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You're Crazy! That Costs How Much?!?



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MadAsAHatter

It doesn’t happen overly often, but every once on a while I’ll get asked about my fountain pens. I guess because even the Jinhao pens look nicer than the Bic pens that everyone steals from the office I usually get asked how much do they cost. I don’t flaunt how expensive some of my pens were, but if you ask I have no problem telling you. Even in our realm someone’s moderately priced is another’s super expensive. This seems comically exaggerated outside the fountain pen world. I’ll say something like I got this one (talking about a moonman or PenBBS) for about $15. They’ll be taken back a little and I usually get a “It costs how much?” I’ll say the average price for the pens I like to get is +/- $50. The look of confusion, amazement and a bit of terror usually comes over them. At which point their eyes bug out and I get a response to the effect of you paid what for that?? Are you out of your mind?? I can see at this point I’ve already stepped into the rabbit hole with them so I might as well go all the way down and tell them how much my most expensive pen was (about $175). The look I get then is akin to if I were to have killed their dog, set their house on fire, and kicked grand-ma on the way out. I’m sure the average person thinks I’m bug nuts for spending more than 50 cents on a single pen but c’est la vie. I just find how flabbergasted people get when they find out how much a fountain pen can cost comical. I can hear the sound of a jaw literally hitting the ground if I were to reveal how high some fountain pens can sell for.

 

Anyway; I’m just wondering what other people’s experiences are if they reveal how much one of their pens costs or just in general how much a fountain pen can go for to someone outside of our community.

Edited by MadAsAHatter
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MadAsAHatter

Please forgive my grammar in the topic headline. I accidentally typed Your instead of You're and in my haste to click the post button didn't catch my mistake until it was too late. And unfortunately I'm unable to edit my stupidity :wallbash:

Edited by MadAsAHatter
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silverlifter

The pens I carry at work are mostly vintage, so no-one has ever thought to ask. If someone were to ask, I would probably demur and say I picked it up second hand.

 

I was in a lift once and someone noticed the finial on my MB34 and commented approvingly about Montblanc. I just assumed they thought it was a rollerball...

Vintage. Cursive italic. Iron gall.

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I've been asked this question sometimes when people get to know me, and then the subject is tame. (Unless I'm contemplating a new purchase )

“Many boys will bring you flowers. But someday you'll meet a boy who will learn your favorite flower, your favorite song, your favorite sweet. And even if he is too poor to give you any of them, it won't matter because he will have taken the time to know you as no one else does. Only that boy earns your heart."

 

-Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows

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I don't talk to people about how much anything I own cost nor typically what it is worth, except to and with those who deal in antiques and collectables in the manner of shop talk. The same goes for pens with those interested in them as hobbiests. I have been asked how much certain pens would cost by members of the general public who are interested in buying one as they or a parent had a pen of a certain model (typically they will only remember the maker's name, but can describe it).

 

A reticence to talk about items cost is a culturally specific attribute. I understand there are cultures in which talk about how much things cost is a common topic. I don't quite understand the benefit of this tradition persisting today, but I belong to a cultural tradition which says "a fool and his money are easily parted" and which values negotiation of price to get the fairest price, not too high as it would indicate I was naive, did not do the needed research and was careless, and not too low, as in I took advantage of someone such that they have animosity towards me and are so harmed by the interaction that they will no longer be a source for goods or services, unless the seller priced the item too low due to their lack of due diligence.

 

Honestly, I doubt if how much I might spend on a pen would cause anyone I would count as a friend to blink an eye. Some have learned of it on their own when they have purchased pens for me.

 

Now as far as anyone in the general public that I might encounter, While I do talk to more people than others typically, it is in general to ask about them, who they are and what they are interested in so as to establish a rapport. People like to talk about themselves and rarely in casual conversation express an interest in me. I focus on our commonalities and try to connect with them in a pleasant, but not too friendly manner. I am not mean, condescending, no do I try to make them feel they are any less than me or anyone else. Thus, I can't imagine having a conversation with them that would even touch on how much a specific pen cost.

