Etiquette Hell

Etiquette School is in session! => "What an interesting assumption." => Topic started by: goldilocks on June 14, 2013, 04:25:36 PM

Title: You can't afford this
Post by: goldilocks on June 14, 2013, 04:25:36 PM
I wanted my front yard re-landscaped.  It was all overgrown and looked a lot like the Munsters house.  Neither my husband or I are into yard work, and it had gotten completely out of hand, but DH didn't seem to care.

So, I called a landscape vendor out and he gave me a quote of $4500.   Very nice man who explained everything in great detail.

NOTE:  I live in an "average" neighbor hood of 3 BR houses, small yards, mostly young couples starting out.  I'm middle-aged, but I've been in this house almost 15 years.  I could afford a house 3X this size, but have no need to move.

DH insisted I get a 2nd quote.  Fine - Vendor number 2 comes out, and as soon as he got out of his truck I could see he had attitude.

"You're going to have to rip up everything""   (Yeah, we know that)

"That tree removal alone will be $500!!"  (yeah, knew that too)

Finally he told me, in an irritated voice - this is going to cost at least $4000 and you can't afford that.

I thanked him for his time.   The 4500 quote actually got DH motivated - he hired 2 teenage boys to help with the hard stuff and we did the lawn ourselves for about $1500.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: LeveeWoman on June 14, 2013, 04:59:14 PM
What a moron! Did you call his boss?
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: veronaz on June 14, 2013, 05:08:24 PM
Quote
Finally he told me, in an irritated voice - this is going to cost at least $4000 and you can't afford that.

How insulting!  >:(  He has no idea what you can afford.  That type of presumptuous attitude makes me sick. 
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: Mental Magpie on June 14, 2013, 06:26:24 PM
I'm afraid I would not have been able to hold my tongue.  You did much better than I.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: veronaz on June 14, 2013, 07:55:00 PM
OPÖ.a little story:

Iím acquainted with a couple who quietly built their wealth.  Wife is quite plain looking and dowdy (no makeup, no jewelry) and went into a fancy boutique looking for a gift for her daughter.  The saleslady was snotty and acted like she didnít want to be bothered.  So wife walked out and decided to shop elsewhere Ė she drove to another store in her new midnight blue Jaguar, which I happen to know she paid cash for (something in the neighborhood of $160K).   ;)
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: kherbert05 on June 14, 2013, 09:38:48 PM
I have a relative who is a
commercial fisherman
multi-millionaire


He still works his own boats. He looks like a commercial fisherman - hands, tan, weathered face.




He is doing a big deal with some people from another province. They insist on not using a local bank. He drives into the capital in his pickup that has ended up in the river twice. (Once the ice broke, once the boys didn't set the brake properly.). He is wearing slacks and a sweater. (suits and ties for baptisms, weddings, and funerals). He gets to the bank, goes to the banker's office - and is refused entry by some official. Banker is in an important meeting it seems. Knowing relative he only gave his name once or twice. He isn't going to argue the point with someone from away. He leaves. Goes to his pick up. Calls the other party, who is sitting in the banker's office. Relative tells them - bank won't let me in. If you want to do business with me meet me at Other Bank (were all the managers are locals). Walks in without an appointment tells the Banker what is up - banker finds time to meet with them deal goes through.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: Oh Joy on June 15, 2013, 05:34:13 AM
That was a completely inappropriate assumption, and a poor business decision.  But I will provide the perspective that it's very possible that the past X number of houses in similar neighborhoods that he visited have not accepted quotes for similar work, saying they can't afford it.  And this is probably a busy time of year for him.  If he's allocating too much time to free estimates that don't turn into paying jobs, he'd be better served to change his business model (like free phone consults while looking at a satellite image of the property). 

Just wish he'd said 'folks in your shoes are usually only looking to spend a grand or so for a job like this,' or used similar phrasing, because that's likely what he really meant...not a commentary on your personal net worth.

Can you tell I work with lots of small businesses?   :D
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: menley on June 15, 2013, 09:31:09 AM
<snip>
Just wish he'd said 'folks in your shoes are usually only looking to spend a grand or so for a job like this,' or used similar phrasing, because that's likely what he really meant...not a commentary on your personal net worth.
<snip>

Honestly, I would find that just as insulting.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: MrTango on June 15, 2013, 11:13:21 AM
Would it be bad to respond: "Can you afford to make that assumption?"
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: veronaz on June 15, 2013, 01:01:04 PM
<snip>
Just wish he'd said 'folks in your shoes are usually only looking to spend a grand or so for a job like this,' or used similar phrasing, because that's likely what he really meant...not a commentary on your personal net worth.
<snip>

Honestly, I would find that just as insulting.

I agree; that is just as insulting.  He knows nothing about their "shoes" and OP said nothing about telling him their spending limitations.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: Mental Magpie on June 15, 2013, 04:28:13 PM
Would it be bad to respond: "Can you afford to make that assumption?"

That's pretty much what I would have said, but I probably would have added some not so polite sarcasm in there.



I also agree with the others; I would find that just as insulting.  He may have a good gripe but that doesn't excuse assumptions.  I just posted in the I won't shop THERE again thread about a bank treating me badly because of what another corrections officer did.  No reason for them to take anything out on me because they're unhappy about something else.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: Tea Drinker on June 15, 2013, 04:58:41 PM
That was a completely inappropriate assumption, and a poor business decision.  But I will provide the perspective that it's very possible that the past X number of houses in similar neighborhoods that he visited have not accepted quotes for similar work, saying they can't afford it.  And this is probably a busy time of year for him.  If he's allocating too much time to free estimates that don't turn into paying jobs, he'd be better served to change his business model (like free phone consults while looking at a satellite image of the property). 

Just wish he'd said 'folks in your shoes are usually only looking to spend a grand or so for a job like this,' or used similar phrasing, because that's likely what he really meant...not a commentary on your personal net worth.

