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"How much did that cost?"

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#126 Paco_Grande

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 11:56 AM

..However, pure curiosity is a perfectly sufficient motivation.

.

No such thing as pure curiosity, there is always a motivation behind curiosity.

Let me continue to be the contrarian on this.

"Why do you want to know how much I paid?"

"Well, I dunno. Just curious, that's all."

"How curious are you?"

"I dunno, why?"

"If I made a list of model numbers, would you be interested in getting on the internet and discovering for yourself how much I paid?"

"Hmmm, how many things would I have to look up?"

"Well, the list would probably contain about 25 items. It's more than that, but 25 would be a good start."

"25? Wow, that's a lot. Might take me a few hours."

"Ya think?"

"I'm not *that* curious."

"Oh, so you're saying that you're curious but not curious enough to do all that work, all that work that I had to do, not including all the research time, costly mistakes, and other costs and effort, to achieve what you see here in front of you?"

"Well, when you put it that way…"

"How would you answer me if I asked you the same thing?"

"I'd tell you to bugger off." [chuckle]

"Consider you've been told to bugger off." [more chuckles]

"Wanna beer?"

"Sure thing."

:p

#127 Paco_Grande

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 12:03 PM

BTW, I appreciate everyone's tolerance to my often long-winded and opinionated posts. I try to write 500 to 1,000 words a day, every day, and I'm afraid you guys and gals are often exposed to my daily practice. :p

Thank you all. :bow:

#128 BigC

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 12:03 PM

For all the people fearful of being asked for theft, looking the person in the eyes for a couple of seconds will be able to read their intentions immediately... unless they are just drooling with envy and awe at the setup, which can also be easy to read. You do not need to have a PhD in body language for this either...
Bear pepper spray could add to the ease of mind as well, and not just for the two legged animals.
...and a crossbow and battle ax strapped to your back will surely avert any questions or disturbances of people altogether! :)

If it were that easy we wouldn't need detectives and trials.Many people are quite good at concealing their bad intentions.

My fraternal grandparents did NOT discuss money with anyone they didn't feel needed to know,and taught that asking was impolite.Nor did they think it was proper to tell a child"we can't afford that";it was changed instead to "no,you may not have that".

Cultural background.

#129 bluesteel

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 01:42 PM

For all the people fearful of being asked for theft, looking the person in the eyes for a couple of seconds will be able to read their intentions immediately... unless they are just drooling with envy and awe at the setup, which can also be easy to read. You do not need to have a PhD in body language for this either...
Bear pepper spray could add to the ease of mind as well, and not just for the two legged animals.
...and a crossbow and battle ax strapped to your back will surely avert any questions or disturbances of people altogether! :)

If it were that easy we wouldn't need detectives and trials.Many people are quite good at concealing their bad intentions.

My fraternal grandparents did NOT discuss money with anyone they didn't feel needed to know,and taught that asking was impolite.Nor did they think it was proper to tell a child"we can't afford that";it was changed instead to "no,you may not have that".

Cultural background.

Sorry, but the vast majority of people that are going to commit crimes like petty theft all the way up to knocking off a convenience store or small branch bank are the people that are blatantly obvious to read. The people that are much more difficult to read have better things to steal than your telescope... and they don't get caught (unless you have a solid gold example that a Saudi King would be proud of). An example that comes to mind is the art theft of Boston from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Those type of people have far better targets to gather info on than you and your telescope... and if it is over $20,000 your setup(random number), I am willing to bet they do not want to carry that sucker anywhere.

#130 ubermick

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 03:15 PM

Jeez. All I can say after reading through this thread is that I'm glad the folks in my local astronomy club weren't the sort to immediately assume that I was a thief, time waster, tire kicker, or whatever you want to call it. Thanks to some friendly folks at a star party I stumbled on 18 months ago, my interest in the hobby was reignited with a passion, I'm now a member of the club (and a few thousand in the red, haha) and happy to help others in the way that I was helped initially.

#131 BigC

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 12:25 PM

I have to disagree.

Certainly not everyone or even a big percentage is a thief.

