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azure1961p
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Reged: 01/17/09

Loc: USA
Re: "How much did that cost?" new [Re: steve-in-kville]
      #5771433 - 04/01/13 06:36 PM

Quote:

I really get tired of people asking how much my rig costs!! Really, I guess I am just sensitive to the question. I invite family & friends over to do some viewing and we are not 5 minutes into it and someone has to ask. I usually tell them what I paid for my scope originally, then add I have done some upgrades. But then someone has to press the issue and demand to know what I have in it currently!

Isn't that considered impolite?

Maybe its the area I live in or something. The past few times I got this question I responded by asking what they have in their golf clubs and whether their wife knows that!

Do thers here get this question? How do you respond?




I'm fed up with the query because nine times out of ten or more, th balk at you like your a spendthrift . My stock answer is a lie but it shuts them up: I have no idea it was a gift.



Pete


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bluesteel
sage


Reged: 03/24/13

Loc: ILM
Re: "How much did that cost?" new [Re: azure1961p]
      #5772099 - 04/02/13 02:18 AM

Now I hope not to inflame anyone, as it is not meant to, but I think it must be said, and I shall try to do it with tact and humor. People that do not wish to talk price about their equipment, please stay home with your stuff during the upcoming National Astronomy Day, so I can ask prices of specific pieces such as mounts and lenses, the latter in which I have not done thorough research on yet, for my future purchases. Thanks!

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BigC
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Reged: 09/29/10

Loc: SE Indiana
Re: "How much did that cost?" new [Re: bluesteel]
      #5772105 - 04/02/13 02:38 AM

If planning to buy furniture do you ask all your friends and complete strangers what they spent?

Or if buying a car? A can of beans?
Or do you check ads and catalogs and ,yes, websites ?

There are plenty of public resources for pricing all but a few exotic items and nearly all can be located by doing an internet search or a trip to the local library.

Asking for guidance is fine;demanding to know exactly what I spent is nunyabizness AND rude.

And just because I got a great deal on item "x" doesn't mean you will.


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Jon Isaacs
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Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: "How much did that cost?" new [Re: BigC]
      #5772199 - 04/02/13 06:21 AM

Quote:


Asking for guidance is fine;demanding to know exactly what I spent is nunyabizness AND rude.




I have never had anyone "demand" to know exactly what I spent on anything, be it a car, furniture or a telescope. But people do "request" that I share with them what the equipment cost me.

They are never rude, it's just part of the conversation, a relevant fact, it's part of the flow, the give and take, the rapport...

I quit riding motorcycles 25 years ago. But if I see a neat motorcycle and the owner happens to be around to talk to, I'll strike up a conversation and sometimes we might talk for 2 minutes, sometimes for 45 minutes. In a 45 minute conversation about a motorcycle, it would be pretty strange if the cost didn't somehow come up.

Jon


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Thomas Karpf
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Reged: 02/09/09

Loc: Newington, CT
Re: "How much did that cost?" new [Re: BigC]
      #5772200 - 04/02/13 06:22 AM

If you are buying a car or a can of beans or a couch, you've been in stores that sell that sort of thing. Unless you live in the middle of nowhere, there are at least several places you can buy that sort of thing within ten minutes of your house. I have six major grocery stores in my town. I have multiple 'car strip malls' within ten minutes of my house. I have a Wal-Mart and Target in my town. If I wanted to go to a Sears, JC Penney, or Filenes, I have one within ten minutes drive. If I insist on going to a K-Mart, I have to drive a whopping fifteen minutes.

Last weekend, I drove TWO HOURS to go to the closest 'telescope store' in my area, and I live in densely populated Connecticut. I went to Highpoint Scientific, which is smaller than a typical Starbucks.

The only telescopes you can find in stores in stores in my area are the usual 'department store' scopes that nobody reading this post would buy. There's one store selling 'bigger' scopes around, and that's about twenty minutes away. They sell Busnhell scopes, and they're still 'department store' scopes.

Newbies have NO idea what a 'real' telescope costs or where to buy one. They've almost certainly never seen a 'not junk' scope for sale in a retail establishment. If you go to Amazon and type 'telescope', there is perhaps one scope on the first page I would even consider suggesting that a newbie buy.