Can you tell I work with lots of small businesses?   :D

The thing is, it would have taken him the same amount of time to say "It would cost $4000, are you looking to spend that much?" as what he did say. The only way he could have saved time would have been to look at the address and decline to come out in the first place.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: NyaChan on June 15, 2013, 05:43:22 PM
This is obviously insulting.  I was thinking though, it is insulting whether you can in truth afford the item or not, but it would be a bit more frustrating to know you can afford it and be told you can't - I say that because, there really is no gracious way (that I can think up I mean) to refute what they say without and my not so nice parts would absolutely want to.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: Outdoor Girl on June 15, 2013, 07:37:10 PM
I live in a neighbourhood where the homes cost on the lower end of what single family detached houses go for in my city.  So I could definitely see someone doing this to me.  I'd ask them, 'How do you know what I can afford?'  I could have won the lottery, I could have received an inheritance, I could have been saving for years.

ETA:  a somewhat related story

I was getting quotes to have my garage spray foamed.  Part of my house is above my garage and I was having some heat loss issues, as well as concerns about CO and other gases from my car getting up into my house.  I had one guy show up; I explained to him what I wanted and he told me he wouldn't do that.  We argued back and forth for quite a while and he finally just said he wouldn't do the job and left.  And I thought, good 'cause there is no way I would hire you, anyway.  The next guy?  Also told me he couldn't do what I wanted.  But he explained WHY he couldn't do what I wanted and explained what he would be able to do.  I don't remember if I went with him or with the other company I contacted but I certainly didn't go with the first guy.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: veronaz on June 15, 2013, 07:43:54 PM
I live in a neighbourhood where the homes cost on the lower end of what single family detached houses go for in my city.  So I could definitely see someone doing this to me.  I'd ask them, 'How do you know what I can afford?'  I could have won the lottery, I could have received an inheritance, I could have been saving for years.

POD.

I'm sure most of us know (or know of) people who live in fancy neighborhoods but are cash-poor and have debt up the yingyang.  Maxed out credit cards, little or no savings, living the so-called good life while putting on a show to impress everyone......holding their breath until it all comes crashing down.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: Outdoor Girl on June 16, 2013, 10:16:17 AM
If I won or inherited a small amount, I wouldn't be interested in leaving my neighbourhood.  I like my neighbours and my house.  I've done a lot of garden work that I'm proud of.  It isn't finished yet and if I came into some money, I probably would hire somebody to help me finish it.

On the other hand, if I won a large lottery, I probably would build my dream house.  :)
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: Zilla on June 16, 2013, 11:36:58 AM
I would have probably said, "You are right.  I can't afford your attitude.  Bub Bye." and turn around and walk in your house.  What a jerk!  Glad you got your yard done!
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: BeagleMommy on June 17, 2013, 08:56:53 AM
What a boor!  There was no way he could have known your finances just by where you lived or what your appearance was.  I don't think I could have been so polite.

When I was a newlywed I was working in a high end department store in the Washington, DC area until my government clearances were completed.  As a cashier in the designer dresses department I saw people throw down some serious cash for dresses and furs (fur salon was on the same floor).  We were also trained to watch for shoplifters.  One afternoon a cashier called security to the department for a suspected shoplifter.  Security arrived and she pointed out a woman wearing jeans, a sweatshirt and her hair tied in a scarf.  The lady was not acting suspiciously.  When security questioned the lady it was discovered she was the wife of the Venezuelan ambassador.  The cashier was asked what made her think the lady was shoplifting and she said "Well, LOOK at her!".  Cashier was fired.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: cwm on June 17, 2013, 09:08:57 AM
When I was working at the outdoors store, we frequently had farmers coming in. They didn't look all that fancy, often came in with dirt-stained overalls. The thing is, when they wanted something, they'd have cash in hand. We had one salesperson try to turn one of them away. Luckily the customer was a regular and someone else noticed him. That employee got a good talking-to about never assuming based on looks what someone could or couldn't afford.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: courtsmad25 on June 17, 2013, 12:01:18 PM
SO TRUE! I did a small business on the side (think Mary Kay but naughtier), and it was my experience that people in the "nicer up and coming" area was all flash but no cash. ::)

And..on the flip side, I have a cousin who drives a 15 year old truck, has a long beard and looks like all of the members on "Duck Dynasty", and is a millionaire several times over.. 
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: Minmom3 on June 17, 2013, 12:08:21 PM
Heh.  Back in the early 1970's, I had a boyfriend with a mother who was a candy heiress.  Owned a lot of land in a pricey area of Los Angeles, but didn't dress too impressively.  Decided, in part thanks to her car crazed son, to trade in her Mustang for a Porsche.  Went, with son, to the Beverly Hills Porsche dealer, and picked out a car.  Told salesman she wanted that one.  Salesman brought her in to the room to do up the documents, where he also asked her about payments.  She said she'd write him a check.  He wasn't sure he could accept a check and let her drive the car away - think she meant to write him a check for the down payment, when in fact she meant to buy the car with one check, that day.  He said he'd have to check with his manager about accepting the check, and he took a check with him to inquire.  Came back white faced, as apparently the bank told him how much money she had in their bank... ... ...  Was NOT a small amount, she was a multimillionaire back in the day when that was a lot rarer than it is now, and the manager glad handed her until she got in the car and drove away.  Boyfriend thought it was the funniest thing ever.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: veronaz on June 17, 2013, 12:26:25 PM
Goor story about the Porsche, but
Quote
Came back white faced, as apparently the bank told him how much money she had in their bank... ... ...  Was NOT a small amount, she was a multimillionaire back in the day

I realize this was back in the 70s and things have changed, but banks aren't supposed to tell how much a person has in their account.  Serious breach.  However, they can verify there is enough to cover a particular check.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: ladyknight1 on June 17, 2013, 03:08:06 PM
My grandfather was a farmer and was very well off. He only dressed up for church and had several businesses discount him because of his appearance and what he drove.

Same with DH's grandfather, who was a retired commercial pilot and owned a golf course. He would drive around the area in his gullwing Mercedes, but people would still judge him because he didn't dress in a fancy manner.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: sleepy59 on June 17, 2013, 05:04:36 PM
This thread has reminded me of an incident from years ago.