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BaronWulfraed

Try carrying a slide-rule on a belt case and really show your "nerd" :yikes:

 

As it is -- I have a simple slide-rule on my watch, and have paid a few hundred for NOS Pickett slide rules (when my first one was a mere $10 or so; I still regret not having dug up the $35 my college bookstore wanted for their top-line model when they discontinued carrying them; bamboo with plastic laminated scales). (Also have a pair of circular rules, and Faber-Castell rules)

 

 

Oh, it would help if one can do basic multiplication/division using that rule... But one can probably get away without knowing the log-log scales

Edited by BaronWulfraed
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Mysterious Mose

I'm very happy to have the 10" wooden slide rule my father used in college along with its leather case. He bought it used. It shows the cigarette burn the previous owner inflicted on the B, LL00 and LL0 scales.

 

This is a Keuffel & Esser Log Log Duplex Trig rule, #4080-3. Fortunately, I found the user's manual in some antique shop.

 

When I taught calculus in Morris County College, I tried to show the students how you could use a table of logarithms to multiply two numbers. (Yes, I have tables of logarithms.) Yawn.

Dan Kalish

 

Fountain Pens: Pelikan Souveran M805, Waterman Expert II, Waterman Phileas, Stipula Splash, Sheaffer Sagaris, Sheaffer Prelude, Sheaffer School

 

inks: Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Schwarz (Brilliant Black), Pelikan 4001 Königsblau (Royal Blue), Edelstein Sapphire, Edelstein Onyx, Waterman Encre Bleu (Inspired Blue), Diamine Mediterranean Blue, iroshizuku (Pilot) ama-iro (Sky Blue), Montblanc Mystery Black, Rohrer-Klingner Cassia

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Estycollector

"If you have to ask, you wouldn't understand" has been used from Harleys to Jeeps. :)

"Respect science, respect nature, respect all people (s),"

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To each his own!

I have spent as much as 180 for a pen, and once I spent 350 (for an antique) but I generally stick to about 5-15 dollars at the low end and 50-80 at the high end. That's what I'm comfortable with.

If even 5 bucks is gobsmackingly high for people, oh well, it's gobsmackingly high for them. Then again, I'm not asking them to buy it, so it's okay that they think it's gobsmackingly high.

We all have categories like that.

For instance, I don't dress like a slob but I don't pay a lot for my wardrobe, either. On a thrift store site recently, I saw a *secondhand* polyester long sleeved shirt with plain detailing and no embellishments list for 600.00+, and that was *down* from the MSRP of 1,200.00.

ONE THOUSAND for a plain button down shirt that wasn't even made with natural fiber?!?

Yeah, see, that's my gobsmack threshold, right there. But perhaps for someone with lots of money, that price tag might be low for them.

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"If you have to ask, you wouldn't understand" has been used from Harleys to Jeeps. :)

Well... yes. And no.

 

I get asked by people who want to know because they might be interested in a pen of that model themselves. They usually nod knowingly.

 

And I get asked out of pure curiosity. Those people usually are pretty flabbergasted when I tell them (my price range is mostly somewhere in the three digit Euros). It´s them who ask "For... one... pen?!" That´s when I grin broadly and say "Yup. And I can take my hobby to work with me, I have it right here, all day long. I really enjoy that." Most of them will remember some things they tend to spend a lot of money on and will agree.

 

I won´t go and boast about my pens and what they cost to people who are not in the least interested. I don´t buy pens because of their name or to show money (there are brands you can do that a lot better with than those I own). But if someone questions me about a specific pen, it doesn´t hurt me to answer. And if they want to know what I paid for it, I will answer as well. I don´t see anything bad there. I am not spending someone else´s money, I don´t spend more than I can afford and I am not hurting anybody by buying pens. And after talking to me, some people will dig out their pens from school times, flush them out, use them again, fall in love with the feeling and end up as a (big or small) pen addicts as well. That´s how I like it!

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I recently lost weight and have been replenishing my wardrobe (instead of buying pens) for a while. Let me just say that as much as I've spent in pens over the years, that amount doesn't begin to compare to a blazer from a mid-level brand of clothing, a silk shirt, a scarf, let alone a winter coat or a pair of shoes. Unless I buy all my clothes at Walmart, I could easily spend more on a wardrobe for a single winter season than I have spent on pens in the last 7 years.

