Do people see your car and then ask how much money you make?

Do people see your car and then ask how much money you make?

I noticed the question is couched in a "so what is it that you do for a living?" But it's clear they're getting at how much money do you make, or how can you afford that?

I have been getting asked SO much since I picked up my Model S in March and I feel like it's a bit nosy and rude as I know they don't care about my actual profession. I formerly drove a Sonata and no one seemed to care what I did when they saw my car. I actually my parking lot cashier who I stop and have friendly conversations with for the past few years ask me "so what is it that you do again?" when she saw my new car after never having asked previously.

I'm wondering if others have had similar experiences?

I'm thinking about just starting to joke with folks and telling them that I rob banks or some other nice way of saying it's none of your business.

djmichaelmayhem | May 16, 2017

Most people ask what I paid for the car and for the few that ask what I do I reply, I work at Walmart.

sentabo | May 16, 2017

Or you could say, "I steal cars and sell them at a discount. Wanna buy this one?"

Captain_Zap | May 16, 2017

I just tell them that they can get one for less than $60k. I never tell them how much I paid because it is none of their business. I never had anyone get more personal than asking how much a car is. I usually go off on a tangent about how it has been nearly 5 years since I have been to a gas station before they get the chance.

Pleasanton_Ca | May 16, 2017

When asked, I tell them that I work for Tesla and they give all employees a new car...

RedPillSucks | May 16, 2017

I'm Elmer J. Fudd,
Millionaire. I own a mansion AND a yacht.

dknisely | May 16, 2017

Teslas are just a tiny step more novel than a Prius in Seattle. :P Nobody could care less.

Dp7-81 | May 16, 2017

Maybe they want to know what you do so they can make a career change and be able to purchase a Model S or X. Although some people are just nosey.

Shesmyne2 | May 16, 2017

We got that question a couple times-
Best response ever? In the 'beginning' we were at Gilroy when a pearl white S came screaming in a little late in the evening.
2 fairly young looking guys got out with PBRs in hand. I respectfully asked, 'You look rather young to own one of these. What do you do for a living?'
'I'm a drug dealer!
'I own a medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland'


Still Grinning ;-)

carlk | May 16, 2017

Not with the Tesla yet but I had people asking me when I was driving a Porsche are you a doctor?

RedShift | May 16, 2017

Even in the SF Bay Area where Model Ses are quite numerous, I get asked by strangers about how much I paid, and what I do.

Its awkward to be sure.

SUN 2 DRV | May 16, 2017

No one has actually asked, but occasionally there's a virtual raised eyebrow. So I tell them that I invested in TSLA stock which went up 5x back then (more now) and so the car was virtually FREE.

Since there are also various raffles with a Tesla as the prize, you could just imply you got lucky one day.

ZenS60 | May 16, 2017

You all are awesome! Thank you for the thoughtful responses. I think I'm going to go with I steal cars for a living ;-) @sentabo

GHammer | May 16, 2017

I got the raised eyebrow when we bought the first one, we got jaw drops when we bought the second one. My wife and I do not look, act or live like we have the money for two MS's (but we do) so who cares.

Boonedocks | May 16, 2017

I wonder what the number of leasers vs buyers are. I drive wayyyy to many miles to lease and all three of our cars are owned and payed for. Curious as to the %

PhillyGal | May 16, 2017

I've been asked varieties of this question (how much does the car cost mostly) and I always feel the need to defend myself. I know I shouldn't but I often remind people that we got a really long term loan at an exceptionally low interest rate and that after gas savings, it's "only" about $180 more per month than the Jeep was. Or how we don't waste money on things like smoking, Starbucks or buying lunch every day. Or that I'm wearing shoes from Payless. Or...

Pleasanton_Ca | May 16, 2017

@PhillyGal, shouldn't have to but it's probably the right response. As a opposed to in your face response
"paid Cash", as in f**k you money...

ZenS60 | May 16, 2017

@PhillyGal We're in the same boat in terms of feeling the need to explain that we just don't go out and by crazy expensive cars for sport. I'm actually really smart with money.

I feel like how much does the car cost is so much more respectful of a question. It shows curiosity about the actual car, and sure there's sure there may be some underlying interest in your finances but it doesn't feel as nosey. I actually don't mind answering those questions. I think it's just when I feel like you're trying to figure out how much money I make where it feels a bit intrusive, especially when it's strangers who ask.

-Gman- | May 16, 2017

I've never had someone ask how much I make (rude!), or the veiled version 'what do you do' (less rude, but pretty transparent!).

