Monday, October 26, 2009

My thoughts

So I asked your opinion on if it's ever ok to ask what something costs, and got back the classic lawyerly answer, "it depends", which is of course true. It does depend.

If someone asked me what to expect to have to pay for a car, or a good bicycle, or an apartment in NYC, I would feel comfortable giving a range of prices and a description of what they'd get for the lows and highs. I would not feel comfortable giving the exact price of our lease, or if we had a car, the car. Primarily because until you've lived in Manhattan, you can't relate to the price of things, but also because I find it rude to ask. If some one asked me what I pay for cable/internet, what I paid for my jacket, or what I pay for visits to my vet's - I'm happy to give an exact price.

The situation that prompted me to ask y'all this question is about parents. In my family, parents and siblings do not want or need to know the specific details of their children's lives, such as how much they pay for their housing. They do not ask about it because they would consider it rude. In E's family, his parents are insulted that we do not share this information with them. So I was wondering if it is a cultural thing of my family to consider it rude.

Thanks for the feedback!


  1. Interesting. We don't really talk about it in my family, either... but no one would consider it rude to ask. It's funny how two families can be so different.

  2. I call it privacy. The price of a jacket or vet bill (for standard service) is fairly available to the public, they're just asking you because it's more convenient than doing their own research. Because housing and automobile prices are negotiable and values are somewhat subjective nailing down the exact price may color their opinion of you (paid too much, thrifty, etc) which is not always desirable depending on how well you know the person.


I'd love to know what you think: