Which we did the next day. At a shop specializing in Oriental rugs, we found a small one for the entryway and snapped it up. It was a sampler of multicolored squares, very cheerful. And down the street at a store with the imaginative name of Carpets and Floors, we found an Oriental-style rug for only $599 that we both agreed we could live with. What a deal! So much better than $2,700.
So, back to Carpets and Floors, where we left the rug for "inspection." Two days later, we got a call that they were going to refund our money. In the meantime, apparently, the rug had been hung up again—for the next unsuspecting sucker (or maybe just someone without pets). We also exchanged the too-small rug for something less cheerful but large enough that it doesn't make me cringe.
So: we still need a rug for the living room—maybe 6' x 8'. There's no rush.
2010 Badakhshan massacre—thank you, Wikipedia). Tom loved Afghanistan, and offered to bring me back rugs from his trips there doing humanitarian aid work (he was a dentist). I never took him up on his offer, sadly. Here is a video a friend made about Tom after his death. I didn't know Tom well, but I will always be grateful that I met him.
P.S. Since I posted this I noticed that I did, in fact, already write about Tom Grams, in connection with petrichor: the smell of dry land upon a first rainfall. He made an impression on me. I have no problem with a little repetition, in his honor.