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FrankJ
super member


Reged: 03/06/13

Loc: Ohio
Re: "How much did that cost?" new [Re: Mark Costello]
      #5773484 - 04/02/13 05:35 PM

Some people don't mind being asked how much they paid for this or that and others do. There can be all sorts of discussion on how one should answer when asked. After all is said and done, the point is that it is not in good taste to ask the question.

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Tony Flanders
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: "How much did that cost?" new [Re: FrankJ]
      #5773553 - 04/02/13 05:48 PM

Quote:

After all is said and done, the point is that it is not in good taste to ask the question.




Apparently so -- at least for some people. Many people have asked me how much things cost, and I have sometimes asked others, and reading this note is the first time it has ever occurred to me that some people might consider the question to be in poor taste.

I would, of course, ask discreetly as in "Do you mind my asking how much that cost?"


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psandelle
professor emeritus


Reged: 06/18/08

Loc: Los Angeles
Re: "How much did that cost?" new [Re: FrankJ]
      #5773636 - 04/02/13 06:27 PM

It's funny, whenever I've driven to my darksite in my Ferrari and unloaded my gear, no one's EVER asked how much my telescope costs. Weird.

But seriously...I did used to own Ferraris, and the difference between them and asto gear is that everyone knows Ferrari's are expensive, so if someone asked the price, I could be humorous, though I'd always answer with my actually calculated rule-of-thumb: "As much as a child." And, when I had my son, I got rid of my last Ferrari, so I know this to be true.

With astro gear - not quite the same. When other astronomers ask about my scope, or camera, or something, I know they're asking with real curiosity (I see their gear). Other people haven't a clue, usually, so I tend to answer (because I'm a bit of a gear-head on computers, musical equipment and astro stuff): "What are you thinking of using it for, and how much do you want to spend, and I bet we could find something you'll be happy with." And, it usually happens that way. (I've been the happy introducer of many people to telescopes from rank beginners to a guy who built his own observatory at his house complete with 12.5" PlaneWave on a Paramount - I felt like a proud father at first light.)

But I do understand being reticent to name prices for fear of criminal focus. It's a scary world out there. For the rest of the folk who are going to be snide, they just make me laugh. I can't put a real price on the joy, wonder and relaxation I get from being out under the stars, with just eyes, binocs, or taking pics. It's a wonder to me at all times, so whatever I spend, it's more than worth it.

Paul

P.S. I list my gear not to brag but because all the other kids here did it, so...it was peer pressure!


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rdandrea
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/13/10

Loc: Colorado, USA DM59ra
Re: "How much did that cost?" new [Re: FrankJ]
      #5774032 - 04/02/13 09:01 PM

Quote:

After all is said and done, the point is that it is not in good taste to ask the question.





Yeah, but we can't control what is asked, only how we answer.


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FrankJ
super member


Reged: 03/06/13

Loc: Ohio
Re: "How much did that cost?" new [Re: rdandrea]
      #5774176 - 04/02/13 09:36 PM

Quote:

Quote:

After all is said and done, the point is that it is not in good taste to ask the question.





Yeah, but we can't control what is asked, only how we answer.


I would certainly agree with that.

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Paco_Grande
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/14/12

Loc: Banana Republic of California
Re: "How much did that cost?" new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5774180 - 04/02/13 09:36 PM

Quote:



I would, of course, ask discreetly as in "Do you mind my asking how much that cost?"






Asking discreetly or not, it's an inappropriate question phrased like that. Why do you want to know how much I paid for something? It really is none of your (rhetorical you, not Tony you ) business in any way, shape, or form. Is it because you just kinda wanna know (wink wink) - which feels like a sort of voyeurism to me. Or, are you trying to say, "Wow, this is exactly what I've been looking for. How much would a similar setup cost me?" And if the latter, then why not ask it this way?

The latter is a better phrased inquiry without the voyeurism. I might answer the latter and tell you to get lost with the former.


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bluesteel
sage


Reged: 03/24/13

Loc: ILM
Re: "How much did that cost?" new [Re: rdandrea]
      #5774212 - 04/02/13 09:45 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!


