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A trip to pay the rent...
Old 05-03-2006, 10:41 AM   #1
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A trip to pay the rent...

"Oh east is east and west is west and never the twain shall meet..."

Kipling sure got that right.

Where to begin... Normally I receive my rent statement on the 7th of the month. April 7th, then the 8th, then the 9th elapsed, so on about April 10 I strolled up to the reception counter of my building and asked Khun (Miss) Nok, for my statment.

"Not have" mumbled Nok between mouthfuls of som tom. "Really?" I asked. "Not have!" expounded Nok. Rebuffed and fully aware of Nok's reputation for answering any request with one of three answers: "Can not; not have and pay money!" I dolefully went on my way.

Later that evening, I approached Khun Lek, a more pleasant and helpful Thai lass. Lek was without food and actually looked though the statements before telling me "No statement Khun Lance."

A few days later My girl friend and I met the assistant manager, Khun Lada, on the Soi behind my building. My GF told Khun Lada (in Thai) that I had not yet received my statement and that I wanted to pay my bill. Lada looked thoughtful for a moment, then flashed a 10,000 watt smile and dismissed the inquiry with a "mai pen rai." (Don't worry about it...)"

Sure, why not?!?

Yesterday, May 2, Khun Nok frantically waived me down and screamed "Khun Lance, you forget rent?" I smile and say "Not forget, I not receive statment."Nok looks bewildered, picks up the phone and some rapid fire Thai ensues. From what I could pick up it was "foreigner did not receive statment." "No, he did not get!" "OK, I will tell him." Well, a duplicate statment was produced, presented and received by me and I retired to my room.

Today, May 3, I went down to pay my rent when I noticed the water bill was 50% higher than normal. I asked Nok's apprentice (I don't know her name) about the irregulairty and she immediately said "You use too much!" I smiled and said "I don't think so..." She thinks a moment and says "We checking meter tonight..."

Later it dawns on me, she just buried the problem, there would be no meter checking, she simply avoided the work involved to research the issue.

As I think this out, the fault lies with me. I was thinking western but I'm located in the east now. Reception is not here to help or assist customers; they're here to: 1) collect a paycheck; 2) keep a chair ocupied; 3) munch on snacks, chat with boy/girlfriends and look bored.

Tomorow I will go to the lady that reads the meters and ask to see her book. I'll have my answer -wheteher I owe the extra amount billed or not- in two minutes. Then if there is a problem, I'll go to the general manager.

I was stupid for thinking like a foreigner; I forgot to "think Thai" and talk directly with the "puy yai." (Big person)

On the up side, my experiences in Thailand are reinforcing my faith in America. You think customer service is bad in the US? Then come to Thailand my friend. I'll put the average Wal Mart assocaite up against any service provider in Thailand.

Lance

Full disclosure- it is obvious that I am moaning here. In truth, I have had some EXCELLENT customer service in Thailand. But when there is a problem and you are trying to resolve it...

Face is a huge issue here and one way to deal with a problem is to pretend that there is no problem...

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Re: A trip to pay the rent...
Old 05-03-2006, 02:44 PM   #2
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Re: A trip to pay the rent...

If you ever care to work again, Lancelot, you've got a BIG career in travel writing. This is a scream!

Caroline
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Re: A trip to pay the rent...
Old 05-03-2006, 04:09 PM   #3
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Re: A trip to pay the rent...

Mmmmmmm! Som tom! My favorite!!!

Audrey
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Re: A trip to pay the rent...
Old 05-03-2006, 04:36 PM   #4
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Re: A trip to pay the rent...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caroline
If you ever care to work again, Lancelot, you've got a BIG career in travel writing. This is a scream!

Caroline
ditto that. you definitely have a lighthearted and comedic style when you are writing about dat to day stuff like your train ride to Chiang Mai last November.

