Some Feedback on the State of the Bar Industry in Thailand – from an Amateur’s Observation
I don't own a bar / a go-go, nor would I consider doing so, hence I'm not in any position to criticize. Observation only, campers:
– Dual bar-fines in the expensive places. A place in Pattaya some years ago dropped the bar fine after midnight from 600 THB to 300 THB. With inflation, maybe adjust that to 900 THB Vs 400 THB.
– Revise the whole 'check-bin' system…pay for rounds or drinks as they are served, like anywhere else. Many bars – even insignificant ones – do this. Less paperwork for the cashier and much easier for reporting to treasury.
– Get rid of grumpy, bitchy and sarcastic mama-sans. Just ‘cause she’s your ageing, ex- bargirl ‘gik’ doesn’t mean she’s any good with staff, bar-owners.
– A ban on children around beer bar precincts annoying customers. I, for one, don’t wish to appear in some blog being photographed talking to a seven year old who is running around selling flowers or plastic bracelets. Matter of fact I won’t go anywhere near kids under any circumstance unless they’re my own.
– Encourage bars and a go-gos to employ presentable women who (if in good shape) can cut it in their thirties and up. Personally I'll take a cougar over a tattooed skank in her twenties (latter usually have Thai boyfriends whose idea of romance is rapid-relief then sleep after a night on the lao-khao).
– Beer bars should place bowls of inexpensive 'khaap-kraem' such as peanuts / beer-nuts or at least sell crisps / chips. Better than having to leave and duck out to 7-11 halfway through a session, leaving your watch as security…
– A dual card system as you mentioned — a place in the Phillies used to have a three-colored card system…pretties through to more normal-looking women.
– Red and green drink-coasters so there are no misunderstandings on who is available and which one is taken.
– Any lady observed under any circumstance swiping one of those stoopid 'chalaad-fons' (iPhone) on duty gets 100 THB docked from her pay. I truly hate the things. During a toilet break, never mind. I know several bars in Pattaya that do this; they have no trouble finding and keeping attractive staff. No coincidence they have a Scandinavian proprietor who is honest and kind and treats his staff to birthday bashes inside the bar with all welcome.
– Train the ladies how to really 'take-care', i.e. actually sitting with a customer and pouring his drink, body language, speaking softly, etc. There is no bigger turn-off than seeing a lady or group of them stuffing their faces with som tam then having to use the ‘John’ three times in your room upon arrival…or heaven-forbid in the middle of a steamy session.
– Get rid of all the stooges and thugs in the black safari suits at the door. Good security can be very low-key. Look at any cat-house in the west; they have fearful security that lies in wait behind closed doors with walkie-talkies and customers never see them unless a problem arises…
– Finally somebody should ATTEMPT to educate their workers away from this whole concept of 'butterfly-man-no-good'. In the Phillies there was once no problem if a customer wished to change ladies in the same bar. After all, it's a profession… Plus if a lady is good at what she does, she'll be swamped by punters. I know several forty-something’s in Pattaya who earn more than 60,000 THB per month, who really aren't that stunning but they're experts at what they do.
– PIN number or fingerprint swipe-in at beginning and end of shift with incentives to those who start early or work late, as many do. These machines are inexpensive and can be removed from the entrance and entered into a desktop at the conclusion of a day’s trading.
– Mandatory presentation of a hotel business card if a customer is taking a lady home, with a system where she can (briefly) call in upon arrival at the hotel along with a 'panic' call system to be used if assaulted or not paid (some of the girls have a system amongst themselves to send back up / support to their mates; not all).
– Reasonable 'spotter's-fees' to ladies who can encourage cousins / sisters / divorcees / as well as the gold-mine of very attractive hairdressers, masseuses and factory workers to come to the bar / establishment. Believe me there's a goldmine of attractive ladies being worked to death who would find even prostitution infinitely preferable to working in a microchip or garment factory. The incidence of women being deserted and left to look after children is still unacceptably high here, something that gives many women few other options except to gravitate to the bars and sidewalks.
– I realize managers can't be too choosy but perhaps some kind of practice that prevents large groups of tattooed skin-head thugs from the (English-speaking, Western European country deleted) from bothering the ladies and other customers. If I'm doing the rounds I give any place a miss if there are (nationality deleted) menacing others. I’m not, however, in favor for refusing entry to patrons who don’t have the latest skate-shoes or ‘Tommy’ shirt.
As far as ‘attitude’ goes we largely have ourselves to blame if ladies are becoming greedier and mercenary. The inhabitants of South-East Asia are polite and well-mannered and renowned for their patience and tolerance. For every horror story told by some Farang about what a local woman has done to them I could recite three such stories on their behalf. For every idiot who pays 4000 THB ‘short-time’ there is another prick that begrudgingly gives some lady a thousand baht for a whole day and expects to pampered like a rock star and have Annabel Chong in the room with them, 24-7. Mister Trump does not pay thirty dollars for a loaf of bread, nor should he expect one for free. For every good-hearted man there’s one who is so dysfunctional even a trusty golden retriever would desert them.
Sure, go ahead and build a mansion in Isaan but maybe save that one till after marriage, not after sex. Some lasting unions do occur but try to stay in Thailand; she’ll be bored out of her wits in Shreveport.
Some points above are legislative but most are easily introduced for the benefit of all and sundry. In conclusion the ‘nitery’ industry can go several ways. It can be suppressed by legal enforcement and very quickly be closed down or forced behind closed doors as occurred in Ermita Malate and is happening in Angeles City, although it must be remembered the Philippines was a victim of destructive external forces; Thailand is far more resistant to foreign meddling by western countries and more aligned to China. Indeed Thailand is a net foreign aid donor.
The industry could wither away as it did in Penang or as it has in Jalan Dolly. On the subject of Cambodia, misconduct and fraud by NGOs and the dreadful conditions in sweatshops is actively encouraging women to seek work in hostess bars and freelance in the nightclubs, whilst the male workforce is flooding into the construction and fisheries industry in more affluent neighbors.
With the ASEAN Border Agreement in 2015 there’s a likelihood of many more available ladies entering the industry from Lao and Cambodia. <Unlikely to happen and it will not be an open border freedom of labour movement like the EU – Stick>
Then again, I'm probably dreaming; oh for a perfect world…no point complaining as nobody listens. If it was remotely possible for a good-looking, well-presented, well-educated, financially secure (not especially rich) male like me to even meet women in a western country I probably wouldn’t be here except on vacation. If it was remotely possible to have an affordable retirement in a western country we’d all be sunning ourselves on Miami Beach.