Background - I married my ex-husband when I was 19 and he was 21.  We bought our first house 2 months after we got married, we sold it a year later and bought house number 2.  We had DS1 while we were in the first house and 18 months later we had DS2. - end background

Two years after we bought house 2 we decided to sell the house and move closer to where my husband worked.  I started looking at new build houses while he was at work.  It was a hot summer and one day I was wearing cut off denim shorts, not what I would normally wear for house hunting but I was exploring the area with the kids and stumbled across a development I didn't know existed.

I walked into the sales office and started asking about their 3 bedroom homes.  The lady looked me up and down and said "we have nothing in your price range".  She then turned her back and walked off.

I just turned and walked out, to be honest if that was her attitude I didn't want to have to deal with her during the buying process. 

We kept looking and about two weeks later we put down the deposit on a 3 bedroom detached house which was perfect.  I did have the last laugh though when the building company went bust before they managed to sell all of the houses they had built.  I wonder how many other people the sales woman decided weren't good enough to buy one of their homes.

Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: lurkerwisp on June 18, 2013, 12:29:19 PM
On the opposite side of things, on our honeymoon DH and I had a great time shopping at antique stores down in the French Quarter.  Because we were dressed so nicely, him in nice new shoes and me in my fur-lined jacket, because it was a special event and we were enjoying the fancy restaurants - the salespeople at the antique stores and art galleries were giving us the grand tour.  It was fun, but there was really nothing we could even remotely afford in there.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: Minmom3 on June 18, 2013, 11:09:00 PM
Goor story about the Porsche, but
Quote
Came back white faced, as apparently the bank told him how much money she had in their bank... ... ...  Was NOT a small amount, she was a multimillionaire back in the day

I realize this was back in the 70s and things have changed, but banks aren't supposed to tell how much a person has in their account.  Serious breach.  However, they can verify there is enough to cover a particular check.

What they used to do, professionally, was say "high 3 digits.  Low 5 digits.  High 7-8-9 digits".  It gave out no actual info, just assured the vendor or other bank that there was or was not enough money to cover a check tendered to them.  They did that in California A LOT in those days.  Don't know what they do now.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: lowspark on June 20, 2013, 03:00:08 PM
This is a classic error made by many salespeople and contractors. I had it happen to me when I was buying a new car many years ago. The salesman flat out told me that the car I was interested in was expensive and wouldn't I be interested in these other (cheaper) cars? I bought the car I wanted... from a different dealership.

When I was remodeling my kitchen, DH and I did about 9 months worth of shopping and researching before we even talked to the first contractor. I got several quotes and I would hand them a list of materials, a list of tasks they were to complete, and a layout drawing. So it was pretty clear that I knew exactly what I wanted and that I'd done my homework.

And yet I still had a couple of these guys say "do you realize how much this is going to cost?" or "wow, that's a lot. It's going to be expensive to do all this."

Ummm... yeah. I kinda figured that out when I was doing all this research and shopping.

What gets me is they bothered to show up, they bothered to listen to everything I had to say, they bothered to take notes and ask quesitions, and then, without the benefit of actually giving me an estimate, they threw away all that time and effort by making my decision to not hire them for me.

I did do the remodel. It did cost me a bundle. I had saved up for it and paid for it all at that time. And the contractor I hired never once doubted what I told him or asked for.

Why throw away business before you even have it?
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: Janice on June 25, 2013, 05:25:28 PM
We're currently shopping for a reno contractor. We live in a nice area in an older house, and because we're younger than a lot of people, we get the assumption either that we're renting or that we are financially strapped, neither of which are true. We interviewed a contractor last week who basically did everything BUT say out loud "I don't think you can afford this so I feel that I'm wasting my time and I'm not interested." It came through loud and clear, and neither of us were impressed.

Due to his crappy 'tude, he's just lost an opportunity at a 6-figure contract. And I certainly wouldn't recommend him to anyone else, either.

Remember that old saying: when you "assume" you make an A** out of U and ME!
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: RooRoo on June 25, 2013, 10:12:51 PM
I'm reminded of my cousin F. He was an ol' farmer. He had a bank account with the same bank all his life. He owned a lot of land, and as the suburbs of Boston expanded, he sold off his land a little bit at a time - always researching the developers, making sure they were good businesses, and would build nice neighborhoods. As a result, he had a LOT of money. He began investing, and did well at that, too. And he always paid by check - never took out a loan.

When he was in his 60's (about 30 years ago), there was an opportunity he wanted to invest in, but didn't have the cash needed handy. So he went to his bank - the one he had been doing business with for around 50 years - to get a loan. The loan officer wouldn't loan him anything - because he had no credit history! Cousin F just said, "Is (first name of long-time bank president) here?" and walked right into the man's office. Loud laughter came out.

He got the loan.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: jaxsue on July 01, 2013, 08:31:23 AM
That was a completely inappropriate assumption, and a poor business decision.  But I will provide the perspective that it's very possible that the past X number of houses in similar neighborhoods that he visited have not accepted quotes for similar work, saying they can't afford it.  And this is probably a busy time of year for him.  If he's allocating too much time to free estimates that don't turn into paying jobs, he'd be better served to change his business model (like free phone consults while looking at a satellite image of the property). 

Just wish he'd said 'folks in your shoes are usually only looking to spend a grand or so for a job like this,' or used similar phrasing, because that's likely what he really meant...not a commentary on your personal net worth.

Can you tell I work with lots of small businesses?   :D

I find that equally insulting. I know very wealthy people who live in simple homes. I also know some people who live in mcmansions who are up to their eyeballs in debt. If any business owner said this to me I'd show them the door, along with a few comments that made my point. And I disagree that a comment like this would not be a personal comment. It is very personal...and very presumptuous.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: veronaz on July 01, 2013, 08:39:53 AM
Quote
And I disagree that a comment like this would not be a personal comment. It is very personal...and very presumptuous.