If we want newbies to buy USABLE stuff (so they don't get disappointed quickly), we have to tell them where to go and what to expect they will have to spend in order to get 'not junk'.

When I'm asked what I've spent on one of my scopes, I give them reasonably accurate information. I also tell them where to shop (Astronomics, Highpoint Scientific, Orion Telescopes) where they can talk to someone who will suggest reasonable 'starter' solutions. I've also started compiling a list of complete 'first telescope' packages that are not HORRIBLY expensive and will allow you to actually SEE stuff (6" dobsonian, 8" dobsonian, OMNI XLT 102, maybe a Nexstar 5").

I don't mention looking on Craigslist or tag sales, because what they'll find there is mostly department store 'trash' telescopes. And there's no after-sale support.

You're the only person they've ever seen with a REAL telescope. You're the only person they've ever talked to who has any REAL chance (if you so choose) to steer them in the right direction. I'm sure that you will not be with them when they make a purchase.

PLEASE GIVE INFORMATION THAT ALLOWS THEM TO GET IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME.

PLEASE DON'T BLOW IT OR ASTRONOMY WILL CONTINUE TO BE AN 'ELITE' HOBBY.

Please CHOOSE to be helpful and kind. If you can't or won't be helpful and honest when doing 'public astronomy', then perhaps you should think about what sort of impression a newbie gets when dealing with you as 'the face of the astronomy world'.


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spencerj
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Reged: 11/17/04

Loc: Londonderry, NH
Re: "How much did that cost?" new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5772446 - 04/02/13 09:39 AM

Quote:



I have never had anyone "demand" to know exactly what I spent on anything, be it a car, furniture or a telescope. But people do "request" that I share with them what the equipment cost me.

They are never rude, it's just part of the conversation, a relevant fact, it's part of the flow, the give and take, the rapport...






I like this quote from Jon. The cost is a natural part of the conversation--no matter what you are talking about.

Sure there are people in the world who make everything a competition and others that are looking to pass judgement, but they are in the minority. Treating everyone you meet like they could potentially be one of these people is a tough way to walk around in your everyday life.


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hawk
sage


Reged: 03/12/13

Re: "How much did that cost?" new [Re: Thomas Karpf]
      #5772519 - 04/02/13 10:22 AM

Quote:

You're the only person they've ever seen with a REAL telescope. You're the only person they've ever talked to who has any REAL chance (if you so choose) to steer them in the right direction. I'm sure that you will not be with them when they make a purchase.




I think this is an excellent point. I'd say if someone is asking, it's safest to assume they are interested in what it takes to get started in the hobby, and so telling them you spent five grand on your mount alone is probably not a good idea -- even if it's true -- simply because you're going to scare them away.

In other words, a good response might be: "You might be surprised what you can get without much investment. Mine's a bit more advanced than what you might start out with, but let me tell you about (dobs and nexstars, etc.) that are only a few hundred dollars." If they still press you for specific costs of your setup, then either tell them or don't; it's up to you, because at this point you've already avoided scaring them away entirely.


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ubermick
super member
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Reged: 04/12/12

Loc: San Rafael, CA
Re: "How much did that cost?" new [Re: hawk]
      #5772566 - 04/02/13 10:47 AM

*stands and applauds for Tom's post*

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mark8888
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 09/24/10

Re: "How much did that cost?" new [Re: hawk]
      #5772573 - 04/02/13 10:49 AM

Quote:

In other words, a good response might be: "You might be surprised what you can get without much investment. Mine's a bit more advanced than what you might start out with, but let me tell you about (dobs and nexstars, etc.) that are only a few hundred dollars." If they still press you for specific costs of your setup, then either tell them or don't; it's up to you, because at this point you've already avoided scaring them away entirely.




I think that is exactly right. It's a nice idea to give advice which should satisfy any reasonable intent of why the question was asked, but there's no real reason to have to tell anyone the exact cost of your specific setup.


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Thomas Karpf
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Reged: 02/09/09

Loc: Newington, CT
Re: "How much did that cost?" [Re: mark8888]
      #5772596 - 04/02/13 11:02 AM

Quote:


It's a nice idea to give advice which should satisfy any reasonable intent of why the question was asked, but there's no real reason to have to tell anyone the exact cost of your specific setup.




Certainly they don't need a precise value, but vague ball-park figures would be nice.

NEW complete dob: $500 and up, way up
NEW complete basic refractor: $500-1000 and up, way up
Eyepieces: $50-hundreds

Used: 50-75% of retail
Astrophotography? Multiple costs by 5-10x.


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kenrenard
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Reged: 12/13/12

Loc: Dunmore, PA
Re: "How much did that cost?" [Re: mark8888]
      #5772598 - 04/02/13 11:02 AM

Bravo Tom.

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MessiToM
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 12/21/09

Loc: Huntingdon PA
Re: "How much did that cost?" [Re: kenrenard]
      #5772715 - 04/02/13 11:47 AM

agreed ^

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BigC
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Reged: 09/29/10

Loc: SE Indiana
Re: "How much did that cost?" [Re: Thomas Karpf]
      #5773063 - 04/02/13 02:22 PM

Tom and all.

I think I AM kind when would-be stargazers ask about the hobby.



But then the first thing I do not do is put down the "department store scope " that they may well have at home or is theirs for the asking from a relative or friend.

My way is to ask if they have any particular objects they want to see and if they have a budget.

The oft-maligned cheaper scopes CAN show a lot;how many who initially "got the bug" started off with a high-end scope ?

Now if SOME people want to keep amateur astronomy "elitist" then they should go right on telling everyone that if you don't spend at least $500 for a simple manual refractor or $5000 for a AP-capable scope you won't see anything. I'll tell the questioner about how much you can see with patience and a $150 80EQ wirh RA motor,or a $100 76mm f10 az-el reflector, or mention the $500-$1200 Celestron SE and similar.Certainly the Dobs in the $300-$800 range as well.If they are certain a "real telescope as defined by SOME people" is what they must have,why then I can direct them to some online stores.Because I must drive 90 minutes myself to get to a "science" store that sells telescopes(except I never bothered.)I'll tell them they should do some research online and look at reviews and Youtube videos and probably recommend they buy or get from the library a copy of Backyard Astronomer's Guide or Nightwatch.If they DO happen to have ,or the use of) a "department store scope" I will recommend the techniques I know for getting the most use from it.I don't want to be the guy they blamre for telling them to spend $1000 and all they saw was more little dots in the sky!I have helped a couple people to enjoy the sky and a couple others ,who had scopes, found even with coaching and better eyepiece supplied by me,the night sky just didn't have that much interest versus the television.

Yes, my stuff is from craigslist and ebay and even thrift stores because I did my "homework" or research first.

You know what is funny and sad about my craigslist purchases? Several are nice scopes bought at a huge discount from people who bought an expensive,complicated scope as their first scope or it was a gift,and they were too intimidated by the complexity to ever USE it!Yet they also never used ,perhaps because they really weren't interested,the basic tools of the internet or library to find out how.

It is my opinion that someone who doesn't have enough interest to look up basic facts about ANY hobby or field really insn't that interested.

As a long-time ham radio operator I've seen the recruiting and "evangelism" ;I remember the CB fad.

Make people aware of whatever your hobby is and how much fun YOU have, but if they aren't interested,an "ambassador" or slick sales pitch is a waste of everyone's time.

Every hobby has those who put a lot into it,and every hobby has a lot more who have only a basic setup and enjoy very casual participation when they have a bit of spare time.
I'm NOT putting down those with superb setup, knowledge,and results;just let everyone enjoy the hobby as they choose.

And finally,not everyone wants to be or is suited to be an ambassador.


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Doc Willie
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Reged: 03/31/10

Loc: Mid-Hudson Valley, NY, USA
Re: "How much did that cost?" [Re: BigC]
      #5773095 - 04/02/13 02:53 PM

Another option that I have used:

"How much did that cost?"

About a month's pay.

"How much do you earn."

Now you're getting personal.


Nowadays, "I prefer Are you thinking of getting one?" because that leads to conversation that might be fruitful.


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Paco_Grande
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Reged: 07/14/12

Loc: Banana Republic of California
Re: "How much did that cost?" [Re: spencerj]
      #5773130 - 04/02/13 03:20 PM

Quote:



I like this quote from Jon. The cost is a natural part of the conversation--no matter what you are talking about.