I do get asked "How much do these cost" pretty often. I typically say "comparable to a BMW 5 series" (which is true if you factor total cost of ownership over 10 years).

Silver2K | May 16, 2017

I get asked at least once a day because I meet new people all day. I just tell them I paid 50% less than the guy that bought it new. Then I get the "how?" Question and I just tell them it's a certified preowned.

They already know how much I make :)

Victorg-90D | May 16, 2017

I tell it is 50c per mile to drive, same as this SUV (point left) or this truck (point right).
(100K MS amortized over 200K miles with free charging at home, work and 2 SCs in between is 50c per mile)

UnshodBob | May 16, 2017

Seems there are three questions that may be asked, in decreasing order of rudeness: How much $$ do you make? What do you do for a living? and How much does a car like that cost?

As an owner, I'm already aware of the cost of the car, so sometimes I'll ask a younger-looking person What do you do for a living? instead of How much $$ do you make?

With more CPO cars available now than ever before, I guess we'll see more younger people driving Teslas. I think I'll start telling people who ask that with the money I've saved over the years not buying shoes, I was able to afford my Tesla. :)

Silver2K | May 16, 2017

And socks!

croman | May 16, 2017

As a younger person I find the implication that we cannot afford a new Tesla to be insulting. Actually I don't care. The only question the bothers me is where are you from after I answer Chicago. I get, no, really where are you from? Then I give the death stare.

Pricee2 | May 16, 2017

I just tell them I BOT enough TSLA at the IPO that all of my Teslas are free for life.

Dreamship | May 16, 2017

No one really asks me what I do for a living or how much I make. But if they did, I'd be more than happy to tell them I'm an engineer-turned-lawyer. I HAVE had people ask me how much the car cost, and again, I'm more than happy to tell them that optioned out the way it is, it cost exactly $115,200 plus tax. I then refer them to Mr. Neil Peart:

mlanes | May 16, 2017

I love how douchey this thread is...

Silver2K | May 16, 2017

I love Neil heart!

Silver2K | May 16, 2017

Peart too!

Run4Waffles | May 16, 2017

As my high school stepson's friend said when we had an X loaner:

"if you had 3 then he's has to be like secretly a drug trafficker for the Bloods".

Dsmtesla | May 16, 2017

Zen,,, whats funny is I think this a lot too. i JUST got my model s last month and this does come up (i live in iowa, so there arent a ton of teslas). Funnier yet, my previous car was a Sonata as well ;)

flight505 | May 16, 2017

Nobody has asked me one time.

MoTastic | May 16, 2017

just ordered my tesla but i have had a fair share of cars and still do (currently have an aventador & gallardo). I always just answer saying "oh its my grandpa's just driving it around to get Gas"

As far as the question goes "what do you do?" my answer is, IT or Marketing (no I not part of some MLM lol, get that alot when i say marketing). When they get too personal at that point I try to leave. If its a younger kid (and I am fairly young) I try to steer them in the right direction if I can.

Try now to be too evil about it since I was that person not too long ago in my past BUT I never asked questions, just admired from a distance.

Solarfan | May 16, 2017

When I was buying my fourth BMW (long, long ago), a finance person said, "Why do you need a car that expensive." I told him it was a great deal at that price. It was.

Now, I think I'd answer, "Why do you need that information?"

pawpaw | May 16, 2017

Tell them you are a trust fund baby. Could not imagine what is like to have to work for a living. You will get a lot of funny looks.

stereoshopper | May 16, 2017

I'm not bashful about answering what I paid for the car since that information is easily obtainable online. No sense in sugar coating it with gas savings, etc. it's an expensive car. No discounting that.

I do explain that my last car was a 21 year old Honda. I don't want to come off as a BMW, Porsche, Merc, or other expensive car owner that is often compensating for a phallic shortcoming.

RedJ | May 16, 2017

On a whim I signed up to be an uber driver during my 2 hr commute. I've only picked up a handful of people but it's fun looking at their expression when I pull up in a Tesla.

DLebryk | May 16, 2017

The flip side that I get a little more frequently - how can you afford a hundred grand car?

I guess the other one is, they never say a word, and go through this quiet mental exercise, because you drive a hundred grand car you can afford to pick up the lunch, dinner, or drink bill.

ulrichard | May 17, 2017

I tell them I got the car for one tandem flight.

I do paraglider tandem flights as a hobby. One flight in 2011 was paid in Bitcoin. And I paid the used MS with less Bitcoin.

Nexxus | May 17, 2017

Currently, I'm a contract engineer. One of the first things I heard (second hand from my manager) was: "How much are we paying this guy?" This came from one of the managers who sit in the window aisle and sees my car when I come and go.

