Why Do They Do It?
I often wondered what makes a guy go totally off the deep end when he meets a cute young Thai girl. Korski explained it very well when he said falling in love is a form of madness. So true.
Hell, it happened to me back home in America when I was young. I was totally gaga – blindly in love. There's nothing as exciting as that first brush with heart-filling, mind-numbing love. It happened to me a few times and I feel so lucky to have had that experience.
Older and wiser now, (a lot older) having lived in New York City for the past twenty years and having my balls broken and my heart too by the best the city has to offer, I feel fairly confident here in Phuket. When a lithe young thing wraps herself around me and the smell of jasmine starts seeping into my brain, I simply get up and look in the mirror.
What do I see? Forty miles of bad road that's rough enough to wake anyone up, and this nineteen year old beauty laying next to me is declaring her undying love and mentioning the purchase of a house at the same time?
I really have to laugh to myself at that and this one girl, Soopies, goes on to say that we'll have children together. God- I hate kids. But the girls just say what they think you want to hear. However this has been covered in many Stickman submissions.
What I really want to write about is -Why do so many people come here and open businesses? I figure that there are three groups.
• Guys buying bars for their girls.
• Westerners and couples opening stores.
• Competent business people that know what they are doing and have planned ahead. We will not waste time on these people. They're okay- like my friend Richard-came here three years ago and opened a real estate business. Did not have to invest a lot- worked hard and long and is doing well now. God bless him.
The first group is what Korski was talking about.
I met Emile at Don's Restaurant in Rawai. Said he had not slept with his wife in seventeen years and that they lived in opposite ends of the house.
We went out for a drink to a girly bar. He was not quite sure how to relate and was a bit uneasy. I have to keep an eye on this guy I thought, because when he falls it's going to be a big one.
He moved to Isaan where it was cheaper to live. I eventually received a note from him saying he found a bar girl that was different. His exact words. He said he felt like a beautiful flower with all the girls buzzing around him. Jeeze, you can't make this stuff up.
He was opening a bar and did I want to visit him. I was too late to help him.
I should have told him to read Stickman like Casanundra recently suggested but I just didn't think of it at the time. I doubt that it would have helped though.
The problem is that most of these guys have not been out with an attractive girl in the past forty years and possibly never have been.
“But still he teetered and stumbled under the anesthesia of her attentions. A Thai female could stand right in front of me and tell me in detail all of the terrible things she is going to do to me and it wouldn't matter. As soon as she put her hand on my arm I'd be dead meat.”
Mmmm that sounds familiar, I wonder who said that- but it's true isn't it.
My Canadian lawyer who works with a Thai law firm, says that part of the problem is that a guy sells a house back home and the house he bought for $35,000 twenty-five years ago- now he gets $600,000 for. That and his pension or retirement fund and he's on easy street. What's a measly ten grand for a bar when you have this hot little honey breathing down your neck.
A good theory and it may be true but not in Emile's case; he was just scraping by.
Another friend, a Norwegian man, bought an open-air bar in Karon where the U shaped driveway is with all the bars. He named it ‘The Viking Bar' and was so happy he could hardly contain himself. They nabbed him for a million baht and he still had to pay rent, but hey- his girlfriend wanted it. He rented a house for 25,000 baht a month and bought a big Honda bike. He was living large.
After a few months he had to sell the bike to pay the rent and in a few more months he had to go back home to work.
Okay, like Korski inferred, ‘These guys are simply nuts.'
What I really find interesting is when middle-aged couples come here on vacation and immediately decide that they want to stay here and open a business. Don't they have better sense?
But I suppose a form of romantic madness sets in.
A very nice Belgian couple opened a small restaurant a few blocks away from me. I went with some friends and had Belgian beef stew which was merely passable taste wise, a small portion and priced at a hundred baht more than it should have been. I passed this restaurant often and they never had any customers. Why did they do it? How can they stay open?
The Phuket Gazette was very kind and gave them a half page review, nicely done. I was tempted to write a letter to the editor to say if anyone wants Belgian food they had better hurry on down. I didn't have the heart. I was thinking of sending in a list of questions for prospective business persons. I sure don't have all the answers but I do have a bunch of questions – it was way too late for these people.
I learned from that review. In the interview the couple stated:
They had come to Phuket and loved it.
They wanted to stay here.
They once had a business of some kind back home in a foreign country.
That was the full extent of their thoughts and planning. Duhhhhh-
Would it not behoove a prospective entrepreneur to think along the lines of:
• Is there a need for this type of business? (there are 40 food stands and all types of restaurants within shouting distance of the Belgian Restaurant)
• Exactly why would anyone set foot inside my store?
• Do I know what my opening costs will be?
• And monthly operating costs?
• What is my daily or monthly breakeven point?
• How many customers will I need to come in every day and how much will they have to spend in order for me to break even.
Sadly the restaurant closed before they could find out. But hope springs eternal and they have re-opened a block down the street in a beautiful store three times the size with plenty of parking and higher rent to match. They thought that they would do better in a higher profile establishment and they still don't have any business.
I can only think that visitors and couples can also fall madly in love with the beauty of this island, go insane and loose their reasoning powers.
Excellent advice indeed.