Value For Money
Newcomers to Thailand should take note.
I booked a 'limo' from the desk of a good quality hotel in Pattaya to go to Bangkok airport. The cost was similar to that of the Thai airways limo (1650 Baht). What turned up was a clapped out Corolla, which can be booked anywhere on the street for half that price. I sent it packing, demanded and got my money back then called Thai, getting a prompt response and a newish, comfortable Camry.
I flew Bangkok Airways new direct service from Phuket to Pattaya U-Tapao airport. Someone had told me there were no taxis at U-Tapao, (wrong), so to be safe I rang a taxi firm in Pattaya and booked a pick-up. I was quoted and charged 1000 Baht. When I got to U-Tapao I found 2 'Limo service' desks charging 700 Baht into Pattaya. My friend in Pattaya, who had recommended the taxi company was astonished and called them himself, saying he had a friend arriving and asking for a pick-up. He was quoted 700 Baht by the same company. Could the difference be that I was calling from Phuket? But why should that make the charge different?
In Phuket I have finally given up on my war of attrition with the Tuk-Tuk drivers. It is the rainy season and I grit my teeth and pay the extortionate 100 Baht to go two blocks in the Tonka toy. I just cannot be bothered to stand arguing in the rain to save 20 Baht.
Tailors are infamous for asking 'When you go back to your country?' The reason they ask that is so they can deliver their substandard and usually ill-fitting goods to your hotel just before you depart for the airport, thus allowing no time for alterations. The glossy shops you get measured in are just that, measuring shops, no matter whether you decide to buy from Mohammed, Rushme, Kavinder or Raj's shop, the clothes are probably going to be made up in the same backstreet sweatshop.
I went into a Patong tailor shop and asked the guy to spend an hour measuring me up, then make a suit for someone 6 inches taller with one arm shorter than the other, with a thick trunk and tiny spindly arms. He said 'I can't do that!' I said 'Why not? You did last time'.
Homepro have a 2 weeks limit on returns of goods. When you do return goods, even if faulty, you get, not a refund, but a credit note, which has to be used one time in its entirety. Say you spent 2000 Baht originally, but what you want now is only 500 Baht, you have to buy stuff you did not want up to 2000, or lose the rest of the credit.
A friend was eating at a restaurant near Patong. He asked for ice to put in his beer (a practice I regard as sacrilege, by the way).The manager, who knows him and indeed all of us, gave him a 30 Baht bill. He said 'I live here and my friends and I come here regularly, if you charge me for this ice I will never eat here again, and I will tell all my ex-pat friends not to eat here either. The charge stood, TIT.
What can I say about bars, except always ask the price before agreeing to buy anything, especially a lady drink. Here in Phuket, prices for a splash of orange or coke over an ice-cube vary from 100 to 150 Baht between bars in the same complex.
Another scam is for the lady drink to be a 'Shooter'. Wham Bam Slam, Bye Bye Ma'aM, unless you are willing to keep shooting.
In an ordinary shophouse bar-restaurant at a pool match, I ordered draught Chang and my friend a bottle of Singha. Cost: Small draught Chang, 60 Baht. Bottle of Singha, 60 Baht. The Chang tasted great when I thought it would be about 40 Baht, but it left a bitter taste when I got the bill for 60.
Yep, it can all get a bit jading after a while.