POD

Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: Sterling on July 01, 2013, 10:22:29 AM
Yeah I would be annoyed with the new phrasing as well.  My house is very large and very run down.  It is late period Victorian that has had little updating since then.  The updating that was done was done poorly.  Literally the master bathroom is a former bedroom that they just put a toilet and shower in.  they didn't tile the floor or anything.  Heck the toilet is against a door and they took the door knob off and called it good.

However the house is in a coveted neighborhood and we are remodeling it from the foundation up.  We got the house at a bottom of the barrel price.  Yes on the outside it look crappy and on the inside some of the rooms look pretty bad and some are half torn apart with piles of tools and construction materials spread out.  But we are going room by room and doing a lot of work ourselves.  We do hire people occasionally and if anyone made an assumption about what we could afford we wouldn't work with them.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: Oh Joy on July 01, 2013, 12:16:38 PM
That was a completely inappropriate assumption, and a poor business decision.  But I will provide the perspective that it's very possible that the past X number of houses in similar neighborhoods that he visited have not accepted quotes for similar work, saying they can't afford it.  And this is probably a busy time of year for him.  If he's allocating too much time to free estimates that don't turn into paying jobs, he'd be better served to change his business model (like free phone consults while looking at a satellite image of the property). 

Just wish he'd said 'folks in your shoes are usually only looking to spend a grand or so for a job like this,' or used similar phrasing, because that's likely what he really meant...not a commentary on your personal net worth.

Can you tell I work with lots of small businesses?   :D

I find that equally insulting. I know very wealthy people who live in simple homes. I also know some people who live in mcmansions who are up to their eyeballs in debt. If any business owner said this to me I'd show them the door, along with a few comments that made my point. And I disagree that a comment like this would not be a personal comment. It is very personal...and very presumptuous.

I'm appreciating the opportunity to read other perspectives on this.

I just don't see any connection between how much consumers usually decide to pay for a particular job and how much money they actually have.    If I were to ask my mechanic about some pricey specialty tires and he told me people usually only want to spend about a grand on tires for a similar vehicle, I wouldn't see it as a judgment of my bank balance, KWIM?

But I'm a financial advisor and have the unique opportunity to see people's complete financial pictures.  It's completely ingrained in me to not equate lavish lifestyles with big bank accounts, or modest lifestyles with small bank accounts.  The Millionaire Next Door series of books is an interesting read as well, with the premise being that folks who actually have a lot of money have that money because, well, they don't spend it on an expensive lifestyle and they make every dollar count.   :)
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: Mental Magpie on July 01, 2013, 12:20:06 PM
That was a completely inappropriate assumption, and a poor business decision.  But I will provide the perspective that it's very possible that the past X number of houses in similar neighborhoods that he visited have not accepted quotes for similar work, saying they can't afford it.  And this is probably a busy time of year for him.  If he's allocating too much time to free estimates that don't turn into paying jobs, he'd be better served to change his business model (like free phone consults while looking at a satellite image of the property). 

Just wish he'd said 'folks in your shoes are usually only looking to spend a grand or so for a job like this,' or used similar phrasing, because that's likely what he really meant...not a commentary on your personal net worth.

Can you tell I work with lots of small businesses?   :D

I find that equally insulting. I know very wealthy people who live in simple homes. I also know some people who live in mcmansions who are up to their eyeballs in debt. If any business owner said this to me I'd show them the door, along with a few comments that made my point. And I disagree that a comment like this would not be a personal comment. It is very personal...and very presumptuous.

I'm appreciating the opportunity to read other perspectives on this.

I just don't see any connection between how much consumers usually decide to pay for a particular job and how much money they actually have.    If I were to ask my mechanic about some pricey specialty tires and he told me people usually only want to spend about a grand on tires for a similar vehicle, I wouldn't see it as a judgment of my bank balance, KWIM?

But I'm a financial advisor and have the unique opportunity to see people's complete financial pictures.  It's completely ingrained in me to not equate lavish lifestyles with big bank accounts, or modest lifestyles with small bank accounts.  The Millionaire Next Door series of books is an interesting read as well, with the premise being that folks who actually have a lot of money have that money because, well, they don't spend it on an expensive lifestyle and they make every dollar count.   :)

There's a difference in "you don't want to spend more than a grand" and "people in your shoes wouldn't want to spend more than a grand".  The second is a judgment statement, the first is advice in general.  The first says that spending anything more than a grand is unnecessary, the second says "you don't have enough money for anything more than a grand and I'm basing that on looking at you because there is no way I know your financial situation."
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: Oh Joy on July 01, 2013, 12:29:16 PM
That was a completely inappropriate assumption, and a poor business decision.  But I will provide the perspective that it's very possible that the past X number of houses in similar neighborhoods that he visited have not accepted quotes for similar work, saying they can't afford it.  And this is probably a busy time of year for him.  If he's allocating too much time to free estimates that don't turn into paying jobs, he'd be better served to change his business model (like free phone consults while looking at a satellite image of the property). 

Just wish he'd said 'folks in your shoes are usually only looking to spend a grand or so for a job like this,' or used similar phrasing, because that's likely what he really meant...not a commentary on your personal net worth.

Can you tell I work with lots of small businesses?   :D

I find that equally insulting. I know very wealthy people who live in simple homes. I also know some people who live in mcmansions who are up to their eyeballs in debt. If any business owner said this to me I'd show them the door, along with a few comments that made my point. And I disagree that a comment like this would not be a personal comment. It is very personal...and very presumptuous.

I'm appreciating the opportunity to read other perspectives on this.

I just don't see any connection between how much consumers usually decide to pay for a particular job and how much money they actually have.    If I were to ask my mechanic about some pricey specialty tires and he told me people usually only want to spend about a grand on tires for a similar vehicle, I wouldn't see it as a judgment of my bank balance, KWIM?

But I'm a financial advisor and have the unique opportunity to see people's complete financial pictures.  It's completely ingrained in me to not equate lavish lifestyles with big bank accounts, or modest lifestyles with small bank accounts.  The Millionaire Next Door series of books is an interesting read as well, with the premise being that folks who actually have a lot of money have that money because, well, they don't spend it on an expensive lifestyle and they make every dollar count.   :)

There's a difference in "you don't want to spend more than a grand" and "people in your shoes wouldn't want to spend more than a grand".  The second is a judgment statement, the first is advice in general.  The first says that spending anything more than a grand is unnecessary, the second says "you don't have enough money for anything more than a grand and I'm basing that on looking at you because there is no way I know your financial situation."