But you are wrong about petty theft.Else eyepieces and other small items wouldn't "walk away" at gathering.Probably any vendor can tell you of the "shrinkage" at his event table.It happens at camera shows and hamfests,it happens every day in retail stores. The annual total from shoplifting far exceeds what a holdup takes from a store.It happens at star parties too.

I note several other posters have had similar experiences of those asking costs only to ridicule the scope owner,and theft obviously varies tremendously with the area and people.

Each of us will just have to use our judgment as to which approach feels best where we are when asked.

#132 Thomas Karpf

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 01:15 PM

But you are wrong about petty theft. Else eyepieces and other small items wouldn't "walk away" at gathering.


Certainly that happens. Which is why any tools, spare eyepieces, etc. I bring to such an event live in my pockets. I might 'lose track' of a planisphere or flashlight, but I'm certainly not going to set down an eyepiece.

That having been said, I don't think it likely that putting a dollar value on a scope or mount is going to increase the likelihood of someone stuffing my refractor into a pocket.

Perhaps you deal with people with REALLY BIG pockets? :)

#133 Kfrank

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 02:05 PM

I asked a fellow what his scope cost the other night and he read me the riot act and accused me of many things, none of which I am guilty of.

Of course I apologized and introduced myself.

Then he told me his name was Perry. Perry Noya

#134 TL2101

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 02:25 PM

I just break the cost down on a mile per viewed basis like mpg. I explain on that basis it's the least expensive hobby gear on the planet. :grin:

#135 BigC

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 03:49 PM

Hyperbole.

Simply re-directing the conversation is as effective and much more polite.

#136 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 08:03 PM

Each of us will just have to use our judgment as to which approach feels best where we are when asked.


I suspect we all have different images in our minds how this question might be asked, in what context.

If someone were to walk up to me and immediately asked how much the scope cost, I probably would be reluctant to give a straight answer. But that's not the conversation or context I have in mind. In my mind, I am thinking of a conversation that has resulted in some mutual respect and trust..

I ask this question: If you had been talking with someone for 15 minutes and the person had shown genuine interest in the amateur astronomy, would you still be reluctant to share what you equipment had cost?

Jon

#137 Feidb

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 08:40 AM

I just don't see the big deal.

An observation. 90% of the time, the people that ask me how much my scope, OR my eyepieces cost are usually outreach people that have never looked through a scope before. New amateurs have already been drooling through the catalogues and already know the prices so they rarely ask except to either confirm or see if I got a special deal.

#138 hfjacinto

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 09:10 AM

If I had so many thieves and crooks around like the majority if people on here I would never go out. I am not careless but have loaned my equipment out to many people and never worried about it. Use your judgement, when lots of people are around I close my case but when observing with people I know we share and share alike. As to what stuff costs I never had an issue, although if the person looks shady I do, it wasn't cheap but it costs a lot less than for example owning a motorcycle or a boat.

#139 steve-in-kville

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 04:12 PM

Nice to see my thread is still drawing replies.... and good ones!! Keep 'em coming!

#140 Joe Bergeron

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 07:45 PM

I get this question a lot, and I really dislike it. Many times people lead with it. If I'm out there giving people an experience with astronomy, "How much does it cost?" seems like the most trivial, irrelevant, inconsequential, shallow question there could be. They might as well ask me what brand of toothpaste I use. I usually deflect the question. Sometimes I'll quote the price of the cheapest telescope I can think of that would give similar views. But I'm really not out there to talk about money.

#141 MarkShay

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 08:50 PM

Post deleted by MarkShay

#142 cpsTN

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 09:08 PM

Depends upon WHY they are asking. If they are considering getting one OR if they are just nosy!

#143 okieav8r

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 09:09 PM

While it may not be in the best of taste to ask that question, I think most people ask out of simple curiosity. Beyond a simple telescope, a lot of our gear looks pretty sophisticated to the uninitiated (and a lot of it is), so it's natural for them to be curious about what it costs. I'm pretty up front in answering such questions, and once they've satisfied their curiosity, they're ready to enjoy the views.

But, when my super-frugal Dad asks such questions, I just flat out lie. Otherwise, I'd never hear the end of it. :lol:

#144 SteveMushynsky

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 09:00 AM

As a soon-to-be beginner in this hobby, I find this thread rather off-putting.

