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Would you ask?

(108 Posts)
Willow10 Tue 05-Feb-19 11:22:57

I'm expecting someone to call to give a quote for a roof repair today. I'm also waiting for a call from the gas man about a boiler leak. My neighbour calls in for coffee occasionally and I know exactly what her first question will be - 'how much did that cost you?' She has been asking personal questions about finances ever since I moved in almost six years ago. Is it just me or would others find it extremely rude? I would never dream of asking anyone that question, I don't even ask my grown up children - it's no one else's business as far as I'm concerned. But somehow I've never found the right response that won't sound offensive or rude, so I just blurt out the cost! How do other people deal with this and what would your response be?

janeainsworth Tue 05-Feb-19 11:30:11

Some people are like that Willow.
It annoys me too.

The best way to respond is to say that you differentiate between price and value for money, ie you may pay less for something, but the thing you pay more for may be better value, long term.
Refer to people who shop on price in a disdainful tone.
If you really want to shut her up, quote John Ruskin:
There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey.

Nonnie Tue 05-Feb-19 12:26:55

I imagine it is as much the way she asks as what she asks. For example, I might ask a neighbour who they used to service their boiler and how much it cost. Nothing wrong with that but I would never ask how much they paid for a dress, car etc. I think I'm trying to say that there is nothing wrong with asking about a useful service but not about anything personal. Some people volunteer information when you pay them a compliment about things.

Fennel Tue 05-Feb-19 12:31:54

I had a friend like that and if I told her she would look horrified and make me feel guilty.
So in the end I either lied blush or said 'not telling.'
She was a good friend in other ways.

FlexibleFriend Tue 05-Feb-19 12:36:42

Maybe she needs some work done but doesn't have a clue what anything costs, it's not something you know until you ask. I needed work done on my roof a couple of years ago and didn't have any idea what it would cost. I rang a roofer and he came along and gave me a quote which I accepted and the job was done. I was shocked at the price, it was much lower than expected. If it was higher then yeah I would have got a few more quotes and would have came up with whatever was needed but not everyone can. I don't care what anyone asks me, I assume they have a reason for asking.

Willow10 Tue 05-Feb-19 12:51:26

I understand if someone says they need something and are genuinly needed to find out prices. I'm quite happy to pass on the information in that case. But I've learned over the years that is not the case with my neighbour - it's just because she is plain nosey! For instance - why does she need to know how much my pension is? I can just never think of a polite response other than mind your own business!confused

Nonnie Tue 05-Feb-19 12:57:28

That would be invasive Willow and I wouldn't answer.
However, I have a friend who has volunteered that information to me and so has her DH. It may be that she would be happy to tell you all those things about her. I would bluff in some way or make a flippant remark. Shame to spoil a friendship.

janeainsworth Tue 05-Feb-19 13:17:25

For instance - why does she need to know how much my pension is?

You don’t have to answer that. Does she work for HMRC??
Just say, “I’m sorry, I’m not going to answer that.”
If you manage to look suitably annoyed at the same time, she may get the message!

Willow10 Tue 05-Feb-19 13:20:34

Thank you for your replies. To be honest I'm not that interested in what anyone pays for anything and just wouldn't ask. It's up to them if they want to share it of course. Like most people, I'm happy to share if I think I've got a bargain or it would help them to know. I certainly won't let it spoil a friendship but I was curious about how others deal with it.

Oldwoman70 Tue 05-Feb-19 13:26:46

Perhaps you could just ask her how much she thinks it costs and then no matter what figure she comes up with tell her she is right. As for asking how much your pension is, that is a step too far - I would ask her why she wants to know.

MacCavity2 Tue 05-Feb-19 13:28:24

I say “I can’t remember “ which in my case is usually the truth without checking my bank statement. Once I’ve bought and paid for something I why should I remember what I’ve paid for it. But I have a cousin who knows exactly to the penny the price of everything she pays for. Conversations with her are pretty tedious.

Farmor15 Tue 05-Feb-19 13:34:16

As Oldwoman suggests, ask her why she wants to know, in a friendly, polite tone.

FlexibleFriend Tue 05-Feb-19 13:39:11

The pension question is a bit much but turn it on her "How much is yours" and see what she does. If she thinks it's rude just say " Yeah I thought so too". If she tells you, you can reply with " Oh lucky you, mines not quite so good" or "Mine's slightly better than that" and tell her a bogus figure about a tenner more. You might get an insight into where she's coming from. Just sounds like she's lonely and wants a friend to me but needs a wider range of topics to discuss.

M0nica Tue 05-Feb-19 13:40:49

My response would vary with the circumstances. If I had just had my boiler serviced and a friend asked how much I was charged, I would tell without a second thought. If someone asked me what my pension was I would say 'That's a very personal question and not one I am going to answer'

PECS Tue 05-Feb-19 13:51:24

If anyone asked personal finance questions about my income I might borrow a phrase I heard a colleague use when a child asked her what she earned, " Less than my worth but more than enough to live"

mumofmadboys Tue 05-Feb-19 14:00:57

Re the pension could you say'It's enough fortunately'. And follow it up with a different topic like 'would you like a coffee?'

Gonegirl Tue 05-Feb-19 14:08:24

Maybe she wants to get a vague idea of how much these things cost in case she needs ever to have the same work done. It's not as though she's asking how much you paid for your furniture or the dress you're wearing.

Gonegirl Tue 05-Feb-19 14:10:13

Oh, I wouldn't answer question about personal finances. Sorry, didn't read the follow-on information.

Urmstongran Tue 05-Feb-19 14:41:57

Oh gosh janeainsworth if I said

‘There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey.’

They’d say ‘eh?’
I’m not even sure I’d be able to say all that in the right sequence. 🤣🤣

Day6 Tue 05-Feb-19 14:44:59

This is by the by but we had three tiles replaced on the roof and the ridge tiles cemented in and we paid the roofer recommended to us quite a lot of money for about two hours work. confused OH and I both thought it a bit steep, no pub intended. g

I wish we'd had a few more quotes now, or a neighbour who had similar work done so we could compare prices! grin

Day6 Tue 05-Feb-19 14:45:58

Grrr.Tablet typos!!!!

Tangerine Tue 05-Feb-19 14:46:38

No, I wouldn't ask. However, I often notice people tell me what they pay for things and ask me what I have paid for similar things/services.

If I don't really care about the specific matter, I tell them. Otherwise, I pretend I've forgotten the exact amount.

If someone is a good friend in other ways, I wouldn't fall out over it. Why not tell a white lie and tell her a slightly different price if, for example, you don't want her to know how much you paid for your car. Perhaps some people would think that a big bad black lie but I don't think it would harm anyone.

ffinnochio Tue 05-Feb-19 15:09:47

I think I’d like to tease by saying, “Oh, gosh! Far, far too much!”, refuse to expand on that and then leave her hanging. If she is as nosey as you say, then I suspect this might irritate her immensely ..... and maybe teach her not to ask again. 🙂

annep1 Wed 06-Feb-19 13:03:49

I would never ask about someone's private income savings investments etc. But I think people are much too secretive about some financial things. If a friend gets a job done by a tradesman and you think its a good job and you would like him to do same for you what is wrong with asking how much it cost? This is just one example. I would not ask but I don't see why people can't share the information. And its natural to be interested in how much jobs cost. I don't know why it's seen as bad practice to ask.

sodapop Wed 06-Feb-19 13:10:31

Yes I agree with that annepl there is a difference and I wouldn't have a problem disclosing the cost of repairs etc.