I must be genuinely misunderstanding or miscommunicating something here, because I don't think I'm talking about either your first or second examples.  To me, it's providing a piece of information based on the perspective of working on similar jobs, and also clarifying the direction...I personally just don't see the judgment.  But I am reading in this thread that others read a lot more into it than I do.

Thanks.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: NyaChan on July 01, 2013, 12:38:12 PM
No I see what you mean - for example, we had someone come out to check out our sun porch which is elevated but the support looked to us to be lacking, especially after 10 years or so.  If he said "Folks in your shoes are looking to spend $X on something like this" it would have been meant in the context of "You aren't in any danger of a collapse until maybe 50+ years from now, but usually people will spend $X with us to shore it up anyways"

Very different from if we called him to look at it and said "We want to put in large decorative columns instead and also expand the sun porch, what do you think" and he responded "Well folks in your shoes are usually only looking to spend $1000 on sun porches." It is different because we would have made it clear that we were looking to spend more by the description of what we had asked for and he is implicitly refuting our ability to do it or implying that we shouldn't.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: Mental Magpie on July 01, 2013, 12:46:31 PM
My first example came from your text when you said if you asked your mechanic about specialty tires.  He is talking about the tires and about how much they should cost; he's not telling you what you can or cannot afford.  In my second example, it is a specific statement about how much someone can afford and that's where the judgment comes in.  The person saying it has no way to know what someone can or cannot afford unless they have direct access to that person's bank account, so they must be using something else on which to base that assumption.  What else can it be but appearance (of the person, of the house, of the car, et cetera)?

I'm trying to explain it a different way for your just in case I'm the one miscommunicating.  If you'd rather I not, that's OK, too.


NyaChan - In your first example, I wouldn't see it that way at all because I don't know how long it will hold up.  If he explicitly said, "It will actually probably hold up for 50+ years, but in your shoes (as in someone who wants to repair it just in case), you can spend about $1000 to fix it a little now and it will hold up longer."  It's without context of what the person means by "your shoes" that turns it into a judgment statement.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: NyaChan on July 01, 2013, 12:52:33 PM
Should have been clearer - he had explained that before he told us how much he would expect people to spend on it.  My very point was that because he gave that context, it was clear that it was meant as advice on what the typical job would be.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: kherbert05 on July 01, 2013, 12:53:40 PM
I get that contractors/landscapers don't want to spend a bunch of time creating a bid for someone who has no idea of the expense involved and is going from Discovery Channel shows and magazines.


I think they are better off asking either


1. What is your budget range for this work? or


2. I'll have to do a more research/check current prices for a detailed bid, but my back of the envelope ball park figure for this is $XX,XXX and it will take Y time frame are you comfortable with that?. That way if the customer sputters and says Discovery Channel show can do it for $x,XXX over 3 days the contractor can walk away. 

Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: Mental Magpie on July 01, 2013, 12:54:58 PM
Should have been clearer - he had explained that before he told us how much he would expect people to spend on it.  My very point was that because he gave that context, it was clear that it was meant as advice on what the typical job would be.

I understand and agree, that makes a difference.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: Outdoor Girl on July 01, 2013, 01:04:34 PM
What I've done before, with contractors, is asked them to give me a ballpark figure so I know whether or not I can afford the work I want done.  I've even done this part over the phone.  If the ballpark is reasonable, to me, I then get them to come out and give me a firm quote, with a breakdown of all the expenses.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: Margo on July 01, 2013, 02:43:31 PM
I *really* hate the whole "you can't afford it" attitude (and the "if you have to ask, you can't afford it")

I had a client who was a multi millionaire (I was dealing with his (very amicable) divorce) Looking at him, and his wife, you would not have guessed they had money at all - and they lived in a pretty understated way, too - their kids went to non-fee paying schools, and were expected to get Saturday jobs.

I would find someone telling me, based on my appearance, that I can't afford something to be very insulting. I know exactly what i can and can't afford.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: Cami on July 01, 2013, 04:19:17 PM
When we bought our home 11 years ago, the assessor came out to do the assessment. Our home is in a middle-income suburban neighborhood of -- at that time -- all new houses. We had hardwood put in our upper level. I happen to know from visiting my neighbors that a LOT of them put hardwoods into their homes, so our flooring choice was hardly unusual. The assessor came in and said, "I can't believe you put in hardwood in a home in this sort ... sniff... neighborhood. Why didn't you buy a house in [more expensive] neighborhood if that's what you wanted? Oh let me guess, you couldn't afford a house in that neighborhood. heeheehee."

I told him that our choices were none of his business and he'd be wise to stop making assumptions about people's income or reasons for making their choices.

He later went on to run for local  public office.  Our local paper gave a synopsis of one of his Q&A sessions and apparently I was not the ony one he offended with comments like that because person after person got up and said, "Why should we vote for you for this position given how you behaved in our home when you did the assessment - making all sorts of rude comments?" He didn't win that election.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: shhh its me on July 01, 2013, 04:33:56 PM
This is a classic error made by many salespeople and contractors. I had it happen to me when I was buying a new car many years ago. The salesman flat out told me that the car I was interested in was expensive and wouldn't I be interested in these other (cheaper) cars? I bought the car I wanted... from a different dealership.

When I was remodeling my kitchen, DH and I did about 9 months worth of shopping and researching before we even talked to the first contractor. I got several quotes and I would hand them a list of materials, a list of tasks they were to complete, and a layout drawing. So it was pretty clear that I knew exactly what I wanted and that I'd done my homework.

And yet I still had a couple of these guys say "do you realize how much this is going to cost?" or "wow, that's a lot. It's going to be expensive to do all this."

Ummm... yeah. I kinda figured that out when I was doing all this research and shopping.