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sonny.barile
professor emeritus


Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: In the middle of the glow.
Re: "How much did that cost?" new [Re: bluesteel]
      #5774310 - 04/02/13 10:18 PM

I have an easier time revealing the cost to a stranger than i do with the people I know. I am from NJ and am surrounded by North Easterners. The stereotypical North Eastern family member wants to think how stupid and irresponsible you are for spending hundreds or even thousands on this stupid thing. They stand there looking at you funny in a pair of $200 prison labor made sneakers and a sweat suit that cost as much as a Panoptic. They think for sure that that money would have been much better spent on deep dish rims or a new Sony PS3. Then there is the (and everyone has one) jealous uncle that just wants to see you fail because his life stinks. None of his life long hair brained schemes ever paid off so he doesnt want to feel like you have out done him. He wants to feel like he has more money than you do.

Oh! I dont have issues now do I................


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buddyjesus
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/07/10

Loc: Davison, Michigan
Re: "How much did that cost?" new [Re: sonny.barile]
      #5774354 - 04/02/13 10:47 PM

I just hope I am not that uncle! IME which is mainly with children doing solar observing outreach, when they ask it is because they want one!

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wz2
Most Boring Astronomer...


Reged: 07/30/10

Re: "How much did that cost?" [Re: BigC]
      #5774418 - 04/02/13 11:21 PM

Quote:

What is a list of your gear if not bragging?

If not offering a list of stuff for sale or trade what else could it be?

It is your right to brag if you like and no one needs my permission or approval.


Entirely different is a list of the gear used in making a specific observation or project.Then the gear is actually germane to the discussion or observation.And knowing what gear was used is helpful to others.

Do you routinely list all your other possessions in public forums ? I don't think so.




Why is it bragging? Jealous some people have more gear than you? Guess what, someone's always going to have more gear than you. I rather like seeing what other people are using. You know who to send PM's to and strike up conversations with people who may be using gear in which you are interested.

Chris


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WarmWeatherGuy
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 08/27/11

Loc: Orlando, FL 28° N, 81° W
Re: "How much did that cost?" [Re: wz2]
      #5774450 - 04/02/13 11:38 PM

Many times people ask questions on CN and people have to then ask them their location or what scope they were using or what camera etc., before they can answer the original question. By including this information people can get a mental picture of the poster which can be helpful.

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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: "How much did that cost?" [Re: Paco_Grande]
      #5774506 - 04/03/13 12:14 AM

Quote:


Asking discreetly or not, it's an inappropriate question phrased like that. Why do you want to know how much I paid for something? It really is none of your (rhetorical you, not Tony you ) business in any way, shape, or form.




Etiquette is about context, when is it appropriate Questions like this need to be taken in the actual context. There is a right time for such questions and there is a wrong time, it's something that one has to feel. People don't just walk up and say, "Hey that's a nice telescope, how much did that cost."

In my experience, such conversations go something like this: It probably starts out with a few looks through the eyepiece, some guidance at what to look for, maybe some oohs and awes... some questions, some answers. Some sort of a rapport begins to develop, more questions and answers, some questions by me, some by the other person. At some point, the question of cost is just part of the natural flow... it's not rude, it's not in appropriate, it feels right, a small friendship is already in the works.

Jon


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Bill Weir
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/01/04

Loc: Metchosin (Victoria), Canada
Re: "How much did that cost?" [Re: WarmWeatherGuy]
      #5774510 - 04/03/13 12:17 AM

When out with my 20" I get asked all the time. At first I was a bit embarassed to tell but still did. Then I thought about it a bit. I don't smoke, drink alcohol or really have any bad habits that bleed money away from me. I'm close to retirement (where good severence will be coming along) and really this is my midlife crisis sports car so to speak. Who out there knows where you can get a high end sports car for under 20 grand? I don't.

Now I quite easily tell the cost of my scope explaining that it is a high end scope and really not needed to enjoy the hobby. For many years I very happily observed with my 6" dob and compiled a list of objects larger than most with my club. My 12.5" was offered to me as an amazing deal by a friend who built it and my wife bought me the premium mrror to put in it. When I got the 20" it was because I came into the money and my wife insisted I get it. At all times I had the cash in hand to buy what I had.

Nothing to be embarased about.

Bill


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BigC
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 09/29/10

Loc: SE Indiana
Re: "How much did that cost?" [Re: wz2]
      #5774580 - 04/03/13 01:06 AM

Quote:

Quote:

What is a list of your gear if not bragging?

If not offering a list of stuff for sale or trade what else could it be?

It is your right to brag if you like and no one needs my permission or approval.


Entirely different is a list of the gear used in making a specific observation or project.Then the gear is actually germane to the discussion or observation.And knowing what gear was used is helpful to others.

Do you routinely list all your other possessions in public forums ? I don't think so.




