The deed is done!
Fare thee well; Mr Ting Tong, Screeching Lady, Singha John and Mobi’s Bar….
The bar is sold and the lives of Mobi and Lek can return to something approximating normalcy.
How did it happen so quickly?
It started last Monday. I was at home, not feeling well and planning to take a day off from the bar when I received two phone calls in quick succession. The first was from an Aussie who was drinking at the bar and told me he was interested in buying it.
We made an appointment to meet at the bar the next day at 5 p.m. to discuss it further.
I then received a call from an ex-bar owner, who I knew slightly. He had just sold his last bar/restaurant and told me that he was now interested in buying my bar.
I should add that this particular gentleman, (I use the word loosely), had also called me a couple of weeks ago when I had first put the bar up for sale.
On that occasion, he was quite rude to me on the phone, telling me to turn my effing TV off, (it wasn’t on, and saying my kitchen was ‘shit’ and almost ordering me to lower the sale price. I had agreed to meet him that night at the bar 7 p.m. but he failed to show.
Now, here he was, calling again, claiming it was me – Mobi – who had failed to show on the previous occasion, which was utter rubbish, as Lek and I had sat there, at our bar, waiting for him, but he failed to turn up.
Anyway, not wishing to turn away any potential buyer, I agreed to meet him the following day at 3 p.m. – 2 hours before my appointment with the Aussie.
Later that evening, Lek called me to go to the bar as she had a technical problem with the music, so I gave up on having a night off and went back to work.
It must have been about 11 p.m. when who should arrive at the bar but the rude, ex-bar owner who I had agreed to meet the following day.
He was clearly drunk, (I later learned that he was well gone when he was drinking at my bar in the afternoon when he had called me), and I soon realised that this wasn’t going to go very well.
‘What’s all this shit about you being ill? Whatsamatter with you?
‘None of your business.’
‘Well you don’t LOOK ill, I think it’s a bunch effing crap.’
His attitude was extremely aggressive and he used some kind of drunken logic to accuse me of lack of respect for his ‘opinion’ when I told him the kitchen was not ‘shit’ as he had claimed on the phone.
‘My kitchen is not ‘shit’, ‘I told him.
‘That means you have no respect for my opinion…’ he shouted back at me.
‘Listen Mobi, you don’t know me very well, do you?’ he went on,
I remained silent.
‘I’m gonna tell you something – when we shake hands on this deal, my word is my bond and the deal is done. You can then take the bar off the market.’
He was becoming ever more aggressive and started to ramble on in a highly confrontational manner and I made up my mind then and there that that there was no way I was ever going to sell the bar to him.
‘Let’s just end this discussion now, shall we? Because there’s no way we are going to a deal on my bar,’ I told him’.
‘What’s’ the fucking difference if we do the deal today, or tomorrow afternoon?’
‘No, you don’t understand, I will never sell you this bar, not today, not tomorrow, not ever’…
He became enraged and uttered a string of expletives at me and told me I didn’t know who I was talking to and that I was now his ‘number one enemy’.
‘You stupid effing c.nt,’ he screamed, ‘I have bought and sold more than 20 bars, and you are so effing stupid. You know nothing about selling businesses….’
I looked at him and laughed out loud, agreeing that I knew nothing about buying and selling businesses….
(One of my chief functions during my last few years of work was heading up a corporate mergers and acquisitions division, buying and selling a wide variety of businesses, both big and small; but bars? well, not really…)
‘You’re laughing at me! You’re being sarcastic! I can tell! You have no respect for me you effing c..nt’
‘And you have no respect for me!’ I shouted back. ‘If you did, you wouldn’t keep calling me an effing c..nt’
He could hardly control his rage and I thought he was about to explode. He was a big man and at least 15 years my junior and I wouldn’t have stood a chance if he decided to bop me one.
‘Go on then, punch me in the face if it makes you feel better, but there’s no way you are going to intimidate me into selling you my bar if you were the last person on earth,’ I screamed at him , in a somewhat brave but undoubted foolhardy manner.
He glowered at me, but remained seated and I decided enough was enough.
I got up, packed my papers and computer put them in the the car, (for safety), and went and sat down at the back of the bar and waited for him to leave.
As I went to the car he shouted at me, ‘You effing coward!’
What I didn’t tell him was that at that moment, there happened to be two plain clothed cops in the bar, as we were having a little problem with a Thai gang who were playing pool at the back, but that’s another story. (Read about it in today’s ‘Tales from a Barfly’).
I started to tell Lek what had happened when the obnoxious drunk paid for his drink and left.
The next day I met up with a very friendly and polite Aussie, and I could see that he was very serious about buying my bar. He was already aware of my asking price and we concentrated on all the peripheral details.
He told me he would think about it overnight and we agreed to meet up the next day when he would hopefully make me an offer and finalise terms. He also warned me that he would probably want to move on ther sale very quickly.
The next day, (Wednesday), his Thai business partner arrived from Bangkok and we sat down again in the late afternoon to ‘talk turkey.’
