply from emry, so we instituted a complaint and served him with it.
This got dead-eye emry’s attention and not to make this boring story any longer, emry saw the writing on the wall and finally after more hemming and hawing agreed to send the engsi to us for free in exchange for a release from the court action.
End of the story: After paying all the court fees, etc, and the attorney, the engsi cost almost 5 times what it would have.
Like many in rugdumb, who do not really know us, emry believed RK was just talking. Well he’s learned we do talk, but we also walk.
We are also sure, if you would ask emry for his “side” of this tale, he would issue forth a mouthful of excuse and bluster but in the end he would have to admit what is written here is 100 percent true and accurate.
And just for the record, had emry not dragged his feet and kept emailing the attorney about the “release”, and not directly to us, the attorney fee would have been less than half, and RK would have never bothered to publicize this waste of time episode.
However, since emry deemed it necessary to waste our attorney’s time over the “release”, and add to our bill, we felt he deserved to be called out publicly for refusing to keep our agreement and to honor his word.
We also believe we let him off lightly by offering to stop the case in exchange for the engsi.
We now believe that was a mistake and emry’s failure to act honestly should have cost him far more.
But pompous greedy slobs like emry, no matter what their social or educational status, always believe they are right.
Regardless he got off lightly this time, we are sure mr emry might have been dished a good lesson here – when you give your word, you must honor it, no matter what the excuse or circumstance. At least when you’re dealing with RK that is……..