Readers' Submissions

The Shop





I have mused before of the main attributes of the Kingdom. Many of these I learned from this site and some all by myself:

* Do not fall in love with a bargirl!

* The LOS has a dark side.

* Always check the price before you buy.

* Do not fall in love with a bargirl!

I have since returned finding an add-on to this list. Do not loan money to anyone in the Kingdom. If you feel compelled, give the money, consider it a “gift” and move on! I have drifted to this conversation before, but my recent trip a few weeks ago I got to test some of these theories.

I arrived in Bangkok making most of the expert tutelage derived from my brethren here in Stickworld. Having completed many trips on my own, I have come to learn the nuance of the airport adventure. Move with determination and knowledge and you will get to your destination in the LOS with relatively few missing baht. The rotating taxis, the tolls, the arrival…anyway, arrived healthy and happy.

After making the usual recon of the hotel and surrounding digs, it was time to make the rounds. Over the years, several friends have been made, both in and out of the “business”. Depending on my work schedule, one tries to plan my days for adventure and my nights for company. Traversing the favorite haunts of the Cowboy one can see the changes in only a few months.

Moving into one of the more famous bars on the soi, I found my fine friend of Christmas past. Of course, she lights up with a typical glowing smile and all the attention a modern man would want. The usual howdy dos and how are yous, the night ended with an early penalty payment at the bar. An absolutely stunning woman (not a girl), and as many on this site have claimed – not like the rest of them! This girl is ‘different’. This one is ‘special’…blah blah blah. You all know who you are!

My fine Thai girl “friend” is excited to enlighten me to a new business adventure. LOL – here we go! Now, many of you Stickmanites have heard story after story, in many variations, of family, jobs and business in the LOS. Now ANY time you hear of ANYONE talking about a business adventure, job or family, your alert signalization board should light up like a football field. Intrigued, I wanted to hear the story.

She went on to explain that she was going to open a “shop”. Everyone seems to want a “shop”. Now, I can go into detail with the whos, whats and whys, but it is all the same in the LOS. Just fill in the blank! Especially involving a bargirl. Now, there's no disrespect intended, just a qualification of class, education, and experience.

She has already saved money and rented a place below her sleeping quarters and has it all figured out. That is except where to buy the product, how to market the product, the need for the product, capital to get past one month of operation, any form of a business plan, any capital outlay funds, just to name a few. It was interesting to see the expression of this university-educated woman upon these simple inquires. But as is everything in the Kingdom – no worries!

Now before continuing, it must be pointed out that I have not fallen victim to the “love” of the bar girl. In fact, this seemed like a great way to experience the plight of many fellow lurkers without getting hurt. At the same time, I gifted some baht (not very much) and had a great time with my old girl ‘friend’ in the process of really trying to help her succeed. The whole time I can see how guys can fall into the trap. I intended from the start to write about the adventure and share the experience. Heck, who knows, it may have even taken off as a viable business!

Capital needs. First thing out of her mouth was her mother would have to wait a month or two with no financial aid. Oh yeah, this is where I hear (first time ever) about the jobless brother back at the village – all expecting about 10K baht a month. Does any of this sound familiar?! Like a duck on water, we moved on past this issue as it was not mine. I did feign interest, but I was really trying to get this fine lady to succeed. Bottom line was the shop did not require as much money as she thought it might if she just planned things out a little…also sound familiar?!

Moving on. We spend about three days going from hardware store to office supply acquiring end objects of a shop. Worrying about the receipt book before acquiring a source for the “product” she was going to sale! Having seen so much about this very phenomenon here and in past trips it was amazing to watch. I was really trying to follow the logic train. Still not there yet.

Now, as has been well pointed out by many a narrator on this post, logic is different in the Kingdom. Simpleton it is not. Logic in the LOS is a very complicated weave of dynamics mixed with hidden emotion and pride. Thais do not like having faults identified or displayed. Even in a personal setting for the good of the organization, business, family or mission, save face or go home! Some have fared worse in some of these situations (sometimes violent), but I was truly trying to help and that came through.

Spending many hours going thorough he evolution of the business plan, it was clear that none was going to be made. The more depth we covered in the business practice, the more distance came from the future CEO. Saddened that I was leaving the kingdom soon, my new business partner (LOL not quite – she tried) wanted me to stay and play. Offering free web service, domain and other marketing items, I demonstrated all of these items to help her business take off. After setting up everything in her name, passwords for her use and creating the initial 10-page site, I had to leave. No problem, Skype was added to her computer along with everything to manage daily operations. Of course, all of this collapsed two days after returning home because, “It just did not look like” what she wanted? Guess I picked the wrong color – be damned the functionality!

It was not 2 days later she stopped communicating all together. Not unexpected. In fact, it pretty much follows much introspection across this site. Sad, she was a nice lady. I do wish her well in her business, but I suspect all is lost. I hope all is well with her in her future, but I know where I am today. Not out any baht not intended as a gift! I cannot articulate the importance of doing your research before travelling to the LOS. For you experts out there, READ the hundreds of exploits outlining the same same (intended) over and over again (also intended). I am already pushing the website for another friend in country that owns several Thai businesses. They are very happy to take advantage of the ‘free’ service!

I followed my own rules, made a new one, and am happy for it! I hope good things for all and success in your adventures!



Stickman's thoughts:

I have strong opinions about the business practices of many locals. Let's just say that the vast majority of businesses I am a regular customer of are foreign-owned and managed.