He made me a low offer, which I refused point blank, but within ten minutes we both moved a little and we had an agreement.
He wanted to take over ownership at midnight on 15th October (that day) so he pulled out his lap top, went online and made the agreed transfers to my bank account.
I watched every step of the transactions, ensuring my bank deatils werer entered correctly and noting that once the transfers were made, his bank reflected the amount in his new bank balance.
We agreed to count the booze stock the following morning and he would give me an additional cash sum equivalent to the value of the stock.
I had a number of agreed tasks to complete, including making sure that the faulty TV was repaired and back up and running. I also undertook to copy over my entire music video collection onto his hard disk.
My last night at Mobi’s proved to be quite memorable as we had one of our best nights ever – sales wise – no doubt boosted by the new owner’s friends, who all came along to toast his new purchase.
The late stragglers didn’t leave till well after 3 a.m., at which point we had to cash up, clear the till computer and pack all our things up for the very last time.
After less than 3 hours sleep, we then had to rush back to the bar to complete our various ‘completion’ undertakings
The TV repair task turned into a major nightmare, but we managed it in the end, after two visits to the repair shop, and me almost breaking my back getting it back up onto its mountings over the bar.
Then I had to do a crash training course with the owner’s Thai business partner to teach her how to use the till computer and also how play the music vids through a lap top.
So it was an extremely stressful and tiring day, and when I finally made it home in the evening, things were not good between Lek and I.
I was totally exhausted. I hadn’t eaten all day, and my mood was not good, particularly as the bank transfers for the bar had not yet been credited to may account. To make matters worse, the new owner had temporarily run out of money as he had exceeded his daily limit at the ATM and could pay me for the bar stock.
Lek and I had a terrible row – the worst ever – and at the time of writing, we are only just getting back to normal. I don’t wish to say what it was about, but it wasn’t about money,
Although Lek said she wasn’t tired, she slept for about 15 hours straight, but I couldn’t sleep well and once again I had to get up early and return to the bar to complete my agreed tasks and collect the cash for the stock.
On this occasion, I was paid the cash and when I returned home later that afternoon I found that one of the transfers had reached my bank and am pretty confident that the second will soon follow.
(He had a limit how much he could transfer in one day so he had to do it over 2 days.)
The new owner is in the process of changing the bar name to ‘Nifty’s Bar’ and my bar owning career along with the ‘Mobi’s Bar’ brand, is at an end.
I intend to remain in touch with some of the folk I met at the bar as during the past six months, I have made a few really valued new friends and I don’t wish to lose them.
I’ve also met a few dick-heads – what else can you expect if you run a bar in Pattaya? But I must say they were few and far between. Somehow we managed to maintain a better ‘quality’ of clientèle than most of the other bars around, and the ‘dick-head’ brigade tended to take one look at Mobi’s and go elsewhere… for which I was very thankful.
But I will miss all the daily adventures and the miss-mash of customers that came from such a wide variety of backgrounds and countries – so many of them with fascinating tales to tell. Some rich, some dirt poor like me, having fallen on hard times after a previous life of relative wealth.
I will miss the friendly drunks, the loud mouthed drunks and the ones that just flopped asleep on the table or scurried to the bushes to puke their guts out. I shall miss all those drunks on bikes who were so far gone that they could barely keep the bike from falling over, let alone drive safely down the road in the middle of the night.
I will miss the drunken lady from next door, who sometimes had to be restrained by the cops top prevent her from harming herself – and others,- yet was back at work the next day as though nothing had happened.
I will even miss ‘Singha John’….
Well no, not really….
Then there are the ladies – those gallant workers who cheerfully do their duty, night after night, from noon until sometimes well into the small hours of the next day– sitting with customers, making them feel happy with their feminine wiles, hugs and kisses. Even during all those years I spent at bars around Thailand, I never fully appreciated just how hard these ‘working girls’ have to work to earn their drinks and tips.
They entertain each customer in turn with total dedication, until he pays his bill and leaves and then they immediately perform the same function with the next customer and so on for more than 12 hours every day. Always with a smile on their face and always convincing each punter in turn that it is only him that they really like.
But when all’s said and done, I did achieve one of my long cherished dreams – of running a bar in Thailand, – and by general consensus, I don’t think I made too much of a balls-up of it.
When I bought the bar it was so run down that all the customers – and staff – had deserted the ‘sinking ship’. The bar had no stock and the staff consisted of two lady boys, who were distinctly hostile to all comers and were staying put until they were paid their wages which were weeks overdue.
Over the past six months – right through the low season – we built it back up and managed to break even and even a little more. There was hardly a day when I could say business was really bad, and even during those very quiet days when nearly every other bar around the lake was devoid of customers, there were always a few regulars in Mobi’s.
If I had a bucket list – which I don’t – owning a bar would surely have been on it… so job done!
Now it’s back to the ‘writing board’.
The bar-owning chapter in Mobi’s never ending story, has been brought to a close.