What gets me is they bothered to show up, they bothered to listen to everything I had to say, they bothered to take notes and ask quesitions, and then, without the benefit of actually giving me an estimate, they threw away all that time and effort by making my decision to not hire them for me.

I did do the remodel. It did cost me a bundle. I had saved up for it and paid for it all at that time. And the contractor I hired never once doubted what I told him or asked for.

Why throw away business before you even have it?

I think in part because you can be a great contractor but a lousy salesperson or you can just be both a lousy contractor and sales person.

People really underestimate how much of a skill qualifying customers is and how important and difficult it is.  But there is no way " you cant afford it " is effective.

"whats your budget?" rarely works as people often think whatever number they say will end up being the price even if its 10xs more then it should be.

"people in your shoes" I would find offensive but if someone was way over typical, I would ask " this will be around xxxx are you willing to spend that much" very quickly.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: delphinium on October 16, 2013, 01:49:21 PM
This reminds me of a time about 30 years ago when my sister and I were on a trip to England.  It was sponsored by the local Friends of the Public Library and was quite reasonable.

We decided to buy our husbands pipes and went into Dunhill's, a tony tobacco shop.  The guy who waited on us was extremely snotty and actually NEVER spoke a word while he sneeringly brought out pipes from the case for our perusal.  Either he didn't like Americans or he only wanted to wait on Lady Smythe-Rivington or he thought we couldn't afford any of the merchandise.  When we asked the price of one of the pipes my sister said, "What is that in dollars?"  which was a dumb thing to say.  (It's not his job to covert pounds to dollars.)  Of course he ignored the question and just stared at us like we were scum. >:(

I would have liked to complain to the manager but I don't think it would have been of any use.  Needless to say we left and got a laughing fit when we got outside. ;D

Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: LB on November 27, 2013, 11:08:38 AM
The examples from shops are interesting. We don't have many "high-end" stores in my area, but a few. I've gone in and browsed a few times in casual clothing and felt like I was being watched pretty closely or not taken seriously as a customer.

What confuses me about it though is I don't know many people who dress up to go shopping.  :P

Even if I had a lot of fancy clothes to wear, I'd still wear something casual and comfy to shop.

ETA: I've only just now realized how old this thread is. Sorry about that. Just browsing aroud the topic and didn't check the date.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: ladyknight1 on November 27, 2013, 12:38:14 PM
We are buying DS a new camera for Christmas. His is very old and it is getting difficult to find the specific type of memory cards it takes. DH and I will continue to use the old one, and we are very excited.

I have only told one person outside DH that we are doing this and she (my sister) recommended we get a refurbished one instead. I mentioned that the warranty and bundle savings alone make enough of a difference that it is not worth it. I am glad I didn't tell anyone else.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: Team HoundMom on November 27, 2013, 01:43:15 PM
I did a little experiment when I was a teenager.  I went to the mall (the one with the higher-end stores) dressed like my usual slob self and the salespeople generally ignored me.  The next day I wore my 501's and my friend's Polo shirt (late 80's - heh) and went back to the mall where the salespeople all greeted me and asked if they could help me find anything.

I thought that was interesting.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: TootsNYC on November 27, 2013, 01:49:42 PM
The 4500 quote actually got DH motivated - he hired 2 teenage boys to help with the hard stuff and we did the lawn ourselves for about $1500.

Well, in a way he was right.

You maybe *could* have afforded it. But you didn't want to.

The money-saving urge that prompted your DH to do it himself for so much less is the same urge that has you guys living in your house and your neighborhood.


Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: Miss Tickle on November 27, 2013, 09:56:53 PM
I did a little experiment when I was a teenager.  I went to the mall (the one with the higher-end stores) dressed like my usual slob self and the salespeople generally ignored me.  The next day I wore my 501's and my friend's Polo shirt (late 80's - heh) and went back to the mall where the salespeople all greeted me and asked if they could help me find anything.

I thought that was interesting.

Yes, there's casual and casual. It's funny that two people can be wearing the same thing (sneakers, jeans and a white tee shirt) and one have spent less than $100.00 on everything and the other that on the tee shirt alone.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: Annoyed in America on November 28, 2013, 07:21:56 PM
I get that contractors/landscapers don't want to spend a bunch of time creating a bid for someone who has no idea of the expense involved and is going from Discovery Channel shows and magazines.


I think they are better off asking either


1. What is your budget range for this work? or


2. I'll have to do a more research/check current prices for a detailed bid, but my back of the envelope ball park figure for this is $XX,XXX and it will take Y time frame are you comfortable with that?. That way if the customer sputters and says Discovery Channel show can do it for $x,XXX over 3 days the contractor can walk away.


Glad someone else here thinks like me.  Perhaps it's because we own a business.  (At least I do.)
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: katycoo on November 28, 2013, 09:00:40 PM
We are buying DS a new camera for Christmas. His is very old and it is getting difficult to find the specific type of memory cards it takes. DH and I will continue to use the old one, and we are very excited.

I have only told one person outside DH that we are doing this and she (my sister) recommended we get a refurbished one instead. I mentioned that the warranty and bundle savings alone make enough of a difference that it is not worth it. I am glad I didn't tell anyone else.

A suggestion as to how to save money doesn't necessarily equl an assertion that you can't afford the full price option.

If I thought 2 items would give me the same outcome, I'd almost always choose the cheaper one.  Sometimes things don't need to be new to do that.

I'm not suggesting you should have taken her advice but just that she doesn't necessarily think you're poor just by suggesting it.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: despedina on February 05, 2014, 12:53:33 PM
An example of when I experienced something like this was when I married my DH. It was my 2nd marriage and we were in our mid 20s, I had a fairly good job and DH had an excellent job.  We were paying for our own wedding.

All the vendors treated us very well except for when it came to shopping for wedding dresses.  I went to several well known boutiques in the city and many would not help me or would ask me what my parents' budget was  :o.  When I said I was going to pay for the dress, several said they didn't have anything I could afford. I ended up walking out of several stores.  One store I had made an appt and when I entered the woman said she didn't feel they had anything in my price range OR size range.  I'm a size 16. So I was doubly insulted.

