Stickman Readers' Submissions March 13th, 2012

I Like Baseball

I like baseball. I love the crack of the bat, the flight of the ball soaring high in the air, the thwunk when it hits the mitt. Some people call the game boring and slow; I am not one of them.

I love the players. I love watching them dive for a ball, or slide headfirst into second base. I love their passion when they play. One old timer, in the 1950’s, used to love playing the game so much he would say “It’s
a beautiful day for a ball game, let’s play two.”

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“Players”, “Play”. Note the use of the word. It’s a billion dollar business; the players get millions a year for playing, yet they refer to it as a “game” which they “play”. Every
sport uses the same words.

Ever talk to a bar girl? “I have been working for 6 months now”, “I come to work at 8 and leave at 2am”, “I want to work for 3 more months and then go home.”

This is not a game to them. This is work. This is a job. They get paid a salary (usually somewhere between 8-10,000 baht/month), and they have sales quotas to meet (x number of bar fines and y number of ladies drinks a month). They have office
hours, and get vacation time. (In Phnom Penh the girls are required to come early before the bar opens and wash the floors).

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When I go into a store to buy a shirt, and the saleswoman compliments me on how nice it looks on me, I know in my heart that “the customer is always right” and I am getting nothing more than a sales patter. I know the same when
a bar girl goes to speak with me; that I am her customer, and that I must take everything she says with a grain (or two) of salt. Years ago I got very close with a bar girl. After we had been with each other for 6 months, I noticed that she still
referred to me as her “customer”. She meant a lot to me; but to her, I was a pay check. I never made that mistake again.

When I hire a supplier, I expect that they will also be supplying product to my competitors. If I want them to be exclusive, that is, sell only to me, I must guarantee them a price above the going rate, plus a long term commitment to buy
their product. “I will pay 20% above market and guarantee to buy all the factory output for the next year” might be enough to get me exclusivity. I might have to offer more. Exclusivity comes at a price.

A bar girl gets 8-10,000 baht/month in salary. Tips, bar fines, ladies drinks all add up. I have heard of girls earning 100,000 baht/month, but let’s say the average girl might make 30,000.

Now we have all heard stories of the bar girl getting monthly payments from a guy in Scandinavia, and a guy in the UK, and a guy in Germany. We scoff, but from her point of view none of her customers have yet paid for exclusivity. Offering
a bar girl 10,000/month is not enough. Offering 30,000 might be. There has been a lot written on this site on the “appropriate” amount to pay a girl every month; what it takes for her to live. The discussion, although well meaning,
is misguided. The discussion should be: what amount does it take for a girl to give you exclusivity, and to give up her other sources of income?

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What about you? Let’s say you now have a job in which you are earning a base salary of US$50,000/year, but your sales commissions and bonus allow you to earn up to $150,000. Someone offers you the chance to retire, sit back and do
nothing, but they will only pay you $50,000/year…no commission or bonus? Would you accept the offer? Would you accept it, and perhaps moonlight on the side, continuing to free lance for some old and favourite customers?

Reading submissions on this site, I see where many writers have had the unpleasant experience of being with a lady when she received a call from another customer. I’ve been in meetings with suppliers when they did the same. And embarrassingly,
I myself have been with one customer when another (and more important customer) of mine called and I had to take it. It certainly is not polite, but, business is business.

Why shouldn’t a bar girl sleep with you and have another man call her? Why shouldn’t she tell you she loves you yet have another man on the side? Haven’t you ever lied in business to a customer or supplier? Haven’t
you ever negotiated one contract when you had another up your sleeve? Have you ever made an offer to buy a house, or rent an apartment, when you had another offer going on for another place at the same time?

Which one of us can cast the first stone?

There is a saying in poker. Look around the table and try to find the sucker. If you can’t find him, he is you.

Unless you have paid for exclusivity, when you text or call your bargirl, she might (will) be with another customer. That’s her job. Don’t get stressed about it. Either pay for exclusivity, or accept the free market and competition.

Or, better yet, don’t expect long term relationships with bar girls. Have your bit of fun, play the game, but let them run their business.



Interesting analogies and for me, the last paragraph says it all.

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