 

That said every time I see something pretty to wear I gasp "I could buy a Nakaya for the price of that sweater!" It actually keeps me from spending too much as I try not to buy any item of clothing that costs more than a Twsbi 580.

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I have never been asked the question because I never raise what a pen has cost; nor a pair of shoes or a workshop tool or a painting or anything much else. Very rarely, I might be asked the question though never yet about a pen, and when asked I am likely to answer directly if I think they own or are in the market for similar, or answer vaguely if not.

 

These things are relative to income and expectations in any case. Am I talking, hypothetically, to the wealthiest of my friends or the poorest? The range is huge, and also what is their expectation filter for me, rather than their self-regarding view?

X

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Who are these people who are rude enough to ask the price of a personal item? They don't deserve an answer, so choose between, I don't remember, and I would rather not say.

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Sometimes I suspect I live in an odd place, especially when it comes to money.

 

A few examples:

 

Last week when I was waiting for the clerk to bring out the groceries I ordered I recognized a vehicle that I had seen on a billboard on the way to work for about 6 months parked across from me, a Masarati. No toney clothes on the owner when he came out of the store with his bags of groceries. Earlier that week when parked outside a coffee shop we were eating in our car and a variety of sports cars pulled up and parked, the one in front of us that parked was a Ferrari and again a casually dressed man got out,,this one a lot older and he and his other sports car driving friends assembled,to,get their coffees and pastries. My point is I do not live in a wealthy community and none of the people I saw appears out of the ordinary in appearence, especially in dress.

 

I know of examples of people who had or have significant wealth who live routine ordinary lives. One was a nice older farmer at our local farmers market and his wife. Nice people, my wife baked him a birthday cake one year. Later we found out his little farm wasn't so little and he had other holdings. He gave millions to our local Park District and now there is a living history museum on what was his families farm land, built with his gifts. I also know another wealthy land owner, again due to farm land and family businesses that was a third generation teacher, one of my daughter's history teachers. And, there is a large extended family from our church who through a series of farms bought and sold as development moved into our county became wealthy.

 

And it's not all old people, old farmers, that don't appear to have any significant wealth, but who do.

 

In my professional lives I had many clients who they or their families had very large amounts of assetts but who appeared only mildly comfortable.

 

The strangest situation however I know about I won't talk about. I started to tell you about it, but have deleted that information as I believe it is best to not say more as I don't know who may read this.

 

So, the idea of "That costs How Much" not being asked around here may be because things related to money, spending it and maybe having significant amounts of it really are not talked about here and in reflection, maybe, just maybe because people just want to live normal decent lives and not need to worry and be afraid.

Edited by Parker51
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I-am-not-really-here

I would not quote cost to anyone in public, on the chance of someone listening nearby that may think to relieve me of said item.

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As I tell people with vintage pens, while there may be a correlation between “cost” and “worth”, vintage pens - all pens really - are only worth what someone is willing to pay for them. In my richer times, I was willing (and able) to pay much more for pens than I am today. I have an internal idea of what I believe my pens (and those I am interested in) to be worth. I often find those that disagree with my sense of that.

 

It is also why I don’t see the value in spending $50k for a new car or truck (in the case of many of my fellow Texans) as both of my cars together are worth less than $5k. I spend money on pens and clothes because I see value in that and it is “worth” it to me. That’s always a fun discussion for me....

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Some people got a pen from a friend or parents as a gift on a special event, then they forgot about it and some years later they want to know the price of a similar one. Maybe they want to sell the pen or only to know what they have in a drawer. I usually give a non precise answer related to the value of a gift of a friend or a family member.

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That’s not a conversation I’d be comfortable to have, and really I don’t remember any time someone asked how much any if my belongings cost. I imagine someone might be interested in looking at a pen closer and ask questions about it. I’d be pretty discrete about it, and I carry a cheap gel pen for lending.

“I admit it, I'm surprised that fountain pens are a hobby. ... it's a bit like stumbling into a fork convention - when you've used a fork all your life.” 

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The only time I mention cost is when people who are too stupid to bring a pen to a meeting or negotiation ask to use my fountain pen.

 

I have to discreetly inform them that the pen is worth $xx or $xxx so they can't use it.

 

There are more of these dummies than we know.

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