Saturday, February 21, 2009

Old Style Thai - Bill Padding, Overcharging for What ?




I suppose it is to do with their culture, their inbuilt belief in today and little thought for tommorow. But it sometimes makes me frustrated ! Yes, I mean the Thai people - not all of them, but the majority who lack a good education.

My friend, a Canadian, is married to a Thai girl and they own a restaurant in the condominium complex in which I live. The girls mother works in the restaurant as a cook. My Thai girlfriend is a waitress. The daughter has lived in the USA for a few years and is well versed in Western culture and simple marketing tools. The mother is not.

They serve Western and Thai food, and to promote it have ' Every Thai meal - 50 baht 1200hrs -1400hrs ' and a 'Happy Hour for Beer - buy one get one free ' between 1600hrs and 1800hrs. Of course, this is done to gain and retain customers over a period of time. But the mother cannot see this or doesn't want to.

The mother sometimes acts as cashier, as well as cook, and regularly overcharges customers, including me, during the promotional times. Her argument is any 1 of the following:

1. 50 baht is too cheap - we need more money.
2. Farang can afford to pay more so I charge more.
3. I never give farang anything for free ( referring to the happy hour ).
4. We haven't taken enough money today so they can pay more ( referring to Thai and Farang ! ) The reason she includes Thais is that the complex is for middle class Thais who have much more money than the average Thai.

Of course, customers are leaving, never to return. The normal prices are shown in the menu..... the mother must think the customers are stupid.

When the daughter tries to explain that they are loosing customers because of this, the mother just looks blankly and shrugs her shoulders. She really doesn't see beyond the next 24 hours. Its so sad. My girlfriend understands and tries to explain as well - but gets the same blank expression. Now the mother is angry at the daughter and my girlfriend.

What worries me even more is that my friend and his girlfriend are going to travel to Canada for 3 months quite soon, leaving the mother in charge of the restaurant. I have a funny feeling that they will have zero customers on their return, they certainly will not have my girlfriend as a waitress.

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