I had to go to a boutique in a more rural area that treated me wonderfully.  I made sure to review all the stores that treated me badly appropriately.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: GreenEyedHawk on February 07, 2014, 09:11:41 PM
My ex and I walked into a furniture shop looking to buy a new mattress.  It took us forever to get the attention of a salesman  and by the time we finally did, he treated us like we were something he'd tracked in on his overly-shined shoes.  Never mind that I had $3000 IN CASH in my pocket that I was ready to spend right there.

We went to a different store and got excellent service AND a better deal.  I'll never shop at The Brick again for anything, that's sure.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: Outdoor Girl on February 08, 2014, 08:15:42 AM
My ex and I walked into a furniture shop looking to buy a new mattress.  It took us forever to get the attention of a salesman  and by the time we finally did, he treated us like we were something he'd tracked in on his overly-shined shoes.  Never mind that I had $3000 IN CASH in my pocket that I was ready to spend right there.

We went to a different store and got excellent service AND a better deal.  I'll never shop at The Brick again for anything, that's sure.

I have heard (and said) the bolded so many times.  And now that The Brick and Leon's are owned by the same parent company...  I'll be looking for a new place to buy furniture the next time I'm buying something.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: ladyknight1 on February 10, 2014, 02:38:15 PM
My co-worker today.

DH and I took Mocha to the vet Saturday, because I thought she had a cold. A swab and test later, we had a bill for $$$, but that doesn't matter!

One of my nosiest co-workers said "that had to be expensive", and I replied that it was within my expected amount. I'm just glad she is getting better!
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: Team HoundMom on February 11, 2014, 11:00:05 AM
Back in my previous life I had to apply for welfare.  That involved a home visit from a welfare worker.  At the time my then-boyfriend and I had a dog, a medium-sized shepherd-cross.  The worker, with disdain dripping in her voice, said "Does she cost a lot to feed?" I looked her straight in the eyes and said "No. Not much at all."  What I really wanted to say was "A lot less than a kid, (not e-hell approved word.)" 
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: Wintergreen on February 26, 2014, 01:28:24 AM
Quite many places seem to fall for this. There is a hamburger place in my town (not fast food, but restaurant-type hamburger place). They have few places, good food and one location I refuse to use. That location used to serve younger customers quite poorly (or still might, I don't know). After all, why would I now, as I have regular work and more money, choose to spend it in a place that could not respect my spending at the time when that amount of money meant lot more to me.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: Copper Horsewoman on February 28, 2014, 09:21:37 PM
An example of when I experienced something like this was when I married my DH. It was my 2nd marriage and we were in our mid 20s, I had a fairly good job and DH had an excellent job.  We were paying for our own wedding.

All the vendors treated us very well except for when it came to shopping for wedding dresses.  I went to several well known boutiques in the city and many would not help me or would ask me what my parents' budget was  :o.  When I said I was going to pay for the dress, several said they didn't have anything I could afford. I ended up walking out of several stores.  One store I had made an appt and when I entered the woman said she didn't feel they had anything in my price range OR size range.  I'm a size 16. So I was doubly insulted.

I had to go to a boutique in a more rural area that treated me wonderfully.  I made sure to review all the stores that treated me badly appropriately.

You might like the story about a twenty-something jeans-clad girl shopping in Paris, walking into the Chanel atellier (designer showroom) and a very snooty saleswoman greeting her with "Vous connais, mademoiselle, cette robes et tres, tres cher?" (You realize, young lady, these dresses are very, very expensive?)  She thanked the saleswoman, and left.  She went to the Yves St. Laurent atellier, where she was welcomed.  That is where the princess marrying into Belgian royalty(!) got her wedding dress. 
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: GreenEyedHawk on February 28, 2014, 11:08:17 PM
My ex, for all his faults, was an excellent salesman.  He was always a top commission-earner at the electronics store where he worked and his trick was very simple.  He "ignored clothes".  He paid no mind to how people were dressed and took his cues from them about what they were willing to spend; and he always did well.  A lot of his fellow salesmen tended to ignore more roughly-dressed customers, whereas XBF did not and always did well because this is, well...oil country,  A lot of these "roughly-dressed" guys were workers who had just come off the rigs where they'd been working and not spending their earnings (in camp there is nothing to spend money on, and your accommodations and food are provided by the company) so they had substantial amounts of money burning holes in their pockets.  They wanted fancy computers and huge TVs and they wanted to buy it all right there.  XBF was always happy to sell them whatever they wanted to buy.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: kckgirl on March 01, 2014, 07:00:11 AM
A gentleman who worked in my office went into a jewelry store to buy diamond earrings for his wife's Christmas gift. He was wearing jeans, a button down shirt, with a pullover sweater. I will mention here that even in jeans, he was always immaculately dressed in clothes I couldn't afford. The salesperson took one look at him and said something to the effect that he couldn't afford to buy what they were selling and implying that he should leave. He asked for the manager, told manager that he was buying diamond earrings for his wife, was prepared to spend $$$$ for them, but that the store had lost his business because of salesperson's remark. He then walked out and went to the mall's other jewelry store, directly across from the original store, to make his purchase.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: kherbert05 on March 01, 2014, 09:05:11 AM
I've posted this before I think.


My Uncle is a fisherman. Deep sea tan, hard hands - and a millionaire. These people from away were doing some type of large business deal, and they wanted to use a bank not based in the Maritines.


Uncle prefers local businesses but said ok. Showed up dressed nice. Knowing him that was slacks, a button down shirt if warmish, sweater if cool, and loafers. When he told someone he had an appointment with Mr. Banker - they basically said no he has meeting with some big wigs. Knowing uncle he probably didn't give his name first. The town he lives in - well Mom left there well over 50 years ago - sis gets pegged as Mom's daughter the minute she opens her mouth and that Texas Draw comes out. (I look like Dad's side so not so much) It is definitely a everyone knows your name place.


