What Did You Pay For That? - Final Gear
Asking someone what they have into a project
It’s time for us to come to terms with reality. This passion of modifying diesel trucks is expensive. But that’s not really what I want to talk about this month. What I want to discuss is the question that all too often comes along with our expensive and relatively exotic hobby. We’ve all asked, or been asked, this at some point. If you spend any time around a dragstrip, sled pull, or show ’n’ shine, it’s bound to be overheard. And while some people ask this question far too often, others are offended the first time they hear it. This simple question often goes something like, “Hey bro, nice truck! How much did you pay for that?”
The way I figure it, there are three types of people in this world, at least for the sake of this editorial. There are those who flaunt what they’ve got and want everyone around them to know it on the far left, the people who don’t want anybody knowing what they’ve got into a project on the far right, and the neutral group that doesn’t care either way stuck in the middle. Now, looking at it from the surface, there doesn’t appear to be any issue with this seemingly innocent question. But ask someone on the right how much something they’ve got cost and it will quickly become obvious what I’m talking about.
Let’s quickly break each of these groups down in an effort to better understand the situation. We’ll start with the neutral group, since they are the easiest. In a professional sense, this is the group where I, as a magazine writer, would fit. These people will typically lean more toward the conservative side but when asked will openly talk about what kind of money they have into a project and what particular parts cost them. They typically come across in a very matter-of-fact way, and if your questions are genuine they will talk openly. Shifting gears, the guy on the right doesn’t want to talk about it, and you should respect that. It gets old really quick when a person keeps asking the same question when it’s obvious that the one being asked doesn’t feel comfortable answering. It can be for any number of political, social, competitive, or personal reasons that a person won’t want to discuss finances—even those of truck parts. You can easily spot this type of personality, because while this person won’t talk about the cost of his or her project, he or she also won’t ask about yours. It’s this group that I personally associate with outside of a professional setting.
And then there’s the last group. These are the troublemakers—the ones who want to know what you have going on and will be quick to let you know what they have spent on a part or project. For this group, it’s less about genuine interest, and more about comparison. They need to know theirs is better than yours, and if it’s not, what they need to do to get there. This group will ask persistently, to an almost bothersome level. Also lumped into this group are the truly ignorant, those who don’t even have an inkling of what something should cost and scoff when they hear the real number. Both are equally obnoxious.
So why did we take a look at these different types of people? The answer is simple: to help you avoid offending or being offended. If we can all recognize these personality types—both in ourselves and in others—the next time we’re checking out an awesome truck and talking with its owner we will be able to read them a little better and know where exactly that line is, because it’s different for each person. If we can all be aware of this and respect when people don’t want to talk about how much money is in their project, or whatever the purchase or item might be, it will help us all to get along that much better as the community of enthusiasts that we are.