Stickman Readers' Submissions May 10th, 2006

A Bar Owner’s Notes

By A Now Ex Bar Owner

Bar fines in busy periods

8/1/06 you wrote:

Carousel A Go-go in Pattaya may have broken the record for the most expensive bar fine in a go-go bar when they were asking 1,500 baht for the bar fine for showgirls on New Year's Eve. It was "only" 1,000 baht for a regular dancer. Needless to say, there were still many showgirls there very late into the evening… …Frankly, these prices are just too much and in my opinion, are taking the piss.

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Now I do understand where you’re coming from with the above criticism. But, have you ever thought that there’s a reason other than wanting to piss off customers that we do this?

At Spicy Girls on Pattayaland Soi 1, we used to increase the bar fine from 500 baht to 1,000 baht on various occasions – Christmas, New Year, Songkran, Loy Kratong, being some of them. For one reason only – so that guys ARE more reluctant to pay the bar fine. When it’s a busy time with a full bar, the last thing you need is for all the dancers to have been bar fined early on, no one wants to sit in a go-go with no dancers to look at! Spicy Girls however would drop the bar fine back to 500 baht at 11pm – a time which we thought was reasonable for the girls to start being bar fined.

Occasions like Songkran and Loy Kratong are when also the girls are more likely to want to pay their own bar fine so they can enjoy the celebrations out of the bar. (Yes I know – probably on the piss with their mates.)

Going off after work

26/3/06 you wrote:

Nowadays, bars have put in place draconian rules against this sort of thing. Any girl who meets a customer outside of the bar will be “fined” and the fine ranges from the cost of the bar fine to 1,000 baht, the money docked from her salary at the end of the month. And it isn’t just customers from the bar who the girls are prohibited from meeting. If a lady meets *any* guy outside the bar, or anywhere in the vicinity of the bar – can even be a few hundred metres from the bar, if she happens to be seen going off with a guy, she can be fined! When this policy was introduced a few years back – and it is policy in most bars in Bangkok, many bar owners well and truly crossed the line from being just a bar owner, to being pimps.”

Now call me a pimp if you like, it doesn’t particularly offend me, I think there’s two slightly separate issues here. Meeting any guy outside after hours, or, meeting a customer after hours. With the meeting any guy outside (who is not a customer) then I see it as nothing much to do with me.

However, the idea of meeting someone after hours who has been in the bar during the evening and deliberately arranged so to do in order to avoid paying the bar, yes that does rile me. I’m sure people may well laugh at this, but just for a moment, pretend that instead of selling sex – well you did call me a pimp – we could be seen as an introduction agency. I think that charging a fee for the introduction would seen to be reasonable, but still we get guys doing what they can to avoid it. Does that analogy make any sense?

OK, yes back to reality, it is sex we’re talking about – also a business – so why the gripe about us trying to make sure we earn money out of it.

We do tell staff if they’re seen going with *customers* and not having paid the bar, we will sack them. Believe me there are other staff members who will “dob them in” (and for no financial benefit either).

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What I don’t understand is you saying that “bar owners well and truly crossed the line from being just a bar owner, to being pimps”. How come I’m not a pimp when someone pays the bar during opening hours? The girl and guy are still going off somewhere to shag whatever the time the arrangement take place.

I think I must have missed something there.

Other bits:

Doctors cards for STDs

You mentioned that only some bars make sure the girls are checked regularly, sending them to get their little card stamped weekly at a clinic.

Initially we used to do this, then six years ago we went to the government STD clinic and arranged for the doctor to come to the bar every week. We pay them and then cut it from the girls' salary. It’s not only cheaper for the girls that way (50 baht a week) but we get the results of the tests directly from the doctor. I mention this because when the girls had to go to a clinic (and it was not easy making them go to the same one), for the year that was happening not one came back with a positive stamp for any STD.

When the doctor started visiting, then only occasionally did we see the odd one positive. I later found out that at some of the clinics, if they girl had caught something, the doctor would sell her the pills to clear it up but still stamp her as negative – just to keep everyone happy as they saw it.

Mentioning the dreaded A word, the girls also have a regular 90 day blood test for HIV. I can tell you with hand on heart (don’t forget I’m not involved any more so it’s no skin off my nose) that in six years of blood tests I can say that all get tested when starting employment, in that time I think it was 10 were HIV positive and therefore not taken on.

How many who started out negative became positive later on? Zero. Really.

Just a little bit which may amuse you.

I don’t know about Bangkok, but in Pattaya one of the many annual licences needed for a go-go bar is issued by City Hall.

Being unwilling to call a spade a spade and not admitting to taxing or regulating prostitution, the licence is actually a “licence to transport dangerous goods” and only in a small space in the middle, where it specifies the type of goods does it say “Go-Go”.

Stickman's thoughts:

Interesting reading.

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