The staff were in shut down mode and didn't listen when Uncle tried to give his name - and that Island Pride kicked in. He left called the big wigs and told him the bank wouldn't let him in the door. If they wanted the deal they could meet him at local bank. They did the deal but at uncle's bank.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: jaxsue on March 01, 2014, 06:12:34 PM
I've posted this before I think.


My Uncle is a fisherman. Deep sea tan, hard hands - and a millionaire. These people from away were doing some type of large business deal, and they wanted to use a bank not based in the Maritines.


Uncle prefers local businesses but said ok. Showed up dressed nice. Knowing him that was slacks, a button down shirt if warmish, sweater if cool, and loafers. When he told someone he had an appointment with Mr. Banker - they basically said no he has meeting with some big wigs. Knowing uncle he probably didn't give his name first. The town he lives in - well Mom left there well over 50 years ago - sis gets pegged as Mom's daughter the minute she opens her mouth and that Texas Draw comes out. (I look like Dad's side so not so much) It is definitely a everyone knows your name place.


The staff were in shut down mode and didn't listen when Uncle tried to give his name - and that Island Pride kicked in. He left called the big wigs and told him the bank wouldn't let him in the door. If they wanted the deal they could meet him at local bank. They did the deal but at uncle's bank.

Per the bolded: not sure what that phrase means. Something Texan-specific?
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: Outdoor Girl on March 01, 2014, 06:35:31 PM
I think she dropped the 'L' off the end of draw...
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: jaxsue on March 01, 2014, 07:59:54 PM
I think she dropped the 'L' off the end of draw...

Awww..makes sense. Thanks!
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: cross_patch on March 01, 2014, 09:51:39 PM
I've posted this before I think.


My Uncle is a fisherman. Deep sea tan, hard hands - and a millionaire. These people from away were doing some type of large business deal, and they wanted to use a bank not based in the Maritines.


Uncle prefers local businesses but said ok. Showed up dressed nice. Knowing him that was slacks, a button down shirt if warmish, sweater if cool, and loafers. When he told someone he had an appointment with Mr. Banker - they basically said no he has meeting with some big wigs. Knowing uncle he probably didn't give his name first. The town he lives in - well Mom left there well over 50 years ago - sis gets pegged as Mom's daughter the minute she opens her mouth and that Texas Draw comes out. (I look like Dad's side so not so much) It is definitely a everyone knows your name place.


The staff were in shut down mode and didn't listen when Uncle tried to give his name - and that Island Pride kicked in. He left called the big wigs and told him the bank wouldn't let him in the door. If they wanted the deal they could meet him at local bank. They did the deal but at uncle's bank.

Actually, you posted it on the first page of this thread!
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: AmethystAnne on March 02, 2014, 09:08:54 AM
Well worth the read again!  ;D
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: ladyknight1 on March 02, 2014, 06:10:40 PM
We went away to the beach for the weekend, and I had made the hotel reservations and prepaid for them over a month ago. I had two different people I work with make the assumption we were just going up for the day.  :-\
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: Kate on March 06, 2014, 12:26:10 PM
My ex and I walked into a furniture shop looking to buy a new mattress.  It took us forever to get the attention of a salesman  and by the time we finally did, he treated us like we were something he'd tracked in on his overly-shined shoes.  Never mind that I had $3000 IN CASH in my pocket that I was ready to spend right there.

We went to a different store and got excellent service AND a better deal.  I'll never shop at The Brick again for anything, that's sure.

I have heard (and said) the bolded so many times.  And now that The Brick and Leon's are owned by the same parent company...  I'll be looking for a new place to buy furniture the next time I'm buying something.
I'm surprised. We have bought a lot of stuff at the Brick and Leons over the years and never had a problem getting service. We are jeans and shirts kind of people and not the designer brands either..plus the odds are my husband will be wearing workboots too! LOL
I find at those kinds of stores the salespeople are in one's face too much rather than the opposite.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: Raintree on March 30, 2014, 02:12:15 AM
And on the other side of the same coin, I recall a trip to England with my father. We were visiting relatives in the south, and then wanted to explore the northern part of the country. Not having relatives there, we booked a hotel in advance, sight unseen. It was a long drive, we got lost a couple of times on the way, and we arrived hungry and exhausted. Also, I was dressed VERY comfortably for the drive; in fact, my faded jeans had holes in them and on top I was wearing a baggy t-shirt.

The hotel was classier than we'd been expecting, and on arrival (it was past usual dinner hour) we asked if there was anywhere we could get something to eat. We were thinking sandwiches or a pub down the road, or something.  The person at the desk said, "Certainly. Right this way." We followed him to a very nice, high-end restaurant within the hotel. I was horribly embarrassed about my ripped jeans and if I'd known, I would have changed first. I think my dad was similarly casually dressed, though I was the one who felt like a real slob. It was the kind of place where the prices weren't listed on the menu. We'd had something more casual and inexpensive in mind, but we figured, "What the heck, we're here, let's enjoy it." We had a fantastic meal and were treated with the utmost respect throughout, as though we were their most well-heeled customers. Even though I was horribly dressed for the occasion.

There is money, and then there is class, and the two are not necessarily synonymous.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: Redsoil on March 30, 2014, 02:37:23 AM
And that, Raintree, is how it should be!

Money is a very nice thing to have, but it shouldn't be the basis for judging people.  If someone feels they can afford a certain service or goods, then those in business would do well to work with them, rather than looking down on them.  If it turns out they're not quite expecting things to be so expensive, then other arrangements might be suggested.  However, you just never know when that initial assistance (and open-mindedness) might  pay off for a business down the track.  People remember both the good and the bad.

I'm pretty lucky, it seems, in how I'm approached in businesses, even though I generally dress for comfort rather than style.  I think Australia is much more down-to-earth in such matters!  Even when I go to the city, it still seems I get a good run.
Title: Re: You can't afford this
Post by: ladyknight1 on March 31, 2014, 09:26:12 AM
I also dress for comfort more than style. We have two employees who wear break neck high heels daily and frequently trip over things in them.

No. I will wear my lovely wedges and flats and you can have the super high heels.