My manager told him: "It's none of your business what we pay him. He's doing a great job for us!"

Actually, I told my manager when I bought the car, that I was able to buy it because I invested in Tesla's stock. A couple of round trips, in-and-out, and I had enough to buy the car outright. Decided to get a partial loan since 1.49% was too good to pass up and I kept the rest to invest with.

The moral of the story: It's not what you do for a living, it's how wisely you use the money you make for a living.

Ross1 | May 17, 2017

I said to my wife: How can we afford to pay an accountant who drives a new Jaguar?

She said: How can we afford not to?

Ross1 | May 17, 2017

@ OP ZenS60:
So, how much then?

Anthony J. Parisio | May 17, 2017

I say about the same as PhillyGal. To that I add, I just had to do it. We're not being asked to sacrifice any to help save the environment. So I could not continue to drive a fossil car.

Should_I | May 17, 2017

I live in WI and am not YET a Tesla owner, but this question will come up. Here everyone thinks nothing of $50-70k on new crew cab 4wd truck, even a fair number of deisels which are at the high end of that range used to tow boats and campers, or trailer with a $20k loader tractor they play in the yard with. Start pointing those things out and they shut up fast.
Current car cost me just under $50k and in the coming weeks I for see spending $65k on a CPO Tesla that cost less to own than the crew cab 4wd trucks it will park next to. The guys with the diesel trucks also have astronomical maintenance and repair costs, and those guys waste money on drinking and season tickets for professional sports teams etc., Perspective can end a conversation fast.

AlMc | May 17, 2017

I tell them it is my wife's car and she lets me drive it sometimes. That usually defects the conversation. If a follow up question ensues I then add she sells cosmetics for MaryKay (she does not).

High Plains Drifter | May 17, 2017

I find that people ask employment questions when in their mind the evidence doesn't match the deed. We members of the more senior caste rarely get such questions. But since everybody pays the same for the same model, I see no issue in revealing the actual price point.

ZenS60 | May 17, 2017

@HighPlainDrifter I think you hit the nail on the head: "People ask employment questions when in their mind the evidence doesn't match the deed" I think people have stereotypes regsrding who they expect to be driving a pricy/fancy car (Usually older, likely Male, likely tall, likely White) so when you check those boxes it probably lessens the likelihood that people want to investigate your finances since you may "look the part" according their (likely) unconscious biases.

I'm the exact opposite of what people probably expect (Young, very short, petite, Black, Woman) and it's probably a combination of the aforementioned categories that make folks curious because I don't fit into their stereotypes of who they expect to be driving my car.

Also I honestly think some people that don't know how much the car costs (it would be nice if they asked rather than asking what I do for a living) and think it's way more expensive than it is. I'm just guessing by folks reactions and I don't think in their head they see the car costing about as much as a high end BMW or Mercedes.

@Ross enough to comfortably afford my car ;-fortunately none of these strangers have directly asked me how much I make but if they do that is what I'll tell them.

I really appreciate everyone's humor and lightheartedness, I love my car so much, I just didn't anticipate the intrusive questions from strangers that make me feel like I have to justify how I can afford my car.

StarKiller | May 17, 2017

Tell 'em you are an actor and you are method acting with Daniel Day Lewis for a role as a Tesla owner for an upcoming Elon Musk movie, 'E-Musk'

pipcecil | May 17, 2017

As a fairly new owner (4 months) I do get this question a lot and/or weird looks (not just the "ooo that's a tesla" look). While I am on the younger end of the Tesla owner I look much younger (hopefully I can keep that baby face going as I age, hahaha). Granted with what I do and what my wife does a Tesla isn't really in the affordability bracket, but:

1) We saved hard - I am a firm believer in living beneath my means - while my friends burn everything on a huge house I got a cool car and a modest house.

2) We have no kids. Again, most people in my age group are starting families or have their second on third child now. We don't have any which is a larger expense we don't have

3) We bought a CPO for a smashing deal over half off the original sticker.

People usually assume that we have entry level jobs, are barely scraping by with a large house and 2+ kids and then think - "how could they afford a $100k+ car?" Its much worse with my wife, she is Hispanic and gets even more of those "judgement-type" looks. It always makes me chuckle too is those people that are making those looks or asking those questions have huge SUVs or trucks that probably the same as I paid for my Tesla.

Captain_Zap | May 17, 2017


I always wondered how people could afford to have kids.

The flying hippie | May 17, 2017

Having two kids, I couldn't afford not to own a Tesla. The cost of gas to drive them around to their various activities would put me in the red!