How to handle it when someone asks you how much you paid for your pet

MASAHIKO NARAGAKI / iStock.com

You’ve just expanded your family in a very cute and furry way – or maybe you’ve had your pet for a while now. Either way, you were a little surprised when a friend, family member, or complete stranger asked you how much you paid for your pet.

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It’s hard to know how to react, because you don’t want to be rude, but you also might not be comfortable sharing this information. Christos Philippou, owner and trainer at Delaware K9 Academy, based in Wilmington, Delaware, said he often teaches clients how to communicate with strangers about issues related to their dog.

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“If someone asked me how much I paid for my dog, I would give a general price range,” he said. “Maybe $500 less to $500 more.”

He said he would also offer a quick comment on the research he did before choosing his pet, the reputable breeding and the quality of the animal.

“Good breeders aren’t cheap and cheap breeders aren’t good, so you definitely get what you pay for,” he said. “I tend to say that most purebreds cost around $X anyway, so I felt comfortable paying $X for a quality breeder who does health testing, etc.”

What if you don’t want to share?

If your first instinct is to not answer the question at all, Laura Doyle, a New York Times bestselling author with more than 20 years of relationship coaching experience, says she understands.

“You might want to say something like, ‘It’s none of your business,’ and I tend to agree with you, but that might sound abrasive,” she said. “The other person will feel attacked, for asking what they thought was an innocent question, and antagonism is usually met with more antagonism.”

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She said you don’t necessarily have to answer the question directly.

“Injecting a little humor into the script can get the point across,” she said. “Something like my right arm and my left leg, but his kindness is worth it.”

Alternatively, she said you could come up with a smart redirect.

“Answer their question with a question – something like are you looking to adopt?” she says. “In this case, you can change the subject by directing the focus to what they really want to know, for example, should they do the same?”

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Think about why you are being asked this question

Jodi RR Smith, president of Marblehead, Massachusetts-based Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting, said there were three main reasons for asking for a pet price.

“Your ability to determine the reason will help inform how you respond,” she said.

She said the former is purely self-righteous.

“This person asks for the price of your pet as a quick prelude to his kick-off sermon on why you should adopt,” she said. “You don’t need to provide the price, or justify your decision.”

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If they start giving you an “adopt, don’t buy” speech, she said to be okay with them.

For example, “pet stores are horrible, and even worse, some of these scam messages for puppies online,” she suggested saying. “I’m so glad the regulations in so many states are eliminating unlicensed breeders and internet scams. Hey, I know the shelters accept towel donations, do you know if they accept other sheets? »

She said the second reason people ask about your pet’s price is because they’re nosy.

“They know, especially during the pandemic, that puppy prices have gone up and they’re just super curious,” she said.

In this case, she said you can be vague with your answer.

For example, she said you could say, “That’s a good question. When we contacted the breeder, he told us that we would have to wait two years. But then we got an email that Fido’s mom had a litter of 11 and they would have a puppy for us. We were so thrilled. He’s been so busy with training at home, but we’ll get there. What did you do this summer?

Smith said the final reason for this type of question is that the person is looking for a new puppy and gathering information to budget appropriately. In this case, she said to refer them to the breeder’s website.

“God, we booked Fido eons ago and I’m not sure of the current price,” she suggested saying. “If you are interested let me know and I will send you the website. What breeds are you considering?

Essentially, if you’d like to split the cost of your pet, Smith said, you should feel free to do so.

“However, if you consider it personal and private, you may acknowledge the question without ever answering it,” she said.

If you think this question is taboo, she agrees with you.

“Who can resist the temptation to pet a new puppy? she says. “Nobody. But who should resist asking the price? Everyone. Just like you have to wait to ask the owner before you hug that ball of fuzz, you have to stifle your desire to play the ‘Price is Right.’

It’s really nobody else’s business whether you paid a lot, little or nothing for your pet. Therefore, you should never feel pressured to divulge more information than you are comfortable sharing.

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About the Author

Jennifer Taylor is a West Coast-based freelance writer with over a decade of experience writing about anything and everything. Since earning her MBA, personal finance has been her favorite subject, as she is passionate about writing stories that educate, inform and empower. Specifically, she specializes in budgeting, debt repayment, savings and retirement.

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