Probably the most irritating question you can ask me. Not that I don’t ever ask it, but I only do when I’m seriously considering buying whatever that thing is. And I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing, just that I don’t see a point knowing the price of a certain thing I have absolutely no intention of buying.
Ask my friends, relatives or family members, they’ll tell you about my two standard responses to this stupid question:
(Polite): “I don’t remember…”
(Rude): “Why, do you want to buy this right now?”
And I exit the scene right then. I don’t care if they “find out” about the price through other means. The important thing for me is to not contribute to a meaningless and thoroughly unimportant discussion about price.
The reality is that most folks want to guess or know the ‘purchasing power’ of the person next to them. Why? I don’t have a freaking clue! They just want to know. More specifically, we Indians get curious about money and money-matters. It’s like God has installed a sensor that can detect money from miles away! Of course, it isn’t accurate. That’s why people ask this question in the first place.
My logic is simply this — wouldn’t you be better off minding your own business than guessing what the person next to you makes a year or his/her net worth? How does the other person different from you if they own an iPhone or a premium/luxury car or wears a Prada or a Rolex or a Macbook Pro? These can be financed and paid back in equated monthly instalments. That’s common knowledge, yet people seem to be astonished. “How could they?” is their ultimate question. Here’s how — they decided to stretch a little and invest in themselves for their own joy or to just show off, while you decided to stay cheap and live normally. That’s all.
If this is a gap, so be it. And yes, it widens with the other person’s stature and position at their workplace and/or society. That is o-k-a-y. We just need to be accepting of this gap and move on with our lives.
Let me tell you, knowing the price doesn’t really matter. What you doing is pull this person aside and ask them, “hey, how’s is it that you are able to afford this and I can’t?” They just might tell you that they’ve been dreaming about owing a BMW since they were 12 and they decided to save up, make a heft downpayment and own it for like 3 years. You’ll wonder, “hmm, that’s doable. Even I can do this.”
The best case scenario would be them telling you what you really need to do get to where they are. And that’s priceless. (Pun non intended.)
I believe not asking this critical question is costing you a lot of money, joy and your life. Think big and ask questions that really matter.