citizenrod think status value society psychology chimpanzee
citizenrod think status value money worth old-car

I sold my car about 4 months ago, but was recently asked…again…

How much did you sell it for?

…and I replied with the same response I responded with to everybody that asked me that same question 4 months ago…

It doesn’t matter.

Yep, people gave me perplexed looks and just repeated the question, I also got “who do you think you are” looks, but the truth is it does not matter, or more precisely, the answer is meaningless. It is almost like discussing the weather, but unlike that conversation, which is used mainly to fill the uncomfortable silence, this conversation is loaded, which makes my response a little bit unnerving to the questioner.

Firstly, we have to understand that we all perceive things differently, this is thanks to the fact that we all come from different environments, home, school, social, work, and we all have had different experiences, and we are all at different stages and levels in our lives. What I perceive as value and what you perceive as value are most probably two different things.

Money and value

If I told you I sold the car in the above image for $5,000, what would you think?

If I told you I sold the car in the above image for $15,000, what would you think?

If I told you I sold the car in the above image for $50,000, what would you think?

Depending on your view of money and value, you will have a different feeling towards my responses compared to the next guy. Depending on where you are at right now with your finances and social status will also determine how you feel about each of my responses. What if I told you the “$” symbol is actually Indian Rupees, or Argentinian Pesos, what would you think then?

What I believe the car is worth and what I believe is a fair price is completely different to what you think it is worth and what you think is a fair price. This is why my answer is “it doesn’t matter”. In actual fact my answer should be…

“your question is meaningless.”

But I’m trying not to be rude, some people say I can be passive aggressive at times, hahaha. So yeah, the question is meaningless, and therefore any response to that question would also be meaningless. Meaningless because it is like asking what is your favourite food. There is no right or wrong answer. The answer will only be parsed by you, and understood by you, based on your filters.

Secondly, you are doing something subconsciously by asking this question. We humans are always comparing ourselves to each other, it is all about determining where we sit in the pecking order. It all stems back from when we were chimpanzees (you know what I mean). And that is what this question is all about.

citizenrod think status value society psychology chimpanzee

This is what I meant by a loaded question. By asking this question you are doing two things:

  1. You are trying to determine where you sit, compared to me, in the pecking order, then
  2. Once you determine where you sit compared to me, you then use that information to determine where you sit in the larger group/colleagues/relations/society.

So as much as my answer may seem passive aggressive, it is in fact your question which is aggressive, and why you feel unnerved with my response.

Take that!!

Interestingly, these “interrogations” normally only happen between people in similar status levels, or perceived similar status levels. “Working class” people do not ask “rich” people these types of ‘status orientation’ questions, or vice versa, there is no need, the answers are obvious. But people in the same class will ask each other.

Unknowingly, this is a sign of insecurity. Where do I fit? Why is he selling that? I’d be happy with that amount. I wouldn’t sell that. That’s not enough for me. I could have bought it. I couldn’t have bought it…and on and on and on.

So yeah, the next time someone sells their car and you feel the urge to ask “how much?”, control yourself (if you can), and ask yourself instead..”why am I asking this?”.

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