I recognize that asking the cost of one's possessions is taboo to some folks and that such sensitivities depend largely on where they live and what they were taught while growing up. My family was German and Ukrainian and one thing NOT DONE was to ever criticize another's food. My parents lived through very hard times in WWII and food was NOT to be disrespected. I still consider "you like to eat that?" to be the height of rudeness.

So it may be with money to some folks. Please understand, however, that your 'touch button' on this may not be such to the person asking how much a telescope rig costs. If they are asking the cost, they probably don't know the relative values between an expensive rig and a cheap one. Perhaps they just want to know in case they might consider getting into the hobby themselves. Getting a 'none of your business' response would make me wonder if all amateur astronomers were snobby souls and I might just walk away from the hobby.

I used to be quite involved in radio controlled airplanes. My interest was in designing and building aircraft from scratch, starting with a clean sheet of paper. I bought used motors and lower cost control systems without a lot of the optional bells & whistles available, so my actual costs consisted of an enormous amount of research, design and building time plus not much actual money outlay. Others spent very large dollars in obtaining the very newest and best of everything they could find and spent some truly big bucks. No one I met in that hobby ever put anyone else down for using less expensive stuff (think "department store scopes") because everyone had fun according to their interests and their budgets and not necessarily in that order. The question of "how much did that cost?" came up regularly and I don't recall anyone ever being upset by the question.

Having read this thread, I find I am glad that I can't get out and around much (health) and didn't approach my local area astronomy group, first thing. I am still researching and have decided what I want to find and am saving to purchase it. I ask myself, would I have been 'shut down and told to beggar off' if I had asked the costs of equipment to help me make decisions? If I use a 'lesser' scope than a seasoned observer is using, would he/she think less of me? Apparently so, if I am using a "department store" scope. More pointedly, is this hobby populated by equipment snobs? Perhaps I should not say what I will be buying and anticipate observing entirely on my own to avoid potential problems? Want to guess how long I would remain in this hobby under that cloud?

In a hobby that values 'outreach', I would hope that 'slamming the door' on innocent, relevant questions would be a very rare response. Yes, an asker may not be aware of the asked person's personal sensitivities, but an open-to-public observing scenario would seem to indicate that those observers present might be open to questions.

#145 howard929

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 09:07 AM

Seems to me that if the public at large reaches in a bit too close then the notion of public events should be rethought. Friends and family asking how much did this cost is a different story. Family you can't pick so the ones who don't count, don't need to view. Friends OTH we can pick so I don't see a problem there.

#146 GOLGO13

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 09:10 AM

Well said SteveMushynSky.

This hobby has quite a range of folks. I feel like 90% of them are very good people. There are some snobby types here and there. At big star parties that can be obvious. But all in all I'd say this hobby is one of the more positive ones.

Don't be put off by a few individuals. You'll meet 9 good ones for every 1 bad one.

All that being said, my preference is to find a few good observers and keep it a small group. I'm not a huge fan of large gatherings. But then again I am like that in all aspects of life.

#147 SteveMushynsky

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 09:13 AM

Seems to me that if the public at large reaches in a bit too close then the notion of public events should be rethought.


Perhaps this should be written as:
"Seems to me that if the public at large reaches in a bit too close then the notion of PARTICIPATING IN public events should be rethought."

As I said, I found this thread rather off-putting. From your comment, I guess maybe I should find public outreach events rather off-putting as well? Not very welcoming, as seen from a would be beginner's point of view.

#148 GOLGO13

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 09:22 AM

Steve,

I'm not new and I found it off-putting as well. I think the majority of the time the question on cost is not meant in a bad way. Someone should know when and when not to answer this question. Please don't go away from this site or the hobby based on this thread :praying:

#149 SteveMushynsky

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 09:31 AM

Thanks for the encouraging word, GOLGO13.

BTW, finding Astronomy.FM online via iTunes is what initially piqued my interest last fall,

#150 GOLGO13

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 09:39 AM

Awesome! It's a great site run by some folks I have met through astronomy websites and in person over the years.






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