Why is it bragging? Jealous some people have more gear than you? Guess what, someone's always going to have more gear than you. I rather like seeing what other people are using. You know who to send PM's to and strike up conversations with people who may be using gear in which you are interested.

Chris


NO, Chris, I don't worry about what scopes (or other possessions)others have.And IF I chose to list all mine you might be surprised.Although none of them listed for more than $2K.Jealousy is a waste of time and energy.

I can't think of another hobby where it is routine to show a list of your possesssions except for those relevant to the topic under discussion at the moment.

As I noted ,everyone is free to brag or show off. Some do,some don't.


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BigC
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 09/29/10

Loc: SE Indiana
Re: "How much did that cost?" [Re: BigC]
      #5774588 - 04/03/13 01:17 AM

The one thing this thread shows is that there are differences of opinion.

Yes,OPINION.Although some state their opinion as though it were fact.

By the way,the sky here is clear tonight.That is a FACT.


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buddyjesus
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/07/10

Loc: Davison, Michigan
Re: "How much did that cost?" [Re: BigC]
      #5774614 - 04/03/13 01:55 AM



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Tony Flanders
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: "How much did that cost?" [Re: BigC]
      #5774857 - 04/03/13 08:29 AM

Quote:

The one thing this thread shows is that there are differences of opinion.




In this case I think it goes a bit deeper than opinion; it's a matter of gut reaction and cultural context.

If you invite somebody over to dinner and they start eating the food with their hands, you consider that shocking and perhaps insulting. It's not a matter of opinion; it's a gut reaction.

However, when my brother-in-law comes over after work wearing jacket and tie (he's a doctor) and starts eating the food I have served with his hands, I find it perfectly normal. That's because he's from India, and I have spent considerable time in India, where eating food with your hands is the norm and using silverware is a little odd.

Likewise, it's clear that when many people here are asked about things relating to money, they find the question shocking and in poor taste. To me, money is just money -- it doesn't have any overtones of insult, envy, personal worth, and so on.

When I ask a fellow amateur astronomer how much his equipment cost, it might well be because I'm considering buying it and want to weigh its cost/benefit to me. However, pure curiosity is a perfectly sufficient motivation.

After all, astronomical equipment is available on the open market; the price of your equipment isn't exactly a secret. I could look it all up on the internet if I really cared, but asking you is a handy shortcut.


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FrankJ
super member


Reged: 03/06/13

Loc: Ohio
Re: "How much did that cost?" [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5774898 - 04/03/13 08:50 AM

I agree with Tony. We have got to remember that when we have a discussion on any forum, we are talking to people with different cultures--people from different countries. Something that is proper for one would not be proper for another. That does not mean that one is wrong and the other is right. I should have kept that in mind when I made my remark on this forum. As an example, I think back on a comment I made when I said that it is in bad taste to ask someone what they paid for something. I should have said "Some may feel that it is in bad taste to ask that question. So it would be best if you know the person and how he/she might feel about asking For some it might be an appropriate question while others may think not." So I retract my first remark.

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City Kid
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/06/09

Loc: Northern Indiana
Re: "How much did that cost?" new [Re: FrankJ]
      #5774987 - 04/03/13 09:21 AM

I don't necessarily find being asked how much my stuff cost to be rude. I think I'm reluctant to answer because of the way I grew up. In the neighborhood I grew up in the only reason anyone other than a close friend would want to know the value of anything was to gage whether or not it was worth the effort to try to steal it. It was not uncommon to have anything left unattended stolen in broad daylight. Houses being broken into were also not uncommon. If someone was walking down the street or driving by and giving more than a casual glance towards your house it was because they were scoping the place out. Very sad but very true. So I guess growing up this way generated a natural distrust of people. The only time I'm really hesitant to answer the question of how much my stuff costs is if the person asking knows where I live. Again, I know it's really sad that I feel this way but I can't help it. I spent too much of my life around people that justify this mild paranoia.

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Jarrod
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 01/20/13

Loc: SE USA
Re: "How much did that cost?" [Re: Bill Weir]
      #5775038 - 04/03/13 09:34 AM

Quote:

this is my midlife crisis sports car so to speak. Who out there knows where you can get a high end sports car for under 20 grand? I don't....
Nothing to be embarased about.





Bill nailed it. If you had a $20k "hobby car" in your garage, nobody would think twice. In fact, something like that would more than likely be considered a sensible pastime.

Also, telescopes don't need to be licensed, insured, and don't burn $4 per gallon liquids in order for you to be able to use them.


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