BTW hi.
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Re: A trip to pay the rent...
Old 05-03-2006, 04:50 PM   #5
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Re: A trip to pay the rent...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lancelot
I was stupid for thinking like a foreigner; I forgot to "think Thai" and talk directly with the "puy yai." (Big person)
About 1/2 the time here in good ol USA, I talk to the "puy yai". Head honchos also are usually authorized to bend the rules.
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Re: A trip to pay the rent...
Old 05-03-2006, 08:45 PM   #6
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Re: A trip to pay the rent...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lancelot
On the up side, my experiences in Thailand are reinforcing my faith in America. You think customer service is bad in the US? Then come to Thailand my friend. I'll put the average Wal Mart assocaite up against any service provider in Thailand.
When I talk with military who've been to Thailand for duty, they're all smiles. Well, at least when their spouses aren't around.

When I talk with contractors who actually have to negotiate contracts with Thai businesses, and then later have to verify that performance met the standards of the contract, their response is usually along the lines of "I can't wait to get out of this #@$%ing place"...
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Re: A trip to pay the rent...
Old 05-03-2006, 10:18 PM   #7
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Re: A trip to pay the rent...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caroline
If you ever care to work again, Lancelot, you've got a BIG career in travel writing.* This is a scream!

Caroline
Give me a break Caroline, I'm being serious here...

(But thanks )
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Re: A trip to pay the rent...
Old 05-03-2006, 10:31 PM   #8
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Re: A trip to pay the rent...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
When I talk with military who've been to Thailand for duty, they're all smiles.* Well, at least when their spouses aren't around.

When I talk with contractors who actually have to negotiate contracts with Thai businesses, and then later have to verify that performance met the standards of the contract, their response is usually along the lines of "I can't wait to get out of this #@$%ing place"...
Oh man, I can only imagine trying to hold the Thais to the terms of a contract... One thing that I've learned is that Thais -and most Asians- are amazingly patient. They can out wait you in almost any situation.

Like my old Drill Sergeant used to say "Trainees, they's the right way, the wrong way and the ARMY's way..." Substitute Thai for Army and that's the situation here

Lance
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Re: A trip to pay the rent...
Old 05-04-2006, 01:59 AM   #9
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Re: A trip to pay the rent...

Lancelot; good story - that is why I bought instead to avoid that hassle .
Only utility I have not managed to get set up for auto-payment is the water bill as paid directly to building.

I will have to pop by and see your place and meet the 2 lovely ladies in question .

Cheers!
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Re: A trip to pay the rent...
Old 05-04-2006, 02:13 AM   #10
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Re: A trip to pay the rent...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ben
I will have to pop by and see your place and meet the 2 lovely ladies in question* .
Cheers!
Ben, sometimes lovely is a relative term*

Sure, come on over, the Chang is cooling as we speak.

Lance
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Re: A trip to pay the rent...
Old 05-04-2006, 08:20 AM   #11
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Re: A trip to pay the rent...

Hey Lance,

you had mentioned awhile back that you were thinking about leaving Thailand for other green pastures.

Are you still considering it or is it now just a background thought?

MJ
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Re: A trip to pay the rent...
Old 05-04-2006, 07:42 PM   #12
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Re: A trip to pay the rent...

Hi MJ,

How are you doing buddy?

Yes, I am thinking about splitting my time between Thailand and say the Phillipines and/or Brazil. I'll probably return to Thailand each year to keep my retirement visa intact, but I'm getting the travel bug again

How about you, where are you headed?

Lance
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Re: A trip to pay the rent...
Old 05-04-2006, 09:59 PM   #13
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Re: A trip to pay the rent...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lancelot
Hi MJ,

How are you doing buddy?

Yes, I am thinking about splitting my time between Thailand and say the Phillipines and/or Brazil. I'll probably return to Thailand each year to keep my retirement visa intact, but I'm getting the travel bug again

How about you, where are you headed?
I plan on leaving NYC and heading out to Tucson, my new temp/perm? home. Actually, I will not be getting an apartment yet. I just want to store my car with a friend and establish AZ residency to get cheaper auto and high ded health insurance. I will probably be heading to Chiang Mai in Sept or Oct. Hopefully, either passing thru BKK or in CM, we can meetup for some great food, fine spirits and good conversation.
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