I think you need to go back to the original post and give it another read.

To demand to know what something costs is anti-rapport and not part of a normal conversation. Even if it's done light-heartedly, it's impolite at best. The harder someone pushes me on something like this, the harder I push back. If need be, I'd tell my "friend" to leave.

Discussing cost and discussing what you've spent on something are two different things. The former is part of the natural progression of informing one another. But to ask how much you've spent on your gear is no different than asking how much your face lift cost, or how much you spend on dental care each year. It's simply none of his or her business. Those kinds of questions require a ton of rapport, and trust, and the appropriate circumstances.

The question, "How much do you have in your rig" might really mean, "How much do I have to spend to get a good telescope." People ask lousy questions like the former because they're not thinking or listening. They're just lazy and don't consider that asking a well thought-out question will bring them a well thought-out answer. I generally give them the benefit of the doubt and respond as I previously posted.

Then there's one's attitude. When I sold surgical tables, a plastic surgeon would enter our trade show area, extend his hand and say, "Hello. I'm Dr. Jones. Can you tell me about your equipment, please?" But at a Podiatry convention? It would likely go more like this: The doc would stand on the edge of the area and say, "How much does that cost?" I hated selling to podiatrists.

Clearly, I have too much time on my hands.


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Mike7Mak
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Reged: 12/07/11

Loc: New York
Re: "How much did that cost?" [Re: Paco_Grande]
      #5773254 - 04/02/13 04:18 PM

Geeze, it's just a question. I've been known to ask it myself. Curiousity, pure and simple. I don't ask it about telescopes cuz, well, I know what they cost.

Defensive 'none of yer bidness' reactions seem more about the insecurities of the person being asked than the motives of the person asking. There are people with less money than me and people with a lot more. I feel no embarassment or need to apologize for how I spend MY money.

I honestly couldn't care less why someone would ask, or what they think about my answer. And I really don't care one wit whether they get into the hobby or not so I'm not gonna 'craft' an answer based on that consideration.

It's a simple question with a simple answer. Everything else is psychology.


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Kfrank
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Reged: 12/20/08

Loc: Northern Colorado
Re: "How much did that cost?" [Re: Mike7Mak]
      #5773339 - 04/02/13 04:57 PM

Quote:

Geeze, it's just a question. I've been known to ask it myself. Curiousity, pure and simple. I don't ask it about telescopes cuz, well, I know what they cost.

Defensive 'none of yer bidness' reactions seem more about the insecurities of the person being asked than the motives of the person asking. There are people with less money than me and people with a lot more. I feel no embarassment or need to apologize for how I spend MY money.

I honestly couldn't care less why someone would ask, or what they think about my answer. And I really don't care one wit whether they get into the hobby or not so I'm not gonna 'craft' an answer based on that consideration.

It's a simple question with a simple answer. Everything else is psychology.




BINGO!!! Well said.


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JIMZ7
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Reged: 10/22/05

Loc: S.E.Michigan near DTW
Re: "How much did that cost?" [Re: Kfrank]
      #5773363 - 04/02/13 05:03 PM

I have more people ask me how much power my scope gets than how much it costs.

Jim


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northernontario
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Reged: 07/01/09

Loc: Porcupine, Ontario Canada
Re: "How much did that cost?" [Re: JIMZ7]
      #5773372 - 04/02/13 05:05 PM

It costs less that your wheeler....but more that your fishing boat.

jake


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Mark Costello
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Reged: 03/08/05

Loc: Matthews, NC, USA
Re: "How much did that cost?" [Re: Mike7Mak]
      #5773385 - 04/02/13 05:08 PM

Quote:



.........................

It's a simple question with a simple answer. Everything else is psychology.





The half dozen times that someone asked me this, I've done a very quick read (1-2 sec) of the way they asked (voice tone and pitch, facial expression), and determined to my own satisfaction that in none of the cases was the person asking being snarky or otherwise offensive about it. Usually, they were wondering what it would take to break into the hobby. One time, a fellow member in our church choir asked. He was a fellow amateur with an 8" or 10" Dob. I had told him I just got a 5" refractor and he thought I was in the big leagues with a premium apo. Nope, I just told him that I was fine with the compromises I made in getting a nice 5" achro....


Best Regards,


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